UnitedHealth takes its expensive ‘medicine’ now; also: 3M acquisitions, and bye-bye, Target coupon

UnitedHealth Group will swallow its medicine now, rather than contest a class-action lawsuit against it for alleged stock-option backdating.

The Minnetonka HMO said today it’s agreed to pay $895 million to settle the lawsuit, led by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Neither the company nor any individuals admit wrongdoing as part of the deal.

The settlement is still subject to approval by the court and both parties’ boards of directors. In a separate announcement, UnitedHealth also reduced its quarterly outlook, citing a drop in commercial business and higher-than-expected Medicare-related costs.

Later in the day, the company also announced a restructuring plan that will cut 4,000 jobs, about 5 percent of its workforce.

Are you looking to refinish your car, monitor your home’s indoor air quality, or get a little more use out of that extreme mining equipment that’s been sitting out in the garage? Well, 3M can now help you out.

The Maplewood company said Tuesday that: (A) It’s acquired an Australian company called K&H Surface Technologies, a company renowned down under for its auto body products. (B) It bought a Wisconsin company called Quest Technologies, which makes environmental equipment that detects noise, heat, vibrations and monitors air quality. And (C) the company launched a new Heavy Duty Mining Tape for “quick, onsite jacket repair and splicing of mining cable.”

It sounds like a mischievous Photoshopper is apparently to blame for Target ending its acceptance of a toy coupon it issued earlier this year. The Minneapolis retailer e-mailed a coupon to about 85,000 customers in February and March giving them $5 off their next $25 toy purchase. The company said today it will no longer accept the coupons, which were supposed to be valid until October, because a tampered version has turned up in which the word “toy” is removed, making it appear good for any purchase. Customers who originally received the coupon in their e-mail will receive a $5 gift card instead.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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