Group gets preliminary OK to merge Canada exchanges

Canada’s competition watchdog and Ontario’s securities regulator on Wednesday approved a $3.75 billion  bid by a group of Canadian financial institutions to take over the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange and merge it with two other exchanges.

Maple Group Acquisition Corp. will be permitted to operate a combined exchange and clearing group involving the TMX Group, along with the alternative Alpha Trading Systems Inc. and the Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd.

TMX and Alpha control some 85 percent of all stock trades in Canada, raising some concerns that the merger would give too much power to a single market and clearing operator controlled by Canada’s big financial institutions.

Canada’s Competition Bureau said that despite its concerns, it will not challenge Maple Group Acquisition Corp.’s proposed takeover of the TMX Group. The Ontario Securities Commission also gave its approval. However, the proposed takeover and mergers remain under review by the British Columbia and Alberta securities commissions.

GE will delay construction of massive solar panel plant

General Electric Co. is delaying plans to build the largest solar factory in the U.S. near Denver.

The Denver Post reported Wednesday that GE has told state and local officials that it plans to postpone construction of its PrimeStar solar panel plant by 14 to 18 months.

The factory was to have been bigger than 11 football fields and have an annual capacity of 400 megawatts.

At least 10 states were vying for the PrimeStar plant, which GE said last fall would be in Aurora, Colo., outside Denver. The head of the Colorado Office of Economic Development said in a statement that the changing solar energy industry caused the decision and that GE remains a good business partner.

Ex-Progress Energy CEO will be paid $10.3 million

The chief executive of Progress Energy of Charlotte, N.C., whose sudden departure was announced hours after the merger creating America’s largest electric utility, is getting a big payout.

Duke Energy reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it’s paying former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson as much as $10.3 million. Johnson was supposed to become CEO of the combined company Tuesday, but resigned suddenly.

Johnson last week signed a three-year employment contract that was supposed to take effect Tuesday.

Duke said in the securities filing previously reported by The Charlotte Observer that Johnson gets a severance payout of $7.4 million, 2012 bonus of $1.4 million, and a lump sum of up to $1.5 million.

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers will continue in that role as head of the expanded company.

DaVita agrees to settle suit over Epogen for $55 million

Dialysis service provider DaVita Inc. will pay $55 million to settle a lawsuit related to overuse of an anemia medication.

The lawsuit was filed in 2002 and is based on a whistleblower’s claim that DaVita overused Epogen, an anemia drug made by Amgen, over a 10-year period.

DaVita said its physicians did nothing wrong and stand by their anemia management practices, but the company said the agreement is in the best interest of its shareholders. In addition to $55 million, the company will pay attorney fees.

Epogen boosts oxygen-carrying red blood cells, reducing the need for painful blood transfusions.

However a study in 2009 suggested Epogen and other drugs like it can double the risk of a stroke.

Denver-based DaVita runs about 1,800 outpatient dialysis centers nationwide.

– From news service reports