In other items: Lenovo completes deal for PC division; station to have daily "podcast"; 3 equity firms bid for Neiman Marcus; and insurance abuse all but halted, Buffett says.
Morgan Stanley’s board yesterday gave a vote of confidence to Chief Executive Philip Purcell, saying any “suggestions for management changes or a corporate reorganization beyond the proposed spinoff of its Discover Card business would not be in the best interest of shareholders.”
However, the board approved eliminating a rule that required a supermajority vote to remove the CEO and set a meeting for Saturday to review concerns about Purcell.
Pressure on Purcell has steadily built as a group of shareholders and former executives seek his ouster due to the performance of the financial-services company and its lagging stock price.
Lenovo completes deal for PC divisionLenovo said yesterday it finished its $1.75 billion purchase of IBM’s personal-computer division, creating the world’s third-largest PC maker.
The deal, one of the biggest foreign acquisitions by a Chinese company, is expected to quadruple sales of Asia’s biggest computer maker.
Lenovo also confirmed it was raising extra cash for the massive deal. It said three private-equity investment firms — Texas Pacific Group, General Atlantic Group and Newbridge Capital Group — have agreed to take a $350 million stake.
IBM now focuses on consulting and software, outsourcing much of its manufacturing.
Sirius Satellite Radio
Station to have daily “podcast”Sirius Satellite Radio joins the “podcasting” phenomenon, launching a show this month with a daily selection of the popular do-it-yourself audio programs.
The show, to begin May 13, will be hosted by Adam Curry, the former MTV personality who helped create the technological tools that allow podcasting to work. It will be broadcast on Sirius channel 148, a talk-radio station that does carry commercials, unlike Sirius’ all-music channels.
Podcasts are essentially audio files made by amateurs and uploaded to the Internet where they can be shared with other listeners, either at their computers or on portable digital-listening devices such the iPod.
3 equity firms bid for retailerLuxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group is mulling takeover bids from three groups of investors, according to sources briefed on these offers.
By Friday’s deadline, bids were in from private equity firms Texas Pacific Group and Warburg Pincus; Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners; and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Bain Capital.
Neither Neiman Marcus nor the three firms would comment on a deal as well as the estimated $5 billion price tag.
Insurance abuse all but halted, Buffett saysWarren Buffett and Charlie Munger, the top executives at Berkshire Hathaway, said yesterday recent investigations of the insurance industry have all but halted abuse.
“I really think it’s gone,” Buffett said at a news conference, one day after Berkshire held its annual shareholders meeting.
Several senior insurance executives have lost their jobs in recent months amid regulatory probes into a variety of insurance practices.
Among them were Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, who ran American International Group, and his son Jeffrey, who ran Marsh & McLennan Cos. AIG is the largest insurer by market value, and Marsh is the largest insurance broker.
Regulators interviewed Buffett about a transaction involving Berkshire’s General Re unit that helped make AIG’s results look better. Berkshire has said Buffett was not briefed on the transaction’s structure or any improper purpose.
Yesterday, AIG said transactions inflated its net worth about $2.7 billion, $1 billion more than an earlier estimate.
Compiled from USA Today, The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg News