Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is merely a witness who could "shed light" on transactions involving the former chief executive of insurer...

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Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is merely a witness who could “shed light” on transactions involving the former chief executive of insurer American International Group (AIG), at the center of federal and state inquiries, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said yesterday.

Buffett, who heads Berkshire Hathaway, was to meet today with regulators as part of an investigation by Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission into allegations of accounting improprieties at AIG involving General Re, a unit of Buffett’s company.

The company’s former CEO, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, is scheduled to speak with regulators tomorrow.

XM Satellite Radio

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Deal to expand AOL radio service

XM Satellite Radio Holdings and America Online plan to add some of the satellite service’s programming to AOL’s radio offerings in a bid to bring paid radio to a wider audience, while boosting traffic at AOL’s signature site.

Under the partnership being announced today, XM and AOL will share content for their respective platforms.

Beginning this summer, Web surfers will be able to access 20 XM channels on AOL’s radio section, along with its current roster of about 130 stations, for free.

A new version of AOL’s “premium” radio service will have 70 XM channels and be available for a monthly fee not yet set, XM spokesman David Butler said.


Verizon buys stake of biggest investor

Verizon Communications said Saturday it had agreed to pay $1.1 billion in cash to buy shares of MCI’s largest shareholder to try to lock up its deal for MCI and shut out rival Qwest Communications International in its bid.

Verizon agreed to buy about 43.5 million shares — 13 percent of MCI’s stock — from Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim Helu.

At $25.72 a share, MCI’s market price at the time of the agreement, the price is higher than the $23.10 per share Verizon has offered to pay other MCI shareholders to acquire the company.

The MCI board has sided with Verizon’s takeover offer, citing that company’s greater resources and financial strength, even though Qwest’s offer is substantially higher.

Analysts described Verizon’s move as significant, but some said Qwest could still muster support for its offer.


Online junk part of life, study finds

We’re not any less annoyed by spam. We’re just more accepting of it, says a study released yesterday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Fifty-three percent of U.S. adult e-mail users say they trust e-mail less because of spam, a drop from 62 percent a year ago and about the same as a June 2003 Pew survey.

Pew also found 22 percent of e-mail users say they are spending less time on e-mail because of spam, down from 29 percent last year. In 2003, it was 25 percent.

Pornographic spam is on the decline, replaced by fraudulent “phishing” scams aimed at stealing bank passwords and other sensitive information, the study showed.

Walt Disney Co.

Broadband service due for preschoolers

The Walt Disney Co. is expanding its broadband offerings for kids, adding activities for preschoolers and planning a second multiplayer online game aimed at teens.

Disney’s Internet Group will launch a paid preschool broadband service this summer, featuring guided activities and games.

The service will include puzzles, games and learning activities designed to prepare children for kindergarten, the company said. It will cost $49.95 per year.

Compiled from The Associated Press and The Washington Post