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Business briefs

$8 billion deal for Harman crumbles apart

WASHINGTON - Two private equity firms on Friday backed out of their $8 billion buyout of upscale audio equipment maker Harman International Industries Inc., marking the latest such deal to run into trouble amid tightening global credit conditions.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s private equity unit told Harman they are under no obligation to complete the merger because "a material adverse change in Harman's business has occurred," Harman said in a statement.

Harman, whose audio equipment brands include Infinity, JBL and Harman Kardon, said it disagreed with those assertions, but did not make clear what action, if any, it would take.

Investors punished the stock all day long as word dripped out that KKR and GS Capital Partners were attempting to nullify the deal. By the end of the day, Harman shares had plummeted by more than 20 percent.

Currency

Dollar slides further against advancing euro

NEW YORK - The dollar hit a new low against the seemingly unstoppable euro Friday as the 13-nation currency broke through $1.41.

The euro's ascension renewed calls from French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the European Central Bank to follow the Federal Reserve and cut interest rates, which would help keep French exports competitive.

Despite the worries of some exporters - European aircraft maker Airbus said if the euro keeps rising it may have to seek new cost savings - ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood firm that the ECB must remain independent.

Wall street

Google's stock price ascends to new peak

SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc.'s stock reached a new high Friday, reflecting Wall Street's renewed faith in the Internet search leader as it introduces new ways for advertisers to reach its steadily expanding online audience.

The shares peaked at $560.79 before falling back to finish at $560.10, up $7.27, or 1.3 percent. The rally eclipsed Google's previous record high of $558.58 attained in mid-July, just days before the Mountain View-based company disillusioned investors with a second-quarter profit below analyst estimates.

Retail

CEO says Home Depot not planning broad cuts

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