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Wed., Dec. 7, 2011

Comcast to offer Skype, home security in area

Comcast Corp. will add a Skype and a home security option for its Spokane area customers next year, the company said this week.

Dates for when the services become available haven’t been set, said spokesman Walt Neary.

Customers of Comcast digital TV can add a hardware kit that lets them interact over Skype, a popular Web-based communication and video conferencing service.

The cost of that service has also not been set.

Comcast will also offer a Web-based service that lets customers track and monitor their home using either a tablet or a smartphone.

That service, when launched, will cost between $30 and $40 per month, Neary said.

A third-party firm will set up video cameras to allow customers ways to track home activity, or turn up or lower home thermostats.

Tom Sowa

Citigroup discloses plan to cut 4,500 jobs

NEW YORK – Citigroup Inc. is eliminating 4,500 jobs in its latest effort to cut costs. The bank will take a $400 million charge in the fourth quarter as a result.

Citigroup’s CEO, Vikram Pandit, disclosed the job cuts at an investor conference Tuesday. The cuts represent about 1.5 percent of its global workforce of 267,000. Pandit said the cuts would be made over the next few quarters.

Other banks have also been cutting staff. Last month, Swiss lender UBS told investors it is downsizing its investment bank to 16,000 people by 2016 from the current 18,000 as the bank tries to reduce its exposure to risk. In September, Bank of America Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., said it would cut 30,000 jobs over the next few years.

Pandit also warned that Citigroup will take a $500 million hit to revenue from an accounting-related charge.

Citi and other banks took accounting gains in the third quarter because the cost of its debt fell in the bond market. Since the bank could theoretically buy back its debt at a lower cost, accounting rules require that a gain be recorded.

Associated Press

Talbots stockholder makes offer amid slide

PORTLAND – Private-equity firm Sycamore Partners has offered to buy struggling women’s clothing chain Talbots Inc. for $3 per share – nearly double its closing price on Tuesday.

Sycamore is the largest stockholder of the women’s clothing chain with a stake of 9.9 percent. In a regulatory filing Tuesday, the firm said that it is frustrated with the company’s “rapidly deteriorating situation” during the critical holiday shopping season and decided quick action was needed.

Excluding the shares Sycamore holds, the deal would be worth roughly $205.2 million.

Talbots sells its traditionally styled clothing at 551 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Talbots has struggled for some time, posting an annual loss in three of the past four years. It lost $22 million in its most recent quarter.

Associated Press


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