• PPR BONDS: Pinault-Printemps-Redoute announced Thursday its successful launch of a $853.4 million eurobond maturing on Jan. 23, 2009. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange rates, as PPR’s bond was priced at 750 million euros. PPR said in a statement that the demand, more than twice the amount set at the offer, allowed the company to increase the initial amount from $569 million, or 500 million euros, while optimizing the terms and conditions of the operation with a coupon, at 5 percent, inferior to the initial estimate. “This strong demand reflects investor confidence in the PPR Group, which reinforces its financial strength by lengthening its debt maturity and by diversifying its financing,” the group said in the statement.

  • ANOTHER RITE AID PLEA: Philip Markovitz, former vice president of store development at Rite Aid Corp., on Thursday pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with his admission of lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about when he received a lucrative severance letter from former chief executive Martin Grass. Grass, who pled guilty to conspiracy last month in connection to his role in the accounting fraud scandal at the pharmaceutical chain, has admitted to creating illegal, backdated letters approving severance packages. Markovitz, who faces a maximum of five years imprisonment, was not among the four individuals who were indicted last year. Three of them, including Grass, have entered guilty pleas. The remaining individual, Franklin Brown, who was vice chairman, has until Monday to decide whether to plead guilty or face a trial on 35 criminal charges.

  • LABOR PAINS: A Democratic move in the House to quash Bush administration plans to overhaul federal rules about who qualifies for overtime pay was narrowly defeated Thursday in the GOP-controlled body. The 213-210 vote was a victory for retailers, who largely support the overtime changes, which the Labor Department estimates would make 1.3 million new workers eligible for overtime and eliminate the extra pay for 644,000 qualified workers. Organized labor estimates 8 million workers will lose overtime under the Bush rules, expected to go into effect early next year.

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