Business news briefs
up in Europe
The European Central Bank warned the eurozone's slumping economy and a surge in problem loans are raising the risk of a renewed banking crisis, even as financial stress in the region has receded. In a sober assessment, the ECB said a prolonged recession has made it harder for many borrowers to repay loans, burdening banks that have still not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis.
Sallie Mae plans
to split into two
Sallie Mae plans to split into two separate, publicly traded companies. Formally known as SLM Corp., Sallie Mae said two separate companies an education loan management business and a consumer banking business would help unlock value and boost long-term growth potential. It anticipates the split, if given final approval by its board, could be completed within 12 months.
on sales block
Newsweek, the once-venerable magazine that experienced one of the most precipitous declines in media history over the last decade, is up for sale. Tina Brown, the editor in chief, and Baba Shetty, the chief executive, told staff they had decided to sell now so that they could focus on building the companion brand, The Daily Beast.
Berkshire set to
buy NV Energy
Berkshire Hathaway's MidAmerican Energy is buying Nevada's NV Energy for $5.6 billion in a deal that will marry MidAmerican's expertise in renewable energy with Nevada's solar and wind resources. MidAmerican will pay $23.75 per share. Including debt, the deal is valued at about $10.1 billion.
give health perks
Small business owners continue to struggle to provide traditional health care benefits to workers, but some are providing other perks as an alternative. A new report by Bank of America found only 33 percent provide traditional health benefits but 31 percent offer additional amenities, such as healthy snacks or massages.
Sales of bank-owned homes and those in some stage of the foreclosure process saw a steep annual drop in the first three months of the year and accounted for a smaller share of overall U.S. home sales, new data show. The trend comes as fewer homes are ending up foreclosed amid a housing market rebound.
to 'junk' status
Moody's Investors Service downgraded Alcoa's credit rating into junk status, citing lower aluminum prices. It said Alcoa has reduced costs and made itself more productive, but difficult industry trends and low aluminum prices will make it hard for Alcoa to make its credit measurements investment-grade in 2013 or 2014.