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LOCAL

Bronze Frog holds grand opening

BLOOMINGTON - The Bronze Frog, 105 Krispy Kreme Drive, Bloomington, celebrates its grand opening today through April 7 with discounts, wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres and featured artwork from Cleveland artist Katharine Hungate.

Owner Jane Beal opened a Bloomington location Dec. 1, three years after opening a store at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie in Peoria.

The Bronze Frog sells everything from apparel and gourmet food to gifts and furniture.

"We had about 600 customers from the Bloomington-Normal market that would come to shop in Peoria," said Beal.

Beal will remain open until 8 p.m. for the grand opening Saturday. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

NATION

Whirlpool completes acquisition of Maytag

DES MOINES, Iowa - Whirlpool Corp. completed its acquisition of Maytag Corp. on Friday and said it will immediately begin integrating the two appliance companies.

Maytag stockholders will get about $848 million in cash and about 9.6 million shares of Whirlpool common stock, under the previously signed agreement, which was approved by Maytag shareholders in December.

The agreement paid Maytag shareholders $10.50 in cash and 0.1193 of a share in Whirlpool stock for each share of Maytag stock held.

The value of the deal is about $2.6 billion, including the assumption of Maytag debt.

Whirlpool management will lead the combined company, which is headquartered in Benton Harbor, Mich.

AT&T, BellSouth seek OK for merger

ATLANTA, Ga. - Allowing the parent companies of Cingular Wireless LLC to merge will help eliminate challenges they now face in managing the nation's largest cell phone provider, AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp. said in papers filed with the government Friday.

The two companies formally asked the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission for approval of their $67 billion deal, which was announced March 5.

Approval requests also were being filed in the states where they do business, and shareholders, too, will have to give their nod to AT&T's planned purchase of BellSouth.

The two companies hope to close the deal by next March.

In their FCC application, the companies say Atlanta-based Cingular has been successful, but increasingly faces challenges from its joint venture management structure.

H&R Block restates 2005, 2004 earnings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - H&R Block Inc. on Friday said that it was restating earnings for 2005 and 2004 to reflect previously reported mistakes on its own income taxes and that it was lowering third-quarter earnings because of added legal expenses.

In a series of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Kansas City-based tax preparer said it underreported its state income tax liability by $30.5 million through April 30, 2005, requiring the company to lower per share earnings for that year by 3 cents, 2004 earnings by 4 cents and earnings prior to May 1, 2003, by 1 cent.

In February, the company said it had missed its tax liability by $32 million and planned to reduce 2005 earnings by 7 cents and 2004 earnings by 2 cents.

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