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Weyerhaeuser folds its packaging unit to International Paper; Gov’t Scolds ValueClick for Deceiving Web Surfers; MF Global Shares Halved; Warning Sends Siemens Lower; CME Buys NYMEX; UBS Slashes Staff; Alexza Can’t Find the Cure for Quarterly Losses; Excel Maritime Sinks Despite Earnings Growth
- Washington-based timber company Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY) has sold its packaging business to International Paper Co. (IP) – a $6 billion deal that will make International Paper the largest corrugated box maker in North America, Reuters reported. Rising material costs and decreasing demand for paper have caused the paper and packaging industry to consolidate in recent years.
- The Federal Trade Commission said that online adviser ValueClick, Inc. (VCLK) has agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle charges that its subsidiaries deceived web surfers with promises of free TVs and other expensive items in banner, pop-up and e-mail advertisements. In addition to the penalty, ValuClick Inc. must stop promising free gifts if consumers must spend money to get them and establish a program to secure its customers’ financial information, Reuters reported.
- Shares of MF Global Ltd. (MF) lost over half their value yesterday (Monday) on concerns that clients were pulling out cash from the largest broker of options and exchange-traded funds. The firm claims its liquidity position is “sufficient,” however the shares continue to sink. “There are concerns that their commodities prime brokerage group customers are pulling money out,” Michael Nasto, senior trader at U.S. Global Investors Inc., which manages $5 billion in San Antonio, told Bloomberg News. “The customers have concerns about the financial stability of the firm.”
- German-based engineering firm Siemens AG (SI) issued a profit warning yesterday (Monday), saying it expects a loss of $1.2 billion (900 euros) in the current quarter. Chief Executive Peter Loescher was selected last May to revive and restructure the firm, however, his plans have yet to bear fruit as Siemens' market value is down 37 billion euros since his appointment. Siemens closed down 17.1% at 66.42 euros, with the biggest loss in the German blue-chip index, which fell 4.2%, Reuters reported.
- CME Group Inc. (CME) signed a deal to purchase NYMEX Holdings, Inc. (NMX) yesterday (Monday) in a deal valued at $9.4 billion with $3.4 billion in cash and $6 billion in stock. NYMEX shareholders will receive 0.1323 shares of CME Group Class A common stock and $36 in cash for each NYMEX share, MarketWatch reported. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
- Swiss bank UBS AG (UBS) announced yesterday (Monday) it planned to eliminate 8,000 jobs. The cuts represent 5%-10% of total jobs and will be made across all divisions. “Coming at the same time as the collapse of Bear Stearns and concerns about the financial system in general, and banks with suspect balance sheets in particular, we expect continued pressure on the UBS share price,” Peter Thorne, a London-based analyst at Helvea, said in a note, Bloomberg News reported.
- Alexza Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXA) reported a fourth quarter net loss of $13.2 million, or 42 cents a share yesterday (Monday). The net loss in the prior-year quarter was $11.6 million, or 49 cents a share. The company did not report revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 or the year-earlier period. Shares of the company dove more than 7% on the news to close at $6.85.
- Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. (EXM) reported fourth quarter net income of $34.1 million, or $1.71 a share, compared with $9.3 million, or 47 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue for the period ended Dec. 31 rose to $60.9 million from last year's $35.2 million. Despite the impressive outlook, the Athens, Greece-based owner of dry bulk carriers closed down 9.5% at 24.76.