Boyd Gaming raises price of Echelon

Boyd Gaming Corp. increased the cost of its Echelon megaresort on the Strip to $4.8 billion on Monday, up from a previously expected $4.4 billion as plans for its retail spaces and hotels were better defined.

The company said Monday that its 50-50 joint venture with Morgans Hotel Group Co. would develop a 550-room Delano hotel and 860-room Mondrian hotel for $950 million. Previously the cost of the hotels had been estimated at $700 million, Boyd spokesman Rob Stillwell said.

Boyd Gaming also announced in May it would develop a 300,000-square-foot retail promenade with General Growth Properties Inc. costing $500 million, up from an initially forecast $400 million.

A groundbreaking for Echelon will be held today.


Investigators exceeded bounds, court rules

Federal investigators overstepped constitutional bounds by searching stored e-mails without a warrant in a fraud investigation, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

In a case closely watched by civil-liberties advocates in the still-emerging field of Internet privacy, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that e-mail users have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

The appeals court’s unanimous ruling upholds a lower court ruling temporarily blocking investigators from additional e-mail searches without warrants. The panel said the government would have to either provide an account holder a chance to contest such a seizure or to prove that the holder had no expectation of privacy.

The ruling stems from a fraud investigation against Steven Warshak, owner and president of Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, an herbal supplement company known for its “Smiling Bob” ads.

SAN JOSE, Calif.

IPhone battery life will top rivals, Apple claims

Apple gave rival smart-phone makers another reason for heartburn Monday, claiming its upcoming iPhone will have a battery life that exceeds the company’s previous estimate and the battery life of competing phones.

With the iPhone launch still more than a week away, Apple said the hotly anticipated gadget will last for eight hours of talk time, six hours of Internet use or seven hours of video playback.

When the company previewed the device in January, it said the rechargeable battery could last five hours handling any one of those functions.


Finish Line agrees to acquire Genesco

Speciality retailer Finish Line said Monday it agreed to pay about $1.5 billion for footwear and accessories retailer Genesco, which recently rejected a lower offer from Foot Locker.

News of the deal sent Genesco shares up $4.15, or 8.37 percent, to close at $53.75.

Finish Line, a leading mall-based retailer based in Indianapolis, said combined sales of the companies amount to about $2.8 billion from 2,870 retail stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Finish Line agreed to pay $54.50 per share, or about 6.8 percent higher than the $51 per share price offered two weeks ago by Foot Locker. The Finish Line offer marks a premium of 9.8 percent over Genesco’s closing price of on Friday.


Oil prices increase to hit nine-month high

Oil closed above $69 a barrel, a nine-month high, and gasoline futures also rose Monday after Nigerian oil unions called a strike for this week.

Retail gasoline prices, meanwhile, continued their decline despite analyst predictions Friday that they would fall no further.

Nigerian oil unions called a general nationwide strike to begin Wednesday in protest of a government price increase on automobile fuel. Also supporting energy prices were attacks on two Nigerian oil facilities by angry villagers and gunmen, which cut oil output.

Electronic Arts shuffles business into divisions

Electronic Arts, the world’s largest video-game maker, reorganized its businesses into four divisions to improve accountability for key game categories.

The units are EA Sports, EA Games, EA Casual Entertainment and the Sims, Redwood City, Calif.-based Electronic Arts said.

The restructuring will enable the company to develop games faster and to changes in the marketplace, EA Games division Preisdent Frank Gibeau said.

No layoffs are involved in the change, spokeswoman Tammy Schachter said.

Blockbuster will expand Blu-ray rentals

Blockbuster, the largest U.S. movie-rental chain, will expand rentals of Sony Corp.’s high- definition Blu-ray discs to 1,700 stores in a blow to Toshiba Corp.’s HD DVD format.

Blu-ray rentals are “significantly outpacing” HD DVDs at the 250 locations that stock both, Blockbuster said in a statement. HD DVDs will continue to be available at those stores and via online rentals.

The move may benefit Sony, which is competing with Toshiba to set standards for high-definition DVDs. The clash is similar to Sony’s promotion of Betamax home-video technology in the 1980s, a fight it eventually lost to companies that made VHS players and cassettes.


Interest rates decline in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Monday’s auction to the lowest levels in more than a year.

The Treasury Department auctioned $14 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.49 percent, down from 4.64 percent last week. Another $14 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 4.715 percent, down from 4.765 percent last week.


Bond prices mixed after choppy session

The Treasurys market ended Monday’s session with modest gains, although the quiet close obscured a bit of choppy action earlier in the session.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was up $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, fell to 5.14 percent from 5.16 percent.

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