Barclays announced a major reorganization that will eliminate 3,700 jobs and close several business units, as the bank reported a big loss in the fourth quarter of 2012. The overhaul of its operations comes after a series of scandals at the bank, including one concerning the manipulation of benchmark interest rates, which led to the resignation of the firm’s former chief executive, Robert E. Diamond Jr. In a bid to reduce its exposure to risky trading activity, Barclays plans to close a number of operations in Europe and Asia, including a tax-planning unit criticized for tarnishing the firm’s reputation.
Dell buyout loses another major shareholder
Dell Inc.’s plan to be taken private lacks support from two of the company’s largest shareholders after T. Rowe Price Group Inc. said it won’t back the $24.4 billion transaction. T. Rowe, the second-largest outside investor, said that the proposal places too low a value on based Dell. That came after top outside shareholder Southeastern Asset Management sent a letter Friday to Dell’s board expressing “extreme disappointment” with the $13.65-a-share offer.
WellPoint hires new CEO from hospital chain
WellPoint Inc., the second-largest U.S. health insurer, picked Joseph Swedish, the chief executive of a nonprofit Catholic hospital system, as its new top executive after a six-month search. Swedish, 61, has headed Michigan-based Trinity Health Corp., a system of 47 hospitals in 10 states, since December 2004. Angela Braly resigned as Indianapolis-based WellPoint’s CEO last August after investor discontent over her performance and the company’s poor financial results. WellPoint, the top seller of small business and individual plans, has been questioned by investors about its ability to adapt after missed profit estimates and falling enrollment.
U.S. gasoline prices hit seasonal record
Retail gasoline prices rose to a record for this time of year amid a decline in refinery production because of breakdowns and seasonal maintenance and an eight-week rally in crude futures. Regular gasoline in the U.S. climbed 7.3 cents, or 2.1 percent, from a week earlier to $3.611 a gallon, the highest level since Oct. 22 and a record for this time of year, according to data compiled by the Energy Information Administration. Retail gasoline has climbed for eight straight weeks as refiners make up for a rise in crude-oil costs.
Trouble ahead for Ryanair’s Aer Lingus bid
Even the third time may not be the charm for Ryanair’s attempt to take over Ireland’s flag carrier Aer Lingus. Ryanair, based in Dublin and Europe’s largest budget airline by number of passengers, said it had been informed at a meeting with officials of the European Commission that Brussels “intends to prohibit” the airline’s $942 million bid for Aer Lingus. The company said its proposed concessions and remedies did not go far enough to allay antitrust concerns.
FROM NEWS SERVICES