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Business news in brief

In the Region

Schorsch gone from ARCP

Three top executives resigned from American Realty Capital Properties Inc., the U.S. real estate investment trust that has lost 32 percent of its value since disclosing accounting errors in October. Nicholas Schorsch, 53, whose deal making made American Realty Capital Properties one of the biggest REITs in a matter of a few years, stepped down as executive chairman and a director of the New York-based company, according to a statement Monday. The company also has offices in Jenkintown. Chief executive officer David Kay resigned as well, as did Lisa Beeson, president and chief operating officer. William Stanley will act as CEO and chairman until permanent replacements are named. The changes are effective immediately. - Bloomberg News

Flight attendants have contract

The 24,000 flight attendants for American Airlines and US Airways have a new contract, after an arbitration panel ruled on Saturday. The wages could now be bumped higher by the merged airlines. The flight attendants' union said Monday that American CEO Doug Parker "has expressed a willingness to put wages back" into the collective bargaining agreement narrowly rejected by members last month. The dispute went to arbitration in early December. Parker will meet with the union board of directors Thursday to talk about the details, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said on its website. The merged American is the dominant carrier in Philadelphia. - Linda Loyd

Pfizer dividend up

Pfizer Inc. said it will raise its quarterly dividend by 8 percent, or 2 cents, to 28 cents per share for the first quarter of 2015. The dividend will be payable March 3 to shareholders of record on Feb. 6. The New York-based drugmaker with operations in Collegeville said in a statement that it expects to repurchase about $5 billion in common stock for 2014 and "more than $11 billion of share repurchase authorization available in 2015 and beyond." - Reid Kanaley

Armstrong exits German firm

Armstrong World Industries, of Lancaster, said its German flooring subsidiary, DLW, has filed for insolvency. The action comes after years of red ink at DLW and numerous attempts by Armstrong to fix the financial problems there. DLW's move, similar to filing for bankruptcy, means Armstrong no longer controls DLW, will no longer fund DLW, and is out of the European flooring business. - Tribune News Service

Company's funding goal met

Five hundred small businesses will have access next year to workshops and one-on-one counseling thanks to Philadelphia-based Entrepreneur Works hitting its crowdfunding goal of $10,000. The number of helped businesses could go higher thanks to a new pledge from an anonymous donor: To match $10 for every donation made to Entrepreneur Works' campaign on Indiegogo until another goal - 100 donors - is reached. As of Monday, the campaign launched in November at, had 62 funders. It expires on Dec. 31. - Diane Mastrull


PetSmart sold for $8.3B

PetSmart Inc., the largest pet-store chain in the United States, agreed to be bought by a group led by BC Partners for about $8.3 billion in the biggest leveraged deal for an American company this year. The group will pay $83 a share, according to a statement. That's about 39 percent more than the company's price on July 2, before activist investor Jana Partners began pushing for the sale. Including debt, the total value of the deal is about $8.7 billion. - Bloomberg News

GM update on ignition crashes

At least 42 people have died and 58 have been injured in crashes involving General Motors cars with defective ignition switches. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the totals Monday. Feinberg says he has received 251 death claims and 2,075 injury claims since August. The fund so far has deemed a total of 100 claims eligible for compensation. - AP

Russia raises key rate to 17%

The Bank of Russia raised its key interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent in a move to boost its currency, which has been plunging along with oil prices. The action comes after the ruble's value has sunk roughly 50 percent since January, battered by Western sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine and a huge drop in the price of oil. - AP

Stocks fall further on oil slump

Falling oil prices pushed U.S. stocks down broadly Monday, extending losses into a second week. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 12.70 points, or 0.63 percent, to 1,989.63. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 99.99 points, or 0.58 percent, to 17,180.84. The Nasdaq composite lost 48.44 points, or 1.04 percent, to 4,605.16. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.90, or 3.3 percent, to close at $55.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil was as high as $107 a barrel in June. - AP