Daily Briefing

daily briefing

April 18, 2009

Obama auto adviser embroiled in probe

NEW YORK : Steven Rattner, head of President Barack Obama's task force, is embroiled in a corruption investigation that has ensnared several New York political figures and cast a spotlight on the murky practice of paying fees to win investments from the state's pension fund. Prosecutors said Rattner's private equity firm forked over a $1.1 million kickback to an aide to the former state comptroller during its bid for the pension deal. As details of Ratt- ner's involvement emerged, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration was aware of the allegations but still supported Rattner. Rattner was chosen by Obama to help rescue the American auto industry from its worst crisis in history. He reports to Tresury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

Associated Press

Ciena says it's taking $456 million charge

Ciena Corp. said Friday that it expects to take a noncash charge of $456 million of good will on companies it has acquired. The charge, to be taken in the second fiscal quarter, which ends April 30, does not affect Ciena's normal business operations or any current or future cash expense, the company said in a statement. Good will is the excess amount the company spent making acquisitions.

Andrea K. Walker

Arbitron says 1Q cost of layoffs $8.2 million

Media research company Arbitron Inc. said in a regulatory filing Friday that it will incur a pretax expense of $8.2 million in the first quarter to cover severance and benefits paid to laid-off employees plus another $800,000 during the final three quarters of this year. The Columbia-based radio measurement services firm announced last month that it was cutting 10 percent of its 1,084 full-time employees. It also has 484 part-time employees.

Andrea K. Walker

BB&T profit down, but beats predictions

BB&T Corp. on Friday posted a 37 percent decline in first-quarter profit, as loans that were overdue or written off as unpaid surged and the regional bank put aside more cash to cover souring credit. But the results beat Wall Street expectations, and the stock rallied $2.07, or 9.8 percent, to $23.14 in heavy midday trading. For the three months ending March 31, BB&T said net income after paying preferred dividends fell to $271 million, or 48 cents per share, from $428 million, or 78 cents per share, in the 2008 quarter.

Associated Press

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