SC business notebook

February 15, 2013 

Heinz-Berkshire Hathaway

FILE - In this March 2, 2011 file photo, Heinz ketchup is seen on the shelf of a market in Barre, Vt. H.J. Heinz Co. says it agreed to be acquired by an investment consortium including billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a deal valued at $28 billion. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

TOBY TALBOT — AP

IRS: Don’t check refund status more than once a day

The Internal Revenue Service has a message for taxpayers eager to learn the status of their tax refund: Please don’t check the IRS website every five minutes – once a day is enough. The IRS says its “Where’s my refund?” website and smartphone app are being overwhelmed by eager taxpayers. The agency says its systems are updated only once a day, usually overnight, and the same information is available on the website, the IRS2go smartphone app and phone lines. To avoid delays, the agency says the best time to check on refunds is evenings and weekends. Inquiries are up over last year, probably because it is easier to check on smartphones and computer tablets, officials said. Most taxpayers who file online and opt for direct deposit receive refunds in less than 21 days.

Buffet buys Heinz Co. for $23.3 billion

Billionaire Warren Buffett, the most closely watched investor in America, is putting his money in ketchup, agreeing to buy H.J. Heinz Co. for $23.3 billion in the richest deal ever in the food industry. For his money, the Oracle of Omaha gets one of the nation’s oldest and most familiar brands, one that’s in refrigerators and kitchen cupboards all over the U.S. The deal is intended to help Heinz accelerate its expansion from a dominant American name into a presence on grocery shelves worldwide. The Pittsburgh-based company also makes Classico pasta sauces and Ore-Ida potatoes. Buffett’s investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, is teaming with investment firm 3G Capital to snap up Heinz, which had long been a subject of takeover speculation.

Justice Department won’t stop publishing house merger

The Justice Department has closed an investigation of a proposed merger between Penguin and Random House and will take no action to stop the deal that would create the world’s largest publisher of consumer books. Media company Pearson seeks to merge its Penguin Books division with Random House, which is owned by German media company Bertelsmann. The proposed publishing house would have around a quarter of the consumer book market. All antitrust approvals needed to finalize the merger are expected to be completed in the second half of this year.

Regulators to launch crackdown on tour bus companies

Federal regulators will launch a national crackdown on unsafe tour bus operators and try to toughen oversight of the industry in the wake of recent fatal accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Thursday teams of investigators will focus on bus companies with a history of problems in safety sweeps over the next two months.

The Associated Press contributed.

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