MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO EMULEX FRAUD: A 23-year-old man pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud for issuing a fake press release that sabotaged the stock of high-tech company Emulex Corp. and cost investors nearly $110-million. Mark Simeon Jakob of El Segundo, Calif., entered the pleas before U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian under an agreement with federal prosecutors. The judge accepted the pleas and set sentencing for March 26. Jakob's hoax sent Emulex shares plummeting as much as 62 percent in one day. The government charges Jakob made more than $241,000 from his trades. Under terms of the agreement Jakob surrendered $54,000 cash, a wad of rubber band-wrapped bills brought to court in a relative's purse. Emulex shares fell $5.31 to close at $79.94.
KRISPY KREME MAY GO GLOBAL: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. has hired an executive to plot its global expansion strategy and has entered a partnership to expand into Canada, Krispy Kreme's first foray outside the United States. The company will take a 34 percent share of the Canadian operator, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Eastern Canada Inc., which will open 32 stores over six years in Canada's eastern provinces, including Ontario and Quebec. Krispy Kreme now operates 175 stores in 28 states. Its shares rose 25 cents to $83.
HEALTHPLAN TO REORGANIZE: HealthPlan Services Corp. of Tampa said it will fire 30 employees, reduce its work force through attrition and cut back office space. The managed health care services company expects the moves will save $800,000 annually. HPS also will write off about $7.5-million for software developed for its Small Group business unit and take a charge of $1-million to $1.5-million, mostly on rent for unused space at its Tampa headquarters and office in Honolulu.
FTC CLEARS PAPER SALE: Federal regulators have cleared the way for AT&T Corp. to sell the Salt Lake Tribune to Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc. in a $200-million deal. The Federal Trade Commission saw no antitrust conflict during its review of the sale and granted its go-ahead Dec. 22. MediaNews, the nation's seventh-largest newspaper group, announced Dec. 1 that it had agreed to buy Utah's largest newspaper for $200-million from AT&T, which acquired the Tribune when it bought Tele-Communications Inc. in 1999. On the same day, the Tribune's managers sued MediaNews and AT&T in federal court, asking for a preliminary injunction to stop the sale, arguing that AT&T broke a buyback option agreement.
RAYMOND JAMES COMPLETES PURCHASE: Raymond James Financial Inc. said it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Canadian brokerage company Goepel McDermid Inc. Raymond James paid for the deal with $48-million in cash and 1-million shares of company stock and created a $12-million retention pool for key Goepel McDermid employees. Goepel McDermid will keep its management team and operate independently but will change its name to Raymond James Ltd. With the acquisition, Raymond James will have 4,700 financial advisers in 1,900 offices.
HACKERS ADD INSULT TO WARDS: As if Montgomery Ward didn't have enough trouble, the retailer's Web site was hacked the day after it said it was shutting down all 250 of its stores. The Associated Press reported Friday morning that a note on the Wards Web site indicated the closings would come Jan. 15, earlier than expected. By midday, the AP reported that no such date has been set and "the company's Web site was broken into Friday morning by hackers who posted a bogus notice."
Winn-Dixie has filed to raise $1-billion through the sale of debt securities. Bloomberg News reported an incorrect amount in a report that appeared Friday.