GE cleared to buy Alstom's energy business

General Electric got the go-ahead from European and U.S. antitrust regulators to buy most of Alstom SA's energy business, boosting CEO Jeffrey Immelt's attempt to return GE to its industrial roots. GE's pledge to sell gas-turbine assets to an Italian rival, Ansaldo Energia SpA, helped allay antitrust concerns over the $9.5 billion plan, the European Commission said. The U.S. Justice Department signaled its approval minutes later. The E.U.'s blessing removes a crucial hurdle for GE to close an acquisition central to Immelt's plan to reshape the company around its manufacturing divisions and pivot away from finance. In 2001, European regulators blocked the company's takeover of Honeywell International Inc., a failure that shadowed the monthslong review of the Alstom deal.

Consumer credit rose to record in July

U.S. consumer borrowing climbed to a fresh record in July, the latest evidence that the U.S. economy is on track to grow at a healthy pace in the second half of this year. The Federal Reserve said consumer borrowing rose by $19.1 billion in July, pushing the total to a record $3.45 trillion. This followed an even larger $27 billion increase in June, the biggest one-month gain in credit since November 2001. The June increase was revised up significantly from an initial estimate of $20.7 billion. Economists believe strong job gains will support increased borrowing and consumer spending, which accounts for nearly 70 percent of economic activity. In July, borrowing in the category that includes auto and student loans rose $14.8 billion, while the category for consumer card debt expanded $4.3 billion.

Mylan to take Perrigo offer to shareholders

Dutch drugmaker Mylan said it will launch a $27.14 billion offer for Irish generic drug and ingredients maker Perrigo next Monday. Perrigo has already turned down several offers from Mylan, so Mylan said Tuesday that it will take the latest offer directly to the company's shareholders. Perrigo said in August that it was confident its shareholders would reject Mylan's overture. Mylan is offering $75 in cash and 2.3 shares of its own stock for every Perrigo share. Based on Friday's closing prices, that values Perrigo at about $185.52 per share, a premium of about 4 percent. Perrigo Co. stock added $1.85 to $180.65 on Tuesday.

Ex-Best Buy executive to lead Angie's List

Angie's List named Scott Durchslag as CEO and president of the service ratings website on Tuesday. Durchslag, a former Best Buy Co. Inc. executive, replaces William Oesterle, who co-founded the site and announced he would step down as CEO in April to be more active in civic life in Indiana. Chief Operating Officer J. Mark Howell has served as interim CEO since July. Until last year, Durchslag was an executive at Best Buy. Angie's List said he helped the electronics retailer develop its e-commerce business, credit card offering, loyalty program and marketing. Before that, he was an executive at online travel company Expedia Inc.

Eurozone first-half growth estimates raised

The 19-country eurozone's economy grew faster than previously estimated over the first half of the year, a further indication that the region managed to withstand the escalating crisis in Greece. In rare revisions to its back data, the European Union's statistics agency increased both the first- and second-quarter growth rates by 0.1 percentage points to 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent respectively. The quarterly expansion in the first three months of this year is now the highest rate since early 2011. The revisions from Eurostat provide further evidence that damage caused by the uncertainty over Greece was more than offset by benefits from a weaker euro and cheaper oil.

Blackstone to buy Strategic REIT for $4B

The private equity firm Blackstone will spend nearly $4 billion to buy real estate investment trust Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc., which specializes in high-end hotels and resorts. Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII will pay $14.25 for each outstanding share of Strategic. That represents a 13 percent premium to the stock's trading price on July 23, before a media report detailed a potential transaction. The companies said the deal is valued at about $6 billion, including debt. They expect to complete the acquisition by next year's first quarter.

Bankrate to pay $15M over accounting case

Bankrate Inc., an online publisher of widely read consumer finance data, has agreed to pay a $15 million fine to settle federal regulators' charges of manipulating its financial results to meet analysts' expectations. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement of civil charges of accounting fraud with Bankrate and a former vice president of finance. Bankrate, based in North Palm Beach, Fla., neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing. The former vice president, Hyunjin Lerner, agreed to resolve allegations that he and two other Bankrate executives ran a scheme to inflate revenue and omit some expenses from reports.

NEWS SERVICES