The following is a round-up of news likely to affect stock prices today:
A court has found that Switzerland's chief financial markets regulator broke the law when it ordered UBS AG (UBS) to give the U.S. data on 255 of the bank's clients. The Federal Administrative Court in Bern ruled Friday that the regulator exceeded its authority when it ordered the bank to provide the U.S. with the information as a means for UBS to avoid prosecution in the U.S., Bloomberg News reported. The Justice Department accused UBS of conspiring to defraud the U.S. by helping wealthy Americans to hide assets from the Internal Revenue Service. The case is separate from a larger agreement to turn over data from as many as 4,450 UBS accounts, Bloomberg said.%%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%% Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA) on Thursday withdrew an appeal of a U.S. court ruling that favored Merck (MRK) and its patent on the asthma treatment Singulair, Merck's most popular drug. Teva's decision likely means no generic equivalent for Singulair will be marketed before 2012, when Merck's patent expires. Teva declined to comment on its decision to drop the case. The news followed announcements early Thursday that Teva had reached agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN) to settle patent litigation involving Prilosec and Nexium, drugs that treat digestive disorders. The deal, the financial terms of which weren't disclosed, delays U.S. introduction until 2014 of a generic version of Nexium, the British drug maker's best-selling drug.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) said Friday it has agreed to sell part of its asset management business to Aberdeen Asset Management for £84.7 million ($135.7 million). The deal is the latest step RBS has undertaken recently to remake itself after being bailed out by the U.K. government amid the financial crisis.
American International Group (AIG) will have to pay $517 million to five California workers' compensation insurance companies after a state appeals court this week ruled in favor of the insurers, which were liquidated in 2000. AIG is weighing whether to appeal the ruling, first reached in 2007. The judgment is a setback for the troubled insurer, which was bailed out by the U.S. government and must now pay back billions in government loans.
Yet another suitor has stepped forward to bid for Swedish auto maker Saab, one of four brands General Motors is looking to offload. Formula One race car driver Bernie Ecclestone has partnered with Luxembourg-based private investment company Genii Capital to put together the latest offer. The partners submitted an all-cash bid for Saab just ahead of GM's 5 p.m. Eastern time deadline Thursday. In addition, yet another bid emerged from from Dutch sports car maker Spyker Cars, which has sought to buy Saab after Swedish sports car maker Koenigsegg pulled its offer to buy Saab in November. GM has previously said it is reviewing all offers for Saab and is likely weighing whether selling Saab to Ecclestone's & Co. is more cost effective than shutting the unit down.
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