Business news in brief

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport at the New York International Auto Show. The $1.9 million car is powered by a 16-cylinder, 1,000 horsepower engine to a top speed of 253 m.p.h. Also at the show, J.D. Power and Associates honored Cadillac as the most improved luxury brand and Mini as the most improved mass-market brand. (MARK LENNIHAN / Associated Press)
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport at the New York International Auto Show. The $1.9 million car is powered by a 16-cylinder, 1,000 horsepower engine to a top speed of 253 m.p.h. Also at the show, J.D. Power and Associates honored Cadillac as the most improved luxury brand and Mini as the most improved mass-market brand. (MARK LENNIHAN / Associated Press)
Posted: April 05, 2012

In the Region

New doubt for Del. Fisker plant

Fisker Automotive Inc., maker of plug-in luxury cars, is considering building its second model overseas instead of following through on a U.S.-backed plan to use a Wilmington plant, CEO Tom LaSorda said. The former General Motors Co. plant remains the company's first choice for production of the new model, now called the Atlantic, LaSorda said. The company will make a decision at the end of the summer, based on "what's best for the company," not on the outcome of negotiations to get the rest of its U.S. Energy Department funding that was cut off last year, he said. The company was approved for $529 million in U.S. loans in 2009 to develop technology for its Karma sedan, now built in Finland, and to revamp the closed factory in Wilmington. The company had drawn down about $193 million when Fisker disclosed in February its access to the funds was suspended last year, owing to delays with the Karma. - Bloomberg News

Phila. firm buys into Okla. oil leasehold

Atlas Resource Partners L.P., of Philadelphia, said it acquired a 50 percent interest in an 14,500-acre leasehold in an Oklahoma oil and gas field for about $18 million. Atlas entered into an agreement with subsidiaries of Equal Energy Ltd. to acquire the interest in Equal's acreage in the Mississippi Lime formation in northwestern Oklahoma. Atlas will finance the transaction under its revolving credit facility, and the transaction is expected to close in late April. Atlas and Equal are also entering into a participation and development agreement in which the companies will drill continuously with one rig for the first 18 months following the transaction's closing. Atlas will operate the drilling and completion activities, and Equal will undertake production operations.? - Andrew Maykuth

Key 2011 numbers down for A.C. casinos

Atlantic City's casinos saw gross operating profits decline by 7.4 percent last year, to just under $495 million. New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement figures show the 11 casinos operating at the end of 2011 posted a gross operating profit of $494.9 million. That's down from $534.6 million in 2010. It was the latest discouraging news for Atlantic City, which has been losing revenue to Pennsylvania casinos. Gross operating profit is a widely accepted measure of profitability in the casino industry. The numbers were better for the fourth quarter of 2011. Over the final three months of the year, the casinos' gross operating profit increased by 26.1 percent from the same period in 2010, to $78.5 million. - AP

Elsewhere

YouTube, Paramount reach rental deal

YouTube and Paramount Pictures have reached a deal to make nearly 500 films available to rent online, even while their parent companies continue to feud over a $1 billion lawsuit. The agreement makes Paramount the fifth major Hollywood studio to join YouTube's online video store, a growing rental library that typically charges $2 to $4 per viewing. News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox is now the only major studio holdout. - AP

Group calls for import safety measures

An expert panel assembled by the Institute of Medicine recommends the U.S. Food and Drug Administration work with counterparts throughout the world to assure supply chains for imported food and drugs, which increasingly cross borders. More than 80 percent of pharmaceutical ingredients are imported from abroad, as well as 85 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States, according to federal figures. The report comes amid an ongoing FDA investigation into counterfeit vials of a popular cancer drug sold to U.S. doctors in California and other states. European regulators have traced the counterfeit product through distributors in Denmark, Switzerland and the Middle East. Previous import safety scares have involved contaminated seafood, pet food and blood thinning drugs from China.- AP

Chase to pay $20M in fund-handling case

JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay a $20 million fine to settle federal regulators' civil charges of illegally handling funds of failed Lehman Brothers that were deposited with the bank. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced the settlement. It involved JPMorgan's handling of customer funds from November 2006 to September 2008, when Lehman collapsed. Lehman was a customer of a futures brokerage firm, LBI, which deposited its customer funds with JPMorgan. The handling of customer funds at futures brokerages has drawn more attention since the failure last fall of MF Global. About $1.6 billion in MF Global customer funds are missing. ? - AP

Yahoo to lay off 2,000

Yahoo Inc. is laying off 2,000 employees as new CEO Scott Thompson sweeps out jobs that don't fit into his plans for turning around the beleaguered Internet company. The cuts represent about 14 percent of the 14,100 workers employed by Yahoo. The company estimated it will save about $375 million annually after the layoffs are completed later this year. - AP

Burger King going public, again

Burger King Worldwide Holdings, the fast-food chain taken private in 2010 by investment firm 3G Capital Inc., will go public again after merging with a company owned by William Ackman. 3G will get $1.4 billion in cash to transfer Burger King to Justice Holdings, a special-purpose acquisition company co-founded by Ackman. Justice and its founders will hold 29 percent of the fast-food chain. The deal implies an equity value of $5.5 billion for Burger King, Ackman said. 3G paid $3.3 billion for Burger King just 18 months ago.? - Bloomberg News

Gov. calls for probe of beef 'smear'

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said the campaign against the beef filler called "pink slime" by food activists is a "vicious smear" and called for a congressional probe after more than 200 Iowans lost their jobs. Beef Products Inc., which treats the lean beef trimmings with ammonia hydroxide to kill pathogens, suspended operations at three plants, including one in Iowa, because of consumer concerns about the product. - Bloomberg News

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