JEWELRY

Signet faces new class action

Signet Jewelers Ltd. is facing a new securities fraud class action lawsuit that accuses the company of making false or misleading statements about the severity of sexual harassment claims against executives.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Dallas by Irving Firemen’s Relief & Retirement Fund, follows a Washington Post story last month about alleged widespread sexual harassment at the company.

The Irving Firemen’s Relief & Retirement Fund claims it suffered economic losses after the allegations were revealed.

Signet has corporate offices in Akron and employs thousands in the area. The company released a statement denying allegations raised in the suit: “The shareholder lawsuits are wholly without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves against them. Since the arbitration case was filed in 2008, Signet has fully met its disclosure requirements.

PLASTICS

A. Schulman to pay dividend

Fairlawn plastic compounds and resin maker A. Schulman Inc. will pay a quarterly dividend of 20.5 cents per share on May 1 to shareholders of record on April 14.

The company also will pay a quarterly cash dividend of $15 per share on the 125,000 shares of its convertible special stock on May 1 to shareholders of record on April 15.

TELEVISION

Spike network rebranded

Cable television’s Spike network will be transformed into the Paramount network early next year, introducing new series with stars to include Alicia Silverstone and Michael Shannon.

In its announcement Thursday, owner Viacom billed the rebranded network as “a prime destination for premium storytelling.” Spike, which has focused on young men, arose from the 2003 transformation of the cable property formerly known as The Nashville Network.

Paramount’s slate of new series will include American Woman, starring Silverstone as a feminism-driven single mother struggling to raise her two daughters in the 1970s.

The limited series Waco, starring Shannon and John Leguizamo, will cover the 51-day siege between the government and the Branch Davidians spiritual sect.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter eases limit on replies

Twitter has found more creative ways to ease its 140-character limit without officially raising it.

Now, the company says that when you reply to someone — or to a group — usernames will no longer count toward those 140 characters. This will be especially helpful with group conversations, where replying to two, three or more users at a time could be especially difficult with the character constraints.

Last fall, Twitter said it would stop counting photos, videos, quote tweets, polls and GIF animations toward the character limit.

Twitter, which has been struggling to attract new users, has been trying to appeal to both proponents and opponents by sticking to the current limit while allowing more freedom to express thoughts, or rants, through images and other media.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.