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Business news in brief

In the Region

American CEO: Big decision coming

The CEO of American Airlines said the company has nearly finished a bankruptcy turnaround and the only big decision left is whether to remain independent or merge with US Airways, the dominant airline serving Philadelphia. US Airways has been pushing for a merger that would put its executives in charge. But American CEO Thomas Horton said that a deal could happen after his airline emerges from bankruptcy. That raises the possibility that American could buy US Airways. Horton also says that provisions approved by pilots last week will help American regain passengers that it has lost to Delta Air Lines and become "a powerhouse." - AP

Merck cuts Boy Scouts donation

Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Inc.'s charitable foundation has stopped giving money to the Boy Scouts of America. Merck has a big plant in West Point, Montgomery County, and its headquarters is in Whitehouse Station, N.J. The Merck Foundation said the Boy Scouts' exclusion of gays from its ranks and leadership positions conflicts with giving guidelines and the company's nondiscrimination policy. The foundation says it will reconsider giving money to the Boy Scouts if they change their policy on sexual orientation. Merck CEO and Philadelphia native Kenneth C. Frazier received the "Good Scout" Award from the Philadelphia Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council in June. Records show the foundation gave $30,000 to the Boy Scouts of America in 2011 and $10,000 to the Cradle of Liberty Council. - AP

Nuron acquires vaccine from Pfizer

Nuron Biotech Inc., a specialty biologies and vaccines company based in Exton, said it acquired from Pfizer Inc., the vaccine Meningitec, used for the prevention of a potentially deadly infection caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C. There are an estimated 500,000 cases of the infection annually worldwide, according to Nuron. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the rate of infection in the U.S. is 0.5 per 100,000 people. The infection can lead to meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia. - David Sell

Phila. woman sues Google

A Philadelphia woman is suing Google Inc. over e-mails she sent to a friend's Gmail account that spawned content-related ads. The suit echoes several filed around the country by class-action lawyers who say the practice violates wiretap laws in some states. In court filings in Maryland, Google admits it scans e-mails for spam and computer viruses, but says that's permitted under similar federal wiretap laws. Google argues that selling advertising is likewise a routine business practice permitted by law. The Philadelphia plaintiff, Kristen Brinkman, says she doesn't have a Gmail account and never signed the company's acceptance policy. - AP

NBC peacock added to Comcast logo

Comcast Corp., of Philadelphia, the nation's largest pay-TV company, has adopted a new logo that incorporates the NBC peacock on a new corporate web site, Comcast acquired 51 percent of NBCUniversal in early 2011 from General Electric and is expected eventually to acquire the remaining 49 percent. - Bob Fernandez

Unisys announces share buyback

Unisys Corp., the Blue Bell computer services company, said it authorized a repurchase of up to $50 million of its common shares and convertible preferred stock. Timing of repurchases, if any, will depend on market conditions and other factors, the company said after the stock market closed. Shares had ended trading down 7 cents, at $17.48. Unisys has about 22,500 workers around the world. - Reid Kanaley


Treasury to make final AIG stock sale

The U.S. government said it is selling its remaining shares of American International Group stock, moving to close the books on the government's biggest bailout during the 2008 financial crisis. The Treasury Department said it would sell 234.2 million shares of common stock in a public offering. The government's shares represent a 16-percent ownership stake in the insurance company. Treasury has already recovered more on its AIG investment than the original $182.3 billion bailout, which was the largest government bailout package. AIG, which is based in New York City, nearly collapsed at the height of the financial crisis. The company suffered massive losses from exotic financial instruments whose value was based on mortgage securities. - AP

Ford: A software fix for overheating

Ford Motor Co. will update software on 2013 Escapes and Fusions to stop their engines from overheating, a problem that has caused a small number of fires. Reports of nine fires prompted a recall of more than 89,000 of the SUVS and midsize cars in the U.S. and Canada last month. No injuries were reported and only models with 1.6-liter turbocharged engines were recalled. Ford offered free loaner cars until it figured out what caused the fires. It was the fourth recall in four months for the new Escape, a top seller in the competitive market for small SUVs. The 2013 version has had problems with coolant leaks, cracked fuel lines and carpet padding since it started selling this spring. The Fusion has been recalled twice. - AP

Steelmaker takes heavy loss

German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG said it is taking a 3.6 billion euro ($4.66 billion) hit on the value of its Steel Americas unit. The Essen-based company said the write-down follows a reassessment prompted by efforts to sell the unit's plants in the United States and Brazil. The announcement came as ThyssenKrupp posted heavy losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The company said it made a net loss attributable to shareholders of 4.7 billion euros and is cancelling its dividend for the 2011-2012 period. It recorded a loss of 1.3 billion euros for the previous fiscal year. - AP