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BNET Daily Dispatch: Morgan Stanley, Alcoa, UPS, and the ABN Amro Battle

  • Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $46 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought on by eight current and former female brokers who said they were discriminated against in training, promotion, and pay.  As part of the settlement , Morgan Stanley agreed to change the way it distributes new accounts, which would increase pay for its 2,700 female brokers by $16 million, according to an estimate. The plaintiffs feel the settlement is a "tremendous first step," and Morgan Stanley said it is committed to being the "employer of choice for talented women."
  • Alcoa, the largest aluminum producer in the world, is considering the spin-off of its packaging and electronics units, the company said today.  Alcoa is bringing in investment bankers to review the possibility of selling the business units that make Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil and consumer electronics components so it can focus on metal production, a more profitable activity.  Shares in the company rose 6 percent on the news to $35.98, the highest level in four months.
  • UPS reported lower quarterly profit than expected, with net income of $1.36 billion compared to $1.56 billion a year ago. The drop in earnings comes from one-time charges related to aging aircraft and a voluntary lay-off expense. Chief executive Mike Eskew said, "strong gains in our international package and supply chain and freight businesses helped offset the impact of a slowing U.S. economy," focusing on a positive full-year outlook.
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has joined the battle with Barclay's over the takeover of ABN Amro. ABN accepted Barclay's €66 billion offer this Monday, but today an RBS-led consortium of banks made a €72.2 billion offer on the condition that ABN Amro rescind its agreement to sell its LaSalle Bank unit to Bank of America for $21 billion. RBS wants LaSalle included in any potential deal so it can expand its U.S. operations.
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