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Attorneys for billionaire investor George Soros insisted he will appeal to France's highest court a ruling that upholds his conviction for insider trading and an accompanying $2.9 million fine. The decision was reached Thursday by a three-judge panel of a lower court in Paris. Soros has admitted knowing of another financier's plans in 1988 to acquire the newly privatized French bank Société Genérale days before he himself bought - and later sold at a profit - 160,000 shares in it. But he disputes arguments that the information influenced his investment decision. The fine is equivalent to the size of his profit on reselling the Société Genérale stock.

Yahoo! Inc., the online search engine, won approval from its board of directors for a plan to buy back $3 billion worth of its own stock between now and 2010. In a statement, chief executive Terry Semel said Yahoo! had $4.6 billion in working capital and that the program "demonstrates the confidence we have in our company ... and enables us to actively invest cash in areas that we believe will drive future value for shareholders."

In a deal valued at $1.7 billion, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturer Solvay SA said it is buying Fournier Pharma, producer of the cholestorol-lowering drug Tricor. Solvay is based in Brussels; Fournier is family owned and based in France. Industry analysts said the takeover is another example of European drug companies teaming up to better compete against their larger American rivals.

Bankrupt Ultimate Electronics Inc., a retail chain that has struggled to compete with the larger Wal-Mart and Best Buy Co., said it will close about half its 60 stores, resulting in the loss of 965 jobs as it restructures. The Thornton, Colo., company sells mainly high-end products at outlets in the Rocky Mountain states, the Midwest, and Southwest.

"Wall Street Week," a fixture of PBS-TV's Friday night program schedule, will go off the air after its June 24 broadcast, ending a 35-year run, its producer was expected to announce Thursday. According to Maryland Public Television, insufficient support from underwriters led to the decision to stop production.


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