Money Matters - Simplified


Army adding 2 years to Ellerson's contract

West Point, N.Y. -- Army football Coach Rich Ellerson is getting a two-year contract extension after guiding the Black Knights to their first bowl game in 14 seasons.

Officials said Tuesday Army has agreed in principle to the extension that will keep Ellerson with the West Point, N.Y., school through 2015. Ellerson has been with Army since the day after Christmas 2008.

The contract announcement comes four days before the annual Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. Army lost last year, as it has every year since 2002.

Army, 6-5 after going 5-7 last season, will play in the Armed Forces Bowl against SM

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

J. Crew sells itself for $3 billion

New York -- U.S. clothing company J. Crew Group Inc. said Tuesday it had agreed to sell itself to two investment funds for $3 billion.

The price, at $43.50 per outstanding common share, represents a 29 percent premium over the company's average closing price in October, J. Crew said in a statement.

The buyers are TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners, L.P.

The firm said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Millard Drexler would continue in his roles as head of the company and "maintain a significant investment in J. Crew."

Drexler said, "As I have always said, we are in this for the long term and we do what we do day in and day out so we can deliver the best possible products for our customers."

WAC adds three schools

Denver -- The University of Denver, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State have agreed to join the Western Athletic Conference, the league said Friday.

The WAC's new members will officially be part of the conference in the 2012-13 academic year.

The WAC was looking for additional schools after Boise State announced it was leaving the conference to be part of the Mountain West Conference as of next year and Fresno State and Nevada are going the same route in 2012. Montana turned down an invitation to leave the Big Sky for the WAC.

Denver is leaving the Sun Belt Conference, which it joined in 1999. Texas State has been a member of the Southland Conference since 1987, four years before Texas-San Antonio joined that league.

DGA, producers to begin contract talks

Los Angeles -- The Directors Guild of America and a group of Hollywood producers say they have agreed on a date to start formal contract negotiations.

The DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said they plan to start talks Tuesday at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

The two parties also said Thursday they have agreed that neither organization will comment to the press regarding negotiations until the talks have concluded.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Sara Lee to sell bakery division

Downers Grove, Ill. -- U.S. food giant Sara Lee Corp. said Tuesday it has agreed to sell its North American Fresh Bakery business to Grupo Bimbo for $959 million.

In a statement, Interim Chief Executive Officer Marcel Smits said, "The sale … will allow us to aggressively invest in our core protein and coffee businesses. In both categories we are a leading player with healthy margins and a strong track record of innovation."

He also said, "We are actively pursuing growth here, organically and through acquisitions."

Sara Lee said its net sales for the first fiscal quarter of 2011 were 0.5 percent lower than the same quarter a year ago, and its operating income dropped to $169 million compared with $326 million in the same quarter last year.

Oracle opens checkbook to buy ATG

Redwood Shores, Calif. -- U.S. technology giant Oracle said Tuesday it had agreed to buy Art Technology Group, allowing it to push further into Internet software for businesses.

"Organizations across many industries are looking for a unified commerce and customer relationship management platform to provide a seamless experience across all commerce channels," said Oracle executive vice president of development Thomas Kurian, The Street reported Tuesday.

Oracle, which closed on a $7.4 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems in January, agreed to pay $1 billion for ATG. The deal is subject to approval by shareholders and anti-trust regulators.

Google in France agrees to ad rule changes

Paris -- French regulators said Thursday Google agreed to alter its policies on blocking advertising to settle a complaint by a speed-trap mapping service.

Google previously refused to sell sponsored links to French company NavX, which has a mapping service that pinpoints the location of speed traps on French roads, The New York Times reported.

Google based its decision on the point that devices that detect police radar are illegal in France.

Among other changes, Google, in an settlement with the French Competition Authority, said it would give three months of notice to advertisers it planned to discontinue.

Pac-12 announces football divisions

San Francisco -- The Pac-12 Conference will feature North and South divisions for football competition next season, league officials said Thursday.

The Pac-10 agreed this year to accept Colorado and Utah into its membership, growing the league and changing the name. It also set up a situation for divisional play and a conference championship game in football. League officials, however, said other sports won't be divided for conference play.

The Pac-12's North Division will include California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Washington State. The South will include Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Southern Cal, UCLA and Utah.

Bristol-Myer Squibb to buy ZymoGenetics

New York -- Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myer Squibb has agreed to purchase Seattle biotechnology firm ZymoGenetics for $885 million, the companies said.

In a statement released late Tuesday, ZymoGenetics said the deal valued ZymoGenetics at $9.75 per share and that shareholders representing 37 percent of ZymoGenetics had agreed to put their shares into a tender offer that is scheduled to begin Thursday.

"We believe we will enhance the long-term potential of ZymoGenetics' portfolio of assets,"ZymoGenetics Chief Executive Officer Douglas Williams said,

Burger King accepts a $4B offer -- for now

Miami -- A private equity firm and Burger King said they agreed to a $4 billion leveraged buyout of the U.S. food chain, but it has time to seek better offers.

Under terms of the deal, the private equity, 3G Capital, must initiate its tender offer by Sept. 17. Burger King has until Oct. 12 to seek better deals, The New York Times reported Friday.

3G has agreed to pay $24 per share for the company, a 46 percent premium on the food giant's share prices until recently, when rumors of a sale triggered a sudden upswing in share prices.

The equity firm said it planned to expand Burger King in foreign markets, particularly Asia and Latin America, the Times said.