Business Digest


April 08, 2004

In The Region

New Provident Bank ads to highlight customer service

Provident Bank began a new advertising campaign this week that highlights its customer service.

Two new television spots, entitled "Jane's Bank" and "Bill's Bank," will air on local television in Baltimore and Washington and on cable channels such as Lifetime, History Channel and The Learning Channel.

In both commercials the bank tellers greet Jane and Bill as if they have been waiting only for them. Trahan, Burden & Charles advertising firm in Baltimore developed the spots.

Village of Cross Keys to add spa, boutique

The Village of Cross Keys said yesterday that it has signed leases with the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa and April Cornell.

April Cornell, a clothing boutique, will open in May in 1,700 square feet of space. Elizabeth Arden, a full-service day spa and salon, will open in November in the former 7,400-square-foot space once occupied by Bibelot.


Prosecutors discount Martha Stewart's bid for a new trial

Prosecutors asked a federal judge yesterday to reject Martha Stewart's bid for a new trial, saying her claim that a juror failed to disclose that he was once arrested was insufficient to warrant one.

In papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors said lawyers for Stewart failed to prove a "reasonable inference" that juror Chappell Hartridge's answers on a jury questionnaire were intentionally false.

Stewart's lawyers last week said their client deserved a new trial because Hartridge failed to disclose a past that includes an arrest on assault charges and three lawsuits filed against him. The lawyers said he also had been accused of stealing money from a Little League group.

For the court to order a new trial, lawyers for Stewart must show that the juror deliberately made a misstatement and that an accurate answer would have required the court to eliminate him from the jury if either side challenged him, prosecutors said.

Yahoo to split stock 2-for-1 after profit doubles in 1Q

Yahoo Inc.'s first-quarter profit more than doubled, propelled by advertisers eager to have their products promoted on the Internet's most popular destination.

The company said yesterday that it earned $101 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with $46.7 million, or 8 cents per share, in the comparable period last year. The results topped the mean estimate of 11 cents per share among analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Revenue for the three months that ended March 31 reached $758 million, up from $283 million last year.

The earnings spurt has turned Yahoo's stock into a hot commodity, tripling the company's market value since the end of 2002. Encouraged by its recent success, Yahoo announced a 2-for-1 stock split yesterday, effective May 11.

N.Y. judge postpones trial of ex-Tyco chief counsel

A New York judge agreed yesterday to postpone for two weeks the start of a trial for Tyco International's former top lawyer, who is accused of accepting a $12 million bonus in exchange for allegedly thwarting a federal investigation.

State Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Obus granted the prosecution's delay request and set April 26 to select a jury for the trial of Mark A. Belnick, 57. The judge blamed the unexpectedly long trial of two former Tyco executives for the delay.

Belnick, who was vice president and chief corporate counsel for Tyco from August 1998 through June 2002, had been scheduled to start trial April 12. He is accused of accepting $12 million in cash and stock in 2000 as a reward for allegedly persuading the federal Securities and Exchange Commission to end a probe of Tyco's accounting problems.

IBM says it will acquire Daksh eServices of India

IBM said yesterday that it would acquire Daksh eServices, the third-largest company in India providing call-center-based technical support and customer care services.

Daksh, a privately held company based in the suburbs of New Delhi, has a client list that includes Citibank and, with sales that exceeded $60 million last year. It employs 6,000 workers and recently opened a call center in the Philippines where it expects to employ 1,000 workers.

Both IBM and Daksh declined to reveal the sale price, but industry analysts placed the value of the deal, expected to close in May, at $160 million to $170 million.

CalPERS to withhold votes for Morgan Stanley board

The $165 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, continuing a campaign for better corporate governance, has decided to withhold its votes for Morgan Stanley's board of directors at the investment bank's annual meeting April 20.

The reason is that Morgan Stanley won't hold board elections each year. Shareholder proposals to adopt annual elections received a majority vote of support in 2002 and 2003. In 1999 and 2000, similar proposals were voted down. This year, the proposal is again on the ballot.

Ex-director, son to settle insider trading charges

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