- - Thursday, March 1, 2012

NORTH CAROLINA

Billy Graham association laying off 10 percent of staff

CHARLOTTE — The North Carolina-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is laying off nearly 50 workers, or about 10 percent of its staff, as it shifts focus to its online ministry and other initiatives.

The Charlotte Observer reports this is the second time in three years that the 62-year-old organization has cut jobs.

Spokesman Brent Rhinehart says some of the affected employees will work through mid-March, while others will stay on into June. Fewer than 20 of the layoffs will affect the association’s operations in Charlotte, where it’s based.

The organization currently has about 500 employees spread across dozens of programs, ranging from the Billy Graham Library to online evangelism.

Mr. Rhinehart says the workers losing their jobs are getting severance packages and career assistance.

About 55 workers were let go in 2009.

DELAWARE

Judge allows El Paso Corp. takeover to proceed

WILMINGTON — A state judge has decided against blocking Kinder Morgan Inc.’s $23.5 billion acquisition of El Paso Corp. despite claims by some investors that El Paso executives had undervalued the company to make it more attractive.

Chancellor Leo E. Strine Jr. of the Delaware Court of Chancery wrote in an opinion published Wednesday that it should be left to El Paso shareholders to approve the deal.

“El Paso stockholders should not be deprived of the chance to decide for themselves about the merger, despite the disturbing nature of some of the behavior leading to its terms,” Chancellor Strine said.

Last October, Kinder Morgan said it planned to take over El Paso. It would spin off El Paso’s production business while keeping its pipelines to become America’s largest natural gas pipeline operator. Kinder Morgan would control more than 80,000 miles of pipelines, allowing the company to negotiate more lucrative supply deals around the country.

A group of El Paso investors opposed the takeover. They argued that El Paso CEO Doug Foshee didn’t negotiate the best price for the company because he also was interested in a side deal with Kinder Morgan to buy El Paso’s production business.

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