Business

Business Digest

Drinks

InBev NV slid to its lowest since 2006 in Brussels trading after Deutsche Bank analysts said the brewer risks hurting brands owned by Anheuser-Busch Cos. if its reported plan for a $46 billion bid is successful.

The Financial Times said May 23 that the world's largest brewer by sales was considering an offer to Anheuser at $65 a share and may publicly appeal to the St. Louis-based company's investors if rebuffed by Chief Executive Officer August Busch IV and the board. The report said InBev forecast $1.4 billion of cost savings by 2011 with a deal.

Deutsche Bank also cut Anheuser, the largest U.S. beer company, to “hold” from “buy” after the shares jumped above the analysts' $56 share-price target last week. Besides Budweiser, a transaction would combine Anheuser's Bud Lite, Busch and Michelob with InBev brands including Stella Artois, Beck's and Brahma. Neither company would comment to Bloomberg.

InBev fell 90 cents, or 1.9 percent, to 47 euros in Brussels trading. Anheuser, which rose to a record on May 23 following the FT report, rose 14 cents to $56.75 in New York. Bloomberg News

Computers

A New York judge concluded Tuesday that Dell Inc. engaged in repeated false and deceptive advertising of its promotional credit financing and warranties.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi ordered the computer retailer to more clearly disclose that most customers don't qualify for free financing or get “next day” repair service.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sued Dell last year. Teresi gave him until Dec. 1 to identify all consumer claims for third-party repairs, new computers or higher interest payments than they would have paid otherwise.

“For too long at Dell the promise of customer service was a bait and switch that left thousands of people paying for essentially no service at all,” Cuomo said. The attorney general's office had 700 complaints against Dell when the lawsuit was filed in May 2007 and has received more than 1,000 since, spokesman John Milgrim said.

Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn said the Round Rock, Texas-based company disagreed with the judge's decision, although it had not decided whether it will appeal. Associated Press

Oil

Exxon Mobil Corp. Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson will have a fight on his hands today to keep the two top jobs at the world's biggest publicly traded oil company, as some members of the Rockefeller family and other shareholders push to separate the roles.

In what's likely to be a raucous shareholder meeting in Dallas, much of the advance focus has been on a shareholder resolution to name an independent director as company chairman, essentially prohibiting Tillerson from holding that job and that of chief executive officer.

Tillerson, who received a compensation package last year valued at about $21.7 million, has served in both roles since 2006.

Descendants of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Exxon Mobil predecessor Standard Oil Corp., and a variety of institutional investors in the U.S. and abroad have lined up behind the proposal, which garnered the support of 40 percent of shareholders at last year's meeting.

Rockefeller family members and others have said they're concerned Irving-based Exxon Mobil is too focused on short-term gains from soaring oil prices and should do more to invest in cleaner technology for the future. Separating the leadership roles, they argue, would better position the company for challenges to come. Associated Press

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