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BUSINESS NEWS

12 Oct 07. GE a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, was down more than 2%, focusing on headwinds in the company’s health-care division and its reliance on tax breaks to offset some operational setbacks. For the third quarter, the Fairfield, Conn.-based company said net earnings were $5.54bn, or 54 cents a share, up from $4.87bn, or 47 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 12% to $42.53bn from $37.87bn a year earlier. Earnings from continuing operations and excluding one-time charges rose 7% to $5.09bn, or 50 cents a share, in line with the Wall Street consensus estimate.

12 Oct 07. Oracle Corp. made a $6.66bn offer for business-management software maker BEA Systems Inc. which has been under pressure from investor Carl Icahn to consider a sale of the company. Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., sent a letter to BEA’s board offering $17 a share, a 25% premium on Thursday’s closing price of $13.62. Oracle said it is prepared to proceed immediately to a definitive pact. “We believe our all-cash offer provides the best value for BEA’s shareholders and the best home for BEA’s employees and customers,” said Oracle President Charles Phillips. “This proposal is the culmination of repeated conversations with BEA’s management over the last several years. We look forward to completing a friendly transaction as soon as possible.” The offer comes as Mr. Icahn has been raising his stake in BEA Systems. Mr. Icahn recently received antitrust clearance to increase his stake to 13% from 11% after increasing his holdings in recent weeks, while continuing to call for a sale. BEA’s stock has declined steadily over the past year. Before Mr. Icahn purchased his stake, the stock price was down 24% from its 52-week high last October, a drop that wiped out about $1.5bn in shareholder wealth. Two months ago the stock was trading at $11.25. BEA has been beating back speculation of a sale for some time. In September, Kevin Faulkner, the company’s head of investor relations, said it had no intention of following Mr. Icahn’s advice, saying BEA would get “buried inside a larger sales force.” Specifically, Mr. Faulkner cited the string of software companies acquired in recent years by Oracle, which he said have suffered as Oracle used them to bolster its overall sales growth. Mr. Phillips said Friday that Oracle’s “continued support commitment has been amply demonstrated” by previous acquisitions, adding, “BEA will be no different.” BEA makes software that supports business activities such as billing, supply-chain management and securities trading, by communicating between those programs and back-end systems like databases. Such business software has been in high demand as companies move more of their tasks onto the Web, but competition has held down prices.

17 Oct 07. United Technologies Corp. said Wednesday that a slowing U.S. economy and moderating overseas growth will make 2008 a challenging year for the industrial conglomerate, putting pressure on shares in midday trading. The comments followed the release of the Hartford, Conn.-based company’s third-quarter results, where net income soared 20% as strong profit growth in its helicopter and elevator units offset a slump in its Carrier air conditioning
business. “Clearly, as we move forward, 2008 looks to be a more difficult environment and that’s no surprise,” said Greg Hayes, vice president of accounting and finance. “It is about housing and it is about a slowing U.S. economy, and it is coming off the very high growth rates that we have seen.”

15 Oct 07. Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd announces that as of today, it will be called Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. During the past year Rafael has undergone an extensive process aimed at evaluating its business activities and creating an updated strategic plan that would enable the company to fulfill its national obligations and achieve its business objectives while retaining its vital h

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