Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WSJ Top News Tuesday, Jan 19

JAL Files for Bankruptcy
TOKYO -- Japan Airlines Corp launches Wednesday a painful three-year restructuring that will significantly shrink its operations to make it a viable financial concern, after the former flag carrier suffered the ignominy of filing one of the country's largest-ever bankruptcy protection petitions.

A pillar of Japan Inc. founded in 1951 to help the country rise out of the ashes of World War II, JAL Tuesday sought court protection for help in handling a crushing debt load of $25 billion, a level well above its cash flow.

NBC To Pay Conan O'Brien $40 million
Conan O'Brien is close to signing a nearly $40 million deal to walk away from his dream job hosting NBC's "The Tonight Show," bringing down the curtain on one of the entertainment industry's biggest debacles in years.
The comedian's exit agreement, which could be completed as early as Tuesday, bars Mr. O'Brien from bad-mouthing his former NBC bosses, according to people familiar with the matter, but paves the way for him to land another television gig within a year.
The expected departure ends a nearly two-week public spectacle that engulfe
Senate Race in Massachusetts Key to Health Bill
White House and Senate Democratic officials said Monday that they believed asking the House to pass the Senate health bill unchanged was likely to be their best hope if their party loses a Senate seat in Massachusetts. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office signaled Monday that the House wouldn't go along with that, and the bill's fate dimmed.

A defeat in Massachusetts would not only deprive Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate but also underscore the unpopularity of the health legislation and possibly lead some wavering party members to reverse their support.

Cadbury accepts Kraft's offer
Kraft Foods Inc. on Tuesday clinched a deal to acquire Cadbury PLC for £11.9 billion ($19.44 billion), in a trans-Atlantic tie-up that ends the nearly 200-year independence of Britain's most famous candy company.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703837004575012330202258818.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEADNewsCollection

Sweden calls for EU to levy U.S.-style tax on banks
BRUSSELS--Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said Tuesday he is proposing to his European Union colleagues to apply a levy on banks similar to the one being discussed by the U.S. administration.
"The financial system should pay for the actual cost it incurs to society and the taxpayers in the form of implicit state guarantees for systemically important banks," Mr. Borg wrote in a letter to Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado, who chairs the two-day meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels.

Detroit Pistons'  owner asks $47 million for Snowmass estate
Roaming through her 10,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom vacation home, clad in a gray hooded sweatshirt, Karen Davidson said it was time for a change. "It's got everything but a post office," she said of her 10-acre property here, which in addition to the main house also has two guest houses, a former stable and two barns. "I just want to downsize."

On Dec. 29 Ms. Davidson—whose husband Bill Davidson, owner of the Detroit Pistons, died last March at age 86—put her property on the market. The asking price: $47 million, making the estate, called Stony Creek Ranch, one of the most expensive listings in the country, in a resort area that has been hard-hit by the housing bust. In 2006, four area homes priced at $20 million or more sold; in 2009, just one did. After more than a year on the market, the asking price of a $60 million home on 44 acres in West Buttermilk was cut earlier this month to $47.5 million.

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