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Blackberry and Boeing Partner to Make Self-Destructing Smartphone

Blackberry and Boeing Partner to Make Self-Destructing Smartphone

BUSINESS

  • Phone would be used by government agencies
  • Features numerous security features
  • Future of Blackberry still in question

Canadian telecommunication company Blackberry and aircraft manufacturer and defense contractor Boeing have partnered to develop a self-destructing smartphone for use by government agencies and any other group that needs a high level of security.

The “Black” phone has been in the planning stages since 2012 and includes a number of safety features including data that will erase of the case is tampered with, biometric scanners, phone call encryption, solar recharging and the ability to have satellite or radio capability. The phone makes calls via satellite.

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American Apparel Considered Takeover Offer

American Apparel Considered Takeover Offer

BUSINESS

  • Takeover being seriously considered
  • Board creates plan to deflect hostile takeover bids
  • CEO was fired in mid-December for misconduct

U.S. clothing retailer and manufacturer American Apparel Inc. is considered a takeover by an unidentified party for $1.30 to $1.40 per share. This values the company at $226 million-$243 million.

The proposal requires Chief Executive Dov Charney return to the company. He was fired Dec. 16. It is backed by private-equity firm Irving Place Capital, according the The Wall Street Journal.

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Couche-Tard Buys The Pantry for $860 Million

Couche-Tard Buys The Pantry for $860 Million

BUSINESS

  • Increases U.S. presence
  • The Pantry was about to go up for auction
  • Retailer has preference for stores with fueling stations

Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has purchased U.S. convenience chain The Pantry Inc. for $860 million in cash, expanding its U.S. presence. The deal, including assumption of debt, has an enterprise value of $1.7 billion.

The Pantry was in the process of preparing itself to go up for auction, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Russian Economic Measures May Prevent Collapse

Russian Economic Measures May Prevent Collapse

ECONOMY

  • Central bank takes reparative measures
  • Economy different than 1998 and 2008
  • Several factors lead to decline of ruble

The Russian ruble has fallen 50% in 2014, but measures taken by Russia’s central bank may prevent it from falling further.

The central bank eased regulations including allowing lenders to use last quarter’s exchange rate for some foreign-exchange transactions and, not taking provisions against weakening assets and loans. In addition, the Russian Finance Ministry plans to sell some of its $7 billion in foreign-exchange holdings, and interest rates were raised to 17%.

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Chrysler Changes Name to Match Parent Company

Chrysler Changes Name to Match Parent Company

BUSINESS

  • Fiat also changes name
  • Other business aspects unaffected
  • European car sales slow in November

Chrysler Group LLC, one of the “Big Three” American car companies, has changed its name to FCA US LLC (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles United States), effective immediately, to match its parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

Fiat, the world’s seventh-largest automaker, also changed its name to FCA Italy SpA from Fiat Group Automobiles SpA.

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Court Orders Bank of America to Pay Couple $1 Million

Court Orders Bank of America to Pay Couple $1 Million

BUSINESS

  • Couple had fallen behind on second mortgage
  • Cease and desist letters had been sent to bank
  • Bank of America has used these tactics before

A United States federal judge has order Bank of America to pay a Florida couple $1.05 million for harassing phone calls.

The calls began when Nelson and Joyce Coniglio fell behind on mortgage payments for their second home in 2009. Over the course of a four-year period, the Coniglios received 1,050 robocalls from the bank, up to five a day. The couple also received collection letters.

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RadioShack Plans to Save $400 Million Annually in Costs

RadioShack Plans to Save $400 Million Annually in Costs

BUSINESS

  • Plan to include store closures
  • Third quarter had $161 million in losses
  • Retailer in dispute with lenders

U.S. electronics chain RadioShack Corp. plans to save $400 million annually with cost cutting measures.

The marketing department will see the largest cuts, $105 million, followed by store operations and regional management, with $100 million in cuts, and store closures and asset sales which are expected to save $90 million, according to Chief Executive Joseph C. Magnacca.

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OPEC Oil-Production Forecast Cut for 2015

OPEC Oil-Production Forecast Cut for 2015

BUSINESS

  • 300,000 barrels less than expected
  • Supply greater than demand
  • Oil production in rest of world also seeing changes

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has revised its crude-oil forecast for 2015 as supply is outpacing demand.

The new production forecast predicts 28.9 million barrels per day, 300,000 less than originally forecasted and 1.5 million less than what was produced per day in November. In 2014, 29.4 million barrels per day were produced.

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Nissan Recalls 470,000 Vehicles Worldwide

Nissan Recalls 470,000 Vehicles Worldwide

BUSINESS

  • Faulty fuel-pressure sensor can lead to fires
  • Recall affects SUVs and Infiniti cars
  • Hyundai and Jaguar also issue recalls

Nissan Motor Co. has filed papers with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recalling 470,000 vehicles worldwide because of a faulty fuel-pressure sensor that could lead to a fire.

In the U.S., the models affected are Nissan's Juke sport utility vehicle, the Infiniti QX70 and QX80 SUVs and the Infiniti M56 and QX56.

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Merck Purchases Cubist for $9.5 Billion

Merck Purchases Cubist for $9.5 Billion

BUSINESS

  • Adds superbug drugs to its portfolio
  • Deal follows Merck strategy of acquiring rival companies
  • Companies again focusing on antibiotics as bacteria becomes drug resistant

Merck & Co Inc., the second-largest U.S. drug manufacturer, has purchased Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., which specializes in drugs for bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics, for $8.4 billion plus $1.1 billion in debt. The deal expands Merck’s presence in the drug-resistant bacteria treatment market.

The deal is part of Merck Chief Executive Kenneth C. Frazier’s strategy to purchase drug manufacturers whose product lines complement Merck’s.

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