Business

In brief: Charter continues Time Warner Cable hostile takeover bid

STAMFORD, Conn. – Charter Communications Inc. said Tuesday that it’s nominating a full slate of 13 candidates for election to Time Warner Cable Inc.’s board as it pushes forward with its $38 billion hostile takeover bid.

Time Warner Cable’s management has rejected Charter’s cash-and-stock offer of about $132.50 per share, saying it would accept a bid of $160 per share in cash and stock.

Charter said in January that it would take the offer directly to Time Warner Cable shareholders, and it didn’t raise its bid on Tuesday. CEO Tom Rutledge said in a statement that there is “overwhelming desire” among shareholders for a merger.

Toyota close to settling in federal criminal probe

Toyota is reportedly close to paying a $1 billion fine to settle a four-year federal criminal investigation into whether it properly reported safety complaints to regulators. Meanwhile, Toyota’s lawyers are in settlement talks over hundreds of civil lawsuits alleging wrongful deaths or injuries, potentially adding hundreds of millions to the tab.

Previously, Toyota agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle a class-action case brought by thousands of Toyota owners who contended that sudden-acceleration problems damaged the value of their vehicles.

The automaker has repeatedly denied any serious safety defect that caused its cars to take off at high speeds, causing wrecks that killed or injured occupants.

Toyota appeared ready for a protracted legal battle to fight hundreds of legal claims to the contrary.

Late home payments fell in fourth quarter

LOS ANGELES – U.S. homeowners are keeping up with mortgage payments better, a trend that has reduced the rate of late payment on home loans to the lowest level in more than five years.

The percentage of mortgage holders at least two months behind on their payments fell in the October-December quarter to 3.85 percent from 5.08 percent a year earlier, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Wednesday.

The last time the mortgage delinquency rate was lower was 3.61 percent in the second quarter of 2008.

The firm’s data go back to the second quarter of 2007. The latest rate also declined from 4.09 percent in the third quarter, the firm said.

Job openings, hiring slowed in December

WASHINGTON – U.S. employers posted fewer job openings in December and hiring slowed, adding to evidence that the job market weakened that month.

Still, the number of available jobs remained near a five and a half-year high. The Labor Department said Tuesday that openings slipped 1 percent to 3.99 million in December, from 4.03 million in the previous month.

November was the first time that employers had posted more than 4 million open jobs since March 2008.

Total hiring fell to 4.4 million from 4.5 million in November, according to Tuesday’s report. While job openings are mostly back to pre-recession levels, hiring is below the roughly 5 million a month that’s typical for a healthy market.

Chick-fil-A plans shift

to antibiotic-free chicken

NEW YORK – Chick-fil-A said Tuesday it plans to serve only chicken raised without antibiotics within the next five years.

The Atlanta-based chain said it’s working with suppliers to build up an adequate supply for its nearly 1,800 restaurants.

It is asking suppliers to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to verify that no antibiotics are administered on the chickens at any point.



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