Circuit City Ousts CEO; Huge MSFT Buyback; McAfee Buys Secure Computing; Buffett's Cash Wins Out; WaMu Downgrade; CarMax Crashes; Krawcheck Out at Citi; Legg Mason Not Going Private
- Circuit City Stores Inc. (CC) announced yesterday (Monday) that Chairman, Chief Executive and President Philip Schoonover would resign from all posts, effective immediately. Schoonover was the subject of increasing criticism as Circuit City posted slipping financial results over the past year. Vice Chairman James Marcum will serve as acting Chairman and CEO, Reuters reported.
- Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) yesterday (Monday) announced a $40 billion share repurchase program. The buyback plan – the largest ever on record – is slated to run through September 2013, MarketWatch reported. Microsoft gained 24 cents on the news to close at $25.40 on an otherwise down market day.
- McAfee Inc. (MFE) agreed to buy Secure Computing Corp. (SCUR) in a deal valued at $465 million. The second-largest maker of security software plans to expand its product line for protecting corporate networks and e-mail systems, Bloomberg News reported. The price of $5.75 per common share is a 27% premium over Secure Computing's closing price on Friday.
- Electricite de France SA (PINK: ECIFF) yesterday (Monday) announced that it had offered to purchase Constellation Energy Group Inc. (CEG) for $6.2 billion, a 32% premium over Warren Buffett's offer. The offer, made in conjunction with private equity firms KKR & Co. (KKR) and TPG Capital LP, was not accepted due to Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.'s promise of an immediate $1 billion cash infusion. "The offer accepted provided immediate liquidity and a strategic transaction that we think is executable," Constellation Chief Executive Officer Mayo Shattuck said on the call. "That, amongst other variables considered, represents a superior offer."
- Moody's Investors Service (MCO) yesterday (Monday) downgraded the financial strength rating of Washington Mutual Inc.'s (WM) , saying the bank's capital is insufficient to absorb its mortgage losses, The Associated Press reported. Moody's also cut its rating on WaMu's preferred stock further into junk status to "Ca" from "B2."
- CarMax Inc. (KMX) said yesterday (Monday) that second-quarter earnings fell 78%, as a weak economy, high gas prices, and losses the company's financing arm proved too much to overcome. Earnings for the quarter ended Aug. 31 fell to $14 million, or 6 cents per share, from $65 million, or 29 cents per share, last year. Total sales fell 13% to $1.84 billion from $2.12 billion a year ago.
- Sallie Krawcheck, head of Citigroup Inc's (C) wealth management unit, will step down from the company, The Wall Street Journal said yesterday (Monday). According to the report, Citigroup will move the wealth management unit under the umbrella of its institutional clients group.
- Legg Mason Inc. (LM) yesterday (Monday) denied a report by The New York Post that it plans to go private to escape tumultuous markets and a deepening credit crisis. "While we don't normally comment on market rumors, in this uncertain time we want to be clear that The New York Post story is not true and Legg Mason's strategy has not changed," Legg Mason spokeswoman Mary Athridge said in a statement.