Business news in brief

Nintendo's Bill Trinen demonstrates the Wii U GamePad Thursday in New York. The gaming console will start at $300 and go on sale in the U.S. on Nov. 18, in time for the holidays, the company said. The GamePad incorporates both traditional input methods - such as buttons and dual analog sticks - along with a touchscreen.
Nintendo's Bill Trinen demonstrates the Wii U GamePad Thursday in New York. The gaming console will start at $300 and go on sale in the U.S. on Nov. 18, in time for the holidays, the company said. The GamePad incorporates both traditional input methods - such as buttons and dual analog sticks - along with a touchscreen. (MARK LENNIHAN / Associated Press)
Posted: September 14, 2012

In the Region

Wistar to name building after Fox

The Wistar Institute will name its $100 million, 90,000-square-foot biomedical research building, now rising on Spruce Street in West Philadelphia, for donors Robert A. and Penny Fox. Robert Fox is the chief executive of Jenkintown-based industrial investments firm R.A.F. Industries Inc. The seven-story Wistar building, set to open in 2014, is being funded with $18 million in taxpayer-funded Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants, $70 million borrowed from Citizens Bank, and $12 million from the $35 million capital campaign led by the Foxes. - Joseph N. DiStefano

UniTek to acquire Ohio rival

UniTek Global Services Inc., Blue Bell, agreed to acquire the assets of Skylink Ltd., which installs DirecTV satellite television service and ViaSat satellite broadband service in a transaction valued at up to $23.5 million. Terms of the agreement call for a $14 million cash payment at closing and up to $9.5 million in earn-out payments. UniTek said the acquisition, announced after the stock market had closed, will add nine new markets in Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia for its satellite fulfillment services. Shares of UniTek closed at $3.99, down 2.5 cents. - Mike Armstrong


Stanford CIO sentenced to 3 years

A top executive in the now-defunct empire of disgraced Texas financier R. Allen Stanford was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday for her role in helping the businessman bilk investors out of more than $7 billion in one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history. Ex-Stanford chief investment officer Laura Pendergest-Holt's sentence was part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. She had pleaded guilty in June to one count of obstruction of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proceeding in exchange for the sentence. - AP

Weekly jobless claims jump by 15K

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped to the highest level in two months, although the figures were skewed in part by Hurricane Isaac. Applications increased by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's up from 367,000 the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased for the fourth straight week to 375,000. Isaac disrupted work in nine states and boosted applications by roughly 9,000, Labor officials said. - AP

Core wholesale prices rise in Aug.

A sharp rise in gasoline costs drove up wholesale prices last month by the most in more than three years. But outside energy and food, price gains were mild. The producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, jumped 1.7 percent in August, the Labor Department said Thursday. Gas prices soared 13.6 percent, the biggest gain in three years; food prices rose 0.9 percent. Excluding the volatile food and gas categories, core wholesale prices rose only 0.2 percent, below July's increase. - AP

Shares of defense firms slump

Shares of EADS and BAE Systems P.L.C. declined on concern that their proposed merger would struggle to deliver cost savings and penetrate the key U.S. defense market. Airbus SAS parent EADS slumped 10 percent in Paris, while BAE fell 7.3 percent in London. EADS, which has twice the revenue of BAE, would control 60 percent of the new entity and the U.K. company the rest. "It's a tough deal to complete politically, and there's not much to commend it," said Mark Slater, the chief investment officer of Slater Investments Ltd., which owns BAE shares. "It's one of those bigger-is-better stories from management, but I'm not sure it's good news for shareholders. I am skeptical that it will happen." - Bloomberg News

Nordstrom to open Canada stores

Upscale department-store chain Nordstrom Inc. is heading to Canada, starting in the fall of 2014, its first move outside the U.S. The Seattle-based chain said that it will team up with Canadian mall developer Cadillac Fairview to open four stores, in Calgary in 2014, Ottawa and Vancouver in 2015, and Toronto in 2016. Blake Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom, called the expansion north a "significant milestone for this company" but expressed caution. "We are the new kids on the block, and there's a lot to learn," he added. "There are cultural differences." - AP

AT&T, CWA agree on benefits

AT&T Inc. said its wireless division reached a tentative agreement with the Communications Workers of America in benefit negotiations for more than 40,000 employees nationwide. The accord will be submitted to the union's membership for a ratification vote, Dallas-based AT&T said in a statement. The four-year deal is focused on benefits including health care. Wages, pension, and work rules are negotiated under separate contracts. - Bloomberg News

CapEx will decline for Verizon

Verizon Communications Inc. chief financial officer Fran Shammo said its capital spending will decline this year, putting the New York-based communications carrier at the lower end of its previous prediction. "I think we'll be slightly down from a year ago," Shammo said at a Bank of America investment conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. Verizon had originally projected that 2012 spending would be little changed or slightly lower than the $16.2 billion level in 2011. - Bloomberg News

JPMorgan erases whale of a decline

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the bank that plunged as much as 24 percent in the month after disclosing a multibillion-dollar trading loss, has erased that decline. The bank's stock climbed 3.7 percent to $41.40 Thursday, eclipsing the $40.74 closing price of May 10, when chief executive officer Jamie Dimon announced what was then a trading loss of about $2 billion at the chief investment office in London. That loss now stands at $5.8 billion. - Bloomberg News

Disney sees no bounce in TV ads

Walt Disney Co.'s chief financial officer says the company's TV advertising revenue did not rebound as expected after last month's conclusion of the hugely popular London Olympics that were aired on rival NBC. Jay Rasulo also told an investors conference that ABC owner Disney also expects to book a $50 million charge for discontinuing a movie that was in the works. - AP

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