Business & Finance

Business software powerhouse Oracle Corp. appointed its chief financial officer, Jeff Henley, as chairman, giving him half of cofounder Larry Ellison's current title. Ellison remains chief executive of the Redwood Shores, Calif., company.

In other key corporate shakeups:

• Big Four accounting firm KPMG LLP removed or reassigned three high-level executives, among them deputy chairman Jeffrey Stein. Stein will retire at the end of the month in the wake of government scrutiny into the company's promotion of allegedly questionable tax shelters, The Wall Street Journal reported.

• Iain Lumsden quit as chief of Standard Life Assurance Co., one of Europe's largest mutual-life groups, the Financial Times reported. Sandy Crombie will succeed him as the company, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, reviews policies to comply with stricter solvency rules being introduced by British regulators.

Riding the crest of a sales boom, the largest retailer in Britain said it will seek to raise $1.6 billion via a sale of shares in its chain stores and new convenience outlets. Tesco PLC also announced plans to raise a similar sum later in the year, through such means as the sale and lease-back of some facilities. It wants to use that cash to finance the purchase of supermarkets from a rival chain.

Healthcare products giant Abbott Laboratories is buying TheraSense Inc. for $1.2 billion, the financial news service reported. Abbott is based in a Chicago suburb. TheraSense of Alameda, Calif., makes diabetes monitoring devices.

The nation's No. 2 contract maker of cookies, crackers, and cones for ice cream, Bake-Line Group, filed for bankruptcy and closed its plants, eliminating about 1,300 jobs. A spokesman said the company, based in Oak Brook Terrace, Ill., couldn't arrange the financing needed to remain in business and would sell off assets to pay its debts.

SureBeam Corp., a leading maker of food-irradiation systems, will file for bankruptcy and cease operations as of Friday, it said. Its equipment is used to reduce spoilage in meats and produce by destroying E.coli, salmonella, and other bacteria as well as fruit flies and other pests. The San Diego company had such clients as Cargill Inc. and Tyson Foods but was delisted by the Nasdaq Stock Market in October for failing to file a quarterly report.

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