Business & Finance

The record $11.9 billion verdict won by the state of Alabama last year in a royalty dispute with Exxon Mobil Corp. will be reduced by $3.6 billion to bring it into line with US Supreme Court guidelines, the county judge in the case ruled Monday. But she said she agreed with the jury that Exxon Mobil had "intentionally and deliberately" withheld money it knew was due from natural gas wells drilled in state-owned waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The company said it still considers the fine "unjustified and excessive" and will appeal to Alabama's Supreme Court.

Responding to investor pressure, PepsiCo Inc. will boost its annual dividend by 44 percent (from 64 to 92 cents a share), The Wall Street Journal reported. The food and beverage giant also authorized the buy-back of up to $7 billion of its own stock over the next three years.

Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company, said it will acquire the remaining shares it doesn't already own in Tularik Inc., a drug manufacturer, for $1.3 billion. Amgen is based in Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Tularik in South San Francisco.

Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs paid $1.2 billion for a 9.4 percent stake in Telenor ASA, Norway's state-owned phone company, Bloomberg.com reported. The stock will be resold to institutional investors. The Oslo government has been privatizing Telenor in stages over the past three years.

In a stock swap valued at about $1 billion, Lyondell Chemical Co. of Houston will acquire Millennium Chemicals Inc. of Hunt Valley, Md. Lyondell also will assume $1.3 billion of Millennium's debt.

Automotive supplier Johnson Controls said it will cut 885 jobs at plants in Holland, Mich., and Glasgow, Ky., as it transfers the production of sun visors to Mexico.

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