Business briefs, March 15

Business briefs for March 15, 2014.
By The Associated Press Published: March 15, 2014

Business briefs

Banks face allegations of financial fraud and conspiracy

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has sued 16 big banks that set a key global interest rate, accusing them of fraud and conspiring to keep the rate low to enrich themselves. The banks, which include Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase in the U.S., are among the world’s largest. The FDIC alleges that the banks rigged the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, from August 2007 to at least mid-2011. The LIBOR affects trillions of dollars in contracts around the world, including mortgages, bonds and consumer loans.

U.S. Active rig total increases

Oil field services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 17 this week to 1,809. The Houston firm said in its weekly report Friday that 1,461 rigs were exploring for oil and 344 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota gained seven rigs, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas each gained four and Pennsylvania gained one. Alaska lost three rigs, Kansas lost two and California declined by one. Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

Liberty drops its Sirius bid

Liberty Media is dropping its bid to buy the rest of the satellite radio provider Sirius. The move disclosed late Thursday comes as Liberty Media Corp. takes steps to create two new tracking stock groups for its business. One will be called Liberty Media Group and the other will be Liberty Broadband Group. Liberty Media said that because of the tracking stock distribution, it is withdrawing its offer for the rest of New York-based Sirius XM Holdings Inc. Liberty Media owns 53 percent of Sirius stock.

Sugar reduction among plans to make Dannon yogurt healthier

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