AA settles Sept. 11 suit
American Airlines (AA) and its insurers have settled a long-running legal battle with financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658 employees when terrorists crashed a hijacked airliner into New York’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed when the agreement was announced in federal court in the state. Cantor Fitzgerald had sought nearly US$1.1 billion in damages above insurance payments. The New York Times reported that the firm later reduced its demand to between US$400 million and US$500 million. The case had been scheduled for trial in January. In 2001, Cantor Fitzgerald’s headquarters were in the top floors of the north tower, which was struck by American Airlines Flight 11. The firm accused the airline of negligence in allowing hijackers to board the plane and crash it into the tower.
Qualcomm names new CEO
Qualcomm Inc, the world’s largest maker of chips for mobile phones, promoted Steve Mollenkopf to CEO, elevating an official who was said to be a candidate for the top job at Microsoft Corp. Mollenkopf, 44, who had previously been chief operating officer, will become CEO on March 4, the San Diego, California-based company said in a statement on Friday. He will join the board and continue to serve as Qualcomm president. CEO Paul Jacobs, 51, will become executive chairman. The move marks the first time that the nearly three-decades-old chimaker has picked a leader from outside the founding Jacobs family. Mollenkopf’s promotion rules him out as a replacement for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Charter eyes Time Warner
Cable TV operator Charter Communications Inc is preparing to send a letter offering to buy the much larger Time Warner Cable Inc for below US$135 per share as early as tomorrow. That is according to a person familiar with the matter, who was unauthorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The news was reported earlier by the New York Times’ DealBook blog. The offer would value Time Warner Cable at up to US$38 billion and represents a small premium to the New York company’s closing price of US$131.41, up US$0.35, on Friday. However, shares have risen from the mid-US$90s in June, largely on takeover speculation. The person said the offer would be in cash and stock, and that Charter has lined up US$25 billion in debt to help finance the deal.
Toyota to begin settlements
After a four-year legal battle, Toyota Motor Corp is entering settlement talks on nearly 400 US lawsuits that allege sudden unintended acceleration problems with its vehicles led to deaths and injuries. Joint motions filed late on Thursday at the US District Court in Santa Ana and the Los Angeles County Superior Court in California indicated that both sides would begin an “intensive settlement process” next month. The Japanese automaker, which has recalled millions of cars since 2009 over the acceleration issue, agreed to the negotiations to make resolving the cases more efficient, spokeswoman Carly Schaffner told reporters on Friday. “We continue to stand behind the safety and quality of our vehicles,” she said.