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WellCare to offer 4.85-million shares

WellCare Health Plans Inc. of Tampa said it plans a public offering of 4.85-million shares of common stock. The company will sell 500,000 shares and will use the proceeds to support WellCare's growth. The remaining 4.35-million shares are being sold by existing shareholders who will retain the proceeds, the company said in a regulatory filing. Among selling shareholders is New York financier George Soros' TowerBrook Investors, which plans to reduce its WellCare holdings from 24.7 percent to 14.4 percent. WellCare operates Medicaid- and Medicare-managed care plans and has more than 1.4-million members nationwide.

PSC to consider new

storm-readiness rules

The Florida Public Service Commission agreed Monday to further consider PSC staff recommendations that it strengthen hurricane preparedness standards for Progress Energy Florida, Tampa Electric and other investor-owned electric utilities. The PSC is scheduled to vote March 21 on whether to formally review the benefits and costs of moving more overhead power lines underground and strengthening overhead power lines to withstand a Category 3 hurricane. The commission is scheduled to vote April 4 on what it will request utilities to include in hurricane plans they will be asked to file by June 1.

British utility to buy

New York distributor

British utility National Grid PLC has agreed to buy New York-based electricity and natural gas distributor KeySpan Corp. for $7.3-billion in a deal that would create the third-largest energy-delivery utility in the United States. National Grid said Monday that it would assume debt estimated at $4.5-billion. KeySpan shareholders will receive $42.00 in cash per share. Upon completion of the deal, National Grid will serve nearly 8-million customers in New York state and New England, the companies said.

Armor to acquire

military truck maker

Stewart & Stevenson Services Inc. agreed to be acquired by Armor Holdings Inc. in a deal that values the 104-year-old maker of military trucks at $755-million. Armor Holdings, a Jacksonville-based maker of bulletproof vests and vehicle armor, said it is paying $35 a share for Stewart & Stevenson, which represents a 29 percent premium over the company's closing price of $27.10 a share Friday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

T-bill rates rise

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction to the highest levels since early 2001. The Treasury Department auctioned $21-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.510 percent, up from 4.450 percent last week. An additional $19-billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 4.580 percent, up from 4.545 percent last week.

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