Corporations and securities brief ~ NYSE merges with Archipelago; to go public

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's corporations and securities brief, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) [corporate website] announced it will merge with rival Archipelago Holdings Inc. [corporate website] in a move which transforms the NYSE into a for-profit, publicly traded company. The NYSE, known for its busy trading floor, takes on all-electronic Archipelago to effectively compete with the Nasdaq Market Inc. and other global competition. The NYSE will not entirely forego its floor-based operation but will instead run it alongside the electronic option. Read the NYSE press release [PDF] and statement by CEO John A. Thain. Read a statement by Archipelago CEO Jerry Putnam. NYSE has a webcast of the proceedings. AP has more.

In other news...

  • The EU Court of First Instance [official website], the EU's second highest court, ruled PepsiCo [corporate website] cannot use Ruffles as a brand name in the EU for its potato chips, fine pastry and confectionery products affirming the original decision taken by the Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) [corporate website]. Pepsi had applied to use the Ruffles name in the EU but was opposed by German rival Intersnack Knabber-Geback [corporate website], who sold potato chips under the Riffels brand name. Read the opinion. Reuters has more.

  • SEC Chairman William Donaldson [SEC biography] told a House Financial Services Committee [official website] hearing that the SEC is looking at ways to make the financial reporting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act [text, PDF] more efficient and effective. Donaldson called requests to weaken the requirements of the act because of potential costs to companies unjustified. CBSMarketWatch has more.

  • BearingPoint Inc. [corporate website], a consulting services company, announced in a SEC filing [text] that the SEC has launched an informal inquiry into the company. The agency has asked for documents related to internal control deficiencies and prior-period financial adjustments. The company will cooperate in the probe. Dow Jones has more.

  • The US government has filed an appeal in a tax-refund case stemming from capital loss deductions and tax credits taken by Goodrich Corp.'s [corporate website] former subsidiary, Coltec Industries Inc. Last November, a federal court ruled in favor of Coltec, ordering the government to refund tax payments of $82.8 million. The Charlotte Business Journal has more.

  • The SEC [official website] announced it has charged Guillaume Pollet, a former managing director of investment bank SG Cowen & Co. [corporate website], with insider trading and fraud. Pollet has been charged for his role in short-selling shares in companies based on non-public information ahead of 2001 private stock offerings in 10 companies thereby generating $4 million in trading gains for his company. Read the SEC press release and litigation release.

  • Time Warner Inc. [corporate website] and Comcast Corp. [corporate website] announced bankrupt cable operator Adelphia Communications Corp. [corporate website] has accepted a buyout offer valued at $17.6 billion. Time Warner and Comcast beat out rival Cablevision Systems Corp. [corporate website] which bid $17.1 billion. Under the deal Adelphia receives $12.7 billion in cash and a stake in the new company. Time Warner is expected to take on $11 billion in net debt to finance the deal. The deal needs approval from the boards of directors of Adelphia, Time Warner and Comcast, the companies' shareholders, Adelphia's bankruptcy judge and federal regulators. Read the Time Warner press release and the Adelphia press release [PDF]. Reuters has more.

  • French drinks group Pernod Ricard [corporate website] has offered £7.4bn ($14 billion) to buy UK rival Allied Domecq [corporate website]. The deal, which would bring together the world's second and third largest drink companies, would be one of the industry's biggest takeovers. Allied's board has already approved the deal. Read the Pernod Ricard press release and the Allied Domecq press release [PDF]. BBC News has more.

  • Representative Rob Portman [official website], President Bush's nominee to be the US Trade Representative [official website], told the Senate Finance Committee [official website] that if confirmed, he would implement a tougher approach toward China starting with a review of the various trade complaints against China. The comments come as the US has a record trade deficit of $162 billion with China and pressure on China from the US administration to stop pegging its currency, the yuan, to the dollar. AP has more.

  • Conrad Black [Wikipedia profile] and business partner David Radler have resigned from private holding company, Ravelston, placing the company into the hands of a receiver. The pair resigned to facilitate a filing for bankrupcy protection, which was already granted by a Canadian court. Ravelston owns about 78 percent of Hollinger Inc. [corporate website] through various holding companies. The Guardian has more.
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