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BUSINESS NEWS

28 Aug 28, 2008. Finmeccanica, S.p.A. (FNC.MI) and DRS Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: DRS) announced today that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have granted early termination of the waiting period, effective August 27, 2008, under the Hart- Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (HSR), in connection with DRS’s proposed merger with Finmeccanica. As announced on May 12, 2008, Finmeccanica and DRS entered into a definitive merger agreement in which Finmeccanica will acquire DRS for US$81 per share. Completion of HSR review was one of the conditions for the consummation of the merger. The merger continues to be subject to, among other conditions, certain other regulatory approvals, as well as the approval of DRS’s stockholders. DRS has scheduled a special meeting of stockholders for September 25, 2008 to vote on the merger.

08 Sep 08. Finmeccanica said on Monday its board of directors approved a previously announced capital increase of up to €1.4bn($2.01bn) through the issue of new shares. “The board will set the issue price, the number of shares to be issued and therefore the final size of the capital increase and of the option allocation ratio,” it said, adding the conditions for the sale would be set at a subsequent board meeting. (Source: Reuters)

06 Sep 08. National Semiconductor Corp. posted a 7% drop in fiscal-first-quarter net income as lower sales offset improved profit margins. The Santa Clara, Calif., company also gave a fiscal-second-quarter revenue outlook below Wall Street’s estimates. The maker of analog chips that help run cellphones, cars and high-definition televisions posted net income of $79.6m for the
quarter ended Aug. 24, down from $85.6m a year earlier. On a per-share basis, earnings rose to 33 cents from 30 cents as stock buybacks reduced the number of shares outstanding by about 15%. Sales fell 1.3% to $465.6m, within the company’s forecast of $460m to $475m. Gross margin rose to 66% from 63%, driven by a strong manufacturing performance, cost efficiencies and a product mix that included more higher-value analog products. Some analysts had worried it would be difficult for National Semiconductor to keep gross margin at 65%, especially if a seasonal shift toward the sale of more consumer-related products occurred. Weakness in Europe also was viewed as a concern. Bookings fell 7% from the fiscal fourth quarter, while inventories were flat. Total billings exceeded bookings in the first quarter. For the fiscal second quarter, National Semiconductor sees sales of $470m to $480m. Analysts were expecting $485m. (Source: WSJ)

08 Sep 08. iRobot Corp. (Nasdaq: IRBT) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Nekton Research, LLC, an unmanned underwater robot and technology company based in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. The transaction is expected to close by September 12, 2008. Nekton has been instrumental in shaping the underwater marketplace during the past 6 years by supporting customers such as the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Naval Undersea Warfare Command (NUWC), the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). “We believe that the underwater market is the next frontier for robots” said Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairman of iRobot. “This acquisition positions us for leadership in robot solutions on both the land and sea.” Terms of the merger agreement include a cash payment of $10m with the potential for additional consideration of up to $5m, based on the achievement of certain business and financial milestones. The impact on iRobot 2008 revenue will be minimal and in 2009 the anticipated product and contract revenue will be $6-8m. The transaction is estimated to be $0.02 dilutive to earnings per share in 2008 and $0.02-0.03 in 2009 due to expected investments by iRobot to productize the Nekton Ranger prototype. (Source: Shephard)

04 Sep 08. IHS Inc. (NYSE:IHS), a leading global source

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