Business briefs
Associated Press
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

GM's interim CEO gets the job permanently

DETROIT --- Ed Whitacre Jr. is dropping the interim from his CEO title at General Motors Co. and he reaffirmed Monday the automaker would repay in full its loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments by June.

Whitacre said GM's board asked him to become permanent CEO last week, ending a seven-week search for a new top executive.

Whitacre also said GM will repay its $8.1 billion in loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments all at once and could pay them even earlier than June.

The U.S. government provided GM with $52 billion in assistance -- including about $6.7 billion in loans -- that the automaker used to survive and emerge from bankruptcy protection last year. Much of that will be repaid when the company goes public again. Whitacre wouldn't give a timeline for an initial public offering Monday.

Ford expected to add jobs at Chicago plant

DETROIT --- A person briefed on the matter says Ford Motor Co. will add 1,200 jobs at its Chicago assembly plant to built the new Ford Explorer starting later this year.

The company and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are scheduled to make the announcement today at the factory. He told reporters in Chicago on Monday that an unspecified company would be announcing 1,200 new jobs in Illinois.

The person briefed on the announcement says some of the workers will be from Ford's pool of employees laid off at other factories.

Ticket sellers' merger OK'd with conditions

LOS ANGELES --- The U.S. Justice Department cleared the way Monday for concert promoter Live Nation and ticket-seller Ticketmaster to combine after imposing major conditions meant to create stronger competitors and lower ticket prices for consumers.

Shares in both companies rose sharply in trading after reports surfaced that the merger would be approved.

Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney said Ticketmaster would have to license its ticketing software to competitor Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc. and sell its subsidiary Paciolan to Comcast Corp. subsidiary Comcast-Spectacor. Paciolan sells tens of millions of tickets every year, she said.

The conditions would result in two large, vertically integrated competitors -- AEG and Comcast-Spectacor -- that would vie for ticketing contracts with the merged entity of Live Nation Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.

The merged entity would also be under a 10-year court order prohibiting it from retaliating against venues that choose to sign ticket-selling contracts with competitors.

In other news

APPLE INC. ROCKETED to its most profitable quarter ever over the holidays, as huge sales of the iPhone led to a nearly 50 percent jump in net income. Apple said Monday it earned $3.4 billion, or $3.67 per share, in the latest quarter, which ended Dec. 26. In the same period of 2008, had the same accounting standards been in place, it would have had net income of $2.3 billion, or $2.50 per share.

From the Tuesday, January 26, 2010 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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