Kinder Morgan Inc, has made a $21 billion deal to buy rival North American natural gas pipeline operator El Paso Corp, Reuters reports. The combined Kinder Morgan and El Paso and would own about 80,000 miles of pipe stretching from coast to coast. The cash and stock deal announced on Sunday values El Paso at a 37 percent premium to its Friday market value, and comes as Exxon Mobil Corp and other oil majors are spending billions of dollars to develop and produce shale gas and crude oil in areas with poor infrastructure, Reuters said. Kinder Morgan said it expected the deal to close in early 2012.
But What They Really Want to Do is Direct
The Carlyle Group is cashing in China's rapidly growing film-going market by taking an 80 percent stake in Asia's largest provider of cinema digital screens, Financial Times reports. With 7,000 commercial cinema screens, China comprises around one-seventh the number in the U.S, but China is adding three screens a day, the fastest growth rate anywhere in the world, FT says. Carlyle’s latest buy is Hong Kong-based GDC Technology, which holds about 54 per cent of the market for the digital cinema servers. China has the jump on digitalization of its cinemas because many of its multiplexes are newly built and do not have to be converted to accept the new equipment.
BP Reaches Agreement in Oil Spill Settlement
British oil company BP announced today that Houston-based Anadaarko Petroleum had agreed to pay $4 billion to settle claims relating to last year's catastrophic oil spill, The New York Times reports. Anadarko owned a 25 percent stake in the well that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers were killed and nearly 500 billion gallons of oil leaked into the sea. Since the accident, the companies involved in the well — BP, Transocean and Halliburton — have accused each other of negligence. BP, whose investigation found that the accident was the result of many mistakes spread amongst the companies, has filed claims worth tens of billions of dollars against Transocean and other contractors. The settlement not an admission of guilt, the oil giant said. As part of the settlement,, Anadarko will transfer its stake in the well back to BP while BP will protect the company for certain claims, "excluding civil, criminal, administrative fines and claims for punitive damage," the Times said.
Philips TV Deal Faces Cancellation
Philips Electronics said negotiations to sell the majority of it sTV business to Hong Kong-based monitor-maker TPV were taking longer than expected and that it was doubtful a deal could be reached by the end of the year, Reuters reports. Regulatory hurdles could further delay an agreement. The Dutch company's TV business makes up less than 10 percent of group sales and has gone from being a global leader to "a thorn in the firm's side," Reuters said. Philips announced today worsening third-quarter profits due to restructuring and raw material costs and slow European growth, and said it plans to cut 4,500 jobs.
Olympus Shares Fading After CEO Ouster
Shares of Olympus Corporation dropped almost a quarter (22 percent) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange following an 18 percent drop on Friday after the company fired Michael Michael Woodford, its first non-Japanese chief executive officer, Financial Times reports. Among the claims and counter claims is Woodford's contention that he was fired for questioning accounting practices, while Olympus says that it not the whole picture, and that Woodford's views have "largely diverted from the rest of the management team in regard to the management direction and method."
Amazon Kindles Controversy in Publishing World
Amazon's fledgling publishing program is pitting the e-tailer against the traditional New York publishing houses, The New York Times reports. Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in both physical and e-book form. Publishers contend that Amazon is trying to poach some of its biggest authors. Last week, Amazon announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it reportedly paid $800,000.
Occupy Wall Street Movement Filling its Coffers
The Occupy Wall Street movement has close to $300,000, as well as storage space loaded with donated supplies in lower Manhattan, the Associated Press reports. As the movement spreads to cities around the world it has become an issue in the Republican presidential primary race with candidates resisting any similarities between the protestors and members of the Tea Party. President Barack Obama, speaking at the dedication yesterday of a monument for Martin Luther King, Jr., said that the civil rights icon "would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing those who work there."