Saudi Arabia promises small oil increase

Saudi Arabia, at an energy summit it convened Sunday, said it would raise oil output by 200,000 barrels a day in July, to 9.7 million barrels. The vague promise was the only concrete result from the summit, attended by 35 nations. (The New York Times, free registration) Everyone agreed that surging demand from countries like China and India was contributing to the sharp rise in oil prices, but oil producing nations said speculative investment was to blame for the size of the increase, while oil consumers clamored for more supply. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) Oil futures rose after the summit. “I don’t think we’ll see a lot of downward price movement as a result of this meeting,” said analyst Mike Wittner at Societe Generale. (Bloomberg)

Bunge buys Corn Products

U.S. agriculture firm Bunge Ltd. agreed to buy Corn Products International Inc. for $4.4 billion, plus $414 million in Corn Products debt. The all-stock deal represents a 31 percent premium over Westchester, Ill.-based Corn Products’ closing price Friday. (AP in Corn Products, founded in 1906, makes corn syrup, starches, and other ingredients. Bunge, started in Amsterdam in 1818, is the world’s largest oilseed processor. (Bloomberg) The combined company would have about 33,000 employees in 40 countries. The deal comes as big agricultural firms are reaping hefty profits. “Despite the higher commodity prices, customer demand has been firm,” said Bunge CFO Jacqualyn Fouse. (Reuters)

Republic takes aim at Waste Management

Waste disposal firm Republic Services agreed to purchase rival Allied Waste Industries in an all-stock deal worth $6.09 billion. The combined company, 52 percent owned by Republic’s shareholders, would have a market capitalization of about $12 billion. (Reuters) Republic and Allied are second- and third-largest U.S. disposal firms, following No. 1 Waste Management. Together, with 35,000 employees, they would serve 13 million customers in 40 states and Puerto Rico. The new company would use the name Republic Services and remain based in Republic’s current Phoenix headquarters. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)

ABC, BlackBerrys, and the definition of overtime

When ABC News handed three new writers a waiver stipulating that after-hours BlackBerry checking did not constitute overtime, nobody there expected the resulting minor fracas. The Writers Guild of America, East, objected to the potential that BlackBerrys could lead to a “24/7 workplace,” especially without 24/7 compensation. But both sides say they were surprised when the dispute made its way into newspapers and cable news; it apparently touched on a broader cultural question. “People are entitled to time off the job,” says WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson. “BlackBerrys can be liberating,” he adds, “but they can also shackle people to their jobs.” (The New York Times, free registration)