- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Regional

Washington Post Co., owner of Kaplan education services, said compensation for Chief Executive Officer Donald Graham fell 52 percent to $411,700 last year. Mr. Graham’s pay included $400,000 in salary and $11,700 in other compensation. The District-based company reported no stock or option awards or incentive pay for Mr. Graham last year.

Fannie Mae said that its mortgage-asset holdings grew at a 1 percent annual rate last month. Problem loans rose to the highest in at least a decade. The “serious delinquency” rate among single-family loans Fannie Mae either owns or guarantees rose to 1.06 percent in January, up from 0.98 percent in December and 0.66 percent a year earlier.

Radio One, the Lanham, Md.-based owner of stations serving black audiences, agreed to sell Los Angeles radio station KRBV-FM to Bonneville International Corp. for $137.5 million. The shares surged 61 percent, the most ever, to $1.77. The board also approved a $150 million stock buyback. The shares are still down 24 percent this year.

• Time Warner Inc. named James Burtson to oversee mergers and acquisitions as the company considers combining its AOL division with Yahoo Inc. Mr. Burtson, senior vice president of investor relations, will also work on financial strategies for the world’s largest media company. Time Warner is strengthening his financial team as it considers a possible merger for AOL.

General Dynamics Corp., the Army’s largest supplier, won an order for continued production of Hydra-70 rockets valued at $166.4 million. The order is part of a five-year contract the company won in May 2005 that is now valued at as much as $900 million. The 2.75-inch Hydra-70 is a family of unguided rockets that can be fired from attack helicopters.

Comstock Homebuilding Cos. of Reston said its net loss for last year widened to $87.5 million ($5.42 per share) on sales of $266.2 million, compared with a net loss of $39.8 million ($2.63) on revenue of $245.9 in 2006.

National

• Online DVD rental leader Netflix Inc. is suffering a technology breakdown that has knocked out its Web site, inconveniencing its 7.5 million subscribers. The outage could mean some customers will have to wait longer than usual for their next rentals.

• U.S. prosecutors withheld evidence that might have exonerated three ex-Merrill Lynchbankers convicted in 2004 of inflating Enron Corp.’s revenue through a deal involving Nigerian power barges, a defense attorney claimed. Former Enron Treasurer Jeffrey McMahon might have helped show the company never secretly promised Merrill it would buy back the barges at a set profit, the attorney said.

• The Federal Reserve said its $29 billion loan to JPMorgan Chase & Co. to facilitate its purchase of Bear Stearns Cos. will be at the 2.5 percent interest rate charged to commercial banks at the discount window. The financing will occur at the closing of the merger, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said.

Thornburg Mortgage, the “jumbo” mortgage specialist struggling to meet margin calls, changed its bylaws to permit an investor to buy as much as $300 million in company stock. Thornburg, which disclosed the new threshold in a federal filing, is preparing a $1 billion convertible securities offering designed to help the company to satisfy margin calls and avoid bankruptcy.

• The Supreme Court upheld a federal policy that allows employers to reduce their health insurance expenses for retired workers once they turn 65 and qualify for Medicare. The justices turned down an appeal by the 35-million-member AARP to undo a rule that essentially allows employers to treat retirees differently depending on their age.

• The Internal Revenue Service will open 320 offices on Saturday to help low-income people including some retirees and veterans get checks under the economic stimulus act passed by Congress in January. The tax agency said that groups such as the AARP and United Way of America will also make special efforts on that day to ensure that people who don’t ordinarily file tax returns don’t miss out on the payment.

Tropicana Entertainment says its bondholders are trying to force it into bankruptcy in an effort to gain a bargaining advantage over the company. In papers filed Friday with Delaware’s Court of Chancery, the company said it’s trying to cure a default on $960 million worth of bond debt. But it said the investment firms that own that debt won’t let it.

Force Protection Inc., the maker of blast-resistant vehicles that has twice delayed its 2007 financial report, said its shares may be removed from the Nasdaq Stock Market because of the late filing. Force Protection has been granted a hearing on the matter. The found “significant accounting errors” during a year-end review.

Google Inc., owner of the most popular online search engine, may post earnings that miss estimates as growth in Internet users clicking on advertisements slows, according to a William Blair & Co. report. Google’s profit this quarter may fall short of the average $4.64 a share that analysts are predicting, the investment firm said. Sales also may miss the projected $3.66 billion.

American Eagle, the regional carrier for American Airlines, grounded 25 jets for several hours Friday while it reviewed inspection paperwork with federal regulators. Parking the Bombardier Canadair CRJ-700s forced the airline to cancel 13 flights at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and two more at Chicago’s O’Hare, the airline said.

International

Iraq’s crude oil exports last month reached 56.1 million barrels, a slight decrease from the 59.6 million barrels exported the previous month, the Oil Ministry said. But revenues increased because of a rise in world oil prices.

• The United Arab Emirates and Qatar signed an accord creating a common investment fund, the official UAE news agency WAM reported. It did not give the capital allocated to the fund. The agreement between the two petroleum-rich Gulf states was signed during a brief visit to Doha by UAE ruler Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan and in the presence of Qatar’s emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, WAM said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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