In brief: Bankruptcy judge approves Dempsey’s bid for Tully’s
SEATTLE – A bankruptcy judge on Friday approved the sale of beleaguered coffee company Tully’s to a group led by Patrick Dempsey.
The actor had claimed victory last week after an auction, but a company that teamed up with Starbucks Corp. to bid for the Tully’s Coffee chain filed an objection Wednesday. AgriNurture Inc. said it was still willing to proceed with its combined bid with Starbucks of about $10.6 million. The bid from Dempsey’s company, Global Baristas LLC, was for $9.2 million.
At a hearing Friday afternoon, Judge Karen Overstreet said the Jan. 4 auction was fair and no mistakes had been made.
In a statement, Dempsey said he was “thrilled that we prevailed.”
People putting record cash into stock mutual funds
BOSTON – The so-called “fiscal cliff” agreement that averted steep tax increases apparently helped boost investor confidence: The flow of cash into stock mutual funds during the first week of 2013 was the largest in more than 11 years.
Mutual funds investing in U.S. stocks attracted $4 billion in net deposits during the weeklong period that ended Wednesday, and funds investing primarily in foreign stocks took in about $3.5 billion, according to preliminary data from Lipper, a unit of Thomson Reuters.
The $7.5 billion total into stock funds was the largest since the week ending May 2, 2001. It marked a shift in sentiment from last year, when investors consistently withdrew more cash from stock mutual funds than they added to them.
The surge of cash into stock funds during the latest weekly period was far larger, factoring in the $10.8 billion in net deposits to stock exchange-traded funds. That was the largest flow of cash into stock ETFs since the week ended Sept. 19, 2012, Lipper said.
Hostess sells bread business to Flowers Foods for $390 million
NEW YORK – Hostess said Friday it has a deal to sell most of its bread business to Flowers Foods Inc. for $390 million. The deal also includes 20 bakeries and 38 depots.
Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, announced in November that it was shutting down its business and selling its breads and snack cakes. The sales of the Twinkies, Ding Dongs and other brands of snack cakes are expected to be made separately in coming weeks.
The deal with Flowers Foods includes $360 million for the Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita brands, along with the bakeries and depots. The sale of Beefsteak bread is being made in a separate deal for $30 million.
Trade deficit grows wider with rising imports, fewer exports
WASHINGTON – The U.S. trade deficit expanded in November to its widest point in seven months, driven by a surge in imports that outpaced only modest growth in exports.
The Commerce Department report Friday suggests trade will drag on economic growth in the October-December quarter. A wider trade gap slows growth because it means Americans spent more on foreign products while U.S. businesses earned less in overseas sales.
Still, the report showed consumers have maintained an appetite for spending. They kept buying iPhones and other imported goods in November, despite high unemployment and low wage growth.
The trade gap widened 15.8 percent to $48.7 billion in November from October, the report noted. Imports grew 3.8 percent, led by gains in shipments of cellphones, including Apple’s new iPhone.
Exports increased only 1 percent. And exports to Europe fell 1.3 percent, further evidence of the prolonged debt crisis that has gripped the region.