The Baltimore Sun

CEG, MidAmerican file for deal approval

Baltimore's Constellation Energy Group and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. said yesterday that the two companies filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting approval of their proposed $4.7 billion deal. Warren Buffett's MidAmerican agreed to buy Constellation for $26.50 a share last month. FERC's approval is one of several regulatory hurdles the two companies must overcome to close the deal. The companies are asking FERC to act on their application by Jan. 15. The two companies have already filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission related to Constellation's nuclear plant operations. Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the majority equity holder of MidAmerican, took steps this month to obtain antitrust approval from federal regulators, filing notification of the merger under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. In addition, the two companies must gain the approval of the Maryland Public Service Commission, as well as Constellation's shareholders. Constellation Vice Chairman Mike Wallace told employees that the company expects a shareholder vote to place between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to a memo filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hanah Cho

Intel 3Q profit beats forecast

SAN JOSE, Calif. : Intel Corp. says its third-quarter profit rose 12 percent and edged past Wall Street's forecasts. But the chip maker says the financial crisis makes it hard to predict its results for the current period. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said yesterday it earned $2.01 billion, or 35 cents per share, in the July-September period, compared with $1.79 billion, or 30 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 34 cents per share in profit. Sales were $10.22 billion, a 1 percent increase over last year. Analysts expected $10.26 billion.

Associated Press

Linens 'N Things to begin liquidation this week

Specialty retailer Linens 'N Things, which filed for bankruptcy protection in May, plans to begin liquidation sales at its stores as early as tomorrow after failing to find a buyer that wanted to operate the company. "It's a straight going-out-of business liquidation sale," said James Schaye, president and chief executive of Hudson Capital Partners LLC, one of the members of the investment group buying the company's assets. He expects the process for the company's approximately 371 remaining store locations will take about 11 weeks. In August, the company said it reached a plan of reorganization with the bankruptcy court. However, it later decided to auction its assets as conditions in the financial markets worsened.

Associated Press

PepsiCo to lay off 3,300, says 3Q profit fell 9.5%

PepsiCo Inc. is cutting jobs and closing factories to give it some "breathing room" to navigate the volatility that has permeated all corners of the global economy. The maker of Pepsi-Cola, Doritos and Sun Chips said yesterday that it plans to eliminate 3,300 jobs, about 1.8 percent of its global work force, and shutter six plants in an effort to save $1.2 billion over three years. It plans to use the savings primarily to revive lagging U.S. soft-drink sales. "This will enable our competitiveness and give us breathing room to respond," Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi said in a conference call. The announcement came as the snacks and drinks company reported a 9.5 percent drop in third-quarter profit, missing Wall Street expectations. PepsiCo also issued a downbeat profit outlook for the fourth quarter and full year.

Associated Press

Johnson & Johnson 3Q profit rises 30%

Health care giant Johnson & Johnson posted a 30 percent jump in third-quarter profit yesterday and beat Wall Street expectations, mainly because the year-ago results were weighed down by a $745 million restructuring charge. Higher sales of consumer products and medical devices, boosted overseas by the weak dollar, also helped the New Brunswick, N.J.-based maker of contraceptives, baby care items, medical devices and prescription drugs. It reported net income of $3.31 billion, or $1.17 per share, up from $2.55 billion, or 88 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Associated Press

P&G; chief says it can grow in any economy

The chief executive of Procter & Gamble Co. reassured shareholders yesterday that the company is well-positioned to weather the economic storm. A.G. Lafley, chairman and CEO of the consumer products maker, noted P&G;'s record of years of steady earnings and sales growth and said they can count on P&G; for the long haul because of its strong fundamentals. "While the economic environment remains volatile and uncertain, I am confident that P&G; can and will continue to prosper over the long term," Lafley said.

Associated Press

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