[JURIST] Leading Thursday's corporations and securities law news, Pfizer Inc. [corporate website] announced the suspension of its sales of arthritis drug Bextra [informational website]. The move came after US and European drug regultors told the world's largest drug maker that the drug's risks outweigh its benefits. Pfizer will also add information to the Celebrex [informational website] label about potential cardiovascular risks. The FDA [official website] had said in December that Bextra and Celebrex increases the risks of heart disease and stroke. Pfizer, which says it disagrees with the regulatory decision on Bextra, will attempt to find other options which will permit the resumption of sales of the drug. Read the Pfizer press release. Read the FDA press release. Reuters has more.
In other news...
- Enron Corp. announded it will abandon its plan to sell Portland General Electic (PGE) [corporate website] to a holding company backed by Texas Pacific Group after Oregon regulator Oregon Public Utility Commission [official website] decided to block the sale. Enron indicated it would return PGE to a separate publicly-owned business and will issue a new stock to creditors, who then can decide whether to sell the shares on the open market. Read the Enron press release [PDF]. The Oregon Public Utility Commission has documents related to the rejected sale. AP has more.
- Morgan Stanley [corporate website] announced in its quarterly filing with the SEC that the agency is considering enforcement action against the company for not retaining e-mails. The SEC [corporate website] has made a preliminary determination which recommended punishing the company for alleged violations of securities and violation of a 2002 cease-and-desist order on e-mail retention. AP has more.
- Warner Music Group Corp. [corporate website] said in a SEC filing that it received another subpoena from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer as part of his industrywide probe of the financial relationship between music companies and radio stations. This is the third subpoena received by Warner Music. The investigation centers on the tradion of music companies paying promoters hundreds of millions of dollars a year to secure radio air time for songs. Reuters has more.
- New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer [official website] pulled a political ad that ran on Google Inc. [corporate website] after it was came up for searchers who typed in the acronym for American International Group Inc. (AIG), the recent target of an investigation by Spitzer's office. The search ad which appeared at the top right of the results page read "Spitzer for NY Governor" which led people to http://www.spitzer2006.com. A spokesman said the ad was pulled because Spitzer thought the ad was inappropriate. Reuters has more.
- Qwest Communications International Inc. [corporate website] directors are considering their next move after MCI Inc. [corporate website] rejected their $8.94 billion takeover offer. The options include making a hostile bid for MCI Inc. and helping disgruntled MCI shareholders form a voting block to replace the MCI directors who voted in favor of the lower offer from Verizon Communications Inc. [corporate website]. Read the Qwest press release. Bloomberg has more.
- Armando Falcon Jr., director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight [official website], told the House Financial Services subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises [official website], that Fannie Mae [corporate website] employees falsified signatures on accounting transactions to help the company meet earnings expectations in 1998. The entries relate to the movement of $200 million in expenses from 1998 to later periods, a move which resulted in multimillion dollar bonuses for top executives. Read Falcon's prepared statement. The Washington Post has more.
- Three British bankers, David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby, former employees of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's Greenwich NatWest unit [corporate website], indicted on seven counts of wire fraud by a Houston court in 2002, won a major battle in their fight against extradition to the US when the High Court in London said the three will be allowed to challenge UK prosecutors for failing to investigate them in their own country. The Court said it was arguable that Britain's Serious Fraud Office [official website] did not fully exercise its discretion when it declined to prosecute the men in the UK. The three men are indicted on charges they used an Enron [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic news archive] off-the-books partnership to defraud their former employer of $7.3 million. The men maintain they would not receive a fair trial in the US and should be put on trial in the UK, where most of the alleged criminal activity occurred. Read the indictment [PDF] against the three men. Bloomberg has more.