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Business news briefs — Dec. 11

HOTELS

Hilton sells stock

Hilton is back, and in a big way.

The hotelier, which went private in 2007, says its initial public offering priced Wednesday at $20 per share — in the middle of its expected range — for a total take of $2.35 billion on the sale of 117.6 million shares.

The payoff surpasses the $2.1 billion generated by Twitter’s IPO last month. The biggest IPO of the year so far was Plains GP Holdings LP at $2.9 billion.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is the world’s largest hotel group, when measured by rooms, with 665,667 rooms across 90 countries and territories.

Blackstone Group LP, which led the $20 billion buyout of Hilton six years ago, is not selling any shares in the IPO, and will continue to hold majority voting power.

MUSIC

New streaming service

Music service Spotify has launched a new free streaming service for mobile devices.

The Swedish-based company announced it will allow users to stream playlists for free as long as the songs are shuffled randomly. It’s a step closer to picking songs and albums on demand, a feature Spotify continues to reserve for premium members who pay $10 a month.

Users can play an artist’s entire catalog or their own playlists in shuffle mode. Free users won’t be able to shuffle play a single album without hearing other songs mixed in. Playlists that have too few songs will also have other songs mixed in. The free service includes ads.

Spotify also announced it is streaming the entire Led Zeppelin catalog.

RETAIL

Amazon delivers groceries

Amazon.com Inc. has begun dropping off food and other small items at doorsteps in San Francisco, its third city as it continues to look for ways to speed up delivery of the products it sells.

The company rolled out AmazonFresh five months after debuting the service in Los Angeles. The company expanded into those cities only after testing its grocery delivery service in Seattle for nearly six years. And rumors persist that Amazon is considering launching Fresh in the New York metropolitan area soon.

The service helps Amazon move a step closer toward giving customers same-day delivery of the products it sells.

POST OFFICE

Cutbacks in Canada

Canada’s postal service says it will phase out home delivery within urban centers within the next five years. Canada Post said it will replace foot delivery with community mail boxes. It also says it plans to eliminate 6,000 to 8,000 jobs during the next five years, mainly through attrition. The mail service says it has begun to post significant financial losses because of the increasing use of digital communication and the decline of letter mail.

ENERGY

Marathon assets for sale

Marathon Oil Corp. is marketing its United Kingdom and Norwegian assets following almost $3.5 billion of asset sales in the past three years. “The marketing of our North Sea assets represents another example of our ongoing commitment to portfolio management,” Chief Executive Officer Lee Tillman said in a statement. Marathon also increased its remaining share repurchase authorization to $2.5 billion.

PUBLISHING

USA Today in insert

Gannett Co., one of the nation’s largest newspaper chains, will try to expand its advertising and circulation revenue by inserting parts of its flagship newspaper, USA Today, into its local newspapers.

Beginning in January, Gannett will add 12 to 14 pages of USA Today content each day to 35 newspapers in its largest markets, including the Journal News in White Plains, N.Y., the Tennessean in Nashville and the Cincinnati Enquirer. That means readers, along with their local news, will get a broader mix of news from the USA Today content.

Gannett has been testing the program at four papers — in Indianapolis; Rochester, N.Y.; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Appleton, Wis. — since October and plans to add the new markets throughout the first quarter of 2014. Eventually it plans to extend the program to all of its 81 local newspaper markets.

Compiled from staff and wire reports



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