MAN AG Buying VW Brazil Unit; Siemens Settles Probe for $2 Billion; Mattel Pays $12 Million for Tainted Toys; Ireland Banks Getting a Bailout; Housing Market Facing Confidence Collapse; Boeing Raises Dividend; U.S. Homes Lose $2 Trillion in Value
- German manufacturing and engineering titan MAN AG said it will acquire Volkswagen Truck and Bus from Volkswagen AG (OTC: VLKAY). The 250-year-old MAN AG is Europe’s third-largest truckmaker, and this purchase marks its first major South American investment, Bloomberg reported.
- Siemens AG (ADR:SI) will pay more than $1.3 billion to settle corporate corruption charges that it paid bribes to win major contracts in the United States and Germany. The scandal resulted in the resignations of former CEO Klaus Kleinfeld and ex-CEO and former supervisory board Chairman Heinrich von Pierer, Reuters reported.
- Mattel Inc. (MAT) will pay to settle a probe that its Chinese-made dolls and accessories shipped to the United States were made with lead paint. The toys never made it to the shelves, but the world’s largest toymaker will pay $12 million to the 39 states in the suit, Bloomberg reported.
- Irish banks will be on the receiving end of a $13.5 billion (10 billion euro) investment from the Ireland government, MarketWatch reported. The recapitalization plan may take the form of preference or ordinary shares, the government said in a statement. And the list of banks that will receive the cash has not been determined.
- The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index remained at nine in December for the second month in a row, indicative of the pessimistic outlook permeating the market. Index readings higher than 50 indicate positive sentiment about the market. It has slumped below 50 since May 2006 and has been below 20 since April.
- The Boeing Co. (BA) yesterday (Monday) increased its quarterly dividend by 5%, or 2 cents, to 42 cents. The aerospace and defense dividend is payable March 6, 2009 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 6, 2009.
- Homes in the United States will lose more $2 trillion dollars in value by the end of the year, and nearly 11.7 million American households currently owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth, Reuters reported yesterday (Monday). "In general, homeowners in most areas we cover are struggling with foreclosures pouring into the market, large amounts of negative equity and dropping home values,” Dr. Stan Humphries, vice president of data and analytics for Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, said in a statement.