Early Briefing: Sprint's Really Leaving
*There has been lots of speculation about the dual-headquarters setup of Sprint Nextel since the merger. Yesterday, that came to an end when CEO Dan Hesse said the corporate headquarters would join the operational headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., moving from Reston. It's unclear how many of the 4,400 Washington area employees will be affected. See story
*Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has proposed using public funds to build a professional soccer stadium in Southeast Washington that would cost as much as $190 million. See story.
*Amtrak and the United Transportation Union agreed on a new contract, subject to approval by union members. The union represents 2,300 Amtrak conductors and assistants. The agreement "mirrors the tentative agreements the company reached with nine of its unions last month," Amtrak told its employees.
The contract would would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2000, and run through Dec. 31, 2009. It would continue the number of assistant conductors, which Amtrak wanted to cut by 400, the union said. See press release.
*Freddie Mac reduced the size of its latest sale of repackaged mortgage-backed securities by $300 million, to $400 million, because of market conditions. The Reference REMICs will price today and mature Feb. 25, 2013, Freddie Mac said. It is the McLean company's first sale of benchmark securities since October.
Reference REMICs reduce the risk to investors of owning mortgage-backed bonds. They limit the potential for interest-rate changes to affect the value of securities by offering a "guaranteed final maturity class." See press release.
*Standard & Poor's Ratings Services stood behind its credit ratings for diversified manufacturer Danaher, adding that the ratings were no longer in danger of a downgrade. In October, the rating firm put the District company's ratings on a negative watch list after the maker of Craftsman hand tools and other products said it planned to buy Tektronix, a testing and measurement equipment producer, for about $2.85 billion. S&P rates Danaher's corporate credit and senior unsecured debt at A-plus, and its commercial paper at A-1; both designations are investment-grade. The outlook is stable.
*A bankruptcy judge has signed off on Fieldstone Mortgage's request to pay up to about $400,000 in incentive payments for some of its employees but held off on approving about $431,000 more for the Columbia company's insiders. Judge James F. Schneider of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore said last week that the collapsed subprime lender could pay 14 non-insider employees up to $402,194 as a reward for taking on extra tasks during Fieldstone's Chapter 11 case, as long as they remain with the lender through the end of this month.
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