Judge refuses to block merger
A judge refused to block a merger between American Airlines and US Airways on Friday, saying a bankruptcy judge correctly rejected arguments made by a lawyer for some consumers. San Francisco attorney Joseph Alioto argued that the deal would harm fliers because it would result in less competition and higher prices. However, US District Judge Loretta Preska repeatedly said that his arguments relied on outdated facts, had no evidence to support them and sometimes made no sense. American has said it plans to complete the merger with Tempe, Arizona-based US Airways on Monday. Preska said a federal bankruptcy judge was “correct in all respects” in deciding last week to let the merger proceed.
Ex-Goldman trader gets jail
Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc trader Matthew Taylor was sentenced on Friday to serve nine months in prison and pay US$118 million in restitution to his former employer after he pleaded guilty to pursuing an unauthorized US$8.3 billion futures trade in 2007. In imposing a sentence well below the 33-to-41-month term that the US Department of Justice had recommended, US District Judge William Pauley in New York castigated both Goldman and government authorities for failing to immediately address Taylor’s conduct when it occurred. The case is a “paradigm of everything that is wrong with Wall Street and the regulators charged with protecting the public,” Pauley said. Prosecutors claimed Taylor lied to supervisors and fabricated trades in December 2007 to conceal an US$8.3 billion position in Standard & Poor’s 500 E-mini futures contracts, which bet on the direction of that index. Goldman fired him shortly thereafter.
Countrywide settles US$500m
Bank of America Corp’s Countrywide unit won final approval of a US$500 million class-action settlement with investors who claimed they were duped into buying its mortgage-backed securities. US District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer in Los Angeles said the settlement was a fair outcome because her previous rulings prevented the investors from recovering damages from Bank of America as Countrywide’s parent and because the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said as recently as June that it might put Countrywide in bankruptcy. The settlement resolves claims that Countrywide misled investors in offering documents about the quality of the home loans that were pooled for the securities.
Drones a ‘fantasy’: EBay
EBay Inc chief executive officer John Donahoe called the delivery of products by drones — a project that rival Amazon.com Inc is working on — a fantasy. “We’re not really focusing on long-term fantasies,” Donahoe said in an interview with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television when she asked if he would be showing her a drone. “We’re working on things that will change consumers’ experiences on Friday,” he said. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said this week that the world’s largest e-commerce company is testing drones to deliver small packages, an initiative that he anticipates will happen within five years. The endeavor was met with resistance from regulators and skepticism from couriers.