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Business news in brief

In the Region

Senator seeks Comcast sale of Hulu

Sen. Herb Kohl (D., Wis.), a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wants federal regulators to force Comcast Corp. to sell NBC Universal Inc.'s stake in the online video site Hulu and impose other conditions if they allow the cable company to take control of NBCU. Kohl urged the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strong conditions "to avoid the risk of injury to competition and consumers" if they clear the deal. - AP

Ponzi cases move forward

A federal judge in Philadelphia denied a motion by Malvern Preparatory School to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to recover $1.1 million allegedly transferred to the school through a fraudulent Broomall investment partnership run by Joseph S. Forte, who is serving a 15-year prison term. Malvern Prep had argued, among other things, that the receiver trying to recover money for 84 Forte investors who lost $34.8 million filed her lawsuit too late and did not have standing to bring the claim. In a separate development in another local Ponzi scheme, Tony Young, a Chester County investment manager who is accused of defrauding investors of $25 million, was scheduled to plead guilty July 20, according to a court filing. - Harold Brubaker

FDA: Hundreds of J&J complaints

Federal health regulators are investigating hundreds of consumer complaints involving children's medicines recalled by Johnson & Johnson last month, according to a congressional memo. The medicines were manufactured at J&J's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit in Fort Washington. The Food and Drug Administration has not directly linked any of the reports to flaws with the company's products. Washington lawmakers will question company management at a hearing Thursday. A spokeswoman for J&J declined to comment on the congressional memo. - AP

Innova Dynamics gets $5.5M

Innova Dynamics Inc., an advanced-materials technology company created by two University of Pennsylvania engineering alumni, said it had attracted $5.5 million in venture financing. The lead investor is Rho Ventures, of New York, whose partner, Nicholas Darby, will join the Innova Dynamics board as chairman. MentorTech Ventures, of Philadelphia, also invested. Innova's founders are Alexander Mittal and Arjun Srinivas. Innova has applied for patents  for technology that can incorporate unconventional features, such as antimicrobial qualities, in polymeric surfaces. - Andrew Maykuth

Chemical firm to ration 3 products

Chemtura Corp., a Philadelphia chemical company, said it would restrict sales of three of its flame retardants because of high demand and supply limits for several raw materials used in the products. The sales restrictions are for an undetermined period and will be based on a customer's purchases during the 2010 first quarter. Chemtura, which is operating under bankruptcy protection, also said it reserved the right to raise prices on the retardants every 30 days. - Paul Schweizer


AIG vows to repay U.S. bailout funds

American International Group Inc., recipient of a $182.3 billion bailout, will return rescue funds with interest, chief executive officer Robert Benmosche said. "I'm confident you'll get your money, plus a profit," Benmosche told the Congressional Oversight Panel. But the U.S. Treasury's chief restructuring officer, Jim Millstein, cautioned that AIG's ability to repay depends on its future profitability and the insurance industry's strength. - Bloomberg News

SEC plans audit trail on trades

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a rule to require stock exchanges to maintain an "audit trail" covering trading orders from start to routing to execution. The regulators said that would make it easier to investigate market disruptions like that of May 6, which sent the Dow Jones industrials down nearly 1,000 points in less than 30 minutes. The plan is estimated to cost $4 billion to put in place and $2 billion a year to operate. - AP

Yield on 5-year notes falls to 2.13%

The Treasury Department sold $40 billion of five-year notes at a yield of 2.13 percent, as demand fell relative to the last auction of securities with the same maturity. At the previous auction, the notes yielded 2.54 percent. The yield was the lowest since April 2009, when the notes were at 1.94 percent, the Treasury said. - Bloomberg News

Facebook changing privacy controls

Facebook Inc. has announced that it is simplifying its privacy controls and applying them retroactively, so users can protect the status updates and photos they have posted on the social-networking site in the past. The changes came after Facebook rolled out a slew of new features in April that spread its reach to the broader Web. Privacy groups have complained to regulators, and some people threatened to quit the site. - AP

Money market rates hold steady

The average seven-day yield on taxable money market funds was 0.03 percent this week, unchanged from 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 0.04 percent this week, unchanged from last week. - Paul Schweizer

Boeing shareholder suit dismissed

Boeing Co. won dismissal of a shareholder suit that alleged the Chicago aircraft manufacturer and its executives made misleading statements about the flight readiness of the new 787 passenger jet. A federal judge in Chicago threw out the 2009 case, finding the Livonia, Mich., employees pension plan had not presented enough evidence to go forward. Boeing's rollout of the passenger jet, known as the Dreamliner, is more than two years behind schedule. - Bloomberg News

Treasury sells 1.5 billion Citi shares

The Treasury Department said it raised $6.2 billion from the sale of 1.5 billion shares of Citigroup stock it received as part of the government's rescue of the bank. The sales took place over the past month and represented 19.5 percent of the government's original 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup common stock. Treasury has previously said it hopes to sell all of its Citigroup shares this year. - AP