Ex-Ahold Unit CFO Says Witnesses Clear Him

Attorneys for Michael J. Resnick, left, former finance chief of Royal Ahold's U.S. unit accused of leading an $800 million fraud, say former executives who will testify against him told company lawyers they were not sure he knew of the scheme.

Resnick, who was chief financial officer of Columbia-based U.S. Foodservice, is slated to go on trial Feb. 27 on charges he lied about earnings. Former colleagues who pleaded guilty in the case are cooperating with prosecutors and will testify against him and another defendant, former marketing manager Mark P. Kaiser.


MedImmune Moves Toward Flu Vaccine

MedImmune said it licensed the final group of gene-altering patents needed to give the drugmaker control of a technology that could improve the process of flu vaccine development. The patents -- these last from Mount Sinai medical school -- cover a gene-assembling technique called reverse genetics that the National Institutes of Health has said may make the vaccine development process more reliable and efficient. MedImmune said it plans to work with the government and manufacturers to provide licenses that will make sure the technology is widely available.


Freddie Mac Offers More for REIT Stock

Freddie Mac, the second-biggest provider of financing for U.S. home loans, increased its offering price by 18 percent for the 4 million shares of preferred stock issued by two real estate investment trusts it created. The raised offers on shares of Home Ownership Funding and Home Ownership Funding II brought the total possible tender to more than $1.2 billion.

Freddie Mac created the REITs in 1997. The preferred shares were structured to pay dividends of 13.331 percent and 13.338 percent for 10 years and then drop to 1 percent, said Ray Powers, a director in capital management at McLean-based Freddie Mac. The REITs were to be "wound down" in conjunction with the rate drop, he said.

In May, Freddie Mac said it had changed its position in a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service over tax deductions on dividend payments to the preferred stockholders.


Lanham Firm Conducts IPO

Vocus, a Lanham company that provides software for corporate communications and public relations, went public. The company sold 5 million shares priced at $9 each, at the low end of expectations. The stock, which trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol VOCS, closed at $10, up $1, or 11.1 percent.


Post Co. Agrees to Buy Tribeca Learning

The Washington Post Co. said it agreed to purchase Australia-based Tribeca Learning Limited for about $41 million. The board of Tribeca, which provides education services to financial companies, unanimously endorsed the purchase, the Sydney-based company said in a statement.


HealthExtras Buys EBRx

HealthExtras of Rockville, a pharmacy benefits management firm, bought EBRx from Managed Care of America for $31 million. EBRx specializes in managing prescription benefits for third-party administrators of health plans.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.