Ground broken for Sands Bethworks

Bethlehem, Pa., city officials joined Las Vegas Corp. executives in the formal groundbreaking Monday for the $637 million Sands Bethworks on the 126-acre site of the historic Bethlehem Steel Mill.

The project’s first phase will include a 300-room hotel, a 200,000 square foot retail facility, 3,000 slot machines, and several dining and entertainment options.

Sands Bethworks will also be home to the National Museum of Industrial History, an arts and cultural center, and the broadcast home of the local Public Broadcasting Service affiliate.

“Bethlehem is a beautiful place and we are excited and ready to return this great landscape to its past glory,” Las Vegas Sands President Bill Weidner said.

Murdoch offers seats in bid for Dow Jones

Rupert Murdoch, seeking to woo Dow Jones & Co.’s controlling Bancroft family, offered members a seat on News Corp.’s board if they accept his $5 billion takeover offer.

In a letter to the family dated May 11, Murdoch also said he would invest more money in the Wall Street Journal and establish an autonomous editorial board for the newspaper. The family was to meet Monday to consider the offer, CNBC reported.

Murdoch is seeking to persuade at least some of the Bancrofts to change their mind and accept his $60-a-share offer. Members representing 52 percent of the voting power of Dow Jones rejected Murdoch’s May 1 offer and analysts have pegged the chances of his success at less than 40 percent.

Second 1031 exchange files for bankruptcy

1031 Tax Group LLC on Monday became the second company that serves as an intermediary in property exchanges to go into bankruptcy in two months, potentially leaving its clients without millions in proceeds from real estate sales.

Monday’s Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan said that Richmond, Va.-based 1031 Tax Group owes its 20 largest unsecured creditors $68.9 million and estimated its debt from more than 300 open exchange contracts at around $151 million.

Last month, a creditor forced Henderson-based Southwest Exchange Inc., another “qualified intermediary,” into Chapter 7 bankruptcy over a $500,866 claim.

Qualified intermediaries such as 1031 Tax Group hold the proceeds of real estate and business sales until the seller can find another asset to invest in, deferring capital gains taxes, which can total around 22 percent. The companies are unregulated, said Andrew Levy, general counsel to Capitol Title in Crofton, Md., which also provides intermediary services.

Southwest Exchange has already been placed under the control of a receiver by a judge in Clark County


Cardinal Health to buy Viasys Healthcare

Medical products and services company Cardinal Health said on Monday it will buy medical technology company Viasys Healthcare for $1.42 billion, an acquisition that will help Cardinal expand in international markets.

Cardinal will pay $42.75 per share for Viasys’ outstanding shares, a 35 percent premium over its closing stock price of $31.55 on Friday. Viasys stock jumped 37 percent, or $11.63, to a record $43.18 per share in trading Monday. Cardinal also will assume debt of $50 million.

Conshohocken, Pa.-based Viasys, which had revenue of $610 million in 2006, has about 40 percent of its customers in international markets.

The company manufactures ventilators and diagnostic systems used to diagnose and treat pulmonary disease and instruments that monitor the brain, muscles, blood flow, hearing and nerves.

Betonsports founder enters not guilty plea

Betonsports Plc founder Gary Kaplan pleaded not guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges stemming from the British online gambling company’s acceptance of wagers from U.S. bettors.

Kaplan, 48, entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Ann Medler in St. Louis federal court, 10 months after U.S. prosecutors unsealed an indictment against him. He was apprehended at a hotel in the Dominican Republic in March.

The U.S. claims that Internet gambling, a $12 billion industry, violates federal laws against placing bets using a telephone or electronic means over state lines.

A new U.S. statute bars credit card companies from collecting payments for such transactions.

Defense lawyers contest whether federal law makes the acceptance of U.S. bets illegal.


Delphi reaches deal with tax agency

Delphi Corp. has reached an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service that will help the struggling auto-parts supplier avoid up to $1.4 billion in excise taxes and transfer some of its pension liabilities to its former parent, General Motors Corp.

Delphi has been operating under Chapter 11 protection since October 2005. Its agreement with the IRS will extend a June 15 deadline the company has to honor minimum funding requirements under its pension plans, papers filed Friday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan show.


Ex-Oracle exec accused of improper profits

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday accused a former Oracle Corp. vice president of improperly profiting from his wife’s knowledge about two deals engineered by her boss — Oracle’s acquisitive chief executive, Larry Ellison.

Christopher Balkenhol, the former Oracle vice president named in a civil complaint filed in a San Francisco federal court, agreed to pay nearly $199,000 to settle the case without admitting or denying wrongdoing. WASHINGTON

Interest rates decline in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Monday’s auction with the six-month bill dropping to the lowest point in more than a year.

The Treasury Department auctioned $14 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.73 percent, down from 4.76 percent last week. The government auctioned another $13 billion in six-month bills at a discount rate of 4.735 percent, down from 4.815 percent last week.


Bond prices dip ahead of inflation report

Treasury bond prices fell Monday as investors trimmed their holdings ahead of key inflation data today.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was down $1.56 per $1,000 in face value, or 0.16 points, from its level at 5 p.m. Friday. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, rose to 4.70 percent from 4.68 percent.

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