Goldman Sachs and two American partners will buy the last six cable-TV networks owned by Europe's largest phone company, Deutsche Telekom, for $1.87 billion. The seller is expected to use the proceeds to pay down some of its massive $69.5 billion debt. But the purchase price is well below the $5.9 billion bid by US cable operator Liberty Media, which was rejected by antitrust regulators early last year. Joining Goldman Sachs in the consortium are Apax Partners Inc. of New York, and Providence Equity Partners of Providence, R.I.
Prospects for completing the proposed $10 billion take-over by German utility giant E.ON of rival Ruhrgas by Tuesday night's deadline were uncertain as the Monitor went to press. Reports said E.ON had appeased seven of nine competitors who won a court injunction suspending the deal and was racing to try to convince the others to drop their opposition - an effort that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The deal is due for a court hearing today, amid expectations that it will be blocked.
Citing a need to restore public confidence in Puerto Rico's largest financial institution, the territorial Senate in San Juan voted to open hearings into Banco Popular's $21.6 million settlement of a drug money-laundering case - one of the largest civil penalties of its type to date. In admitting they violated federal rules by failing to report suspicious transactions over a five-year span, Banco Popular officials avoided criminal prosecution. They have one year to pay the fine.
Sony Corp. announced that the chairman of its board will step down as part of a reorganization aimed at more effective corporate governance. Norio Ohga, who has a history of health problems, held the presidency of the company from 1982 to 1995. He will become honorary chairman.
A new line of flavored milk is to be offered by beverage giant Cadbury Schweppes, starting in March. The Raging Cow brand will come in chocolate caramel and six other flavors. It's the latest effort by beverage industry heavyweights to enter the dairy business. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo already sell coffee-milk drinks. Cadbury Schweppes owns Dr Pepper, 7-Up, and the Snapple Beverage Group.