Other items: KLM, Etihad place Boeing orders; Microsoft TV-unit exec has resigned; MetLife subsidiary warned of possible charges; and shareholders OK sale to Sony group.

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The U.S. District Court in Oregon granted class-action status yesterday to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Weyerhaeuser that alleges the company unlawfully monopolized the finished-alder lumber market in the United States, a decision Weyerhaeuser plans to appeal.

The class includes companies that bought that product from Weyerhaeuser from April 2000 to the present, said Weyerhaeuser spokesman Bruce Amundson.


Boeing


KLM, Etihad place Boeing orders

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ordered two Boeing 777-200ERs and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways confirmed an order for five 777-300ERs, Boeing and the airlines announced yesterday.

Boeing’s list price on the 777-200ERs is about $184 million each. The 777-300ERs are listed at about $218 million each. Airlines typically negotiate discounts from those prices, however.

KLM’s planes will be delivered during the first quarter of 2006. The carrier already has 10 777-200ERs.

Etihad is to receive its planes in late 2005. They’re Etihad’s first orders from Boeing.


Microsoft


TV-unit exec has resigned

Lynne Elander, general manager of marketing for Microsoft TV, has resigned from the company for personal reasons. She joined Microsoft in August 2003, and was previously vice president of video product development at Cox Communications. At Microsoft’s television division, she led product planning and management as well as marketing programs. Her last day was yesterday.


Nation / World



MetLife


Subsidiary warned of possible charges

NEW YORK — MetLife, one of the nation’s largest insurers, said yesterday that one of its subsidiaries has received a notice that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering civil charges against the unit.

The so-called Wells notice was received by New England Life Insurance in connection with a previously disclosed SEC investigation, according to the New York-based company.

The investigation has focused on a $31 million after-tax charge taken in the second quarter of 2003 “resulting from certain improperly deferred expenses at NELICO,” MetLife said.

Yesterday, MetLife’s shares fell $1.19, or 2.9 percent, to close at $39.61.


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


Shareholders OK sale to Sony group

LOS ANGELES — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer shareholders voted overwhelmingly yesterday to approve the film studio’s sale to a Sony-led consortium that includes cable-television giant Comcast.

At a brief meeting in Century City, 99.8 percent of shares were voted in favor of the sale, company officials.

The sale, valued at nearly $5 billion, is expected to close some time in the first half of 2005, contingent on approval by regulatory agencies.

Achieving a shareholder majority in favor of the sale was not a question coming into the vote, however.

Compile from Seattle Times business staff and The Associated Press.