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Buffett's stamp is ego boost for manufacturer

By TIMES WIRES
Published December 27, 2007


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NEW YORK

When tycoon Warren Buffett's investment company said Christmas Day that it would pay $4.5-billion for a 60 percent stake in industrial conglomerate Marmon Holdings Inc., he gave the U.S. industrial segment a much-needed vote of confidence. Marmon has more than 125 manufacturing and service businesses and is owned by trusts of the Pritzker family of Chicago, which developed the Hyatt Hotel chain. The company has its collective hands in businesses across the transportation, energy and construction markets, with products ranging from railroad tank cars to metal fasteners. The acquisition, pending regulatory and other approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. At that time, Berkshire said Marmon "will make a substantial distribution of cash and certain assets to the selling shareholders."

TALLAHASSEE

$59B more pulled from state fund

Florida municipalities pulled close to $60-million Wednesday from an investment fund that has suffered $2.24-billion in redemptions since officials approved a plan to salvage it. Net withdrawals from the Local Government Investment Pool today totaled $59-million after deposits of $1 million, said the State Board of Administration. The portion of the fund accessible to counties and towns dropped to $9.8-billion, or 18 percent less than when it reopened Dec. 6 following an almost one-week suspension imposed to halt a run on assets. Local government investors have pulled more than $15-billion from the fund since they learned last month it held downgraded and defaulted debt tied to subprime mortgages. Excluding $1.75-billion of withdrawals from the fund in the first two days after it reopened, local governments have pulled an average of $41-million a day.

WILMINGTON, Del.

Electronics rivals sue over TV tech

Samsung Electronics Co. sued competitor Sharp Corp., Japan's largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, claiming it infringed four U.S. patents for the technology used in televisions and computer monitors. Sharp is wrongly importing "products and processes" protected by patents awarded since 2004, Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, claimed in a complaint filed Friday in federal court in Wilmington, Del. The action is part of a continuing battle between the two companies. In August, Sharp sued Samsung in federal court in Marshall, Texas, claiming infringement of five liquid-crystal patents. Sharp filed a similar patent lawsuit against Samsung in Seoul, South Korea, on Dec. 12.

RESTON, Va.

Sallie Mae to raise 2.5B in stock sale

SLM Corp., the government-backed student lender known as Sallie Mae, said Wednesday it will sell common and mandatory convertible preferred stock in public offerings to raise proceeds of $2.5-billion. UBS Investment Bank and Citi are acting as joint book-running managers for the offerings, totaling $1.5-billion worth of common stock and $1-billion of convertible preferred shares. The company said it will use about $2 billion of the proceeds to buy back 44-million shares under an outstanding equity forward purchase contract.

Times staff and wires

[Last modified December 27, 2007, 00:50:18]


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