Williams rejects offer, would consider sale
The Williams Cos. rejected a $48 billion buyout offer from Energy Transfer Equity, but said that it may still put the natural-gas pipeline company up for sale. Its stock jumped 26 percent to $60.86 on Monday. The stock has slumped over the last year but reached an all-time high of $61.38 during the day. Williams said ETE's bid significantly undervalues the business, but that it was exploring other strategic options. ETE confirmed Monday that it had offered $64 per share, a 32 percent premium to Williams' closing price Friday. It put the deal's total value at $53.1 billion, including debt and other liabilities. Energy Transfer Equity LP, of Dallas, says it's made multiple attempts over the last six months to negotiate with Williams' senior management.
Bernanke goes to bat for Hamilton on $10
Former Federal Reserve chief-turned-blogger Ben Bernanke is calling for the U.S. Treasury to abandon plans to drop Alexander Hamilton from his featured spot on the $10 bill and to dump Andrew Jackson from the $20 instead. Bernanke wrote that he is "appalled" by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew's plans to replace Hamilton with a woman. In a post titled "Say it ain't so, Jack," Bernanke wrote that adding a woman is "a fine idea, but it shouldn't come at Hamilton's expense." He called the first Treasury secretary "without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history." By contrast, Jackson, president from 1829 to 1837, was "a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president." Jackson opposed attempts to establish a U.S. central bank.
Low-cost Planet Fitness files for an IPO
Planet Fitness began a sprint toward the stock markets on Monday, filing for an initial public offering roughly two years after allying itself with a private equity firm. With its filing, Planet Fitness, a low-cost gym chain, aims to become a publicly traded company in two months or so. Founded in its current form in 1992, the company was a pioneer in opening low-cost gyms meant to be friendlier to the average consumer. It eventually drew in as a partner the private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, a specialist in consumer brands. Last year, Planet Fitness reported $37.3 million in profit on $279.8 million in revenue, both up from a year earlier.
Fifth Third to sell, close dozens of branches
Fifth Third Bank, a Cincinnati-based lender with a retail presence in 12 states, said it plans to close or sell about 100 branches, as well as 30 other properties it bought earlier for future expansion. Fifth Third currently has 1,300 branches. A Fifth Third spokesman said the company wasn't disclosing which branches were expected to close or be sold. "Consumer demographics and our customers' preferred channels of banking are undergoing significant changes," Kevin Kabat, Fifth Third chief executive, said in a statement. "We have made significant improvements to our mobile banking options and our sales and staffing models, and plan to tailor our branch network in concert with these changes."
Twitter wants its next CEO to be full time
Jack Dorsey would have to give up his post at Square if he's to become CEO of Twitter. The company he helped found and now leads on an interim basis said it is only considering candidates who can make a "full-time commitment to Twitter." Dorsey was named interim CEO after Dick Costolo stepped down effective July 1 amid criticism over Twitter's disappointing financial performance and share price decline. Costolo had been Twitter's CEO for five years and led the company through a successful stock market debut in 2013. But Twitter has yet to make a profit and there are concerns about its ability to grow its user base.
Another record in airline fees in quarter
U.S. airlines continue to collect record fees from passengers who check suitcases or make changes to their reservations. In the first three months of this year, airlines took in $1.6 billion in such fees, up 7.4 percent from the same period last year. That's the highest amount for the first quarter since bag fees started in 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. January through March is traditionally the slowest period for air travel. The fees climbed, in part, because more passengers flew at the start of the year — 3.2 percent more seats were filled.