Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

January 25, 2003

In the Region

CareFirst, WellPoint approve amended plan of merger

The boards of directors of CareFirst BlueCross and its California buyer, WellPoint Health Networks, have approved an amended plan of merger, WellPoint reported yesterday.

The new agreement cancels the "Merger Incentive Plan" and terminates employment agreements between CareFirst and its eight senior executives. Instead, the executives would enter into two-year retention agreements with WellPoint. The new agreement also raises CareFirst's selling price by $70 million to $1.37 billion.

The amended application was filed this week with the Maryland Insurance Administration. Insurance Commissioner Steven B. Larsen is to rule on whether the sale is in the public interest, and the General Assembly will review his decision.

Della bill would make BDC have open meetings

State Sen. George W. Della Jr. introduced a bill in the General Assembly yesterday that would require the Baltimore Development Corp. to conduct its meetings in public.

The Baltimore Democrat said the BDC, the city's quasi-public economic development arm, should be subject to the state's Open Meetings Act as are other public agencies because it makes decisions that affect residents' and businesses' property rights, recommends which projects should be publicly subsidized and pays for its operations partially with taxpayer money.

The BDC has said open meetings would jeopardize economic development. Similar legislation has failed in the past.

Transit Business Park is sold for $5 million

Transit Business Park, a five-building complex on the southwestern city-Baltimore County line, has been sold to Realty Associates Advisors for $5 million, the deal's broker said yesterday.

The buildings are: 3101, 3121, 3141, 3031 and 3051 Washington Blvd. Transit Storage Corp. sold the 232,000-square-foot complex at Patapsco Avenue and Washington Boulevard, said NAI KLNB Inc., the broker.

Transit built the buildings between 1970 and 1990 on 16 acres, and there is space for another industrial building on the site. The buildings are 90 percent leased.

Elsewhere

Kmart files its plan for reorganization

Kmart Corp. filed its reorganization plan in federal bankruptcy court in Chicago yesterday, saying a large portion of the cash for its turnaround will come primarily from ESL Investments Inc., a hedge fund owned by Connecticut millionaire Edward Lampert, and Third Avenue Trust. They would invest at least $293.4 million in exchange for stock in the reorganized retailer.

A hearing is scheduled Feb. 25. If the court approves, Kmart will seek creditor acceptance of the plan.

The Troy, Mich.-based retailer hopes to emerge from bankruptcy protection by April 30.

704 flight attendants being cut by United

United Airlines, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, said yesterday it is eliminating an additional 704 flight attendant jobs as a result of recent flight reductions and service changes.

The latest cuts will involve about 3 percent of United's 20,000 flight attendants and increase the number of attendants who have been furloughed to 4,210, spokesman Joe Hopkins said. They take effect Feb. 22.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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