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Citi Settles Suit Over Enron; Vale Fails to Acquire Xstrata; Morgan Stanley Struggles to Move CICC Stake; Motorola to Split Amid Falling Sales; Huaneng Power Pumps $8.9 Bln into Expansion; Senate Probes Bear Stearns Deal; Starbucks Sued Again; Important Rambus Ruling
- Citigroup Inc. (C) said yesterday (Wednesday) that it has agreed to pay $1.66 billion in claims to settle a dispute with creditors of the former energy powerhouse Enron. The settlement would resolve bankruptcy and fraud claims brought against Citi as a result of the 2001 collapse of Enron. "Today's settlement marks an enormous accomplishment for the Enron Estate," said John Ray III, president and chairman of the board of Enron Creditors Recovery Corp. "I am very proud of the value we have been able to recover on behalf of creditors."
- Vale (RIO), the world's largest miner of iron ore, said that talks to buy its Swiss rival Xstrata Plc (XTA) have failed and Vale will look at other potential takeover targets. If Vale had succeeded, the deal would have been one of the largest corporate takeovers in history, the IHT.com reported. Analysts had valued Xstrata at as much as $90 billion. "While Vale and Xstrata continue to believe that a combination of the two companies could realize significant value for both sets of shareholders, we have not been able to reach an agreement," Mick Davis, Xstrata's chief executive, said. He did not give a reason for the breakdown in talks, but the price is said to have been the main factor.
- Morgan Stanley (MS) halted the pending sale of its 34.3% stake in mainland brokerage China International Capital Corp. (CICC), yesterday (Wednesday), after offers came in low. Private equity firms TPG, JC Flowers and Bain Capital LLC had offered to pay $500 million for the stake. Morgan Stanley had hoped to get offers around $1 billion, the South China Morning Post reported.
- Amid slumping sales and investor pressure, Motorola, Inc. (MOT) said on Wednesday that it would split into two publicly traded entities in 2009. Analysts say the split will put the company in a better position to sell assets or negotiate a joint venture. Once the company that invented the cellular phone, Motorola has been losing its market to rivals such as Nokia Corp. (NOK) and Samsung Electronics.
- Huaneng Power International, Inc. (HNP) said yesterday (Wednesday) that it plans to spend $8.92 billion on expanding capacity by 2010 to meet the country’s growing demand for energy, Bloomberg reported. One analyst thinks Huaneng shareholders may suffer in the short term. "Huaneng Power’s profit may fall this year because of rising fuel costs, and the government is unlikely to increase the electricity tariffs. The year 2008 would be a tough year," said Martin Wang, a power analyst with Hong Kong-based Guotai Junan Securities HK Ltd.
- The Senate Finance and Banking committees said they are reviewing the taxpayer-backed sale of Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. (BSC) to JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bloomberg News reported yesterday (Wednesday). "Americans are being asked to back a brand new kind of transaction, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars," Baucus said in a statement. "With jurisdiction over federal debt, it's the Finance Committee's responsibility to pin down just how the government decided to front $30 billion in taxpayer dollars" for the deal, Baucus said.
- Just days after a California judged ruled that Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) must pay $100 million in tips and interest to baristas who were forced to share tips with supervisors, a similar suit has been filed in Massachusetts. State law prohibits supervisors from sharing tips with waiters, bartenders and servers who work for less than minimum wage, The Associated Press reported. Starbucks plans to appeal the California ruling.
- Technology chip manufacturer Rambus Inc. (RMBS) received an important court ruling yesterday (Wednesday). The verdict was that there was no anti-competitive behavior by Rambus in its activities with a memory chip industry standards body, Rambus General Counsel Tom Lavelle, told Reuters via telephone. Rambus shares climbed $7.25, almost 40%, to close at $25.86 the day of the announcement.