Thursday, April 10, 2003

Business digest



From wire reports

HealthSouth's ex-CEO takes Fifth on fraud

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Fired HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy refused to answer questions Wednesday about claims of a $2.5 billion fraud at the rehabilitation giant, instead invoking his right to avoid self-incrimination.

Faced with more than 50 questions about his role in the alleged scheme and his personal finances, Scrushy sat mostly silent on the witness stand during the hearing in a federal courtroom.

The hearing was over whether Scrushy's personal assets should remain frozen while the government investigates what it calls a massive accounting fraud.

News Corp. agrees to DirecTV control deal

LOS ANGELES - News Corp. agreed Wednesday to acquire control of Hughes Electronics Corp. and its DirecTV service, the nation's largest satellite television provider, in a $6.6 billion cash and stock deal.

The proposed deal would give News Corp. access to DirecTV's more than 11 million subscribers and conclude media titan Rupert Murdoch's three-year effort to gain a U.S. outlet for his global satellite television network.

News Corp. will acquire 34 percent of DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics, a subsidiary of General Motors Corp., by purchasing 19.9 percent of Hughes shares owned by GM. News Corp. also will offer to buy 14.1 percent of Hughes shares owned by the public.

Stanley Works announces layoffs

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - The Stanley Works said Wednesday that it will lay off about 1,000 workers as part of a drive toward a 15 percent operating profit margin, and also lowered its earnings outlook.

The job cuts, which amount to about 7 percent of total employment, will include shutting four manufacturing plants and five warehouses. Most of the cuts will be immediate, the company said.

Lower sales, higher commodity prices and increased administrative expenses - including employee severance costs - mean first-quarter earnings will be 33 cents to 36 cents per share before unusual items, down from a previous estimate of 44 cents to 46 cents a share, the company said.

Yahoo shows profit as turnaround continues

SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo! Inc. on Wednesday reported a reversal in its losses from the high-tech wreck for the fourth consecutive quarter, continuing the Internet bellwether's about-face.

The company earned $46.7 million, or 8 cents per share, for three months ending in March. That contrasted with a loss of $53.6 million, or 9 cents per share, at the same time last year. Yahoo's first-quarter revenue totaled $282.9 million, a 47 percent increase from $192.7 million last year.

ImClone: SEC looking at '02 reporting delay

NEW YORK - ImClone Systems Inc. said Wednesday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an inquiry into the issues that have delayed the company's reporting of its 2002 performance and its plans to restate 2001 results.

ImClone made the disclosure as it delayed again its target for reporting the results and restatement, saying it won't be able to complete its statements by its self-imposed April 15 deadline.



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