Polaroid Holding Company, the company that introduced the first instant camera in 1948 but has fallen on hard times during the digital photography revolution, was sold Friday for $426 million to the Petters Group Worldwide, which is owned by Minnesota entrepreneur Tom Petters. For the past two years, the Petters Group has been a Polaroid licensee, putting its brand on DVD players and televisions, and now will extend the Polaroid brand to products "for the digital age," such as plasma TVs.
Arthur Andersen, the former Big Five accounting firm severely set back by its involvement in the Enron Corp. scandal, learned Friday that the Supreme Court is considering overturning its conviction for destroying Enron documents before the energy giant's collapse. The question the justices may take up is whether an appeals court that upheld Andersen's conviction instructed jurors clearly enough. In another Enron-related development, some of company's former directors agreed to a $168 million settlement of a shareholder lawsuit over the company's collapse. The settlement calls for the directors to pay $13 million out of their own pockets, with the remainder coming from insurance, according to the University of California, the lead plaintiff.
A bankruptcy judge threw out the latest contract between United Airlines and its pilots, sending the carrier back to the negotiating table late last week. The judge took issue with the contract, which would have saved $180 million annually by eliminating pilots' defined-benefit pensions, because of a stipulation that other unions' pension plans also be terminated for the pilots' agreement to take effect. The move came just ahead of a self-imposed labor deadline by the airline in its efforts to slash labor costs for the second time in its two-year bankruptcy.
More US autoworker jobs will be lost to China, India, and Eastern Europe in the next 10 years, as the automotive industry moves its parts-making operations from industrialized countries, according to a study released Friday by the International Labor Organization. Factories in Japan, the US, and Western Europe are becoming assemblers of finished cars from parts made in other countries, where labor costs are much lower, the study said. The North American automotive manufacturing labor market shrank by 140,000 jobs, or 2.6 percent, between 2000 and 2003.