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Economy Briefs: UPS to buy Europe’s No. 2 package delivery outfit

- - Monday, March 19, 2012

THE NETHERLANDS

UPS to buy Europe's No. 2 package delivery outfit

AMSTERDAM — United Parcel Service Inc. said Monday it will buy Netherlands-based TNT Express NV for $6.77 billion in a cash deal.

Atlanta-based UPS is the world's largest delivery company, while TNT, headquartered in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, is the second-biggest express mail company in Europe behind DHL, which is owned by Germany's Deutsche Post. The combination will have 475,000 employees worldwide and increase UPS' international sales to around 36 percent of its total from 26 percent at present.

"Why is TNT very attractive?" asked UPS Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn at a news conference in Amsterdam. Because it has "operations in areas where we're underserved. Brazil. Australia. The Middle East. The road and train network in Europe."

He said UPS hopes to further boost its international sales to 50 percent in the next five years.

The agreed deal, UPS' largest ever acquisition, offers TNT shareholders $12.6 per share. TNT's largest shareholder, Dutch postal company PostNL, said it has committed to tendering its 29.9 percent stake to UPS.

NEW YORK

Microsoft says no plans for Xbox anytime soon

NEW YORK — Microsoft says it's not coming out with a new Xbox gaming console anytime soon.

Some video game players had hoped Microsoft Corp. would unveil an upgrade at the E3 Expo in June, a big, yearly video game conference in Los Angeles where game-makers show off new wares and titles.

Microsoft Corp. said Monday that it won't be discussing new Xbox hardware at the event. Rather, it plans to focus on games, music and other entertainment for the Xbox 360, which came out in 2005.

Nintendo Co. will be showcasing the Wii U, the successor to the Wii. Unlike the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3, the current Wii doesn't offer high-definition graphics, so it's in greater need of an upgrade.

Microsoft's stock fell 40 cents to $32.20.

NEW YORK

Sears CEO: $9.9 million in 2011 compensation

NEW YORK -- An Associated Press analysis shows that Sears Holdings Corp. paid its CEO, Lou D'Ambrosio, $9.9 million last year including incentives the ailing department store chain offered the former technology executive.

The company said in a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Mr. D'Ambrosio, who became CEO in 2011, received a salary of $930,769 plus a $150,000 signing bonus and $8 million worth of stock.

His compensation also included $803,856 to cover his commute by air and ground from the Philadelphia area, where he lives, to Hoffman Estates, Ill., where the company is based.

Sears, whose brands include Lands' End and Kmart, as well as Sears, Roebuck and Co., has struggled for years with stiffening competition from retailers of all stripes, from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to Home Depot Inc.

DELAWARE

Judge dismisses lawsuit by Berkshire shareholders

WILMINGTON — A Delaware judge has dismissed a shareholder lawsuit alleging that billionaire Warren Buffett and directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. failed to take proper action in response to stock trades by former Berkshire executive David Sokol before the company's $9 billion acquisition of chemical manufacturer Lubrizol.

The judge ruled Monday that the shareholders failed to demonstrate before filing their lawsuit, as required by Delaware law, that the Berkshire board was not capable or willing to take legal action itself.

But the judge dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs might be able file a complaint later if circumstances warrant.

The derivative lawsuit sought damages on behalf of Berkshire from Mr. Sokol and the company's directors, and surrender by Mr. Sokol of some $3 million in profit he realized in the Lubrizol takeover.

From wire dispatches and staff reports