Business briefs

Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 12:40 a.m.

8 women, 4 men make up Stewart jury

  • NEW YORK - Women outnumber men eight to four on the jury that will decide Martha Stewart's fate - a panel that includes a man who lost money because of the Enron debacle and a woman who says the government should move faster to prosecute corporate scandals.

    The jury, selected from a pool of hundreds, was seated Monday to decide whether Stewart lied to investigators about a well-timed stock sale in 2001. Opening statements are set for this morning.

    Hostile takeover bid launched for drugmaker

  • PARIS - Drugmaker Sanofi-Synthelabo SA ended weeks of speculation about a friendly merger with Aventis SA on Monday by launching a hostile $60.2 billion takeover bid for its larger rival.

    Outlining the offer that would create a new No. 3 drugmaker with annual revenues of 25 billion euros ($31.5 billion), Sanofi - the maker of the sleeping pill Ambien - talked down Aventis' track record in growth and profitability. Aventis - the maker of allergy medicine Allegra - hit back in a statement highlighting legal challenges to key Sanofi patents and warning shareholders not to be taken for a ride.

    Report: MCI can sue ex-execs at WorldCom

  • NEW YORK - MCI has sufficient legal grounds to sue former top WorldCom executives Bernard Ebbers and Scott Sullivan, as well as Salomon Smith Barney, Arthur Anderson and KPMG for their alleged roles in a vast fraud against the company, according to a new report by a bankruptcy court examiner. The report, filed Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court, said the former executives and outside firms "bear responsibility for WorldCom's injuries," and could be targeted for financial damages in a civil case.

    Audit: Parmalat debt more than reported

  • ROME - Confirming fears of investigators, a new audit of Parmalat found that the dairy conglomerate's debt was about $15.6 billion higher - more than seven times more - than the dairy conglomerate reported in the fall, months before the huge fraud scandal erupted. The audit, ordered by Parmalat's court-appointed administrator and released Monday, found that according to company accounts, net debt stood at 14.3 billion euros ($17.9 billion) for the nine-month period ending Sept. 30 and not at the 1.8 billion euros that Parmalat had reported.

    Hollinger takes legal steps to stop sale

  • NEW YORK - Hollinger International Inc. fired back at its controlling shareholder Conrad Black on Monday, taking legal steps to block his deal to sell the company to the Barclay brothers of Britain.

    Hollinger International also adopted a "poison pill" measure, a defensive tactic used in corporate takeover battles that would allow minority shareholders to take a greater stake in the company in an attempt to stop a sale.

    - Compiled from The Associated Press

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