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Business news in brief

In the Region

NBCUniversal swallows Sprout

NBCUniversal has acquired full ownership of Sprout from its partners PBS and HIT Television Ventures. Terms were not disclosed. Sprout was launched in 2005 with Comcast and several partners. The 24-hour network for preschoolers is now 100 percent owned by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. Sprout is available in 60 million homes. - Bob Fernandez

Aramark prices IPO

Aramark Holdings Corp. said Monday it expected the initial public offering of more than 36 million shares of its common stock will be between $20 and $23 per share. A total of 28 million shares is being offered by Aramark and 8.25 million shares are being offered by existing stockholders. Certain of the selling stockholders have granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to 5,437,500 additional shares of common stock to cover over-allotments, if any. Aramark's stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ARMK." - Inquirer staff

Dow Chemical to sell plants

Dow Chemical is looking to spin off or sell about 40 manufacturing plants, though none in the Philadelphia region, from its business as it continues to move away from cyclical commodity products. The U.S. facilities impacted are in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.

Dow said Monday that it expected those deals to happen within the next one to two years. Almost 2,000 workers will be affected by the moves. The businesses generate up to $5 billion of total annual revenue. - Associated Press

Lannett switches to NYSE

Philadelphia-based generic drug manufacturer Lannett Co. said Monday it will transfer the listing of its common stock to the New York Stock Exchange from the NYSE MKT exchange. Lannett expects its shares to begin trading on the NYSE on Dec. 13, under its current ticker symbol "LCI." - Inquirer staff

J&J sells $3.5 billion in bonds

Johnson & Johnson, the AAA-rated maker of health-care products from Band-Aids to Listerine, sold $3.5 billion of bonds in its first offering since 2011. J&J, one of four U.S. nonfinancial borrowers with a top credit ranking, sold six portions of bonds maturing in three to 30 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Proceeds will be used to repay existing debt, J&J said in a regulatory filing. - Bloomberg News


BOA pays Freddie Mac $404m

Bank of America will pay $404 million to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac to settle all remaining claims over home loans sold in the previous decade. The bank says the deal resolves claims on loans sold from 2000 through 2009, which includes mortgage-backed investments that soured during the housing crash. The bank's reserves will cover the payment. Earlier this year, Bank of America Corp. agreed to pay $3.6 billion in cash to Freddie's sibling company, Fannie Mae, and buy back $6.75 billion in loans sold by the bank and Countrywide Financial, which Bank of America bought in 2008. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from banks and package them as bonds to sell. The government rescued both during the financial crisis in 2008 with loans of about $187 billion. So far, they have repaid about $136 billion. - AP

Brazil protects its airlines

Brazil has decided against opening more routes for foreign air carriers for next year's World Cup, certain it can handle the millions of sports fans who will use airplanes to get around South America's biggest country. Civil Aviation Secretary Wellington Moreira Franco told the AP that Brazilian carriers can handle the load with 600,000 foreigners and more than 3 million Brazilians expected to head to matches. Some fear Brazil could be stretched, its creaking airports already strained. The country has limited rail service, the road network is underdeveloped and overtaxed, and flying will be the only alternative for most traveling to the 12 host cities. - AP

Cognizant leaves N.J.

Cognizant, a major information technology outsourcing company headquartered in Teaneck, N.J., is relocating its U.S. operations hub to Texas and expects to add 10,000 jobs nationwide over the next three years. President Gordon Coburn said Monday the company was relocating to College Station in part to draw potential employees from Texas A&M University. - AP

Forest Labs cuts 500 jobs

New York-based Forest Laboratories says it planned to cut about 500 jobs as part of a plan to trim $500 million in costs over the next two years. The drugmaker also plans to buy back at least $400 million in company stock and agreed to pay $240 million for the U.S. marketing rights to Saphris, a Merck & Co. drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar mania. The job cuts make up about 9 percent of the company's 5,800 staff. Most of the cuts will be made in the United States. Forest said that it would not make cuts to staff responsible for filing for approval of important late-stage drugs. - AP