RBS plans $24 billion share offering

Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain’s No. 2 lender, is selling $23.7 billion in new shares to replenish depleted capital reserves. (Bloomberg) RBS also said it would sell about $8 billion in assets this year, and write down as much as $8.5 billion more. In the stock sale, RBS will offer stockholders 11 shares for every 18 they already hold, at $3.95 a share, a 46 percent discount to yesterday’s closing price. (MarketWatch) It is the largest rights offering in European history. “Investors will be pleased that it’s such a large amount,” said Mark Sartori at Fox-Pitt, Kelton. “They want RBS to raise some money so that the company can move forward.” (Reuters)

Murdoch adding Newsday to stable

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has agreed in principle to buy the New York daily Newsday from Tribune Co., in a deal worth about $580 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. Tribune Co. would retain a small stake in the paper, which would be run as a joint venture with News Corp.’s New York Post. (Bloomberg) The deal is expected to erase up to $50 million in annual losses at the Post. (Reuters) Separately, Marcus Brauchli, the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal—another News Corp. property—is stepping down, about a year after he was appointed to the top newsroom job. (MarketWatch)

Samsung chairman resigns

Samsung Chairman Lee Kun Hee, South Korea’s most powerful businessman, is stepping down after prosecutors accused him of tax evasion and breach of duty. Vice Chairman LeeHak Soo and President Kim In Joo will resign by the end of June, Samsung said, and Lee’s son and heir apparent, Lee Jae Yong, will lose executive rank and be transferred abroad. Samsung is Korea’s largest industrial group. (Reuters) Following Lee’s unexpected departure, independent management will oversee the business empire, ending more than 40 years of family rule. The “unprecedented” resignation marks “an end to the era of the Masters of the Universe,” said Tom Coyner of Soft Landing Consulting in Seoul. (Bloomberg)

Lockheed’s stealth plane’s stealthy retirement

Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense firm, reported a 6.8 percent rise in quarterly profits, to $730 million, beating analysts’ estimates. Higher U.S. government computer sales helped offset lower shipments of F-16 fighter jets. (Bloomberg) Another Lockheed fighter, the super-secret F-117A Night Hawk, is being retired tonight, as the last four of the pioneering stealth fighters are being quietly flown to a secret Nevada air force base. There were 59 of them built, at $45 million apiece. There will be no public ceremony. The F-117s are being replaced by the F-22, introduced in 2006. (Los Angeles Times, free registration)