- Communications equipment maker Avaya Inc. announced that it received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection to a company it had acquired, as part of an investigation into that company’s former parent, NorthWestern Corp.
The SEC, which has been investigating NorthWestern’s accounting practices, issued a subpoena to its former subsidiary Expanets Inc. in December. Avaya obtained possession of the records that are the subject of the subpoena as a result of the company’s November 2003 acquisition of substantially all the assets and certain liabilities of Expanets. In January 2004 the SEC issued a subpoena directly to Avaya, requesting the production of substantially similar documents.
The company said is cooperating with both NorthWestern and the SEC in responding to the requests.
- Moody’s Investors Service today affirmed the Baa2 senior unsecured ratings and Prime-2 short-term ratings of Kellogg Co. and changed the outlook on Kellogg’s ratings to positive from stable. Moody’s added that the outlook change is based on Kellogg’s solid operating performance in the highly competitive packaged food industry, the company’s steady pace of leverage reductions following its 2001 acquisition of Keebler, its solid liquidity profile, and Kellogg’s strong internal cash-generation capabilities.
- Moody’s also reported that the global speculative-grade corporate bond default rate dropped slightly, to 5.1 percent in January from 5.2 percent at the end of 2003. On a dollar-volume basis, however, the global speculative-grade default rate rose slightly last month, to 6 percent from 5.7 percent in December. The rate peaked at 23 percent in November 2002.
- PeopleSoft announced that antitrust officials have recommended the Justice Department sue to block Oracle’s $9.4 billion hostile bid, effectively ending an eight-month investigation into whether the deal could hurt competition in the software industry.
- Cendant Corp. declared its first quarterly cash dividend and said it may buy back an additional $750 million of common stock.