Nationally, corporate combinations finally picked up towards the end of last after a slow-down starting in the recession year of 2001. Several factors are likely to fuel more deal making this year. Here's how the trends might affect Minnesota.
Minnesota's history of building the fastest and most powerful computers in the world dates back to the early 1960s. The supercomputer industry fell on hard times in the 1990s, but now may be poised for a renaissance.
Health products giant Johnson and Johnson is buying Indianapolis-based Guidant Corp., one of the world's top makers of cardiac devices. Guidant employs about 3,000 people in Minnesota.
Health products giant, Johnson & Johnson, is expected to announce it will buy Indianapolis-based Guidant, a medical device maker with about 3,000 employees in Minnesota. Guidant is a major player in a rapidly growing area of using hardware, instead of drugs, to treat heart disease.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the pension accounting at six big companies, including Eagan-based Northwest Airlines. The SEC says it doesn't have any evidence of wrongdoing. Officials are making inquiries to see if companies deliberately tinker with their pension numbers to make their profits or other financial results look better.
Edward Prescott, the former University of Minnesota economist who shared this year's Nobel Prize for economics, shared in the celebration over his award during a visit to Minneapolis Tuesday. His colleagues praised his contributions to the field.
The departure of Northwest Airlines CEO Richard Anderson caught many by surprise. He is taking a top job at UnitedHealth Group after three tough years in the airline industry; a period that has seen the departures of most major airline CEOs.
Two high-powered business groups are developing proposals to spend billions of dollars to address transportation woes in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. The Itasca Project and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce are both considering increases in the gas tax and other funding proposals. But their ideas face an uncertain political future.
The nation's economic recovery officially began almost three years ago. But judging from job numbers, government workers in Minnesota, especially those in local government, are in more of a recession than a recovery. City and county governments and public schools in Minnesota have lost thousands of jobs in the last year. Wages fell behind inflation as well.
When hot companies like Google issue stock it can get a lot of attention. But after selling stock to the public, companies sometimes buy some of it back. After selling the Marshall Field's chain, Target Corporation announced it would spend up to $3 billion to buy its own stock. We wondered why companies sometimes want their shares back.
Minnesota has a proud history of entrepreneurship. Pioneers like Curt Carlson, Earl Bakken of Medtronic, Bill Norris of Control Data, and Richard Schulze of Best Buy built billion-dollar success stories and created thousands of jobs in Minnesota. But lately the state's entrepreneurship is lagging, and that's raising concerns about Minnesota's future prosperity.
Target Corp. announced Thursday it is selling
its Mervyn's business unit and retail stores to an investment
consortium for roughly $1.65 billion in cash.
Xcel Energy shut off service to at least 28 customers who were mistakenly over-billed because of faulty gas meter reporting devices. Xcel revealed last week that at least 164 customers were billed double what they owed because of problems with wireless meter reading devices. The utility has apologized to affected customers, is issuing refunds, and says it continues to investigate the problem.
Thousands of customers are expected to turn out for the much-anticipated opening of the new Ikea store in Bloomington. The store near the Mall of America is part of a major U.S. expansion for the Swedish furniture chain. Ikea's low-cost, assemble-it-yourself products already have a devoted following here. Many Minnesotans have driven to the company's Chicago store.
Fridley-based Medtronic and Genzyme of Massachusetts are officially launching a marriage of medical devices and biotech, with the goal of mending damaged hearts. The two companies announced their joint venture a month ago. They're testing promising techniques a University of Minnesota researcher pioneered.