* Paramount Pictures is seeking about $250 million from investors to share the burden of higher production costs. The Viacom Inc.-owned studio is in the early stages of raising money for a deal in which investors would finance about 20% of production, Paramount Pictures Chief Financial Officer Mark Badagliacca said.

* The California Public Employees' Retirement System asked federal regulators to block Sovereign Bancorp's planned stake sale to Santander Central Hispano. The New York Stock Exchange was wrong to approve the sale without shareholder consent, CalPERS said in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission. CalPERS owns 1.4 million Sovereign shares and 13.8 million shares of Santander.

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