- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 22, 2007

Regional

Esmark Inc., whose attempt to buy ArcelorMittal’s Sparrows Point steel plant for $1.35 billion was terminated this week, said it found new investors for a second bid and still expects to buy the Baltimore mill.

D.C. private-equity firm Carlyle Group completed its $6.3 billion acquisition of Manor Care Inc., the 18th buyout of a U.S. nursing home operator in four years.

National

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the world’s biggest securities firm, awarded Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein a record $67.9 million bonus in 2007 as mortgage losses drove his counterparts at Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns Cos. to forgo year-end payouts.

Janus Capital Group Inc. bought $109 million of securities issued by structured investment vehicles from three of its money-market mutual funds to protect them from potential losses after the debt was downgraded, the Denver money manager said in a government filing.

A Florida investment pool, which suffered a run after local government investors learned it held debt tied to subprime mortgages, will hire outside lawyers to review its activities, heeding a recommendation by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, is designing a plan to avert foreclosures that teams up with ACORN, the community group that organized protests against the industry’s lending practices.

FedEx Corp., the second-largest U.S. package-shipping company, said it might have to pay $319 million in back taxes and penalties for misclassifying ground-delivery workers as contractors in 2002. The IRS also is auditing the company’s trucking unit for tax years 2004 to 2006.

Medtronic Inc., the world’s largest maker of electronic heart devices, agreed to pay $114.1 million to settle lawsuits over claims it hid battery defects in its Marquis line of defibrillators.

United Rentals Inc., the largest U.S. construction-equipment rental company, lost a bid to force a $4 billion takeover by Cerberus Capital Management LP when a judge ruled the agreement allowed the buyer to pull its offer. United Rentals shares fell 17 percent after reaching a one-year low of $17.32.

Visa Inc., the biggest credit-card company, reported an $861 million loss this year on $2.65 billion in litigation costs, mostly from settling an antitrust suit brought by rival American Express Co.

Alcoa Inc. agreed to sell businesses that include its Reynolds Wrap foil to New Zealand’s Rank Group Ltd. for $2.7 billion to focus on more profitable metal production.

Pharmacyclics Inc. shares fell 29 percent after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the company’s Xcytrin drug designed to stop cancer from spreading from the lungs to the brain.

Chrysler LLC Chief Executive Officer Robert Nardelli said the automaker has “ample liquidity” and is in “many cases” exceeding its financial targets. Chrysler said it was responding to “inaccurate media reports” about its financial health.

The Air Transport Association, a Washington trade group for major carriers, appealed a federal judge’s ruling that allows a New York “passenger bill of rights” to take effect Jan. 1, saying the state lacks authority to regulate the industry.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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