In the Region

Phila. exchange settles suit for at least $67 million

The Philadelphia Stock Exchange has settled a shareholder lawsuit for at least $67 million stemming from the sale two years ago of a stake in the market to Wall Street brokerages. The agreement was filed with the Delaware Chancery Court late Tuesday and may be worth more than $80 million, depending on the market value of the exchange, according to a statement from the law firm Berger & Montague P.C., which represented the plaintiffs. Terms were not disclosed when the deal was announced in June. The settlement, which includes $17.1 million in cash, calls for the six brokerages that paid $33.8 million for a controlling stake in the Philadelphia exchange to return 14 percent of their shares to investors, court filings show. The exchange's chairman, Meyer "Sandy" Frucher, also agreed to cancel 14 percent of the restricted-stock units he received in connection with the transaction. Shareholders contended in the suit that members did not get a chance to vote on the sale of as much as a 90 percent stake to a group of securities firms. Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley, UBS AG, Credit Suisse Group and Citadel Investment Group L.L.C. were defendants in the suit and agreed to the settlement, court filings show. The exchange and the brokerage have denied wrongdoing and said Tuesday that the settlement did not constitute an admission of fault.

- Bloomberg News

AmerisourceBergen told to pay ex-shareholders

AmerisourceBergen Corp., the Valley Forge drug distributor, must pay $21 million to former shareholders of Bridge Medical Inc. for miscalculating earnings after a merger, a judge decided. Bridge investors sued AmerisourceBergen in 2004, contending it broke promises to pay as much as $55 million on future earnings in addition to $27 million for the 2003 buyout, according to court papers. AmerisourceBergen "had no good-faith justification for applying an adjustment" to earnings that left former Bridge Medical stockholders undercompensated, Delaware Chancery Court Judge William B. Chandler III said in an opinion released yesterday. Health-care software-maker Cerner Corp. bought Bridge Medical from AmerisourceBergen in 2005 for $11 million. AmerisourceBergen spokesman Michael Kilpatric said in an e-mail that the company "believes the court ruling was in error" and intends to appeal.

- Bloomberg News

Teva wins court ruling to sell generic herpes drug

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the generic-drug company with North American headquarters in North Wales, can start selling a lower-cost version of Novartis AG's Famvir, a treatment for genital herpes, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh in Newark, N.J., refused a request yesterday by Novartis to block the generic drug until a patent-infringement trial was held. A date for the trial has not been set. Novartis sued Teva in 2005, contending the generic drug would infringe a patent expiring in 2010. A Novartis spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment. In a separate ruling, Forest Laboratories Inc. won a U.S. appeals court ruling upholding the patent on the antidepressant Lexapro and a ban on generic competition from Teva. The ruling prevents Teva from selling a low-cost version of Lexapro until the patent expires in 2012.

- Bloomberg News

DuPont to sell herbicide line to a supplier

DuPont Co., the Wilmington chemical-maker, agreed to sell its Cotoran herbicide line to Makhteshim Agan of North America Inc. to focus on newer products. Makhteshim Agan supplies DuPont with fluometuron, the active ingredient in Cotoran, used to kill broadleaf weeds and grasses in U.S. cotton fields, DuPont said in a statement. Terms were not disclosed.

- Bloomberg News


Price of most popular iPhone to drop $200

Apple Inc. dropped the price of its most popular iPhone $200, a declaration that the company plans to play aggressively in the cell phone market. The 8-gigabyte iPhone will cost $399, down from $599, Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs said. The company plans to phase out the 4-gigabyte version.

- Los Angeles Times

Ace Hardware accounting error halts conversion

Ace Hardware Corp. discovered a shortfall of about $154 million on its books while preparing to convert from a retailer-owned cooperative to a for-profit corporation and likely will have to restate its financial results for the last five years, president and chief executive officer Ray Griffith said. Ace has called off the conversion plan and hired an audit-consulting firm to help rectify an accounting problem that appeared to date to 2002, Griffith told the Associated Press. The company may have to forgo returning profit to store owners this year as a result, he said. He said no money or inventory was missing, but the company has not been able to determine the source of what he characterized as a "significant accounting error."

- AP

New side-crash safety standards required by 2013

New passenger vehicles will be required to provide head protection for side crashes in 2013 model-year vehicles, the government said. The safety upgrades, which have been under review since 2004, could save more than 300 lives and prevent more than 400 serious injuries annually through the installation of side air bags, which protect the torso, and side-curtain air bags that guard the head. The regulations, announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are designed to reduce deaths and injuries of motorists who are struck by another car or truck along the vehicle's side.

- AP

EPA technology cuts seaport tractors' energy use

Vehicles that help move millions of shipping containers around the nation's ports could soon produce less pollution with technology that federal environmental regulators announced. The technology is designed for diesel "yard hostlers," the tractors that are the workhorses of seaports, the Environmental Protection Agency said. The EPA-patented technology captures energy produced when the tractors use their brakes, and stores it by compressing hydraulic fluid. The compressed fluid is then used when the vehicle accelerates.

- AP

Sun Microsystems plans 1-for-4 reverse split

Sun Microsystems Inc. intends to pull off a one-for-four reverse stock split to boost its share price and improve perceptions of the computing company's recent turnaround, its top two executives told analysts. Sun disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would ask shareholders to approve the reverse split at their Nov. 8 annual meeting. By converting every four Sun shares into one, the step would bring about a fourfold increase in Sun's price per share, but would have no effect on Sun's market capitalization. Sun shares fell 13 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $5.37 yesterday.

- AP

Yields up on taxable, tax-free money markets

The average seven-day yield on taxable money-market funds rose to 4.71 percent from 4.52 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 3.35 percent from 3.28 percent last week.

- Rhonda Dickey