June 21, 2008

Bizworld: Canadian Supreme Court Allows Largest-Ever Leveraged Buyout

TORONTO | The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that the $35 billion leveraged buyout of BCE Inc. - the largest leveraged buyout in history - can go ahead.

The high court overturned a lower court ruling that the sale of BCE, the parent of telecommunications holding company Bell Canada, to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and its minority U.S. partners wasn't in the interests of bondholders.

The decision clears the way for the deal to be finalized.

BCE, which has more than 54,000 employees, had annual revenue of $17.4 billion in 2007. It had 5.8 million wireless subscribers, 8.64 million land lines, 1.94 million Internet subscribers and 1.82 million satellite television subscribers in 2006.


live nation chair out amid dispute

Live Nation Inc.'s Michael Cohl stepped down as chairman of the world's largest concert promoter after a report of a strategy dispute with Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino.

Cohl, who held the post since February, will become a consultant to the company, Live Nation said Friday. A successor wasn't named.

Cohl preferred to ramp up so-called "360" deals with artists, agreements that in the past had topped $100 million and included recording, tours and merchandise sales, The Wall Street Journal had reported. Rapino wanted to slow the effort down.

Grupo Modelo CEO off Busch board

ST. LOUIS | The head of Mexican beer company Grupo Modelo is stepping down from the board of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. as the remaining directors of the iconic American brewer of Budweiser are considering a $46 billion takeover offer from Belgian brewer InBev.

Grupo Modelo said Carlos Fernandez, president and chief executive, resigned from the Anheuser-Busch board "to avoid the appearance of any conflicts." Company officials did not elaborate.

Anheuser-Busch owns an approximate 50 percent noncontrolling stake in Grupo Modelo, and the company distributes Anheuser-Busch products in Mexico. There have been reports that Anheuser-Busch is considering a greater stake in Grupo Modelo.

slaughterhouse worker pleads

CHINO, Calif. | A former slaughterhouse worker caught on undercover video abusing sick and injured cows has pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges.

Daniel Ugarte Navarro entered the plea Friday in San Bernardino County Superior Court to two felony counts of animal cruelty. He also pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to downed animals. He could get up to a year in jail when sentenced on Aug. 25. The video footage of Navarro prompted the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

Big Dig company faces charges

BOSTON | Federal authorities say the Big Dig's largest construction contractor lied about its quality of work on a section where a ceiling collapse killed a woman.

Modern Continental Corp. on Friday was charged in federal court with making false statements and submitting false time and materials slips on contracts.

The U.S. attorney's office alleges the company lied about its work on the Interstate 90 Connector Tunnel. A portion of the ceiling collapsed in 2006, killing a car passenger.

judge: Microsoft must pay Alcatel

SEATTLE | A federal judge ordered Microsoft Corp. to pay Alcatel- Lucent $511.6 million in damages and interest, letting stand a jury's decision that the software maker infringed on two patents.

The world's largest software maker had asked the U.S. District Court in San Diego to reconsider a federal jury's award in April to Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent of $357.7 million in damages.

The jury found that the software maker infringed on an Alcatel patent that covers how software users select a calendar date from a menu in certain programs, including Microsoft Outlook and Windows Mobile.

- From wire reports

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