The board of directors of Genesis HealthCare Corp. and a special committee of the board consisting of independent, outside directors are unanimously recommending that shareholders accept a merger offer from Formation Capital Corp. and JER Partners, the company announced. Formation and JER have agreed to pay about $1.77 billion for the Kennett Square nursing home company, including the assumption of $475 million in debt. The board and the committee concluded yesterday that a competing offer from Fillmore Capital Partners L.L.C. "was not superior" to Formation/JER's bid. A shareholder vote is set for May 11. Genesis shares closed up 47 cents at $65.63 in trading on the Nasdaq market.
- Stacey Burling
Rohm & Haas Co. said it had reached an agreement to sell its European automotive-coatings business to the Mader Group of France. Terms were not disclosed for the operation, which has a plant in Strullendorf, Germany, and reported $25 million in sales in 2006. The deal is expected to close later this year and makes final the company's exit from the automotive-coatings business, according to the Philadelphia specialty-chemicals company. Company shares closed up 77 cents at $51.10 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Bob Fernandez
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world's largest maker of generic drugs, posted a first-quarter profit, compared with a year-earlier loss, on 24 percent higher revenue from generic products and its own Copaxone multiple sclerosis drug. Quarterly net income was $342 million, or 42 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1 billion, or $1.40 a share, a year earlier, said the Israel-based company with North American headquarters in North Wales. The 2006 loss was related to Teva's $7.6 billion acquisition of Ivax Corp. Teva's American depository receipts closed up 75 cents at $39.58 in trading on the Nasdaq market.
- Linda Loyd
Airgas Inc., the Radnor packaged-gas and welding-supplies company, said that fourth-quarter revenue rose 14 percent and that net earnings jumped 30 percent. Quarterly sales rose to $853.9 million from $746.9 million in the year-earlier period. Net earnings for the quarter were $43.7 million, or 56 cents a share, compared with $33.5 million, or 42 cents a share.
- Bob Fernandez
Total compensation paid to workers in the Mid-Atlantic states rose 0.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The increase for the 12 months that ended in March was 3.3 percent. The Mid-Atlantic states are Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The government's Employment Cost Index measures compensation for workers in private industry. The total increase in the region included rises in wages and salaries of 1.1 percent in the first quarter and 3.4 percent over the 12 months. Nationwide, total compensation rose 0.8 percent in the quarter and 3.2 percent for the year ended in March.
- Paul Schweizer
Nationwide Financial Services Inc., Columbus, Ohio, said it had completed the purchase of mutual fund company NWD Investment Management Inc. for $240.2 million in cash from a subsidiary of its parent, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., and changed the name of the mutual funds from Gartmore Funds to Nationwide Funds. Nationwide said the operation, now known as Nationwide Funds Group, would remain in the Philadelphia area, though its $30 billion in mutual fund assets will be managed by subadvisers.
- Harold Brubaker
Verizon Wireless said it filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Somerville, N.J., against unknown telemarketers that the company said conducted an unwanted and illegal telemarketing campaign to Verizon Wireless customers. The lawsuit claims that during March 2007, more than one million calls asked customers to press "1" to hear more about a low-interest-rate mortgage. Verizon Wireless is asking for a permanent injunction and monetary damages.
- Miriam Hill
GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C. won backing of a U.S. advisory panel for expanded marketing of its prescription asthma inhaler Advair for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, often called smoker's cough. If approved by FDA officials, expanded use of Advair - already producing $6 billion in sales - could lift GlaxoSmithKline earnings 3 percent to 8 percent, one analyst said.
Clayton Dubilier & Rice Inc. and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. agreed to buy the U.S. Foodservice Inc. unit of Royal Ahold N.V., the Dutch owner of the Stop & Shop and Giant supermarket chains, for $7.1 billion. Ahold bought U.S. Foodservice, the nation's second-biggest food distributor after Houston-based Sysco Corp., for $3.6 billion in 2000. The Dutch company subsequently overstated three years of earnings in an accounting scandal centered mostly at Foodservice, and put the division up for sale in November.
- Bloomberg News
Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. bank, agreed to buy the Bisys Group Inc. for $1.47 billion to gain accounting and administrative services for hedge funds and private-equity firms. Bisys investors will receive $12 a share, including a 15-cent dividend, 4.6 percent more than Tuesday's closing price, New York-based Citigroup said in a statement. Shares of Bisys have dropped 25 percent in the last year as the company settled fraud allegations and searched for a buyer. The acquisition may help Citigroup compete against rivals such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. in serving alternative-asset managers, the fastest-growing part of the investment industry.
- Bloomberg News
Fannie Mae, which finances one of every five home loans in the United States, reported its profit rose 26 percent in 2005, but it expects to report lower earnings for 2006. The government- sponsored company is remaking itself as it recovers from a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal. The 2005 report was its first public reckoning of finances since it announced a restatement in December that erased $6.3 billion in previously reported profit for 2001-04.
U.S. Rep. George Miller (D., Calif.) asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate student-loan providers for "unfair and deceptive practices," broadening allegations against the $85-billion-a-year industry. Lenders' marketing letters "are often intentionally designed to confuse or mislead students," said Miller, who is chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
- Bloomberg News
The average seven-day yield on taxable money-market funds fell to 4.72 percent from 4.73 percent last week, according to iMoneyNet Inc. A seven-day yield is an annual yield that is based on the preceding seven days' level of income by the fund. The average yield on tax-free funds rose to 3.29 percent from 3.18 percent last week.