NEWS AT A GLANCE
ABN sale nears finish line
A group led by Royal Bank of Scotland emerged on top in the months-long battle for ABN Amro. If ABN accept the $101 billion offer, it will be the biggest banking merger in history. Rival bidder Barclays conceded defeat this morning, and is requesting a break fee of about $280 million. (Reuters) Royal Bank’s partners are Spain’s Banco Santander and Dutch-Belgium bank Fortis. (MarketWatch) The recent credit market upheaval helped sink Barclays’ mostly stock bid, but it could also make ABN less valuable. “ABN Amro may not turn out to be the prize that both parties thought six months ago,” said Panmure Gordon analyst Sandy Chen. (Bloomberg)
The Recording Industry Association of America, representing six record labels, won a $220,000 verdict in its first music-sharing lawsuit to go to trial. A federal jury found that Jammie Thomas, a 30-year-old Minnesota woman, had illegally shared 24 songs over file-sharing site Kazaa. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) Many of the 30,000 people sued by the RIAA have settled, for an average of $4,000. (The New York Times, free registration required) The RIAA said the verdict would help deter Internet music privacy, but analysts were skeptical. “It’s still a one-horse race, and piracy is the lead horse,” said Eric Garland of BigChampagne. (Los Angeles Times, free registration required)
Microsoft bids for your health records
Microsoft launched a free HealthVault service, entering the increasingly crowded field of electronic medical-record sites. The site allows individuals or physicians they authorize to upload and access medical records, insurance information, prescriptions, and other data through a secure database. (Los Angeles Times, free registration required) HealthVault also offers a medical search engine, which will help fund the broader initiative. But about 80 percent of doctors in private practice don’t keep electronic records. Health care is “where other industries were in the 1980s” in business technology, said Lynne Dunbrack of research group Health Industry Insights. (The Seattle Times)
Meeting the new neighbors
RainbowVision—a year-old, majority-gay retirement community on the outskirts of Santa Fe, N.M.—is facing a problem common to condos in this real estate slump: about half of the 120 units are unoccupied. But along with the usual concerns this prompts, some of the 80 percent of current residents who are gay or lesbian are leery of being overrun by straight retirees. As straight couples and singles trickle in, however, wary residents are finding that these newcomers can be good neighbors. “It’s kind of like the opposite direction,” said gay resident Roger Bergstrom, 77. “When you get to know them, you love them.” (Los Angeles Times, free registration required)
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