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COURT ALLOWS ABN AMRO'S SALE OF LASALLE UNIT

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS

ABN Amro's sale of its U.S. arm LaSalle to Bank of America was lawful, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled Friday - overturning a lower court's move blocking the sale, and now the $21-billion sale is virtually certain to succeed. However, the larger fight between Barclays PLC and a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland PLC to buy ABN Amro Holding NV will likely continue. "Now that the sale of LaSalle is definite, the interests of Bank of America and Barclays should be taken into account," the ruling said. Barclays has proposed an all-share merger with ABN worth 63-billion euros ($86-billion) or 34.05 euros ($46.48) per share at current levels. The RBS consortium's mostly cash offer is worth 70-billion euros ($95.6-billion) or 38.29 euros ($52.27) per share - but it was dependent on LaSalle remaining within ABN.

CHICAGO

Chicago Mercantile closes CBOT deal

CBOT Holdings Inc. and Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. said CME's $11.8-billion purchase of CBOT was completed Thursday. Shareholders approved the deal on Monday. The combined company - CME Group Inc., a CME/Chicago Board of Trade company - will be the world's largest one-stop futures and options market.

ST. LOUIS

Energizer to pay $1.16B for Playtex

Energizer Holdings Inc., known for its infinitely running bunny, will buy Playtex Products Inc. for $1.16-billion as the company expands its portfolio of personal care products. St. Louis-based Energizer is offering $18.30 per share for Playtex Products Inc., the companies said in announcing the deal late Thursday. The price represents an 18 percent premium over Playtex's closing stock price Thursday. Energizer's purchase of Playtex does not include Playtex Apparel Inc., a separate company that makes bras and other clothing.

BOSTON

Tweeter accepts $38M for assets

Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Inc. said Thursday it has accepted a $38-million bid for its assets as the best offer in the high-end electronics retailer's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bid from Schultze Asset Management was one of two offers that Tweeter said on June 26 it had received in the initial phase of a court-supervised auction. Other bidders were then given the chance to submit competing offers. Tweeter operates Sound Advice locations in Florida, including Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa. Tweeter has announced plans to close 49 of its 153 Sound Advice stores. The only closure in Florida will be a store in Miami.

BRADENTON

Beall's Outlet gets new leadership

Beall's Inc. on Friday put Conrad Szymanski in charge of reviving its 486-store Beall's Outlet unit that has been showing signs of stagnation and recently posted its first decline in sales among stores open more than a year. The Bradenton retailer hired an executive search firm to recruit a new president for the company's Beall's Department Stores chain that Szymanski headed the past 12 years.

Times staff and wires

COMING ON BOARD

The One Laptop Per Child program, which wants to give inexpensive laptop computers to the world's schoolchildren, said Friday that Intel Corp., the project's most powerful rival, would join the board of the nonprofit and contribute funding.

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