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Business news in brief

In the Region

PHH Corp. CEO departs

Mortgage originator PHH Corp., Mount Laurel, announced the departure of its CEO and named an interim successor. Terence W. Edwards stepped down as president and chief executive officer effective Wednesday. Edwards lost in a board election by shareholders last week after a push for changes by PHH's largest investor, Pennant Capital Management L.L.C. PHH said it named George J. Kilroy as its acting CEO and president, also effective Wednesday. PHH also named James O. Egan as its chairman. Egan joined the board on March 30 and was reelected on June 12 to a three-year term. - AP

Verizon wins review of FCC decision

Verizon Communications Inc. won an appeal of a Federal Communications Commission decision to require it to abide by local phone exchange unbundling rules in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Providence, R.I., and Virginia Beach. The FCC erred in relying solely on actual and not potential marketplace competition in rejecting Verizon's petition for an exemption from the rules, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said. The court sent the case back to the FCC for an explanation as to why it deviated from previous practice. Verizon asked the FCC in 2006 to free it from limits on rates it can charge rivals for access to residential lines in the cities. - Bloomberg News

Comcast to buy back debt

Comcast Corp., the Philadelphia cable company, says it will buy back up to $1.3 billion in debt. Qualifying notes, senior notes, and debentures carry interest rates of 7.125 percent to 10.625 percent and have due dates from July 15, 2012, to Aug. 1, 2013. The offer expires July 17, Comcast said. On Monday, Comcast sold $1.5 billion of 10-year notes paying 5.7 percent interest, and 30-year debt paying 6.55 percent. - Reid Kanaley

Drug candidate misses goal

Cephalon Inc. said its drug candidate lestaurtinib missed its goal in a clinical trial, as the drug did not improve survival for leukemia patients compared with standard chemotherapy. Cephalon, of Frazer, said patients who took lestaurtinib and chemotherapy had similar response levels compared with standard chemotherapy patients, meaning both groups were about equally likely to see tumors shrink or disappear. But the drug did not produce greater overall survival. The midstage study tested the drug in patients who had acute myelogenous leukemia. Patients had previously been treated and achieved a remission, but their cancer had since returned. - AP

Vanguard shuts fund to new accounts

Vanguard said it closed its $1.5 billion Vanguard Convertible Securities Fund to new accounts, after seeing the fund's assets rise 73 percent in the last five months due to net cash flow and market appreciation. The Valley Forge mutual-fund company said the closing was effective immediately and included a $25,000 annual investment limit on current retail accounts. "The board of directors regularly monitors cash flow into Vanguard's funds and takes action when assets reach levels that could impede advisors' ability to implement their investment strategies effectively," Bill McNabb, Vanguard's chief exective officer, said in a statement. The fund's investment adviser is Oaktree Capital Management L.P. of Los Angeles. Oaktree has managed the fund since 1996. - Reid Kanaley

3 Europe routes suspended this fall

US Airways told employees in a weekly newsletter that it would suspend daily roundtrips between Philadelphia and three European cities - Milan, Brussels, and Zurich - this fall, but is planning to resume the service next spring. The "About US" newsletter led this week with a celebratory piece on the arrival of the new Airbus A330-200 model widebodied jets for use, primarily, on its Europe routes. The new planes were needed for the Philadelphia-Tel Aviv, Israel, service scheduled to start July 1, which will be the airline's longest route. The 300 model has a range of 6,700 nautical miles. - Tom Belden


House targets Fed in B of A probe

A House panel has subpoenaed documents that lawmakers say could shed new light on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's role in Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch. The subpoena comes ahead of a hearing next week in which Bernanke is to testify. Lawmakers have accused Bernanke and President Bush's treasury secretary, Hank Paulson, of pressuring Bank of America Corp. chief executive officer Kenneth Lewis into the deal and urging him to keep quiet about Merrill's financial problems. Not divulging that information would have violated Lewis' fiduciary duty to the bank's shareholders. The subpoena is the second of its kind by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. - AP

GM to recall 900 Mich. workers

A bright spot has surfaced in a sea of negative auto sales statistics for General Motors Corp. GM said it would recall 900 workers and restore the second shift at a factory near Lansing, Mich., because of increased sales of its Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook, and GMC Acadia large crossover vehicles. GM also says it has canceled plans to shut down the Spring Hill, Tenn., plant for an additional week in August because of increased demand for the Chevrolet Traverse crossover. - AP

Regulators close three banks

Banks in Georgia, North Carolina, and Kansas with total assets of $1.5 billion were closed, bringing this year's tally of failures to 40. State regulators shut Southern Community Bank of Fayetteville, Ga., and Cooperative Bank in Wilmington, N.C. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed First National Bank of Anthony, Kan. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named receiver for all three, according to FDIC statements. Southern Community's $307 million in deposits were bought by United Community Bank of Blairsville, Ga., and most of Cooperative's $774 million in deposits went to First Bank in Troy, N.C., the FDIC said. Bank of Kansas in South Hutchinson acquired First Bank's $142.5 million in deposits. - Bloomberg News