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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Boston Scientific increases reserves for Guidant suits

THE REGION

Boston Scientific Corp. has reserved another $101 million to defend itself against lawsuits over defibrillators made by Guidant Corp., the heart-device maker it acquired for $27 billion last year. The Natick medical-device company has set aside $485 million to pay for legal costs related to Guidant, it said in a filing this week, up from $384 million in September. Approximately 1,175 lawsuits have been filed over Guidant's defibrillators. (Stephen F. Heuser)

Shares drop 4.7% after management shake-up
Shares of drug maker Sepracor Inc. closed lower a day after the company revealed a management change that curtailed hopes of a potential takeover. Shares lost $2.44, or 4.7 percent, to close at $49.45. The Marlborough drug maker said it named Adrian Adams president and chief operating officer, replacing W. James O'Shea, who was appointed to the new position of vice chairman. (AP)

THE NATION

Unknown investors sued by SEC for insider trading
Federal regulators charged that unknown investors pocketed more than $5.3 million in illegal profits from insider trading before TXU Corp. said it had agreed to be sold for $32 billion. The Securities and Exchange Commission said the insider trading was done through foreign brokerage firms to conceal the investors' identities. SEC lawyers in Fort Worth filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Chicago seeking restitution and civil fines against unknown defendants who bought options on TXU shares last week. (AP)

BBC opens three channels on video download site
The British Broadcasting Corp. began showing excerpts from its news and entertainment programs on the YouTube video-sharing site, becoming the first international broadcaster to ink a major deal with the portal owned by Google Inc. In an agreement that analysts described as a key step for both, the BBC is offering three branded channels on the site, including one showing up to 30 news clips a day. The deal gives the BBC access to millions more viewers and gives YouTube the credibility of the venerable British broadcaster. (AP)

EMI rejects $4.1b takeover bid from Warner Music
EMI Group PLC, the world's third-largest music company, rejected a $4.1 billion takeover bid from Warner Music Group Corp. as too low. The bid was a 17 percent per-share premium to EMI's closing share price Feb. 19, the day before it said it received an approach from Warner Music. EMI called the proposal "inadequate." EMI and Warner abandoned $4.6 billion offers for each other in July on concern a combination would be blocked by European Union regulators. (Bloomberg)

Fed warns banks about subprime loan standards
The Federal Reserve, seeking to limit defaults that have roiled the subprime mortgage-lending market, told banks to scrutinize their underwriting standards and be more transparent with customers about borrowing risks. Lenders must disclose more information about products such as adjustable-rate mortgages to people with poor credit histories and make sure borrowers are able to repay the loans, according to guidelines issued by the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and other US regulators. The guidelines reflect growing concern among regulators about an increase in mortgage defaults by homeowners with weak credit after late payments last quarter rose to the highest level in four years. (Bloomberg)

THE WORLD

Bayer to cut 6,100 jobs, shutter facility in Conn.
Drug maker Bayer AG said it will cut 6,100 jobs, or 5.5 percent of its workforce, as it integrates Schering AG into its healthcare unit. More than half of the cuts will be in Europe, but about 1,000 positions will be eliminated in the United States. Bayer acquired Schering last year for $22.4 billion and said it would have to cut thousands of jobs as the two companies combined operations. All 1,000 US cuts are in the pharmaceutical division. As part of the consolidation, Bayer previously said it will close its research operation in West Haven, Conn., eliminating 800 jobs. (AP)

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