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Archive for Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Briefcase

April 28, 2004

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Butler shareholders OK BlueScope merger

Shareholders of Kansas City, Mo.-based Butler Manufacturing Co. easily approved a deal Tuesday to merge the maker of prefabricated buildings with Australia's BlueScope Steel Ltd., that nation's largest steel company.

Only 415,731 shares were cast against the merger at a special shareholders meeting, while 4.2 million were voted in favor. BlueScope will pay $22.50 a share for Butler, plus assumption of the company's $60 million in debt, valuing the deal at about $204 million.

The shareholders shunned a rival offer from Chicago-based Robertson-Ceco Corp., which increased its bid to $24.50 a share in the days before Tuesday's meeting. John Holland, Butler's chairman and chief executive, called the offer vague.

Investigation

Janus to settle charges

Janus Capital Group struck a $225 million settlement with regulators Tuesday, the latest deal to emerge from the improper trading scandal sweeping the $7 trillion mutual funds industry.

Janus will pay $50 million in restitution to investors, $50 million in civil penalties and reduce the fees it charges investors by $125 million during five years, under the deal announced jointly by the attorneys general of Colorado and New York.

Janus was under investigation for market timing -- a type of rapid, in-and-out trading that can skim profits from long-term fund shareholders. The practice is legal, but Janus policies discouraged it.

Last week, Janus CEO Mark Whiston resigned after less than two years on the job. He was replaced by Steve Scheid, a former Lawrence resident.

Wall Street

Earnings of area interest

Kansas City, Mo.-based DST Systems posted a first quarter profit of 60 cents per share, up from 43 cents per share during the same period a year ago. The company operates a service center in Lawrence.

Commercial Federal Corp., which operates a bank in Lawrence, posted earnings of 43 cents per share, down from 50 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., which has railroad operations in the area, posted earnings of 52 cents per share, up from 40 cents per share a year ago.

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