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Business news in brief

In the Region

A.C. Electric seeks rate increase

Atlantic City Electric Co. filed for a $69.7 million rate increase that would boost the total monthly residential bill 7 percent, or $12.69, for customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours. The increase would affect only the South Jersey utility's distribution charge, which represents about a quarter of the total bill and which all customers pay, regardless of which company generates their power. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities typically requires about a year to decide rate cases. The utility last sought a rate increase in August 2011 for 4.1 percent, which the BPU reduced to 1.9 percent. That increase went into effect last month. - Andrew Maykuth

Liberty takes control of TripAdvisor

Liberty Interactive Corp., parent company of QVC in West Chester, bought about $300 million in shares of TripAdvisor Inc., gaining voting control of the online travel-review company from billionaire Barry Diller, who stepped down as its chairman. Liberty bought about 4.8 million shares at $62.50 apiece from Diller and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Liberty said. Liberty now has 57 percent voting control and 22 percent of total equity. Diller, who acquired TripAdvisor in 2004, spun it off from Expedia Inc. last year into its own company. TripAdvisor shares rose 6.6 percent to $40.91. - Bloomberg News

FMC raises dividend

Chemical company FMC Corp. of Philadelphia declared a quarterly dividend increase of 4.5 cents per share, to 13.5 cents per share - a 50 percent increase payable Jan. 17 to shareholders of record Dec. 31. FMC had 2011 sales of $3.4 billion, and CEO Pierre Brondeau told an investor conference the company expected to exceed, by 10 percent or more, its goal of $5 billion in sales in 2015. Shares closed up 47 cents, at $54.21. - Reid Kanaley

Susquehanna to pay early dividend

Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. of Lititz, Lancaster County, announced early payment of a 7-cent-per-share dividend for the first quarter of 2013. The dividend will be paid Dec. 31 to shareholders of record Dec. 21. Susquehanna joins many companies accelerating dividend payments because of the potential for tax increases on dividend income in 2013. - Inquirer staff


3 arrested in LIBOR fraud case

British police arrested three people as part of the investigation into the manipulation of a key benchmark interest rate - the first British arrests in a scandal that's had global ramifications. Britain's Serious Fraud Office opened its probe in July after Barclays was fined $435 million by American and British agencies for creating false reports on its borrowing costs between 2005 and 2009, specifically related to the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR. Numerous other banks are reportedly under investigation for similar violations. LIBOR is the rate banks use to borrow from one another, and it is critical. The rate indirectly affects the cost of loans that people pay when they take out loans. - AP

AIG bailout ends with U.S. profit

American International Group Inc.'s rescue has come to an end with the United States raising $7.6 billion in its final offering of the insurer's shares, four years after a bailout that fueled resentment against Wall Street. The Treasury Department sold 234.2 million shares at $32.50 each in the sixth offering since the 2008 rescue. The proceeds boost the U.S. profit on the rescue to $22.7 billion, according to Treasury, which injected capital through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The United States took over the New York company in a 2008 bailout that swelled to $182.3 billion to save the global economy from collapse. AIG shares rose $1.90, to $35.26. - Bloomberg News

Job openings up

U.S. employers advertised more jobs in October than September, a hopeful sign that hiring could pick up in coming months. The Labor Department said job openings rose by 128,000, to 3.68 million. That's the most since June. Even with the increase, the number of available jobs is still below the roughly 4 million that were advertised each month before the recession began in December 2007. - AP

Delta buys stake in Virgin Atlantic

Delta Air Lines said it would buy almost half of Virgin Atlantic for $360 million as it tries to catch up to rivals in the lucrative New York-to-London travel market. Delta plans to form a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic so they can sell seats on each other's flights, share the costs and profits, and set the flight schedules in ways that help both airlines. American Airlines has a similar deal with British Airways. Delta shares rose 5.1 percent to $10.66. - AP

Fidelity cuts fees on some funds

Fidelity Investments is trimming fees at its largest index mutual funds, a move that follows recent investment fee cuts at several industry rivals. Fidelity also said it was expanding access to its lowest-cost shares available at 22 index funds. The minimum dollar amounts needed to invest in the funds are being reduced so more investors can qualify for the lowest fee levels. The moves affect funds holding about $100 billion in assets, out of about $1.6 billion the Boston company manages overall. The largest fund where fees are being cut is Fidelity's $49 billion Spartan 500 Index Fund. - AP

New CEO at Go Daddy

Go Daddy Group Inc., an Internet domain-name hosting company, appointed Blake Irving chief executive officer. Irving, who previously held senior management positions at Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., will take over as CEO on Jan. 7, replacing interim chief Scott Wagner, the Arizona company said. KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures bought Go Daddy last year for an undisclosed sum. Wagner, a member of KKR, had been interim CEO since July, Go Daddy said. - Bloomberg News

Yahoo overhauls e-mail service

Yahoo Inc. is spiffing up and expanding its e-mail service in an attempt to regain some of the ground lost to a Google Inc. alternative that lured away millions of users. The changes are meant to make Yahoo's e-mail faster and easier to use on the Web. To cater to the growing audience checking their e-mail on smartphones and tablet computers, Yahoo also introduced updated Android apps and new apps for Apple Inc. devices and devices powered by Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 8 system. - AP