LEGALJudge Clears Citigroup ExecutivesTwo former Citigroup executives won dismissal of a lawsuit that accused them of keeping tens of millions of dollars for the bank's asset-management arm that should have gone to reduce mutual fund fees. The Securities and Exchange Commission claimed that Thomas Jones, former chief executive of Citigroup Asset Management, and Lewis Daidone, a former vice president of Smith Barney Management, kept the savings from a contract they renegotiated with First Data Investment Services. U.S. District Judge Richard Casey in New York dismissed the lawsuit, saying that the SEC waited too long to sue and that there weren't enough facts to support its bid to recover ill-gotten gains.
Separately, Citigroup said the SEC is investigating tax issues stemming from its acquisition of Associates First Capital in 2000.
Verizon Wins Injunction on SpamVerizon Wireless won a permanent injunction against a company that sent nearly 100,000 unsolicited text messages to Verizon customers. The ruling bars Florida-based Specialized Programming and Marketing and its owner, Charles Henderson, from sending any more unsolicited messages, or spam, to Verizon Wireless subscribers.
TECHNOLOGYEA Names New Chief ExecutiveElectronic Arts, the world's largest video game publisher, replaced Larry Probst as its chief executive, naming former EA executive John Riccitiello as its new leader. Riccitiello, who is to become chief executive on April 2, joined EA in October 1997, rising to president and chief operating officer before quitting in April 2004.
Probst will remain as executive chairman of EA's board of directors.
YouTube to Show NBA HighlightsGoogle's YouTube video-sharing site teamed with the National Basketball Association to create an NBA channel that offers game highlights and behind-the-scenes footage.
The deal follows similar agreements between YouTube and groups such as CBS and Robert Redford's Sundance Channel.
APPOINTMENTSManagement Shift at NYSE GroupNYSE Group hired Duncan L. Niederauer of Goldman Sachs Group as president and co-chief operating officer and moved Gerald R. Putnam to vice chairman. Niederauer, a 22-year Goldman veteran, will begin April 9 and oversee U.S. cash equities operations, NYSE said. Putnam, who previously held the positions assumed by Niederauer, will oversee the exchange's technology, its options marketplace and development of new products. LABORUnions Take Complaint to U.N.Labor groups filed a complaint with the International Labor Organization, a U.N. agency, about a federal decision denying graduate assistants at private universities the right to form unions. The AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers said a July 2004 decision by the National Labor Relations Board violates workers' rights under international labor standards. Any ILO decision on the complaint would not overturn U.S. law. LENDINGCredit-Rating Agencies Take a HitCredit-rating agencies fell after a Credit Suisse analyst, Brandon Dobell, said he expects investors to become skittish over securities backed by mortgage debt. Moody's stock fell 2.1 percent, to $65.37, and McGraw-Hill, parent company of S&P, fell 2 percent, to $65.45.
Liberty Mutual Group, a policyholder-owned insurer, said fourth-quarter profit jumped 80 percent. The insurer earned $455 million in the quarter, compared with $253 million in the comparable period of 2005. Revenue for the period ended Dec. 31 increased 9 percent, to $6.01 billion.
For the full year, Liberty Mutual reported $1.63 billion in profit, a 58 percent increase from 2005, as disaster losses declined by more than $1 billion. It reported $23.5 billion in revenue for 2006, an 11 percent increase.
Nordstromsaid fourth-quarter profit rose 22 percent, to $232.3 million. Revenue in the quarter ended Feb. 2 rose 15 percent, to $2.63 billion. For the full fiscal year, profit rose 23 percent, to $678 million, and revenue rose 10.8 percent, to $8.6 billion.
T-bill rates were unchanged. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday remained at the highest level since January 2001, 5.035 percent. Rates on six-month bills also remained the same, at 4.95 percent, the lowest level since those bills averaged 4.920 percent the week of Jan. 8. The annualized return to investors is 5.185 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,872.73, and 5.162 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,749.75. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, declined to 5.05 percent last week from 5.07 percent the previous week.