SUIT SETTLED: Abraxis BioScience Inc. directors, including Chief Executive Patrick Soon-Shiong, agreed to pay $14.3 million to settle claims they breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders when the company's predecessor, Illinois-based American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc., merged with American BioScience Inc. in 2006. Several shareholders accused directors of giving Soon-Shiong, who was chief executive and the largest shareholder of both companies, authority to structure the deal without a vote from minority investors. The directors in the settlement denied any wrongdoing. Los Angeles-based Abraxis eventually spun off American Pharmaceutical's generic injectable-drug business into a new company that was acquired by Fresenius SE for $4.6 billion this month.
REJECTED AGAIN: International Rectifier Corp.'s board unanimously rejected a second, unsolicited buyout proposal from chip maker Vishay Intertechnology Inc., which has threatened a proxy battle over the matter. Malvern, Pa. -based Vishay had raised its bid for the El Segundo power-management chip maker to $23 a share, about $1.7 billion, up from the $21.22 first offered in August. International Rectifier said the offer significantly undervalues its future prospects. Vishay said it is proceeding with plans for a cash tender offer and has nominated three candidates for the company's annual shareholder meeting Oct. 10.
MORE CREDIT: Independent music publisher Bug Music Inc. announced a new $200 million credit facility led by investment bank J.P. Morgan. Bug's catalog includes songs by Johnny Cash, Pete Townshend, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt and Stevie Ray Vaughan. It recently acquired Iggy Pop's catalog. The company is controlled by senior management and Crossroads Media, a Los Angeles strategic partnership between former Paramount Enterprises President Thomas McGrath and Spectrum Equity Investors.
COMPANY DELISTED: Once trendy denim maker Blue Holdings Inc. began trading on the over-the-counter Pink Sheets after Nasdaq delisted the company's stock. The Commerce jeans maker, whose brands include Antik Denim, Yanuk and Taverniti So Jeans, said it hoped to eventually move its stock to the over-the-counter Bulletin Board once it restates financial reports and meets other requirements. The company said in May that it would have to restate earnings after finding accounting errors. Inability to meet minimum requirements for share price and shareholder equity also were factors in the delisting.
PRODUCTS SOLD: Amgen Inc. said it has agreed to sell two of its smaller drugs and license a third to Swedish drug maker Biovitrum AB in a deal valued at $130 million. Stockholm-based Biovitrum will acquire a drug that treats cancer-related mouth sores and another product that increases the number of stem cells in the blood. It will also receive an exclusive worldwide license to market Kineret, a rheumatoid arthritis drug developed by Amgen. Separately, the Thousand Oaks biotech released positive late-stage clinical data for a widely anticipated osteoporosis drug called denosumab, which it hopes to submit for Food and Drug Administration approval by the end of the year.
Los Angeles-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said it had further expanded its presence in Asia by acquiring the assets of HLN Metal Centre for about $2.6 million. Singapore-based HLN Metal processes and distributes custom-machined materials, and cuts metal products and components.
SETTLEMENT MADE: Former KB Home Chief Executive Bruce Karatz agreed to pay $7.2 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that he fraudulently backdated stock options issued to himself and other employees for at least six years. The SEC alleged that Karatz engaged in backdating practices at the Los Angeles homebuilder from at least 1999 through 2005, and personally gained $6 million from exercising those options. Without admitting or denying the charges, Karatz has agreed to be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years. Karatz stepped down as KB Home's chairman and chief executive in November 2006 after an internal investigation.
POSITIVE DATA: MannKind Corp. reported positive late-stage clinical data for its experimental Technosphere inhaled insulin. The Valencia biotech also announced that former rival Pfizer Inc. plans to switch users of its own discontinued Exubera to MannKind's product. Pfizer has been weaning patients off Exubera, which it pulled from the market last year after poor sales and safety concerns.
LEAVING TEXAS: 99 Cent Only Stores will exit the Texas market to focus on its core markets of California, Arizona and Nevada, which contribute about 90 percent of the discount retailer's revenue. The City of Commerce-based retailer said its Texas stores on average were only generating slightly more than half of the sales of its non-Texas stores, and further cost-cutting would probably not generate sufficient profit gains to justify the effort. Forty-eight of its 278 stores are in Texas.
ZELL SUED: Several former and current Los Angeles Times employees filed a lawsuit against the newspaper's corporate parent, Tribune Co., and its chief executive, Sam Zell, contending that reckless management is destroying the value of the company. The suit alleges that Zell and former Tribune Chief Executive Dennis FitzSimons devised a plan to take the company private to enrich themselves to the detriment of employees.
PASSING NOTED: Robert W. Miller, a former chairman, chief executive and president of Big 5 Sporting Goods, has died. He was 85. Miller died Sept. 11 in Los Angeles. He was part of the 1955 founding management team of the El Segundo-based sporting goods retailer. He was the father of Steven G. Miller, Big 5's current chairman, president and chief executive, and of Michael D. Miller, a company director.
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