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IN BRIEF / ENERGY

IRS Ruling May Scuttle Marathon-Ashland Deal

December 21, 2004|From Associated Press

An impending tax ruling threatened to unravel a $3-billion deal in which Marathon Oil Corp. would consolidate ownership in Marathon Ashland Petroleum by buying Ashland Inc.'s interest.

Ashland, which owns 38% of the gasoline refiner and marketer, said it feared that the ruling from the Internal Revenue Service could leave it with an unknown amount of tax liability for gains from the transaction.

Ashland shares fell $1.03 a share to $56.67, and Houston-based Marathon fell 21 cents to $37.11, both on the New York Stock Exchange.

From Associated Press

* El Paso Corp., owner of the largest U.S. network of interstate natural gas pipelines, had a third-quarter net loss of $214 million. The loss was 33 cents a share, compared with restated net income of $24 million, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier.

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