Altria, the U.S. leader in cigarettes, wants to be No. 1 in smokeless tobacco products, too. The owner of the nation's biggest cigarette seller said Monday that it will buy UST, the maker of Skoal and Copenhagen, in a $10.4 billion deal that is part of the wider consolidation of the global tobacco industry. Observers say Lorillard, which was spun off from Loews Corp. in June, could be next on the list of potential targets. Altria owns the Marlboro brand and the nation's biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA. It has been test marketing Marlboro brand smokeless products, but analysts say the results have been disappointing. Its acquisition of UST will give it a strong position in smokeless tobacco, a segment of the U.S. market that is growing as cigarettes decline.P&G selling Noxzema rights, trademarks
Procter & Gamble Co. has agreed to sell the rights and trademarks to its Noxzema skin care brand to suburban Chicago-based hair care products maker Alberto-Culver Co. Both companies confirmed the deal Monday. P&G beauty products spokesman Sean Parker says the sale reflects a strategic shift that will allow Cincinnati-based P&G to focus on its Olay and Doctor's Dermatologic Formula anti-aging brands. The company says the agreement includes existing business in the United States, Canada and part of Latin America. P&G will retain its mostly male-focused Noxzema shave care, deodorant and body cleanser business in Western Europe. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Noxzema was created in 1914 and was acquired by P&G in 1989.Manitou BF SA to buy Gehl, expand in U.S.
Manitou BF SA, a French manufacturer of forklifts, agreed to buy construction and agriculture equipment maker Gehl Co. for $331 million to expand in the U.S. market. The cash offer is worth $30 a share, according to an e-mailed statement from Ancenis, France-based Manitou, Gehl's largest shareholder.Judge rejects Broadcom co-founder plea deal
A federal judge rejected a plea deal that had called for Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Samueli to get probation rather than prison for his role in a stock options backdating case that led to the largest corporate writedown of its kind. U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney wrote that the deal calling for five years probation and $12 million in payments by Samueli would erode public trust in the judicial system. Samueli has pleaded guilty under the plea agreement to lying to investigators for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Broadcom, an Irvine, Calif.-based telecommunications chip maker, was forced to write down $2.2 billion in profits after the options backdating was uncovered.Consumer borrowing at seven-month low
Borrowing by consumers slipped in July to the weakest pace in seven months, reflecting a big slowdown in demand for car loans. The Federal Reserve reported that consumer borrowing grew at an annual rate of just 2.1 percent in July, the slowest pace since a 1.9 percent rise last December. The slowdown reflects a tiny 0.5 percent rate of growth in the category that includes auto loans, down from a 6.1 percent surge in June. Automakers said demand for cars fell in July to the lowest level in 16 years. The category that includes credit cards grew at an annual rate of 4.8 percent in July, up from a growth rate of 3.5 percent in June.