GE buying British oil services company

NEW YORK – General Electric Co. is buying U.K. oil and gas services company Wellstream Holdings for $1.3 billion to bolster its energy services business and tap into strong growth in drilling in deep waters around the globe.

BACKDROP: It’s GE’s second acquisition of an energy company this fall and comes days after it announced it would hike its dividend for the second time this year. GE is regaining ground after being battered by the economic downturn.

WHAT’S BEHIND IT: Wellstream has a strong presence in Brazil, where oil companies are preparing for a massive increase in production from recently discovered fields in the ocean south of Rio de Janeiro. It also has little exposure to the Gulf of Mexico, where exploration has been delayed by new regulations following the BP oil spill.

Associated Press

Thermo Fisher Scientific acquiring Dionex Corp.

NEW YORK – Thermo Fisher Scientific Co. said it will buy Dionex Corp. for $2.1 billion, or $118.50 per share. Thermo Fisher makes scientific instruments and Dionex makes laboratory equipment.

THE REASONS: Dionex does a lot of business in China and other developing markets where Thermo Fisher has been looking to expand. It also focuses on high-growth businesses like water testing.

THE PRICE: Dionex shares have traded at all-time highs the last few months. Thermo Fisher is paying a 21 percent premium to Friday’s closing price of $98.17.

Associated Press

GM offering buyouts to skilled workers

DETROIT General Motors Co. is offering buyouts to several thousand skilled trades workers at 14 plants across the U.S.

PROPOSAL: The automaker will pay eligible workers $60,000 to retire with full benefits. Younger workers will have the option to take the $60,000 in exchange for giving up retiree health care and other benefits. Eligible workers will be notified by Dec. 23 and will have to leave the company by March 1.

NUMBERS: GM spokesman Chris Lee didn’t know how many workers will get the offers. The company estimates it has 2,000 more skilled trades workers than it needs right now. Skilled trades workers do jobs that need special training, like electrical work and welding. GM last offered a buyout in August 2009, right after its bankruptcy. Six thousand workers took that offer.

Associated Press

Walgreen, McDonald’s, Twitter report breaches

SAN FRANCISCO – Walgreen Co., McDonald’s and Twitter reported unrelated security breaches Monday.

Walgreen said hackers who gained access to a list of customer e-mail addresses may have sent spam directing customers to enter personal data into outside websites.

McDonald’s said private information that customers supplied when signing up for online promotions or subscriptions was exposed when a subcontractor improperly handled the data.

And Twitter said hackers broke into an unspecified number of its users’ accounts and sent spam promoting acai berry drinks.

Walgreen would not say how many customers were affected but told customers that no personal information beyond e-mail addresses was exposed.

“Your prescription information, account and any other personally identifiable information were not at risk because such data is not contained in the e-mail system, and no access was gained to Walgreen’s consumer data systems,” Walgreen told customers.

Associated Press

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