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Business news briefs — July 29

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LOCAL BUSINESS

TWC gets new boss

Time Warner Cable Inc. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Britt will retire at the end of the year, to be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Rob Marcus.

Marcus, 48, will take over as CEO and chairman on Jan. 1, the company said. Britt, 64, will remain on the board in a non-executive role. Bloomberg News reported in February that Britt would retire at year’s end.

Marcus steps into the role just as the company is popping up in merger speculation. Charter Communications Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. cable company, is interested in a combination with Time Warner Cable, the second-largest U.S. cable operator, people familiar with the matter have said. Britt and Marcus declined to comment on Charter.

Time Warner Cable Inc. has roughly 2,000 employees in a 15-county Northeast Ohio region including Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, Portage, Medina and Wayne counties. The company’s Northeast Ohio/Western Pennsylvania unit is its third largest.

PPG makes sale

PPG Industries Inc. will sell its majority stake in lens supplier Transitions Optical to Essilor International for about $1.73 billion in cash.

Essilor, of France, also will acquire PPG’s optical sun lens business, and PPG will continue to supply optical dyes and research and development services.

PPG Industries makes paints and coatings for autos, aircraft and other industries. The Pittsburgh company said Monday that it owns a 51 percent stake in Transitions Optical, while Essilor holds a 49 percent share. It plans to use proceeds from the deal on acquisitions and share repurchases, which it will resume doing after suspending buybacks earlier this year.

Transitions Optical supplies photochromic lenses and had about $800 million in revenue last year. Essilor designs and makes a range of lenses to improve and protect eyesight.

RETAIL

Saks chain sold

Luxury retailer Saks is being purchased by the parent of Lord & Taylor for approximately $2.4 billion. The news comes a little over a month after reports surfaced that Hudson’s Bay Co. was interested in buying Saks Inc.

Hudson’s Bay, which also runs some Canadian department stores, will pay $16 per share for Saks, a 5 percent premium over the company’s Friday closing price of $15.31.

The companies put the deal’s total value at $2.9 billion including debt.

WALL STREET

Dow falls 36 points

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 6.32 points, or 0.4 percent, to settle at 1,685.33, while the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 36.86 points, or 0.2 percent, to end at 15,521.97. The Nasdaq composite declined 14.02 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,599.14.

MANAGEMENT

New CEO at Siemens

German engineering giant Siemens AG says it will be replacing its chief executive, who has drawn the ire of shareholders by failing to meet profit targets. Siemens said in a statement that its board will meet Wednesday to “decide on the early departure of the president and CEO” Peter Loescher. A replacement will also be named. Loescher, an Austrian, became CEO of Siemens six years ago. The company recently issued a warning about its profits. It was not immediately clear whether Loescher would offer his resignation or be forced out.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Toyota adds jobs

Toyota says it will add 200 jobs at a manufacturing plant in Indiana as it looks to boost production of its Highlander midsize SUVs starting next year. The automaker said it will invest $30 million into its Princeton, Ind., plant with the goal of increasing production of the SUV.

The company says that will create more than 200 new jobs, boosting employment at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana Inc. to roughly 4,700 workers.

VIDEO GAMES

Activision stake sold

Vivendi SA is selling most of its majority stake in Activision Blizzard Inc. for $8.2 billion, giving the video game company back its independence as the French conglomerate tries to strengthen its balance sheet. Vivendi said 429 million of its shares will be sold to Activision itself for $5.83 billion, or $13.60 per share. Another 172 million shares will be sold for $2.34 billion to a consortium of investors including Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly, who are contributing $100 million each.

Activision makes World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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