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Business news in brief

In the Region

Sears closing in U. Darby, Pottstown

Sears stores on 69th Street in Upper Darby and in Pottstown are among the 100 to 120 stores that will close, the company said Thursday. The struggling retailer released a list of 79 locations that will shut their doors, with others to follow, after announcing cutbacks Tuesday. Sears Holdings Corp. also owns Kmart. The company could not provide a total number of job losses at each store, but said a typical store had between 40 and 80 employees. The list did not include any Sears or Kmarts in New Jersey or Delaware. (See the list of 79 at

- David Sell

Iron Hill opens a pub in city next week

The Delaware-based brewpub chain Iron Hill plans to open its ninth location, its first inside the Philadelphia city limits, at 8400 Germantown Ave., at the former Express store site in Chestnut Hill, at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The chain has five other locations in Pennsylvania, two in Delaware, and one in New Jersey. - Joseph N. DiStefano

Regulators close Montco bus firm

Concerns over vehicle and driver safety led federal regulators to shut down a Huntingdon Valley-based bus company that took passengers from several cities to New York City's Chinatown. U.S. transportation officials have ordered Double Happyness Travel Inc. to immediately cease operations, deeming the company's bus service "an imminent hazard." Investigators said they found numerous violations of rules on vehicle maintenance and driver safety, including drug and alcohol testing and records on how long drivers were working. Double Happyness runs buses from Albany, N.Y., Baltimore, and Wilmington to midtown and Chinatown in New York City. In a news release, authorities did not cite any accidents involving the company. Double Happyness did not immediately return a message Thursday left at its corporate office. - AP

Teva shipping generic HIV drug

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., which has operations in North Wales, Montgomery County, and is the world's largest maker of generic drugs, said it had begun shipping its generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's Combivir for HIV patients in the United States. "Pursuant to our agreement with Glaxo Group and Viiv Healthcare, we did commence shipping on Dec. 27," Denise Bradley, a spokeswoman for the Israel-based company, said in an e-mail. Viiv is the HIV-drug joint venture of Glaxo and Pfizer Inc., which have major operations in this area.

- Bloomberg News

Casino operator seeks refinancing

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, operator of Mohegan Sun casinos in the Poconos and Connecticut, says it has yet to reach an agreement to refinance $811 million in debt, raising the risk of its being unable to continue operations. The delay in refinancing fiscal 2012 maturities is among conditions that "raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern," the Uncasville, Conn.-based casino operator said Thursday in a regulatory filing. Mohegan said it received a default waiver from its bank lenders Wednesday. It is trying to refinance much of its $1.61 billion in debt owed as of Sept. 30. The debt includes $535 million outstanding under a bank credit facility maturing March 9 and $250 million of senior subordinated notes due April 1. - Bloomberg News


Mortgage rates tip higher

Fixed mortgage-interest rates rose slightly this week off their record lows. Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year home loan increased to 3.95 percent from 3.91 percent last week, which had been the lowest average rate on records dating to the 1950s. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.24 percent. That's up from 3.21 percent, also a record low. Rates have been below 5 percent for all but two weeks in 2011 but have had little impact in energizing the struggling housing market. Mortgage applications have fallen slightly in recent weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancing applications fell 1.6 percent last week. - AP

Lowe's buys online ATG Stores

Lowe's Cos., the world's second-largest home-improvement chain, has purchased ATG Stores to accelerate online sales of lighting, tools, and furnishings. ATG will operate as a Lowe's unit and will remain based in Kirkland, Wash., Lowe's said Thursday in a statement. Financial terms were not disclosed. Lowe's will add ATG's more than 500 websites as chief executive officer Robert Niblock spends a record amount on technology in the fiscal year through January. ATG, which sells more than 3.5 million items online, started its first website,, in 1999, according to the statement. Karen Cobb, a Lowe's spokeswoman, said the company would not disclose ATG's revenue.

- Bloomberg News

AMR Corp. to be delisted

American Airlines' parent company, now in bankruptcy protection, says its stock will be dropped from the New York Stock Exchange. Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp. said Thursday that the NYSE notified it of the move after the average closing price of AMR shares fell below $1 for 30 straight trading days. The shares will stop trading before the opening bell next Thursday. The delisting includes AMR common stock and some company-issued notes. AMR filed for bankruptcy protection Nov. 29. - AP

United Airlines, mechanics ratify pact

United Airlines and the Teamsters union say the carrier's mechanics have ratified a new labor contract. The company said Thursday that the agreement covers about 5,500 mechanics. With the accord, the Teamsters and the company will begin negotiations on a contract to cover mechanics at both United and Continental, where Teamsters-represented mechanics approved a separate agreement in November 2010. Since then, the airlines have been combined under United Continental Holdings Inc., the world's largest airline company.

- AP

Settlement in Barbie doll lawsuit

Donna Douglas, who played Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, has settled her lawsuit over a Barbie doll that uses the character's name and likeness. An attorney for the actress said she settled with CBS and toymaker Mattel Inc. this week. The lawsuit had sought at least $75,000. Details of the settlement were confidential. Douglas, who portrayed Elly May for all nine seasons of the CBS-TV comedy, claimed CBS Consumer Products Inc. and Mattel needed her approval for the doll. In court documents, CBS and Mattel said they didn't need Douglas' permission because the network holds exclusive rights to the character. - AP