August 23, 2013

SC business notebook, August 24

Electronic stock companies could announce merger soon; GM to buy Super Bowl ads again; Jeep Cherokees investigated for safety; Apple could face reduced punishment for e-book pricing; Koch brothers drop pursuit of Tribune Co.

Electronic stock companies could announce merger soon

Two electronic stock-exchange companies are in advanced talks on a merger that would create the second-biggest stock market operator in the U.S., according to a news report. BATS Global Markets and Direct Edge Holdings could announce a combination within days, The Wall Street Journal said Friday, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Representatives for the two companies declined to comment. The merger would create the No. 2 U.S. operator, behind New York Stock Exchange owner NYSE Euronext Inc. and ahead of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., the Journal said, accounting for 20 percent of the market.

GM to buy Super Bowl ads again

General Motors Co. is bringing its ads back to football’s biggest game. The automaker says its Chevrolet brand is returning to next year’s Super Bowl because the game falls in the middle of a dozen new model introductions, including the top-selling Chevrolet Silverado, which began arriving in showrooms this summer. GM announced in May of 2012 that it was walking away from this year’s National Football League championship game, saying a price increase from the CBS network was too steep. At the time, the automaker said it couldn’t justify spending well over $4 million for 30-second TV spot. Later the company dismissed the marketing director who made the decision.

Jeep Cherokees investigated for safety

U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating complaints that the ceilings can catch fire in 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. The probe, announced Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, covers an estimated 146,000 of the popular sport utility vehicles. Three passengers complained of fires near the passenger-side sun visor while driving, but no injuries have been reported. Investigators will decide if the problem is serious enough for a recall. Customers with concerns can consult with dealers or call Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403.

Apple could face reduced punishment for e-book pricing

Apple may face a reduced punishment for conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices under a new proposal from the federal government. The Department of Justice suggested in a court filing Friday that it would halve the length of a proposed injunction to 5 years from 10. The injunction would keep the Cupertino, Calif., company from entering deals with publishers that would limit price competition. The proposal includes a chance to seek a number of 1-year extensions if warranted. It also proposes staggering renegotiations of Apple’s contracts with publishers.

Koch brothers drop pursuit of Tribune Co.

The Koch brothers are dropping their pursuit of newspapers owned by the Tribune Co. of Chicago. Koch Industries, run by the billionaire brothers Charles and David, said Friday that it is still interested in the media and is exploring a broad range of opportunities. Tribune publications include the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Orlando Sentinel and The Sun, in Baltimore. Reports first surfaced four months ago of the Koch’s interest in Tribune after the company in December announced plans to sell its papers.

The Associated Press contributed.

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