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    A German automobile consortium has driven off with a key prize in the race for self-driving car technology, with a winning €2.8 billion bid for telecom-equipment maker Nokia's Here Communications mapping division. But the buyers -- Volkswagen's Audi (AUDVF), Bayerische Motoren Werke (BAMXF)   and Daimler -- have pledged to make the technology available to all automotive manufacturers.

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    Clean energy company NextEra Energy Partners (NEP) said it would buy NET Midstream, a privately held company that develops natural gas pipeline assets, in a deal valued at $2.1 billion. NextEra Energy Partners (NEP) said the deal would give it seven natural gas pipelines in Texas, with the capacity to carry 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day and the potential to expand by an additional 1 bcf.

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    Renewable energy company NextEra Energy Partners (NEP) said it would buy NET Midstream, a privately held company that develops natural gas pipeline assets, for $2.1 billion. The deal will give NextEra seven natural gas pipelines in Texas. NextEra Energy Inc (NEE), which formed NextEra Energy Partners (NEP) to buy and manage clean-energy projects, reported a better-than-expected profit on Monday.

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    Pharmaceutical company Shire Plc (SHPG) said it had bought New York-based Foresight Biotherapeutics Inc for $300 million in cash, gaining access to a late-stage therapy being developed for the treatment of pink eye. Shire, which formed an ophthalmics unit in May last year, is awaiting a U.S. FDA decision on its dry-eye disease treatment, lifitegrast.

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    The following are mergers under. APPROVALS AND WITHDRAWALS. -- German insurer Axa Konzern and Compugroup Medical Mobile DTL to set up a joint venture. NEW LISTINGS. -- Dutch chipmaker NXP to acquire U.S. peer Freescale. EXTENSIONS AND OTHER CHANGES. -- Oilfield services provider Halliburton (HAL) to buy rival Baker Hughes (BHI) in a stock and cash transaction. FIRST-STAGE REVIEWS BY DEADLINE.

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    The following bids, mergers, acquisitions. ** HSBC Holdings Plc agreed to sell its Brazilian unit to Banco Bradesco SA for $5.2 billion, retreating from the second-largest emerging market economy after years of disappointing performance.

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    * To receive $85 million in cash. * Sale is Nice's second since May. * Company to focus on analytics business. By Steven Scheer. Israeli software provider Nice Systems (NICE) is selling its video surveillance technologies unit to private equity firm Battery Ventures for up to $100 million, its second divestment in three months as it focuses more on its analytics business.

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    D.C. United has hired an architect and surveyed potential corporate ticket buyers about seating preferences as it moves forward with plans to build its new stadium in Southwest D.C.Populous, the Kansas City-based sports design and architecture firm that designed Camden Yards and Nationals Park, will also design the United stadium after the team signed the firm in late July.The firm was considered a likely choice because of its work on behalf of the team a year ago, when Populous produced renderings of a possible stadium on Buzzard Point for the team to use in marketing materials.“We have been working with them for over a year and have developed a comfort level in terms of their experience in the region, in this particular field and in our communication with them,” said Tom Hunt, United chief operating officer.While new soccer-dedicated stadiums have already been built for most other Major League Soccer teams, United still plays in the too-large and deteriorating RFK Stadium. Jon Knight and Joe Spear, Populous senior principals, said they wanted to create a stadium that would bring fans close to the action, offering an intimacy that Spear said could feel “intimidating for the opposing teams.”“We want to create what I would say is a first-class experience for fans in D.C. that have stood by the team and have had to endure watching games in a football stadium, which is not ideal,” Knight said.Then-known as HOK Sport, Populous helped usher in a new era of ballpark design with the brick, retro feel of Camden Yards. The company has worked on other local facilities including M&T Bank Stadium, home to the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens, and Georgetown University’s basketball training center, as well as Major League Soccer stadiums in Houston, Kansas City, Denver and Orlando.The design of Nationals Park isn’t celebrated in every corner. When it debuted in 2008, Washington Post architecture critic Philip Kennicott praised the park’s sight lines but concluded that it was “a machine for baseball and for sucking the money out of the pockets of people who like baseball, and it makes no apologies about its purely functional design.”Spear said the United design will be distinct from Nationals Park in part because of the importance of connecting to the neighborhood around it. “This stadium should be transformative not just for the soccer fans but for the neighborhood. This should make that the place to be,” Spear said.Populous will have to contend with an agreement allowing Pepco (POM) to run electrical lines beneath the field, near to a new substation the utility is planning. “Anytime you design or build on a site in an urban area like this, you’re going to have issues you have to deal with and it’s just a matter of turning those problems into opportunities,” Spear said.In June, officials with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and the team reached final agreement on a deal for the stadium, but the city must still finalize acquisition of the needed land by Sept. 30. There are deals in place to acquire all but one parcel owned by developer Akridge.Mayoral spokesman Joaquin McPeek said the city would meet the deadline but was still “in discussions” with Akridge about how to acquire its land.Knight and Spear said they did not know if development of ancillary buildings for restaurants, shops and possibly a hotel along Half Street SW, which are included in the stadium plan, would be erected with the stadium or later.Many other details of the United stadium are still being worked out as well, including how many seats it would have — somewhere around or above 20,000 — and how seating areas would be configured and sold.To firm up its plans, the team sent a lengthy survey to local corporations and businesses recently asking about stadium preferences.Survey respondents were asked to rank the importance of parking, in-stadium restaurants, tailgating space and amenities such as “local and craft brewery beverage” choices, mobile food ordering, child care facilities, wireless Internet and post-game entertainment such as concerts or fireworks.The survey asks about a variety of general and club seating options, including “wider, padded” seats enjoying access to private club space or indoor lounges. The very high-end possible “Director’s Box” seats could include access to stylish, air-conditioned lounges, all-inclusive food and beverage service, and the first right to purchase tickets to all other events held at the stadium, but which could cost as much as $6,000 for the year, or $353 per game.The survey indicates that the team plans to hold focus groups to gather more information from interested buyers.Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz






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    The Brazilian government is seeking 1 billion euros from French insurer CNP Assurances to renew a distribution agreement with state lender Caixa Econômica Federal, French newspaper Les Echos reported. The demand could leave the French company - whose main shareholder is the state-backed lender Caisse des Depots with a 41 percent stake - needing to raise new capital, the business daily said.

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    Banco Bradesco SA agreed to buy HSBC Holdings Plc's Brazilian unit for 17.6 billion reais, narrowing the gap with larger rivals while boosting its base of affluent customers in Latin America's largest economy. The deal between Bradesco and Europe's largest banks includes the latter's Brazilian retail banking and insurance units.