Thursday, May 8, 2003

Business digest

From wire reports

Junk e-mailer ordered to pay EarthLink

ATLANTA - EarthLink Inc., the third largest U.S. Internet service, said it won $16 million and a court order shutting down the "Buffalo Spammer," an operation accused of sending 857 million junk e-mails in the last two years.

EarthLink charged that Howard Carmack and his associates used "hundreds" of bogus or stolen credit cards and fake identities to open 343 Internet e-mail accounts from which they sent an estimated one million pieces of spam a day.

The decision against a spammer is the latest won by EarthLink, which has filed more than 100 lawsuits to stop junk mail.

Kmart shares down as it tries to recover

TROY, Mich. - Kmart Holding Corp.'s shares fell 9.7 percent in their first day of trading after the discount retailer exited bankruptcy.

The company issued the new common stock Wednesday after coming out of Chapter 11 protection. Kmart's old shares were canceled and rendered worthless, surprising some former holders.

Kmart shed 559 stores and wiped out $7.8 billion in debt during the 16 months since the January 2002 bankruptcy filing. The company plans to be profitable next year on sales of $25 billion.

Goodyear leadership changes this summer

AKRON, Ohio - Goodyear chairman Samir G. Gibara told shareholders Wednesday he is resigning as of June 30. President and chief executive officer Robert Keegan, whom Gibara hired into Goodyear from Eastman Kodak Co. in 2000, will take over as chairman. The move was part of the transition plan of the world's largest tire company.

Gibara, 64, acknowledged at the annual shareholders meeting that Goodyear has fallen on hard times. Goodyear recently reported a record $1.1 billion annual loss.

Henson family buys back Jim's company

LOS ANGELES - The family of Muppet creator Jim Henson has succeeded in a surprise bid to repurchase the company they sold to a German media firm in 2000.

The Henson family will buy back The Jim Henson Co. for a fraction of what Munich-based EM.TV paid for it, according to Brian Henson, son of the company's late founder.

Munich-based EM.TV bought the company, and the rights to characters such as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, in February 2000 for $680 million in cash and stock.

It has since sold some Henson assets, including the Sesame Street rights, for about $200 million. On Wednesday, it said it was selling the rest of Henson for $78 million in cash.

Another ex-Enron executive charged

HOUSTON - A former Enron Corp. executive surrendered to the FBI Wednesday on charges of fraud, money laundering, insider trading and conspiracy. Rex T. Shelby, 51, was among five former Enron Broadband executives indicted last week for allegedly scheming to promote the network as having capabilities it didn't have and selling millions of dollars in stock.

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