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In brief: NW Bancorp. repays TARP funds

Wed., Jan. 1, 2014

Spokane-based Northwest Bancorporation, the parent company of Inland Northwest Bank, successfully paid off money it received from the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program by buying back shares, the bank announced Tuesday.

In January 2009, the company applied for and received about $11 million from TARP. Created by the Treasury Department at the time when major financial institutions were failing and threatening the economy, TARP was widely seen as a bailout for troubled banks.

Northwest Bancorporation bought back the stock from third parties, which had purchased it from the Treasury Department earlier this year, the release said. The total repurchase price was $13.5 million, which the bank funded with money it recently raised through a private placement of stock and notes.

Chinese tycoon to bid on NY Times

A spotlight-loving Chinese business mogul said Tuesday that he wanted to expand his empire into media by purchasing the New York Times.

Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune recycling material from torn-down buildings, said he plans to discuss the issue in January with “a leading shareholder” in New York, according to Reuters.

“There’s nothing that can’t be bought for the right price,” Chen told Reuters.

If Chen successfully follows through on a bid, he would be one in a string of ultrawealthy businessmen who have recently stepped into the newspaper industry. founder Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post this year for $250 million, ending four generations of family ownership. Entrepreneur Aaron Kushner, who controls the Orange County Register along with several smaller Southland papers, closed the purchase of the Riverside Press-Enterprise last month.

The Sulzberger family has maintained control of the New York Times for generations, remaining the last family running a major American newspaper.

2013 worst year for gold since 1981

The price of gold is closing out its worst year since 1981 as the U.S. economy improves, inflation remains at bay and worries about the financial system and gridlock in Washington fade.

Gold slumped 28 percent in 2013. The price peaked at $1,900 an ounce in August 2011 and has been declining more or less ever since.

On Tuesday, the actively traded February contract for gold fell $1.50 to $1,202.30 an ounce.

Other commodities also had a bad year.

The price of corn plunged 40 percent in 2013 as it became clear that the U.S. crop would be huge, bouncing back from a severe drought the year before. The price of wheat also fell 22 percent for the year.

Oil gained about 7 percent in the year.


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