Dewey warns of layoffs
The US law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf notified US attorneys and staff on Friday that they could face mass layoffs, in the starkest sign yet that Dewey could be on the verge of collapse. “Although we continue to pursue various avenues, it is possible that adverse developments could ultimately result in the closure of the firm, which would result in the termination of your employment,” the firm said in a letter to employees that was obtained by reporters. Dewey & LeBoeuf, once one of the biggest law firms in the US, has been struggling this year with growing debt, declining revenue and partner defections, which continued unabated on Friday. Since January, the firm has lost at least 120 of its 300 partners amid a mounting debt crisis. It has tried and failed to find a merger partner.
Yahoo chief’s ouster sought
A hedge fund with a large stake in Yahoo on Friday demanded the immediate ouster of chief executive Scott Thompson, saying he had lost credibility by misrepresenting his educational background. The move by the investment fund Third Point stepped up an ugly battle over control of the struggling Internet pioneer. Third Point, which failed to win an accord for a slate of Yahoo board members, said inaccuracies on the bios of Thompson and independent director Patti Hart should be cause for their removal. Yahoo acknowledged on Thursday an “inadvertent error” in the CEO’s online bio, which wrongly indicated that he had a degree in computer science. It said Hart, who had claimed a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics from Illinois State University, actually had a business administration degree with a specialty in marketing.
Micron likely to buy Elpida
US-based semiconductor maker Micron Technology is likely to buy ailing Japanese rival Elpida Memory for ￥200 billion (US$2.5 billion), the Yomiuri Shimbun said yesterday. Micron, the world’s fourth-largest chipmaker, made the “most favorable offers” in the bidding on Friday, and Elpida “highly praised” them, the Yomiuri reported, quoting unnamed sources. South Korea’s SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest microchip maker, dropped its bid, while offers made by a group of US and Chinese investment funds appeared less attractive for Elpida, Yomiuri said. Elpida’s administrators will provide Micron with the right to negotiate with Elpida as early tomorrow so that the two sides can discuss details before finalizing the deal, it said.
India wants to fine Reliance
India’s government has asked energy giant Reliance Industries to pay a US$1.25 billion penalty for a fall in gas production from its main oil fields, a company executive said on Friday. The government and investors have been concerned for months over Reliance’s declining gas output from its main D6 fields in the Krishna-Godavari basin off the coast of eastern India. The oil ministry’s notice to Reliance says it “failed to fulfill its obligations ... and willfully caused breaches, which led to immense loss and prejudice to the government and people of India,” Indian media reported. The reports said Reliance would not be permitted to recover the cost of its investments — US$457 million for the 2010 to last year period and US$778 million for last year and this year — from the sale of gas.