December 10, 2010 in Business



Avista subsidiary to buy similar firm

Advantage IQ, a subsidiary of Avista that helps client companies manage their energy bills, will buy a similar company in Minnesota, officials said.

The Loyalton Group of Minneapolis works with the hospitality industry, including senior centers, multifamily units and food service clients. In addition to Minneapolis, the Loyalton Group has offices in Washington, D.C., and Houston. The company’s revenue exceeded $7.5 million over a 12-month period ending Sept. 30, according to a news release. Company founders Michael Vaughan and Martin Sieh will take jobs with Advantage IQ.

The sale is expected to close before Jan. 1. The price was not disclosed.

Becky Kramer

Hospital operator makes bid public

After smaller rival Tenet Healthcare rejected its $3 billion cash and stock takeover offer as “opportunistic” and “inadequate,” hospital operator Community Health Systems took its bid public in an effort to rally shareholder support.

The $6-per-share offer includes $5 in cash and $1 on stock, and marks a 40 percent premium to Tenet’s $4.29 closing price. Including assumed debt, Community Health values the deal at $7.3 billion.

Tenet said it has serious concerns about both Community Health’s ability to integrate and operate a business like Tenet and meet its own 2011 guidance, given slowing growth. Investors appear to expect a sweetened bid, driving Tenet’s stock up nearly 50 percent to $6.35 in extended trading.

Associated Press

Kids overspending on iPhone apps

Parents are being shocked by big iTunes bills, racked up by their kids in games such as “The Smurf’s Village” and “Bakery Story” on the iPhone and other Apple devices. The kids buy “Smurfberries” and other items that speed up play, without realizing they cost real money.

Normally, purchases require a password. But once it’s been entered, there are no new password requests for 15 minutes. Some parents say they can make password-free purchases more than 15 minutes after the last entry.

Parents can enable restrictions on their devices, including disabling in-app purchases.

Associated Press

Video games win at the cash registers

LOS ANGELES – Research firm NPD Group says U.S. video game sales in November rose 8 percent from a year ago to $2.99 billion, helped by Microsoft’s new motion-detecting controller, Kinect, and hot sales of the first-person shooter “Call of Duty: Black Ops.”

Both items began selling early in the month. Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 platform accounted for more than 40 percent of total industry sales.

Accessory sales were up 69 percent to $413 million. Hardware rose 2 percent to $1.08 billion and software rose 4 percent to $1.46 billion.

“Call of Duty” was the top-selling game, with 8.3 million units sold after its Nov. 9 debut.

Associated Press

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