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Business news in brief

In the Region

More stores pull baby formula

Supervalu Inc. - operator of Acme supermarkets in the Philadelphia region - Walgreen Co. and several other national retailers joined Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in pulling a batch of powdered infant formula from their shelves after a Missouri newborn who consumed it apparently died of a rare bacterial infection. Officials at Supervalu, Walgreen, Kroger Co. and Safeway said they have removed 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn with the lot number ZP1K7G from various stores across the country as a precaution until federal health officials complete tests on the formula. - AP

ViroPharma may buy Meritage

ViroPharma Inc.

, of Exton said it agreed to options that could total $90 million for the purchase of

Meritage Pharma Inc.

, a private San Diego company developing treatments for a chronic inflammatory disorder of the esophagus. ViroPharma paid $7.5 million already. It will pay another $12.5 million for drug development and exclusive right to buy the company after successful clinical trials of oral budesonide suspension. At the next milestone, ViroPharma can buy Meritage for $69.9 million, plus other incentives.

- David Sell

Utz powers up solar array

Utz Quality Foods Inc. said it is now powering its distribution plant in West Deptford with a solar photovoltaic system capable of producing enough electricity to offset 100 percent of the facility's utility usage. Hanover, Pa.-based Utz hired SunWire Energy and Nations Roof to design and install the rooftop solar array at the plant, which services the Philadelphia market and Jersey Shore points. - Reid Kanaley


New-home sales up in Nov.

New-home sales rose 1.6 percent in November from October, but three consecutive months of increase is unlikely to rescue the market from its worst year on record. The Census Bureau reported that the number of new homes for sale fell to a record low of 158,000, and the number of completed homes for sale fell to 59,000, which was the lowest level since September 1971. - Alan J. Heavens

NLRB delays new notice rule

The National Labor Relations Board said it would postpone for three months a rule that requires employers to notify workers of their rights to form a union, allowing time for a legal challenge. Groups led by the National Association of Manufacturers and National Federation of Independent Businesses challenged the board's power to require union-organizing posters in the workplace. The rule will now take effect April 30, the board said today in a statement. The rule had been set to go into effect Jan. 31. - Bloomberg News