Business digest 01/14/06

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tyco International to split into three companies

TRENTON, N.J. -- Tyco International Ltd., still recovering from scandals that saw its longtime former chief executive sentenced to prison, said Friday it plans to split into three public companies. Carving Tyco's electronics and health care businesses from its remaining operations was expected, but Wall Street still punished the company on news the breakup would reduce profits, cost $1 billion and take a year to complete. Tyco, best known for its ADT home alarm systems, warned its first quarter and full-year 2006 earnings from continuing operations would be lower than expected. Its shares tumbled $3.19, or 10.5 percent, to close at $27.12 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

GM will save $4 billion this year, CEO says

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. expects to save about $4 billion this year as it implements its North American turnaround plan, chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said Friday. But he declined to give earnings guidance, saying there are too many outstanding issues facing the struggling automaker. Wagoner also refused to speculate on whether the board of the world's biggest automaker will consider cutting dividends to shareholders. Earlier this week, Jerome York, an aide to billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, said GM should consider halving its annual $2 per share dividend, which he estimated would save $566 million a year. "We have a lot of topics under our corporate governance structure that require board approval," Wagoner told a gathering of automotive analysts in Dearborn. GM stopped providing earnings guidance last April after it lost $1.1 billion in the first quarter.

Johnson & Johnson buys out device maker

BOSTON -- Medical device maker Guidant Corp. on Friday night accepted an increased $24.2 billion buyout offer from Johnson & Johnson, turning aside a larger $24.9 billion bid from Boston Scientific Corp. in favor of a deal that Guidant said could be concluded more quickly. The announcement of J&J's bid and Guidant's acceptance came about 24 hours after Boston Scientific increased its offer, and about three hours after passage of a deadline Boston Scientific had set for Guidant to respond. The boards of both J&J and Guidant have unanimously approved the new J&J offer, which is to be voted on by Guidant shareholders Jan. 31, the companies said. Guidant's board had previously accepted J&J's earlier $23.2 billion offer presented Wednesday night, but Boston Scientific's move to raise its proposal Thursday night prompted J&J to increase its bid a second time.

-- From wire reports

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