Kodak fights to keep key staff
Eastman Kodak Co is seeking permission to pay about 300 executives and other employees a total of US$13.5 million in bonuses to persuade them to stay with the company as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. The Rochester-based photography company said the targeted employees have knowledge and skills critical to help the business emerge from bankruptcy and would be difficult to replace if they left to pursue other offers. They include 119 middle managers who would share US$8.5 million of the sum. Also this week, Kodak told retirees it has withdrawn for now its motion to end supplemental health care benefits for about 16,000 retirees eligible for US government medical insurance. The company will instead create a retirees committee to examine the issues.
TPG plans bid for Elpida
TPG Capital plans to bid for Elpida Memory Inc, the Japanese memorychip maker that filed for bankruptcy protection, a person familiar with the matter said. Gaining control of Tokyo-based Elpida, which was bailed out by the Japanese government and banks in 2009, will give the buyer access to 12 percent of the global market for dynamic random-access memorychips, used in computers. Hynix Semiconductor Inc, the world’s second-largest maker of such semiconductors, has also submitted an initial proposal for Elpida, which was delisted from the stock market last month. TPG and China’s Hony Capital Ltd (弘毅投資) are preparing to make a joint bid for Elpida, the Nikkei Shimbun reported yesterday, without citing anyone.
Japan, China to cooperate
Japanese and Chinese finance ministers yesterday agreed to cooperate over contributions to the IMF amid efforts to help subdue Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi and Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren (謝旭人) met in Tokyo as part of their regular dialogue, Jiji Press and Kyodo News reported. Azumi said that the two countries would discuss further funding to strengthen the IMF’s financial bases so that the Washington-based multilateral lender can play a more active role in preventing Europe’s debt crisis from dragging down global economic growth. After providing loans to help debt-wracked countries such as Greece, IMF chief Christine Lagarde has asked members to give the fund an extra US$500 billion for possible future bailouts. The issue is expected to be top of the agenda at a meeting of finance ministers from the G20 on April 20.
Roche may boost bid
Roche Holding AG said it is willing to study “additional value” in its bid for Illumina Inc after a proxy-advisory firm recommended that the target company’s shareholders reject the hostile offer. Roche’s concession was tied to “the opportunity to enter discussions and perform due diligence” in preparation for a possible deal, the Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Institutional Shareholder Services had said earlier yesterday that Roche’s US$6.7 billion bid undervalues San Diego-based Illumina, a maker of machines that search the human genome for ways to defeat disease. Egan-Jones Ratings Co also recommended that Roche’s proposals, including a slate of new directors, be rejected, according to a statement by Illumina. The advice may prompt Roche to raise its offer for Illumina a second time, said Lionel Melka, co-manager of Bernheim, Dreyfus & Co’s Diva Synergy Fund.