Business & Finance
JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $2.2 billion to resolve a lawsuit brought by investors in Enron. The settlement, announced Tuesday, was the latest and largest so far involving financial backers of the failed Houston energy trader and came less than a week after Citigroup agreed to pay $2 billion in a similar lawsuit. JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup are among a number of banks and brokerages that allegedly helped Enron continue to operate as it descended into bankruptcy in 2001. The University of California has led about 50,000 Enron stock and bond holders in pressing their case. JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both denied breaking any laws.
Viacom, whose holdings include CBS, MTV, and the Paramount movie studio, announced plans Tuesday to split in two - a move it reportedly has been considering since March. One entity, which will retain the Viacom name, will include its cable networks and filmed entertainment businesses and will be cast as a "growth" company. The other, to be called CBS Corp., will group CBS, UPN, Infinity Radio, theme parks, and other holdings, providing investors with a more predictable cash flow, reports said.
The bidding war for Banca Antonveneta took a turn that analysts say may keep the financial giant in Italian hands after all. Banca Popolare di Lodi (BPL), Italy's oldest, upped its offer Wednesday to $9.6 billion in cash and stock, or $33.30 per share, less than a week after rival ABN Amro of the Netherlands increased its bid to $32.10 a share. An ABN Amro spokesman told the financial reporting service Bloomberg.com that his company has "no intention" of raising its offer again, and the Financial Times reported that its stock price had risen 3.5 percent on European exchanges Wednesday on expectations that it would give up and cede victory to BPL. The bidding war is seen as a test of the closely regulated Italian banking system. Italy's central bank must approve any takeover of Antonveneta, and it has thwarted all such attempts by non-Italian banks since the system was privatized in the mid-1990s. BPL and allied investors already own 40 percent of Antonveneta; ABN Amro's stake is estimated at about 25 percent.
Mylan Laboratories Inc., a major manufacturer of pre scription generic drugs, said it will buy back up to $1.25 billion worth of its own shares as it tries to rebound from a failed merger deal. Mylan is based in Canonsburg, Pa.