February 17, 2012 in Business

In brief: WaMu inches closer to reaching bankruptcy reorganization plan


WILMINGTON, Del. – Washington Mutual Inc. cleared a significant obstacle to approval of its latest bankruptcy reorganization plan after reaching an agreement Thursday with dissident creditors who had voted against it.

Attorneys hammered out the settlement involving creditors who bought certain WaMu securities that were later converted into preferred stock when regulators seized WMI’s flagship bank in 2008 and sold its assets to JPMorgan Chase.

In return for agreeing to support the plan, the dissenting securities investors will receive $18 million from JPMorgan and will be allowed a general unsecured claim of about $618,000. They also will be allowed to seek reimbursement of up to $15 million in legal fees without opposition from Washington Mutual or its official committee of unsecured creditors.

A judge still must rule on the settlement.

Associated Press

Safety Fest to offer workplace advice

The Northern Idaho Safety Fest next week offers classes to help reduce fatalities, injuries and illness related to on-the-job accidents.

The free event will be Tuesday through Thursday at the Post Falls Armory, 5453 E. Seltice Way.

Safety Fest was founded by industry leaders to help smaller employers provide their employees with free safety training. Volunteer instructors are from the manufacturing, forest products, transportation and mining sectors.

Information: www.safetyfest- northernidaho.org or (208) 762-2919.

Tom Sowa

Alaska Airlines CEO will step down

SEATTLE – Bill Ayer announced Thursday he’s stepping down as chief executive of Alaska Air Group, to be replaced by Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden.

Although Tilden will officially take over in May, he’s effectively in charge right away. And though Ayer will remain chairman for now, that’s only for a short-term transition period. Signaling confidence in the company’s financial prospects and its stock price, Alaska also announced a 2-for-1 stock split and the board authorized a $50 million share buyback. Alaska Air Group shares closed up $2.32, or 3.1 percent, at $77.07 Thursday.

Seattle Times

Mars to limit products to 250 calories

NEW YORK – Mars Inc., the makers of popular candy brands including M&M’s and Twix, will stop making chocolate products that exceed 250 calories by the end of next year.

That means king-sized versions of the company’s chocolate bars will disappear from candy aisles. The privately held company also makes Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Bounty and Kudos bars.

Mars may not have to make radical changes to reach its goal, however; a standard Snickers bar currently has 280 calories. A package of Twix and a bag of peanut M&M’s each clock in at 250 calories.

Associated Press

Apple to Amazon: Pull iPad in China

NEW YORK – Apple has asked online retailer Amazon.com to stop selling the iPad in China, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal said Thursday that Apple pulled the iPad 2 from websites of some unauthorized merchants in China. That includes Amazon.com Inc.’s Chinese site.

The report comes amid an escalating trademark dispute between Apple and a company that claims it owns the iPad name in China.

In the U.S., the iPad was still available for sale through Amazon as of Thursday.

Associated Press

Sears cuts its Chicago workforce

CHICAGO – Sears laid off 100 workers at its headquarters outside of Chicago on Thursday, two months after the company got a hefty tax credit for dropping a threat to move its headquarters out of state.

Sears Holding Corp. spokesman Chris Brathwaite said the layoffs of “about 100 associates” at the company’s headquarters in Hoffman Estates took effect immediately.

The cuts leave about 6,100 people working at the Hoffman Estates site, he said.

Associated Press

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