Bank of America’s (NYSE:BAC) $2.5 billion acquisition of Countrywide four years ago, turned out to be anything but a bargain, says a Friday Wall Street Journal report. Since that time, the purchase has cost BofA more than $40 billion in real-estate losses, legal expenses and settlements with state and federal agencies, and now the possibility arises that the company might have to pay another $5 billion in legal liabilities as further lawsuits arise nationwide.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has the intention of launching a digital bookstore in Brazil, through which to market its Kindle e-reader there by the fall season, according to a Reuters report on Friday. Such a move would likely precede a full retail operation, but that would be problematic in the extreme due to Brazil’s poor infrastructure and high taxes. One bookstore executive is said to have remarked, “Come to hell with us, Amazon”, at the prospect.
The New York electricity utility Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED) locks out its 8,500 unionized workers after a collective bargaining agreement runs out and talks over a new contract stall. ‘Con Ed’ is making some 5,000 managers replace the workers, and the company claims that the lockout won’t prevent it from being able to provide sufficient power to cope with the increased demand driven by the current heatwave.
Mining companies BHP (NYSE:BHP) and Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) might now have to pay as much as 30 percent of their profits from iron ore and coal to the Australian government, as that country’s carbon and mineral resources taxes become effective Sunday, with major polluters looking at a charge of A$23 ($23.55) per metric ton of greenhouse gases they produce. UBS is dubious towards the government’s forecast as to the revenues the new taxes will produce.