Markets & Finance

New Century's Debt Problems Worsen


From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchThe New York Stock Exchange will continue to halt New Century Financial (NEW)'s trading until information about its liquidity and financing efforts has been disseminated. Earlier, New Century had said all of its lenders plan to discontinue financing.

Schering-Plough (SGP) agreed to buy Organon BioSciences from the Dutch chemical company Akso Nobel NV for $14.5 billion.

The Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell wants to take Tribune Co. (TRB) private in a transaction valued at about $13 billion, according to Barron's.

Dollar General (DG) agrees to be acquired by affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP for about $7.3 billion, including about $380 million of net debt at $22 cash per Dollar General share.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) agrees to buy Sierra Health Services for $43.50 per share, or $2.6 billion and expects deal to close by the end of 2007 or before, to add to earnings per share (EPS) immediately upon closing. The company reaffirms plans for a $4 billion to $4.5 billion share buyback in 2007.

Wachovia reportedly downgrades Countrywide Financial (CFC) to underperform. The company reports February loan production of $35.3 billion, up 12% from a year ago but down 6.6% vs. January.

Santa Fe Energy (SFF) Devon Energy Corp informs Sante Fe that it may have overpaid the company during 2006 and prior years for net profits of royalties in connection with certain properties.

Procter & Gamble (PG) agrees to divest its Western European tissue/towel business to SCA, a global consumer goods & paper co. based in Sweden, for EUR 512 million in cash. The divestiture represents about 1% of P&G's total sales.

Yahoo (YHOO) and AT&T (T) say their current and future plans include advertising on the front page of a co-branded portal; introducing advertising on a co-branded mail service; they're also discussing ways to expand their partnership in mobile and the introduction of Yahoo services into AT&T's IPTV experience.

Express Scripts (ESRX) says Caremark Rx, Inc. (CMX)'s refusal to permit confirmatory due diligence by Express Scripts prevents it from offering more consideration. Express Scripts says the current offer to Caremark is the best and only offer it can make at this time.

Boeing (BA) signs an agreement with Kuwait's Aviation Lease & Finance Co. for the sale of 12 Dreamliners and six 737-800s. The aerospace concern says the total value of the deal is $2.26 billion at list prices.

Ford Motor (F) reportedly could announce a deal to sell its Aston Martin brand to a private consortium for as much as $870 million.


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