Court rejects suit over Net-neutrality rules

A federal appeals court on Monday rejected as "premature" a lawsuit by Verizon and MetroPCS challenging the Federal Communications Commission's pending rules aimed at keeping Internet service providers from blocking access to certain websites or applications. The decision, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, is a first-round victory for the FCC and its chairman, Julius Genachowski. But the real battle over the agency's attempt to regulate broadband providers has barely begun. Several broadband companies, and some consumer advocacy and public interest groups, are likely to return to court this year to challenge aspects of the rules. Edward McFadden, a Verizon spokesman, said Monday that the company intended to refile its lawsuit this year. The House will take up a joint resolution condemning the new Internet access rules this week.

Texas Instruments to buy rival for $6.5B

Texas Instruments Inc. said Monday that it has agreed to buy competitor National Semiconductor Corp. for $6.5 billion. The all-cash deal, if it goes through, will give Dallas-based Texas Instruments a larger stake in the field of analog semiconductors -- devices that are used to convert real-world signals, such as temperature readings or voice recordings, into digital signals.

Google bids $900M for Nortel's patents

Google Inc. said it was willing to pay $900 million for patents held by Nortel Networks Corp., the bankrupt communications technology company. The Internet search giant couched its bid as a pre-emptive strike to defend against patent litigation. Analysts say Mountain View, Calif.-based Google is wrestling with a major increase in patent litigation from so-called patent trolls and competitors. A major patent portfolio such as the one from Nortel would give Google ammunition in these lawsuits. In the last 12 months, Google has been hit with 39 patent lawsuits involving its Android mobile phone operating software.

Pfizer to sell Capsugel unit to KKR

Pfizer Inc., the world's biggest drugmaker, agreed to sell its Capsugel manufacturing unit to KKR & Co. for $2.38 billion in an effort to focus on its higher- profit business developing new medicines. The New York-based company lowered its yearly revenue forecast after backing out Capsugel, a unit that makes wholesale pill casings and had $750 million in sales last year. Pfizer said it will use proceeds from the deal to expand a planned $5 billion share repurchase.

Japan's crisis will push up some commodities

Copper, iron ore and beef are likely to benefit from rising demand in Japan as the country recovers from a record earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear crisis. Rebuilding may drive demand for steelmaking materials and metals used in construction, said Ben Westmore, a commodities economist at National Australia Bank in Melbourne. Demand for imported beef and dairy products may increase because of damage to local protein supply, Rabobank Australia analyst Wayne Gordon said.

Goldman CEO's compensation nearly doubles

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein's $19 million compensation for 2010, almost double the prior year, ended two years in which the firm's top executives gave up cash bonuses. Blankfein's pay included $5.4 million in cash, $12.6 million in restricted stock, a $600,000 salary and about $464,000 in other benefits, a proxy statement from the New York-based firm showed. Blankfein's $9.8 million pay for 2009 included $9 million in restricted stock plus salary and other compensation.