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Business news in brief

As the worst recession in at least a generation spreads, so too does the clamor for gold bars and coins like these American eagles, assets less likely to go up in smoke than so many derivatives and asset-backed securities.
As the worst recession in at least a generation spreads, so too does the clamor for gold bars and coins like these American eagles, assets less likely to go up in smoke than so many derivatives and asset-backed securities.Read moreSTEVEN SENNE / Associated Press

In the Region

Tropicana creditors file a challenge

Creditors of

Tropicana Entertainment L.L.C.

, the casino operator pushed into bankruptcy by the loss of its Atlantic City license, asked a judge to allow them to file their own recovery plan hinged on retaining the company's assets. A committee of Tropicana's unsecured creditors contends that

Gary S. Stein

, the retired New Jersey judge overseeing the Atlantic City casino, will wipe out their chances of recovering losses if he pushes ahead with a $700 million sale of the property. The committee is asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge

Kevin Carey

in Wilmington to halt the sale and allow them to propose alternatives.

- Bloomberg News

FDA asks AstraZeneca for drug info

AstraZeneca P.L.C.

said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had asked for more information in its review of the drug Seroquel XR for additional use by people suffering from depression. Its top-selling Seroquel XR is currently approved only for treatment of people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The London-based drugmaker, with U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, is seeking to expand treatment and marketing of the drug.

- Bloomberg News

Quaker Chemical lays off 10 percent

Quaker Chemical Corp.

, Conshohocken, said it eliminated 80 positions, or 10 percent of its workforce, to cut costs as demand falls with a weakening economy. The cuts will primarily affect employees in Europe and North America. The company said it expected a $3 million restructuring charge during the fourth quarter. Still, the directors declared a quarterly dividend of 23 cents a share, the same as the last three quarters.

- AP


GMAC, to get cash, becomes a bank


Federal Reserve

has granted a request by

GMAC Financial Services

, the financing arm of

General Motors Corp.

, to become a bank holding company. That will allow it to petition for money from the government's $700 billion rescue program. GMAC Financial Services also will be able to get emergency loans directly from the Federal Reserve. Without backing, GMAC could have been forced into bankruptcy


- AP

NYU lost $24M with Madoff

New York University

, the largest private university in the United States by number of students, lost $24 million in investments managed by

Bernard L. Madoff

. In a lawsuit filed against

J. Ezra Merkin

and his hedge funds,

Gabriel Capital L.P.

fund and

Ariel Fund Ltd.

, the university said Merkin's hedge funds invested NYU's money with Madoff without telling investors or proper due diligence. The lawsuit also names

Fortis Bank

. Merkin's Gabriel Capital already has said it is shutting down.

- Bloomberg News

Verizon wins cyber-squatter case

Verizon Communications Inc.

was awarded $33.2 million in a lawsuit against an Internet-services company,

OnlineNic Inc.

, which Verizon claimed registered 663 domain names with Verizon trademarks to confuse customers. The registered names included, and The case valued them at $50,000 each. The judgment also froze OnlineNic's assets and ordered the company to transfer to Verizon all identical or confusingly similar addresses.

- Bloomberg News

Taxable money fund yield 0.8 percent

The average seven-day yield on taxable money market funds was 0.80 percent this week, down from 0.88 percent last week, according to

iMoneyNet Inc.

A seven-day yield is an annual yield that is based on the preceding seven days' level of income by the fund. The average yield on tax-free funds was 0.72 percent this week, up from 0.58 percent from last week.

- Paul Schweizer

Canadians get OK to buy Chicago rail

CHICAGO - Federal regulators conditionally approved the hotly debated sale of a 200-mile railway line that arcs around Chicago and runs through dozens of suburban communities. The towns had opposed the transaction. Bucking the opposition, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board allowed the bid by Montreal-based

Canadian National Railway Co.

to buy the line for $300 million. CN argued its purchase of the

Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co.

line would dramatically improve the flow of freight trains in and around the city.

- AP

Toyota founder's grandson on deck


Toyota Motor Corp.

faces its biggest crisis, speculation is growing that the charismatic grandson of the company's founder may take over leadership of the automaker sooner than expected. Japan's nationally circulated Asahi newspaper reported Tuesday that Akio Toyoda - long groomed for the top job - will replace current president Katsuaki Watanabe as soon as April. Toyota denied any decision has been made.

- AP

NYT revenue fell 14 percent

New York Times Co.

, the third-largest U.S. newspaper publisher, said revenue from continuing operations fell 14 percent in November compared with a year earlier because of the economic downturn and a general shift of advertising to the Internet. Print advertising sales declined 21 percent to $149.9 million. Internet ad revenue in its news media group fell 4 percent, but it accounted for a bigger share of total revenue - 12.1 percent in November, up from 10.7 percent a year earlier.

- Bloomberg News

Trump sues over Israeli 'Tower'

A trial judge in Manhattan has dismissed developer

Donald Trump's

claim that another developer misused the "Trump Tower" brand and breached a contract for development of a 70-story building in Israel.

Trump Marks L.L.C.

, which licenses Donald Trump trademarks, sued U.S. businessman

Sonny Kahn

and Miami-based

Crescent Heights Diamond L.L.C.

after Crescent failed to build the tower and instead sold the site. The court accepted Crescent Height's claim it wasn't precluded from selling the land.

- Bloomberg News

AIG buys CDOs


American International Group Inc.

said it purchased $16 billion of complex financial instruments in an effort to further reduce its exposure to insurance guarantees written against them. AIG bought the investments known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, through a financing company set up by the insurer and the government to help relieve AIG of its exposure to the riskiest portion of the credit markets.

- AP