Federal prosecutors are considering whether to pursue manslaughter charges against BP managers for decisions made before the Gulf of Mexico oil well explosion last year that killed 11 workers and caused the biggest offshore spill in US history, according to three people familiar with the matter. US investigators also are examining statements made by leaders of the companies involved in the spill including former BP CEO Tony Hayward during congressional hearings last year to determine whether their testimony was at odds with what they knew, one of the people said. Charging individuals would be significant to environmental-safety cases because it might change behaviour, said Jane Barrett , a law professor at the University of Maryland .
Goldman partners sell shares, stake slides
Goldman Sachss elite partners have sold $108 million in shares in recent months, driving their total ownership stake in the Wall Street firm down to almost 10 %, from 11.2 %. The sales are a small yet significant dilution of the influence the partners have over the firm. Part of the power of the Goldman partnership is the stake they own collectively, and the agreement they have made to act in unison on shareholder votes. The next annual shareholder meeting has not been set, but it is typically held in May. Goldmans 483 partners sold 655,120 shares in the two months ending in late January, regulatory filings show. The average sale price was roughly $162 a share. The sell-off is a jump compared with the 60 days before the end of November, when partners sold shares valued at $75.5 million.
Statoil puts $10-bn UK plan on hold after tax jump
Statoil, Norway s biggest energy producer, put on hold a $10 billion plan to develop the Mariner and Bressay fields in the UK and said it will be less likely to buy British assets after a tax increase. Statoil was developing the Mariner and Bressay heavy oil fields off the UK and had scheduled production to start by 2017. It paid Nautical Petroleum 87.5 million pounds ($140 million) for 21% of Mariner in September, raising its stake to 65.1%. The new taxes are tremendously negative, Peter Mellbye, Statoils head of international development and production, said on Monday in an interview in Oslo. We had a concept that was profitable, but a large part of this profitability has now been lost through the tax increase, so we have to rethink whether we can proceed with these projects.
Nokia files new patent case against Apple
Nokia said on Tuesday it had filed another complaint with the US trade panel alleging that rival Apple infringes Nokia patents in virtually all of its products. Last Friday Apple won a round in its patent fight with Nokia as the United States International Trade Commission judge ruled that the US company did not violate any of five Nokia patents. On Tuesday Nokia filed a new case relating to seven patents in areas of multi-tasking operating systems, data synchronization, positioning, call quality and the use of Bluetooth accessories. Our latest ITC filing means we now have 46 Nokia patents in suit against Apple, many filed more than 10 years before Apple made its first iPhone, Paul Melin, Nokias vice president, intellectual property, said in a statement. Legal disputes between the two technology groups are also being heard in courts in the United States, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Oracle buoys billionaire Icahn with Lawson software offer
Traders that profit from mergers and acquisitions are betting the $1.8 billion takeover of Lawson Software will get trumped by a higher offer, with Oracle the most likely bidder. Lawson Software, which counts billionaire investor Carl Icahn as one of its biggest shareholders, has risen 4.4 % above the offer of $11.25 a share from Infor and Golden Gate Capital disclosed March 11. Thats more than any US deal over $500 million. Oracle, the second-biggest seller of business applications software, may buy Lawson, whose clients include Safeway and Volvo AB. Oracle stands to profit from Lawson Softwares medical records and supply-chain management businesses, which analysts estimate will help push companys earnings to a record this year.