Business news in brief

Posted: February 20, 2013

In the Region

Bread recalled by Bimbo

Bimbo Bakeries, whose U.S. headquarters is in Horsham, announced a voluntary recall of some bread products because of the possible presence of flexible wire, which the company said came from a faulty screen at a third-party flour mill. Recalled products distributed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, among other states, with "Best By" dates through Feb. 17 printed on the wrapper, are Aldi L'Oven Fresh Hearty 12 Grain; Arnold Healthful 45 Calories Per Slice Multigrain; Stroehmann Dutch Country 100% Whole Grain; Earthgrains 12 Grain Natural Bread and Sara Lee 12 Grain Bread Hearty & Delicious. Products listed as distributed in Pennsylvania and some other states, but not New Jersey, are Brownberry Healthful 45 Calories Per Slice Multigrain; Brownberry Dutch Country 100% Whole Grain; Brownberry Grains & More Double Protein and Brownberry Healthful Nutty Grain. Consumers who have purchased a recalled product can return it for a full refund. Consumers with questions can contact the company at 800-984-0989. - Inquirer staff

Unisys wins IRS contract

Computer services company Unisys Corp., of Blue Bell, said it was awarded a $14.6 million base-year contract from the Internal Revenue Service that is part of a larger deal to continue support and maintenance services for the IRS over a 10-year period. Options, exercisable at the discretion of the government, could be worth up to $650 million over the decade, Unisys said. Shares rose 9 cents, to close at $24.40. - Reid Kanaley

Journal Register seeks sale approval

Journal Register Co., of Yardley, is seeking judicial approval of its sale to 21st CMH Acquisition Co., an affiliate of its current owner, Alden Global Capital L.L.C., a New York hedge fund. The bankrupt media company signed a purchase agreement with 21st CMH - for about $120 million - in a public auction and will seek court approval in a hearing in New York on Thursday. Journal Register, owner of 18 newspapers, including the Delaware County Daily Times and the Daily Local News in West Chester, filed for bankruptcy protection in September for the second time in three years. - AP

ICG raises stake in SeaPass

ICG Group Inc., the Radnor company that invests in and builds Internet software firms, said it has increased its holding in SeaPass Solutions to a controlling stake. ICG said it purchased equity stakes from existing holders for $13 million to raise its holding in SeaPass to 52 percent, from 38 percent. SeaPass provides insurance companies with an online platform for delivering immediate quotes to customers. - Reid Kanaley

PSEG raises dividend

Public Service Enterprise Group, the New Jersey energy giant, declared a 1.4 percent increase in the company's common dividend, boosting the quarterly dividend from 35.5 cents to 36 cents. The first dividend in 2013 is payable on March 29 to shareholders of record on March 8. - Andrew Maykuth

Court rejects Toys 'R' Us settlement

Toys "R" Us Inc.'s $35 million settlement of an antitrust group lawsuit over inflated prices was thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which questioned the distribution of the funds and rejected the fees awarded lawyers. The court said the distribution may be unfair to consumers who would see $3 million under the accord while the lawyers would get $14 million. The remaining $18.5 million would go to charities. The settlement stems from antitrust lawsuits filed in 2005 and 2006 by consumers and Internet retailers claiming Babies "R" Us conspired with manufacturers to limit discount pricing on certain items. - Bloomberg News


Heinz share trading probed

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with the Securities and Exchange Commission in a criminal probe of trading "anomalies" before the announcement of a deal to buy Pittsburgh's H.J. Heinz Co., said Peter Donald, a spokesman for the FBI's New York office. The SEC sued "unknown" traders over "suspicious trading" of Heinz shares through what the regulator said was an account at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The trades came one day before Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital Inc. announced their $23 billion takeover, the SEC said. The SEC alleged that the traders earned $1.7 million by purchasing the ketchup maker's stock just before the Feb. 14 announcement. - Bloomberg News


China denies it is biggest trader

Official Chinese and American trade data indicate China passed the United States last year in total imports and exports. China had $3.866 trillion; the U.S., $3.822 trillion. That is about $44 billion, or just over 1 percent, of China's total. China's Commerce Ministry has taken the unusual step of publicly denying China is the new No. 1. It says China still trailed the U.S. by $15.6 billion last year - or a razor-thin 0.3 percent - under World Trade Organization standards for valuing goods. Beijing wants to be a global leader but insists it still is a poor country. It is wary of any change that might erode that status and fuel demands for action to stimulate the global economy or concessions on trade and climate change. - AP

Microsoft boosts

Microsoft Corp. is so confident it has the Internet's best e-mail service that it is about to spend at least $30 million to send its message across the United States. Microsoft's promotion of e-mail service escalates an assault on rival services from Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., AOL Inc. and others. As part of the process, all users of Microsoft's Hotmail and other e-mail services operating under different domains such as will be automatically converted to by the summer. - AP

Credit card debt jumps

Credit reporting agency TransUnion said ramped-up holiday season spending likely kept many Americans from making timely payments on their credit cards in the last three months of 2012. The rate of U.S. credit card payments at least 90 days overdue jumped to 0.85 percent in the fourth quarter from 0.78 percent a year earlier and increased versus the third quarter's 0.75 percent. - AP

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