July 4, 2008

Yahoo Shares Up on New Talk of Deal

Yahoo Inc. shares rose more than 5 percent Wednesday as The Wall Street Journal reported Microsoft Corp. has talked to other media companies about teaming up to buy Yahoo's search business. The paper reported Microsoft has spoken to News Corp., Time Warner Inc. and others about a way to complete the proposed deal, which the software maker has been exploring since withdrawing a $47.5 billion bid to buy Yahoo in its entirety in May. Microsoft previously proposed buying Yahoo's search operations for $1 billion and investing $8 billion for a 16 percent stake in Yahoo's remaining business.

Office park for sale

The four-building Cranberry Woods Office Park is up for sale, with Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. marketing the 453,000 square feet of fully leased office space. No price was listed. Tenants include Westinghouse Electric, Cellco (Verizon) and McKesson. The Cranberry complex also is where Westinghouse Electric is building its nearly 1- million-square-foot world headquarters, and the home of the world headquarters of Mine Safety Appliance. The Multi Employer Property Trust controls the site where the first of the four buildings was started in 1999 and the final building completed in 2006.

American may trim 900

American Airlines says it could cut 900 flight attendant jobs as it reduces flights to cope with record fuel costs. The Fort Worth- based airline expects to reduce jobs for pilots and mechanics, too. American, the nation's largest carrier, announced in May it would cut capacity 11 percent to 12 percent later this year, retire some planes and cut an unspecified number of jobs. Federal law requires employers to give 60 days notice of major layoffs, and officials of the flight attendants' union said they received a notice Wednesday of job reductions that could start Aug. 31.

AirTran wants to cut pay

Discount carrier AirTran Airways said Wednesday it is seeking to cut its overall employee pay by about 10 percent to help offset soaring fuel prices, and it warned it may need to cut wages further. "Our plan is to temporarily reduce pay rates for six months commencing with the start of the August pay period, and we will then review the situation again," CEO Bob Fornaro told employees in a memo. Fornaro said cost-saving efforts the Orlando, Fla.-based carrier has already implemented have not been enough to deal with the impact of oil prices.

Some shun broadband

A new study suggests that attitude rather than availability may be why more Americans don't have high-speed Internet access. Findings released Wednesday from the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed only 14 percent of dial-up Internet users say they're stuck with the older, slower connection technology because they can't get broadband in their neighborhoods. Thirty-five percent say they're still on dial-up because broadband prices are too high, while another 19 percent say nothing would persuade them to upgrade. The remainder have other reasons or do not know.

Other business news:

- Giant Eagle Inc., Sheetz and Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. made Stores magazine's list of the nation's top 100 retailers in 2007. Western Pennsylvania's dominant grocer, Giant Eagle, was ranked No. 42 on the Top 100 list, with 2007 revenues of $7.4 billion, up 3.9 percent from 2006. Altoona-based Sheetz was 84th, with revenues last year totaling $3.9 billion, up 4 percent. Just behind Sheetz was Dick's, with revenues of nearly $3.9 billion, up 24.9 percent from 2006.

- Germans looking to drown their sorrows over skyrocketing gas and food prices are going to have to think again: Beer prices are going up, too. With rising energy costs and the increased price of hops and malt, German breweries have been spending some 8 percent more to make their products, said German Brewery Federation chief Peter Hahn on Wednesday. That will now be passed on to the consumer, with price hikes in the range of 80 cents to $1.60 per case of 20 beers.

- H.J. Heinz Co. said Wednesday it's acquiring Benedicta, a French maker of sauces, mayonnaises and salad dressings, for an undisclosed price. More than 100 years old, Benedicta has annual sales in the $90 million range. The company was the first in France to introduce tabletop mayonnaise, in 1957. The transaction is subject to reviews by regulators and a local works council, representing workers elected to negotiate with management.

- Citizens Bank Chairman Ralph J. Papa was elected chairman of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association for a one-year term that started Tuesday. The association is the state's largest banking trade group. Papa joined Citizens after it bought the retail banking and some other operations of the former Mellon Financial Corp.

- Rubber-based industrial products distributor Lewis-Goetz and Co. Inc. said it has acquired substantially all of the assets of G&H Pumps and Compressors, Inc. a provider of pump repair and hydraulic services for trucks servicing the land-based oil and gas drilling market of the Shreveport, La. and larger Texarkana region. Terms were not disclosed.

- The Regional Industrial Development Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania will receive a $1.64 million loan from the state Industrial Development Authority toward development in Duquesne's downtown. The $4.1 million project includes construction of a 20,000- square-foot building. When completed, the project is projected to create 25 jobs, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Originally published by staff and wire reports.

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