Business digest: J.C. Penney lowers threshold for ‘poison pill’

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Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 11:04 am, Tue Mar 25, 2014.

J.C. Penney is bolstering its shareholder rights plan, or “poison pill” — typically an effort to thwart takeover attempts. The shareholder rights plan can now be put into effect if an individual or group acquires 4.9 percent or more of its outstanding stock. That’s down from a 10 percent threshold. The corporate defense strategy allows existing shareholders to buy more shares at a very low price if that occurs. J.C. Penney Co. said Tuesday that the purpose of lowering the threshold is to protect its ability to use certain funds that can be used for tax benefits.

Verizon said Tuesday that its shareholders have approved its $130 billion deal to buy the 45 percent stake in its wireless division owned by British cellphone carrier Vodafone. As part of the deal, Verizon will issue up to 1.28 billion shares of common stock to Vodafone shareholders. Vodafone Group PLC shareholders also approved the deal at a meeting held earlier Tuesday. Verizon says buying Vodafone’s stake will give it greater flexibility to invest in new technologies.

Martin Marietta Materials is buying Texas Industries in an all-stock deal worth $2.06 billion, creating a leading supplier of aggregates and heavy building materials with a strong presence in large, fast-growing markets like California and Texas. Martin Marietta said Tuesday shareholders of Texas Industries will get 0.7 shares of Martin Marietta for each share held. Martin Marietta sells granite, limestone, sand and gravel, and it had $2.16 billion in revenue in 2013. Texas Industries makes cement and building materials, and it had $697 million in revenue in its latest fiscal year.

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