November 20, 2010 in Business



Sterling Financial finishes 1-to-66 share reverse split

Sterling Financial Corp., the parent company of Sterling Savings Bank, completed a 1-to-66 share reverse split of its outstanding common shares Friday.

The result was to take 4.2 billion common shares and consolidate them into about 62 million, company spokeswoman Cara Coon said.

Approved last month, the consolidation has two effects, Coon said. In addition to making it easier to manage common shares, it also allows Sterling to maintain its listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

The bank faced delisting if the share price remained below $1 by Dec. 6.

At the close of trading Thursday the shares traded at 23 cents. With the stock consolidation, shares opened Friday at $15.51, Coon said. By close of trading Friday, the price rose to $16.50.

Sterling’s common shares grew following an infusion of more than $700 million in new capital into the Spokane financial  institution. The U.S. Treasury also accepted common stock in return for preferred shares obtained in December 2009, when Sterling received $303 million in federal money intended to strengthen its balance sheet.

Tom Sowa

White House will fight stripping Fed’s mandate

Washington – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday that the Obama administration will oppose any effort in Congress to strip the Federal Reserve of its legal mandate to pursue low unemployment.

Some conservative Republicans have said the central bank should just concentrate on keeping inflation low and abandon its current dual goals of pursuing low inflation and low unemployment.

Geithner, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, said that the Fed’s dual mandate has served the country very well over time and the administration was opposed to changing it.

Geithner also warned Republicans about politicizing the Federal Reserve. A number of conservative economists and Republicans in Congress have attacked the central bank for its decision to launch a new round of $600 billion in purchases of Treasury securities as a way to lower long-term interest rates.

Associated Press

Harrah’s Entertainment shelves planned IPO

New York – Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. canceled its planned initial public offering Friday, folding its hand for now on what was already a money-losing bet on returning to the stock market just three years after the casino giant went private.

It’s a big setback for the investors who paid top dollar for the largest American casino company right before the economy tanked. The cancellation is also a sign that an improving market for stock offerings, highlighted by General Motors Co.’s successful return to the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, isn’t ready for debt-laden companies in industries that are still near the bottom.

Apollo Management Group and Texas Pacific Group paid $17.1 billion and took on $12.4 billion in debt in 2007 to take Harrah’s private in one of the biggest leveraged buyouts ever.

Associated Press

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