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Business news in brief

In the Region

Fillmore raises its bid for Genesis HealthCare

A bidding war escalated again yesterday over Kennett Square health-services provider Genesis HealthCare Corp. Genesis said that Fillmore Capital Partners L.L.C., San Francisco, had raised its bid for Genesis $2 a share to $67.25, or $1.33 billion. That is 3 percent higher than Fillmore's previous bid and higher than an offer by Formation Capital Corp. and JER Partners, according to a Genesis statement. Genesis shareholders are expected to vote on the bids Friday at their annual meeting in Kennett Square. Genesis' stock was up 2.1 percent on the Nasdaq yesterday, closing at $66.91. The Genesis board already has reached a merger agreement with the Formation/JER venture and has voted to recommend approval of the deal to shareholders.

- Thomas Ginsberg

CollaGenex halts study of acne treatment

CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it had stopped a 40-milligram mid-stage study of its acne treatment incyclinide after discovering a second patient had a severe adverse reaction to the drug. On Wednesday, the Newtown company said it had suspended enrollment of new patients after one patient showed significant phototoxicity - a severe reaction to sunlight that can cause blisters and second-degree burns. The company said yesterday that it subsequently had learned of another case and, as a result, had stopped treatment of all patients in the 40-milligram study. CollaGenex said it was evaluating its options for continuing development of incyclinide, a modified tetracycline, for acne at lower 10-milligram and 20-milligram doses, where no adverse side effects have been seen. Shares fell 39 cents, or 3.49 percent, to $10.77 on the Nasdaq.

- Linda Loyd

Entercom Communications announces quarterly loss

Entercom Communications Corp., a radio-station chain based in Bala Cynwyd, said its net income in the last quarter had swung to a loss from a year earlier. While revenue rose a record 10 percent, Entercom reported a 14 percent jump in expenses due partly to expansion investments. Per-share earnings ended the quarter at a loss of 1 cent, down from net per-share earnings of 19 cents a year earlier. Shares in Entercom fell 2.48 percent, or 70 cents, to $27.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

- Thomas Ginsberg

Jobless aid is offered to N.J. flood victims

People who lost work in New Jersey because of flooding April 14 to 20 can apply for unemployment assistance through the Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance program. In South Jersey, the eligible counties are Camden, Burlington, Gloucester and Mercer. People who live outside those counties but who work there also are eligible. The deadline to apply for benefits is June 11. Affected residents can call 1-800-621-3362 or 856-507-2340, the phone number for the closest New Jersey State Reemployment Center.

- Jane M. Von Bergen

Wilmington Trust agrees to buy Boston firm

Wilmington Trust Corp. agreed to buy Bingham Legg Advisers L.L.C., a Boston wealth-management firm, for an undisclosed amount. Wilmington said Bingham Legg, which employs 30 and specializes in tax-sensitive investment strategies, had $1.5 billion in assets under management and $877 million in assets under supervision at the end of March. Wilmington Trust had $31.8 billion under management and $112.1 billion under administration on March 31, according to the Wilmington company's latest earnings report.

- Harold Brubaker

Rohm & Haas increases its dividend 12 percent

Rohm & Haas Co., the Philadelphia specialty-chemicals company, has increased its quarterly stock dividend 12 percent, to 37 cents a share. The dividend is payable June 1 to shareholders of record on May 18.

- Bob Fernandez


World Bank panel notifies Wolfowitz of guilt finding

A committee of World Bank directors has formally notified president Paul Wolfowitz that it has found him to be guilty of a conflict of interest in arranging for a pay raise and promotion for Shaha Riza, his companion, in 2005. The finding stepped up the pressure on Wolfowitz to resign. The contents of the panel's finding were not made public. The report, as transmitted to Wolfowitz, did not recommend a punishment. It was not clear whether the committee, consisting of seven of the bank's 24 board members, would remove Wolfowitz from his post or, more likely, express a loss of confidence in his leadership in a manner that might persuade him to resign. Bank officials say that a majority of the bank board has concluded that he should go.

- New York Times

ABN Amro receives takeover offer, bid for LaSalle

ABN Amro Holding N.V. has received a hostile $96.4 billion takeover offer from a group of banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group P.L.C. and a $24.5 billion bid for its Chicago-based banking unit. ABN said it would submit both offers to shareholders without its endorsement. RBS's cash-and-share bid for ABN Amro tops an earlier friendly all-share bid for ABN by Barclays P.L.C., worth about $87.1 billion at Barclays' closing share price Friday. The RBS offer for ABN Amro is conditional on the success of a $24.5 billion side deal for ABN's Chicago-based U.S. subsidiary, LaSalle Bank Corp. RBS is the parent of Citizens Financial Group Inc., which owns Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. Bank of America Corp., which already has agreed to buy LaSalle for $21 billion, filed suit Friday in U.S. District Court in New York seeking unspecified damages from ABN if that deal falls through.

- AP

Ford to close one Ohio plant, shutter another

Ford Motor Co. said it would close its casting plant in Brook Park, Ohio, near Cleveland, in 2009. The plant employs 1,218 hourly and salaried workers. The company also will shutter Cleveland Engine Plant 1 in Brook Park for at least a year, starting in two weeks. It employs 577 workers. The casting plant is the 10th facility to be closed as part of Ford's "Way Forward" restructuring plan, in which the company said it would close 16 facilities by 2012. The company already had announced nine of the closures.

- AP

Rates down for 3- and 6-month T-bills

The Treasury Department auctioned $13 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.760 percent, down from 4.785 percent last week. An additional $12 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 4.815 percent, down from 4.820 percent last week. The three-month rate was the lowest since these bills averaged 4.710 percent on June 5. The six-month rate was the lowest since 4.810 percent on Sept. 25. The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,879.68, while a six-month bill sold for $9,756.57.

- AP

Yield unchanged for 1-year T-bills

The Federal Reserve said the average yield in the secondary market for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, was 4.90 percent last week, unchanged from the previous week.

- AP

3-year T-notes sold at yield of 4.574 percent

The U.S. Treasury sold $14 billion in three-year notes at a yield of 4.574 percent. The yield was higher than the 4.572 percent traders had anticipated. In trading before the sale, the notes yielded 4.57 percent to 4.58 percent. At the last three-year note auction, in February, the notes yielded 4.8 percent.

- Bloomberg News