News Briefs

Staples; Equity Office Properties Trust; Adelphia Communications; Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold; Accenture; FleetBoston; Circuit City; Cablevision Systems.

  • The Staples board of directors decided not to renew its “poison pill” shareholder rights plan when the plan expired earlier this year.
  • Equity Office Properties Trust issued $1 billion of 4.75 percent senior unsecured notes due March 15, 2014. It plans to use the cash to repay outstanding balances under the company’s $1 billion revolving credit facility and to settle two forward-starting interest-rate swaps.
  • Four banks agreed to underwrite $8.8 billion in loans to cable operator Adelphia Communications Corp. when it emerges from bankruptcy. The banks are J.P. Morgan Chase., Citigroup, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Deutsche Bank. This exit-financing package is more than four times the previous record set by Kmart when it received $2 billion in 2003 upon emerging from bankruptcy.
  • Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold raised $1 billion from the private placement of convertible perpetual preferred stock. The preferred stock will pay cash dividends at a rate of 5.5 percent yearly. The preferred stock will be convertible into 18.8 million shares of the company’s common stock, equivalent to a conversion price of $53.186 per share. That price reflects a 40 percent conversion premium to the company’s recent $37.99 per-share closing price.
  • Accenture CEO Joe Forehand will step down on September 1 after running the consultancy for five years. He will stay on as chairman, however.
  • A FleetBoston Financial branch in the Buenos Aires financial district was seized by bank industry employees demanding higher pay, according to Bloomberg.
  • Circuit City Stores said that it began expensing the value of stock options in the fourth quarter of 2003.
  • Cablevision Systems said it is preparing a $2 billion debt offering.

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