Business & Finance

Bank One Corp., one of the first companies linked to improper mutual-fund trading, agreed to a $90 million settlement before its merger with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. takes effect Thursday. Under the terms of the settlement, announced by the Securities and Exchange Commission and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Bank One will pay $10 million in restitution, $40 million in civil penalties, and $40 million in reduced investor charges over a five-year period. Regulators found Bank One practiced market timing, a type of quick in-and-out trading that is not illegal but tends to skim profits from long-term investors.

The world's largest buyout firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. said it will acquire Auto-Telle-Unger (ATU), a car- repair chain in Germany, from its parent for $1.75 billion. The chain operates 468 outlets and grossed almost $1.4 billion last year. It is owned by another buyout specialist, Doughty, Hanson & Co. of London, which will receive 3.5 times more from the sale than it invested in ATU two years ago, reported.

Refusing to take "no" for an answer, silver producer Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. upped its hostile takeover bid for Canada's Wheaton River Minerals Ltd. by 9 percent and pitched it directly to the latter's shareholders, reported. It said the all-stock offer now is worth $1.78 billion. Wheaton's board twice has rejected the Idaho company, having agreed in March to merge with IAMGOLD Corp., another Canadian company, which would pay $1.67 billion in cash. IAMGOLD itself is a takeover target of Golden Star Resources Ltd. of Littleton, Colo. Wheaton is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. IAMGOLD's headquarters are in Toronto.

Rebounding Kmart Holding Co. said it will sell up to 54 of its stores to retail giant Sears Roebuck & Co., although it will continue to operate them until at least next March. The deal was valued at $621 million and comes less than a month after Kmart agreed to sell 24 stores to Home Depot for a reported $365 million, putting the combined value at just under $1 billion. Kmart emerged from 15 months of bankruptcy protection in May of last year.

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