Business & Finance

Boeing Co. forced president and chief executive officer Harry Stonecipher to resign early Monday because of what it said was an improper relationship with a female subordinate that violated the company's code of conduct. Internal and external investigations exposed the scandal, one of several to rock the aerospace giant in recent years - among them an illegal hiring that led Stonecipher's predecessor, Phil Condit, to resign in 2003. Chief financial officer James Bell will take over for Stonecipher at Boeing's Chicago headquarters on an interim basis.

The value of shares in Sony Corp. rose 1.5 percent as trading closed in Tokyo Monday on news that for the first time a non-Japanese will become its chairman and chief executive. Howard Stringer, who holds dual British and US citizenship and who once headed CBS News, will take over the company following the resignation of Nobuyuki Idei. The management overhaul also will cost Sony president Kunitake Andro his job. Under Idei and Andro, Sony has lost market share in the portable music and flat-panel TV sectors to such rivals as Apple Computer, Sharp Corp., and Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co.

Capital One Financial Corp., a major provider of MasterCard and Visa credit cards, was poised to buy Hibernia Corp. for $5.3 billion in cash and stock. Capital One's headquarters are in McLean, Va. Hibernia, which is based in New Orleans, is embarked on a Texas expansion plan to build on its strong banking presence in Louisiana.

United Defense Industries (UDI), which builds the Army's Bradley fighting vehicle, agreed to be acquired by Britain's BAE Systems for $3.97 billion in cash and the assumption of $218 million in debt. The buyer already is the Pentagon's largest non-US contractor. UDI, based in Arlington, Va., also makes artillery systems, missile launchers, and warship-mounted guns.

Under pressure from investors in the US and Britain, the operator of Germany's Deutsche Bourse withdrew its $2.6 billion offer for the London Stock Exchange (LSE). But it said it reserved the option of resuming that pursuit if any other suitors bid for the LSE. Hedge funds and other major Deutsche Bourse investors had argued that the cash could be put to better use by returning it to stockholders.

To solidify its status as the dominant publisher of phone directories in Canada, Yellow Pages Group said it will buy rival Advertising Directory Solutions Inc. for $2.1 billion in cash. The latter issues 94 local directories in Alberta and British Columbia and has been a subsidiary of the Boston private equity group Bain Capital Partners.

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