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Business news in brief

In the Region

Deal improves Netflix speed

Netflix Inc.'s videos are streaming through Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp.'s Internet service at their highest speeds in 17 months, thanks to a recent deal requiring Netflix to pay Comcast for a more direct connection to its network. The data released Monday by Netflix may become another flash point in a debate about whether the Federal Communications Commission should draw up new rules to ensure that all online content providers are treated the same by Internet service providers. The equal-treatment doctrine, known as net neutrality, is drawing attention as Comcast tries to gain approval of its proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. - AP

A.C. gambling revenue down

Excluding the Atlantic Club, which closed in January, Atlantic City casinos posted a 1.9 percent decline in gambling revenue in March, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported. The casinos' total gambling revenue was $221.5 million in March, compared with $225.87 million the previous year. Internet gambling, which started in November, generated $11.9 million in revenue in March, up 15 percent from $10.3 million in February. - Harold Brubaker

Plea in worker shakedowns

The principal of a Pennsylvania construction company that did work at Fort Dix has admitted his role in a kickback scheme. Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say Leonard Santos, 67, of Yardley, pleaded guilty to counts of fraud and aggravated assault. Santos admitted running a scheme in which employees were forced to kick back wages. Prosecutors say Santos, the principal officer of Bristol-based Sands Mechanical, also recruited coconspirators to rough up a site manager who questioned company policies. They set fire to the man's truck, and he was seriously injured when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. Three Sands supervisors have pleaded guilty in the scheme and are awaiting sentencing. - AP

Brownstone conversions

Eastern Union Funding of Howell, N.J., brokered $17.5 million for refinancing 15 single-family brownstones that have been converted to apartments in Center City. Although Eastern Union declined to name its client, the Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment gave an address at 718 Arch St. for each, which is the office of AMC Delancey Associates and related property management companies. The brownstones are at 2013 and 2017 Spruce St., 212 S. 11th St., 703 Walnut St., 420 S. 15th St., 330 S. 17th St., 2310 Delancey Place, 2209 Walnut, 2025 Walnut, 2027 Walnut, 125 S. 22d St., 1734 Spruce, 1535 Pine St., and 1010 and 1012 Clinton St. - Alan J. Heavens


What tax deadline?

The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Chances are, you don't need to fret. If you're due a refund - and about three-fourths of filers get refunds - April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all. The IRS doesn't like to talk about it, but penalties for filing late federal tax returns apply only to people who owe money. - AP

TIAA-CREF buys Nuveen

TIAA-CREF agreed to buy Nuveen Investments from Madison Dearborn Partners L.L.C. for $6.25 billion, propelling the manager of teachers' retirement savings into the top 20 of U.S. mutual-fund firms. The price includes $4.56 billion in outstanding debt, according to the New York-based firm. TIAA-CREF will add $221 billion in assets, bringing its funds under management to about $800 billion. Chicago-based Madison Dearborn purchased Nuveen almost seven years ago for $5.75 billion, at the time the largest buyout of a U.S. asset manager. - Bloomberg News

IPO market may be cooling

A hot market for initial public offerings may soon face a cooler reception from investors. IPOs are having their best start to a year since 2000. Eighty-nine companies have raised $19 billion through sales of new stock so far in 2014, according to Dealogic. But demand for more offerings depends largely on the health of the broader market, and after last week's sell-off, the clamor from buyers may quiet down. Auto financing company Ally Financial and hotel operator La Quinta Holdings had lukewarm receptions for their IPOs last week. - AP

Businesses boost stockpiles

U.S. businesses boosted their stockpiles in February as sales rebounded by the largest amount in nine months. Stockpiles increased 0.4 percent in February following a similar 0.4 percent increase in January, the Commerce Department reported. Sales rose 0.8 percent in February, bouncing back after a 1.1 percent sales decline in January that was blamed on the harsh weather that month. It was the biggest one-month sales gain since last May. Stronger consumer spending in coming months could encourage businesses to restock their shelves and provide a boost to the economy. - AP

Southwest to reward workers

Southwest Airlines said employees will get a record $228 million in profit-sharing this year, nearly double the payout of a year ago. The airline said the payout is based on results from 2013, when net income hit a record $754 million. Employees own about 4 percent of Southwest's stock. The company has nearly 45,000 employees. - AP