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Corporations and securities brief ~ Martha Stewart presses appeal

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's corporations and securities law news, Martha Stewart [JURIST Newsmaker news archive] was back in court today to press her appeal [PDF appellate brief] to have her conviction overturned. Stewart attorney Walter Dellinger [law firm profile] argued her conviction should be reversed because of the trial court's failure to take perjury charges against a government ink expert Larry Stewart into account. The three judge panel, however, appeared to find this argument weak as Stewart was not convicted of the charges to which Larry Stewart testified. AP has more. Meanwhile Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia [corporate website] announced in a SEC filing [PDF] that an independent expert has found Stewart should receive $3.7 million for expenses related to her legal defense. The company said the expense would be covered by insurance and will not be seen as a company expense. AP has more.

In other news...

  • Qwest Communications International Inc. [corporate website] has announced it has upped its offer to MCI Inc. [corporate website] by nearly half-billion dollars to $8.45 billion. The renewed bid is part of an effort to break up MCI's proposed merger with Verizon Communications Inc [corporate website]. The MCI board will respond to Qwest's offer, which is $1.8 billion more than the Verizon bid, by March 28. Read the MCI press release. AP has more.

  • Ingersoll-Rand Co. [corporate website], maker of fluid-handling equipment and portable generators, announced the SEC [official website] has asked for information related to the company's transactions in the United Nations Oil for Food Program [official website]. Ingersoll-Rand said it has begun an investigation into the matter. Bloomberg has more.

  • Inamed Corp. [corporate website], a surgical and medical device company, announced the SEC has started a formal investigation into the company to determine whether the company violated securities laws. The company believes the investigation relates to the adequacy of its disclosures regarding one of its silicone gel-filled breast implant products. Dow Jones has more.

  • Viacom [corporate website], a major media conglomerate, announced it is looking into plans which would split the company into two separate firms, both traded on the stock market. Under the proposed plan, Viacom's cable television networks would be put into a different firm than its broadcast and outdoor advertising businesses. The company, which hopes the new firms to be worth more separately than together and also solve the succession debate of current CEO Sumner Redstone [Wikipedia profile], will announce further details of the possible separation in the second quarter of 2005. Read the Viacom press release. AP has more.

  • Germany's SAP AG [corporate website] announced it has raised its offer for US-based retail software maker Retek [corporate website] to counter a competing bid by Oracle Corp. Retek is expected to accept the new bid. Read the Retek press release. AP has more.

  • Bankrupt airliner United Airlines [corporate website] paid Chief Executive Glenn Tilton a bonus of over $366,000 last year as the company sought salary concessions from union workers. United has cut Tilton's pay by 15 percent for 2005. Reuters has more.

  • President Bush [official website] nominated Ohio Republican Representative Rob Portman [official website] as US trade representative. Portman is expected to deal with many issues including bringing China and Taiwan into the WTO [official website] and winning approval for the Central American Free Trade Agreement [Wikipedia profile]. Read text of the Bush press conference. AP has more.
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