Business & Finance
Signaling a possible bidding war for AT&T Wireless, Cingular and NTT DoCoMo of Japan submitted initial offers for the company, while Nextel Communications and Britain's giant Vodafone Group have expressed interest in it, The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper said Cingular valued the AT&T unit at about $30 billion. In a separate report, the Associated Press put Cingular's offer at "more than $27 billion." The Journal said a deal for AT&T Wireless did not appear imminent.
Citigroup, the financial-services giant, posted a record net income of $17.8 billion last year - a 17 percent rise, the Financial Times reported. In addition, Citigroup's fourth- quarter earnings almost doubled to $4.8 billion, despite a $242 million charge related to the massive fraud at Italian dairy giant Parmalat. Separately, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank One, which recently announced merger plans, each reported strong fourth-quarter profits. Bank One also agreed to pay $1.8 billion for the credit-card business of Circuit City, the nation's second-largest consumer electronics retailer.
Despite making more than 60,000 job cuts over the past three years, Motorola Inc. still has "a lot of low-hanging fruit that we can go after," new chief executive Ed Zander told business analysts in a conference call Tuesday. He said the cellphone manufacturer needs "a cost structure that's competitive in the markets we serve" and hinted that it may cut loose another division. Motorola already is scheduled to spin off its semiconductor unit, which employs 23,000 people, later this year. The company posted a $489 million profit for the fourth quarter, but remains well behind industry leader Nokia, reports said.
Troubled HealthSouth Corp. upped the amount of its accounting fraud to as much as $4.6 billion, based on a report by the consultant hired to address its problems. However, the report by turnaround specialist Alvarez & Marsal Inc. of New York found the company remains financially viable, the Financial Times said. HealthSouth previously had put the imbalance on its books at $2.7 billion. Its founder and former chief executive, Richard Scrushy, is under indictment for 85 counts of fraud. The nation's largest operator of rehabilitation clinics is based in Birmingham, Ala.