Chunk of former AIG assets sold to Goldman Sachs
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it had sold $6.2 billion of assets once held by bailed-out American International Group Inc. to New York investment bank Goldman Sachs.
The portfolio of “toxic” mortgage-backed securities was bought from AIG in 2008 via a special-purpose vehicle, Maiden Lane II, as part of the Fed’s effort to contain the financial and housing meltdown.
In a statement, the New York branch of the Federal Reserve said the winning bid “represented good value for the public.”
The sale means that all of the Fed’s $19.5 billion loan to Maiden Lane II for buying the assets has been repaid.
The Fed created two similar companies to harbor assets from Bear Stearns and AIG’s credit default swap business.
Ernst & Young to pay $2M in audit settlement
The watchdog agency for the accounting industry says it has fined Ernst & Young $2 million for alleged lapses in three audits of a pharmaceutical company.
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said Wednesday that the civil fine against the accounting firm was the largest it has levied since it began operating in 2003. At issue are audits of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
In the settlement, the independent group also censured Ernst & Young, and it sanctioned four current and former firm partners.
In the audits, Ernst & Young failed to properly evaluate a significant element, the amount Medicis set aside to account for the cost of product returns.
Ernst & Young and the partners did not admit or deny wrongdoing.
Amazon in talks for N.J. warehouses
TRENTON, N.J. | Amazon.com, the world’s biggest online retailer, is in talks to bring two warehouses to New Jersey in a deal that could generate 1,500 or more full-time jobs in a state where unemployment has hovered around 9 percent.
State Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald, a Democrat who has been involved in the talks, told the Associated Press that Amazon is seeking a 22-month sales-tax holiday. The Seattle-based online retailer is not required to collect the 7 percent state sales tax for purchases like bricks-and-mortar retailers do. That has led to what Mr. Greenwald and others say is an unfair advantage for Internet-based sellers, because they can sell their products more cheaply than local merchants.
The retailer has agreed to build job-creating distribution centers in Indiana, California, Tennessee and South Carolina in exchange for sales-tax exemptions through 2014 or later.
New Jersey stands to collect $200 million or more a year in sales taxes if Amazon locates there, after its exemption ends.
The jobs that the deal would create would pay an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 with health care benefits.
Toyota to expand Indiana plant, add 400 jobs
CHICAGO | Toyota says it will expand its factory in Princeton, Ind., and add 400 jobs so it can build more Highlander sport utility vehicles.
The hiring and expansion are planned for next year.
Toyota said it will invest $400 million in the factory to build 50,000 more Highlanders per year. The plant built more than 101,000 Highlanders last year. The company said it plans to stop making Highlanders in Japan and move that production to Indiana.
After the changes, Toyota will be able to build about 255,000 Highlanders a year in Princeton and in China.
The Princeton plant in southern Indiana now employs nearly 4,000 people who make Sienna minivans and the Highlander and Sequoia SUVs.
Toyota sold more than 101,000 Highlanders in the U.S. last year, up nearly 10 percent from 2010.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports