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Business news in brief

In the Region

Lincoln raises $600 million

Lincoln National Corp., the Radnor life insurer that is taking about $950 million in federal aid, raised $600 million selling shares to private investors. It offered 40 million shares at $15 each, according to a statement issued yesterday. Lincoln's closing price yesterday was $15.06. Underwriters have the option to buy an additional six million shares, Lincoln said. Lincoln is seeking to rebuild funds after two straight quarterly losses as the recession forced down value of assets backing policies. It said Monday it planned to raise about $2.05 billion by issuing preferred stock to the government and offering $600 million of common shares on the market and $500 million in senior debt. - Bloomberg News

Trump aims to take control of casinos

As the casino company that bore his name sank deeper into the red this year, Donald Trump went head to head with bondholders trying to buy it and take it private - and lost. Now he is pushing a plan to buy Trump Entertainment Resorts out of bankruptcy. He will have to beat out a competing offer advanced by the bondholders. The three Atlantic City casinos owned by Trump Entertainment still bear his name, but that's the extent of Donald Trump's involvement with them now. He had to relinquish day-to-day control of the company after a 2004 bankruptcy, the second of three it would file. When his offer to buy the company and take it private was spurned in February by board members allied with bondholders, Trump resigned as chairman. Mark Juliano, the company's CEO, said the board would weigh the two competing offers for the company. - AP

Regional worker pay is 2d-highest

Employer costs for workers' compensation in the Middle Atlantic states averaged $31.62 an hour in March, the second-highest of the nation's nine regions, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Only the New England states, at $32.02 an hour, had higher costs for employee compensation in private industry. In the Middle Atlantic region - Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York - wages and salaries in March came to $21.91 of the total hourly compensation; benefits accounted for the rest. Among the benefits, health insurance in the region cost an average of $2.30 an hour, the highest in the country, BLS said. Nationally, total costs for compensation in private industry averaged $27.46 an hour in March. - Paul Schweizer

New chairman, CEO of law firm

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney P.C., Pittsburgh, said that John A. Barbour, a lawyer who focuses on real estate development and wealth management, has taken over as chairman and CEO of the firm, which has a Philadelphia office of 74 lawyers. Before joining Buchanan Ingersoll, Barbour was president and managing shareholder of Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling and helped manage its merger with Buchanan Ingersoll in 2006. - Chris Mondics


Auto supplier aid request rejected

The Obama administration has turned down a request by auto suppliers for up to $10 billion in additional federal aid to help the parts companies deal with the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler. The Treasury Department said in a statement that a $5 billion support program for auto parts suppliers was playing an important role in stabilizing the nation's auto supply base. "No changes have been made to funding, but will continue to monitor the situation," the department said. - AP

GM to sell Saab to Koenigsegg

Saab Automobile, General Motors Corp.'s Swedish unit known for family cars, was rescued by a consortium led by Koenigsegg Automotive AB, a tiny firm that produces a dozen custom-made super cars a year. Having signed a memorandum of understanding, GM said the sale would include an expected $600 million funding commitment from the European Invest-

ment Bank, guaranteed by the Swedish government. Additional funding for Saab's operations and investments would be provided by GM and the Koenigsegg Group AB consortium, it said. - AP

Guilty pleas in toxic pet food case

A Las Vegas company and its owners have pleaded guilty to distributing a tainted ingredient used to make pet food that killed potentially thousands of animals. Sally Qing Miller, 43, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, 56, along with their company, ChemNutra Inc., pleaded guilty to some of the charges contained in a Feb. 6, 2008, federal indictment. The indictment alleged the Millers and ChemNutra, along with two Chinese companies, brought wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine into the U.S. It was then sold to pet-food makers, and thousands of cats and dogs reportedly became sickened or died. - AP

House passes 'clunkers' bill

The House approved "cash for clunkers" legislation allowing consumers to use vehicle trade-in vouchers worth as much as $4,500 to buy new vehicles. The provision, which now goes to the Senate for a vote, was part of broader legislation to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and is designed to encourage Americans to swap older cars and light trucks for new, more fuel-efficient models. - Bloomberg News

Treasury provides more for program

The government will provide another $3.1 billion to a group of mortgage servicing companies as an incentive to modify loans to combat foreclosures. The Treasury Department said the modifications, which included reductions in projected payments for some companies, pushed the total amount for the program to $18.3 billion, from $15.2 billion. - AP

Seattle Times completes sale

The Seattle Times Co. sold its Blethen Maine newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald, to an investor group led by a Pennsylvania publisher. Terms were not disclosed. The Seattle Times was reported to have paid upward of $200 million in 1998 for the former Guy Gannett chain, but the price newspapers fetch has fallen sharply amid a drop in ad revenues and the migration of readers to the Internet. Guy Gannett was a family-run business with no connection to Gannett Co. Richard Connor, a Bangor native who is editor and publisher of the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, signed a purchase agreement in November, but the sale was put off while he scrambled to line up financing. - AP