BOFA TO ADD PHOTO TO CARDS: Smile, Florida. Bank of America Corp. is the first bank in the state to offer photo IDs on its check cards and credit cards. The photo security cards are optional, at no extra charge, to new and existing checking account and credit card customers. Using the photos gives merchants another level of assurance that they are dealing with the owner of a given credit card or check card. "We don't have any hard facts yet on whether or not it reduces fraud . . . but it makes people feel more secure," said Bank of America spokeswoman Laura Hunter. The product has been rolled out to more than a dozen states, or about two-thirds of Bank of America's network.
H-P IN TALKS FOR CONSULTANT: Hewlett-Packard Co. may acquire PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's management and information-technology consulting business for as much as $18-billion in cash and stock. A Hewlett-Packard spokesman confirmed that talks are ongoing but declined to elaborate. Chief executive Carly Fiorina is trying to drive growth by offering more services to potential buyers of the company's computer systems. Pricewaterhouse wants to split its consulting business from auditing partly to address regulators' concerns about conflicts of interest. Investors weren't impressed; Hewlett-Packard fell $7.63, or 6.3 percent, to $114.
SEARS RISES ON CEO PICK: Shares of retail giant Sears, Roebuck and Co. rose following Sunday's announcement that Alan Lacy will become president and chief executive, succeeding Arthur Martinez at the top. Lacy, 46, who was also elected to the firm's board, will take office Oct. 1, while Martinez will continue as chairman until his retirement in December. Lacy is currently the head of Sears' services division, which includes home remodeling and appliance repairs. Sears closed at $35.25, up 50 cents.
GOLDMAN SACHS TO BUY SPEAR, LEEDS: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to buy Spear, Leeds & Kellogg LP for $7.5-billion in cash, stock and debt. Spear, Leeds is the top specialist firm on the New York Stock Exchange and the No. 3 marketmaker on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Investors signaled approval of the transaction, sending Goldman's shares up 6.5 percent to $132.31. Combined, the firms will trade 8 percent of Nasdaq volume, making a market in about 6,400 Nasdaq stocks. It will trade 500 securities on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as 200 stocks and 300 options on the American Stock Exchange.
PHARMACEUTICAL DEAL: Elan Corp., Ireland's largest drugmaker, said it will buy Dura Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $1.8-billion in stock and debt. The deal, the third announced this year by Elan, would double Elan's U.S. sales force and would give it new therapy lines, including antibiotics and treatments for respiratory illness.