Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Tristate summary

FTC clears P&G to acquire Wella

Staff and wire reports

Procter & Gamble Co. has received antitrust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission for its acquisition of German hair-products company Wella AG.

The commission said Monday that it granted the companies early termination of the waiting period required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Procter & Gamble agreed to acquire 78 percent of Wella's voting shares March 17 for about $7 billion.

Regulatory approvals for the takeover are also needed from other countries in which Wella operates and the European Union. The approvals are expected to take months.

AFG increases share payments

American Financial Group Inc. said it has signed an agreement to increase the payment to preferred shareholders of its American Financial Corp. subsidiary to $25 a share from $22 a share.

The offer is part of a plan, announced in April, to simplify the corporate structure of AFG and in effect merge the two corporations. AFG holds all the common stock and 79 percent of the total voting securities of AFC.

Wendy's lowers earnings forecast

Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy's International Inc., the No. 3 U.S. hamburger chain, said profit last quarter probably fell to 53 cents a share because of higher state tax rates, and the company cut its annual earnings forecast for the second time this year.

Sales at Wendy's restaurants open at least a year dropped 2 percent in June from a year earlier, the seventh straight decline. A $3.2 million, or 3-cent-a-share, additional tax expense trimmed second-quarter profit from 54 cents a year earlier, Wendy's said in a statement.

Wendy's lowered its earnings forecast in February amid slowing sales and higher costs. Recent changes in state tax laws, especially in Ohio, raised the estimated tax rate to 39.25 percent in the second quarter from 36 percent in the first, the company said.

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