Business & Finance

In a move aimed at restoring lost confidence in the Russian market, Russia's government said Wednesday that it will sell its remaining 7.59 percent stake in troubled OAO Lukoil for at least $1.26 billion as early as next month, Bloomberg.com reported. The expected price is 28 percent below market value, a reflection of the rapid fall of the country's second-largest oil producer, which is struggling to pay a $3.4 billion tax bill. US oil firm Conoco-Phillips appears to be a likely buyer.

Anthem Inc. filed a lawsuit Tuesday against California's insurance commissioner, who has blocked Anthem's bid to buy WellPoint Health Networks Inc. for $16.4 billion and create the largest US health insurer. Anthem has called commisioner John Garamendi's decision an "illegal act that must be set aside." Garamendi called the merger deal "abusive and reprehensible" and said he welcomed the opportunity to bring the details before the public.

A Chinese state oil company has called off plans for a foreign consortium including Royal Dutch/Shell and ExxonMobil to invest in a $5.2 billion pipeline supplying natural gas to China's eastern cities, according to Shell. The project was stalled earlier this year over differences about the investment's rate of return and downstream market development. The project was the first major Chinese energy project opened to foreign investors.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. announced a second quarter loss of $19.3 million Tuesday, as skittish advertisers stayed away from its lifestyle magazine, Martha Stewart Living. Chief Executive Sharon Patrick told investors that only after Stewart wins her appeal or completes her jail term will advertisers return to the project.

Deutsche Bank AG's trio of real estate investment trusts, to be named DB RREEF Trust when fused by October, will spend $1 billion to buy 80 percent of a portfolio of US industrial properties, mostly warehouses, Bloomberg.com said Wednesday. The properties are controlled by the largest US pension fund, the California Public Employee Retirement System.

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