Business & Finance

General Motors Corp. will be counting stock-option costs as expenses in earnings reports as of January 2003, the world's leading automaker announced. The change is expected to cost $85 million that year, the company said, rising to about $130 million in 2005. Detroit-based GM is the latest of several major firms to adopt the policy, which proponents say gives a more accurate picture of company finances. At a meeting Wednesday, the Financial Accounting Standards Board was to consider standardizing rules on the practice.

Tyco International may have paid upwards of $135 million to cover the personal expenses of its former chief executive, Dennis Kozlowski, The Wall Street Journal reported. The funds included no-interest loans that later were forgiven, charitable donations made in Kozlowski's name, and luxury furnishings for his homes. Kozlowski resigned as head of the diverse conglomerate in June shortly before being indicted in New York for tax evasion.

AOL Time Warner tapped an outsider to revive America Online, naming former USA Interactive executive Jonathan Miller as head of the struggling division. Analysts welcomed the news, saying the selection should position AOL better to capitalize on e-commerce ventures, rather than just advertising or subscription revenues. Miller, who takes the reins as the media titan faces investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department, said he plans to focus on service and products and development of a pro-growth business model.

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. reported that its net profits for the quarter ending in June more than doubled to $2.9 billion from a year ago. It attributed the rise to the soft yen and strong auto sales that defied fears about the slowing pace of US economic recovery. Toyota's overall sales totaled $33 billion for April-June, up 20 percent from a year ago. It sold 1.5 million vehicles worldwide during the three months.

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