HSN U.S. PRESIDENT NAMED: Marty Nealon, chief merchant at Home Shopping Network since 2002, has been named president of HSN U.S. Nealon will be in charge of the domestic TV and Internet retailing businesses at the St. Petersburg company. She replaces Bob Rosenblatt, who on Monday was appointed to a new post developing e-commerce businesses for the network's parent, InterActiveCorp.
$15.1-BILLION DEBT FOR PARMALAT: Parmalat, the bankrupt Italian food conglomerate, released findings of its new auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, that showed its debt to be eight times the amount reported in its financial statements, placing the company's accounting discrepancy at more than $15.1-billion. The company said Monday its net debt minus liquid assets was $18-billion at the end of September, far more than the 1.8-billion euros reported earlier. Former Parmalat executives, many of whom are in jail, also overstated earnings by five times and sales by 35 percent in the company's statement for the first nine months of 2003.
HOLLINGER FIGHTS BLACK: Hollinger International Inc. fired back at controlling shareholder Conrad Black on Monday, suing to block his deal to sell the company to the Barclay brothers of Britain. Hollinger also adopted a "poison pill" measure that would allow minority shareholders to take a greater stake in the company in an attempt to stop a sale.
CAR FINANCING DISCRIMINATORY?: Undisclosed auto financing charges cost consumers $1-billion each year, and blacks and Hispanics are particular targets, a consumer advocacy group said Monday. When a car buyer arranges financing through an auto dealer, lenders quote a finance rate based on the buyer's credit history. In some cases, dealers are increasing that rate by several percentage points and sharing the profit with lenders, the Consumer Federation of America said. The National Automobile Dealers Association responded that the charges are fair compensation for dealers who set up financing.
FP&L TO SELL BONDS: Florida Power & Light Co. plans to sell $240-million of 32-year first mortgage bonds as soon as today, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter who declined to be identified. Bank of America Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. are managing the offering, Bloomberg said. The debt to be sold is rated Aa3 at Moody's Investors Service and A at Standard & Poor's. Florida Power & Light is a unit of FPL Group Inc., which is based in June Beach.
LUXOTTICA DEALS FOR COLE: Eyeglass company Cole National Corp. has agreed to be acquired by Italy's Luxottica SpA in a $401-million deal that will boost Luxottica's share of the U.S. eyeglass market to 24 percent, almost 10 times the presence of the next largest player, Wal-Mart. Luxottica, which operates the LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut International chains, is offering $21.50 for each Cole share, or a premium of more than 60 percent from the company's share price on Oct. 8. At that time, Cole said it had received an unsolicited bid of $19.65 a share, or $321-million, from a party it declined to identify. Cole, based in Cleveland, has more than 1,200 stores in North America.