Thursday, January 16, 2003

Business digest

From wire reports

Execs now face trading `blackouts'

WASHINGTON - Corporate executives will be banned from buying or selling company stock during periods when employees can't trade the shares held in their retirement accounts, under a rule adopted by federal regulators Wednesday as part of post-Enron reforms.

"It's only fair" to put executives and employees on the same footing, SEC Commissioner Cynthia Glassman said at a Securities and Exchange Commission meeting before a vote to adopt the new rule.

Congress ordered the ban as part of a law adopted over the summer following Enron's collapse into bankruptcy and a wave of corporate scandals.

Conseco bonuses, financing approved

INDIANAPOLIS - Employees of Conseco Inc. and its consumer finance unit stand to receive millions of dollars in bonuses as an incentive to stay with the company during its Chapter 11 reorganization.

A Chicago-based bankruptcy judge approved a bonus program for St. Paul Minn.-based Conseco Finance Corp., and granted interim approval to continue a similar program at the parent company.

Judge Carol A. Doyle on Tuesday also approved a $150 million credit package that will enable Conseco Finance to continue operating during bankruptcy.

Yahoo earnings again

tops expectations

SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo! Inc. reversed a year-ago loss and surpassed analysts' expectations for the third straight quarter, indicating further progress in the Internet icon's turnaround strategy.

The Sunnyvale-based company posted a fourth-quarter profit of $46.2 million, or 8 cents per share, reversing a loss of $8.7 million, or 2 cents per share, at the same time in the prior year.

The earnings topped by 2 cents the consensus estimate of 6 cents per share among analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Simon Property raises Taubman offer

INDIANAPOLIS - Simon Property Group Inc., the world's largest mall owner, raised its hostile offer for rival Taubman Centers Inc. by 11 percent and added a partner to bolster the takeover attempt.

Simon Property increased its bid to $20 a share from $18, valuing Taubman Centers at about $4.25 billon in stock and debt. Westfield America Inc., the U.S. unit of one of Australia's biggest property owners, has joined Simon Property and will pay half the cost if Taubman Centers is purchased, said Simon Property chief financial officer Stephen Sterrett.

Luxottica, Versace join for eyewear

MILAN - Luxottica Group SpA, one of the world's leading eyewear makers and owner of Sunglass Hut and Cincinnati-based LensCrafters, said Wednesday it had signed a 10-year contract to design, produce and distribute glasses for Versace.

The licensing deal, to make sunglasses and prescription-lens frames for the luxury Italian design house, will begin in March. gets $202.4M buy offer

NEW YORK - Inc., an Internet-service provider that registers domain names, received an offer of about $202.4 million in cash to be acquired by a group of firms owning about 4.2 percent of its outstanding shares.

RCM Acquisition Co., an affiliate of shareholder Baring Cos. Equity Partners LP, offered to pay $4.95 a share for New York- based, 8.3 percent higher than yesterday's closing price, RCM said in a statement.

"They have a business that we think has got a positive future," said Baring Cos. chief executive officer James Mitarotonda in an interview. "We think it's undervalued."

Just Born to buy Goldenberg Candy

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania - Just Born Inc., maker of Marshmallow Peeps, Hot Tamales and Mike and Ike candies, agreed to acquire Goldenberg Candy Co. of Philadelphia. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Goldenberg's makes dark chocolate-coated Peanut Chews and milk chocolate-coated Chew-ets candies for a market extending from Connecticut to Florida.

5/3 probe extended to June
Loan, deposit growth fuel profit gains
Erpenbeck loan payoff drags out
Store user-friendly to blind
Provident boosts profits by reducing loan losses
Cinergy to exceed forecast
GE strike ending, but company goes to court
Former Multi-Color executive is indicted
Wholesale prices steady in Dec.; Fed survey released
Much-argued Omnicare deal done
Tristate summary
Business digest
Morning Memo
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