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Business news in brief

In the Region

FiOS TV drops Weather Channel

Verizon's FiOS TV service has dropped the Weather Channel and replaced it with the just-launched AccuWeather Network, seeking to cut programming costs, Verizon said Tuesday. "This was a decision to opt out and not carry the Weather Channel," said spokesman Lee Gierczynski. In late 2013 and early 2014, DirecTV temporarily dropped the Weather Channel in a dispute over the channel's costs and programming. DirecTV said the channel had abandoned some of its core weather programs that were popular with subscribers for reality shows to boost ratings. DirecTV and Weather Channel resolved the dispute in 2014. - Bob Fernandez

Sunoco Logistics to sell units

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., the Philadelphia pipeline and terminal operator, announced Tuesday a public offering of 13.5 million common units. The company intends to use the proceeds to pay down borrowing on its $1.5 billion revolving credit facility and for general partnership purposes. - Andrew Maykuth

Science Center building full

Penn Medicine University City has agreed to expand into an additional 56,000 square feet, or two entire floors, at the recently opened 3737 Science Center Building on Market Street in West Philadelphia. The University City Science Center and Wexford Science & Technology run the facility. After the expansion, Penn Medicine University City will occupy 267,800 square feet in the 13-story laboratory and office building, which is now fully leased. - Inquirer staff

Scranton bankruptcy feared

Pennsylvania's elected fiscal watchdog, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, says the City of Scranton will go bankrupt in the next two to four years unless lawmakers solve the state's growing problem of municipal pension debt. DePasquale made the comments Tuesday during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. He made recommendations about how to address municipal pension debt. Since taking office in 2013, DePasquale has warned lawmakers that municipal pension debt is putting municipalities and retiree benefits on shaky ground. He says local governments with the weakest pension plans were underfunding them by $7.7 billion as of the end of 2012, with nearly 70 percent, or $5.3 billion, attributable to Philadelphia. - AP


Israeli banks targeted

Bank Hapoalim B.M., Israel's largest lender by assets, and competitor Mizrahi Tehafot Bank Ltd. were ordered by the national regulator to set aside a combined 291 million shekels ($72 million) to cover the potential costs of a U.S. tax probe. Hapoalim set aside 196 million shekels and Mizrahi 95 million at the request of Israel's banks supervisor, the two banks said in statements Tuesday. The provisions come after Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. agreed to pay $400 million in December for helping American clients evade taxes. Probes into tax evasion have already led to the criminal investigation of about a dozen Swiss banks, including UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG. - Bloomberg News

Target adds to layoffs

Target Corp. says it is laying off 1,700 workers and permanently closing out another 1,400 open positions. The announcement puts a number on last week's announcement that the company would eliminate several thousand jobs as part of a restructuring aimed at saving $2 billion in costs over the next two years. Target is trying to become more agile as it competes with other big box stores as well as online retailers. The cuts will come primarily at headquarters locations in the Minneapolis area, where about 13,500 people work. The company will also eliminate jobs at a location in Bangalore, India, where Target has about 3,000 employees. Earlier this year, Target said it would end its foray into Canada, closing all 133 of its stores there and laying off about 17,000 workers. - AP

Barnes & Noble struggles

Barnes & Noble Inc., the biggest U.S. bookstore chain, dropped the most in almost 11 months after quarterly profit missed analysts' estimates. Third-quarter net income rose to $72 million, or 93 cents a share, from $63 million, or 86 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based retailer said. Analysts had predicted $1.41 on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The results underscore the challenges facing Barnes & Noble as it prepares a breakup. The company announced plans last month to separate its college-bookstore business from the main retail chain and Nook e-reader unit, a move that's slated to be completed by August. The spin-off would leave the company with two very different entities: the money-losing Nook division and a bookstore chain that is profitable but struggling to compete with e-commerce sites. - Bloomberg News

Lumber Liquidators probe

Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. is being investigated by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen as the company faces scrutiny over imports of Chinese flooring that allegedly contain more formaldehyde than the law allows. In a letter to the company, Jepsen asked whether Lumber Liquidators plans to halt sales of the flooring and if it would compensate customers who have installed it in their homes. - Bloomberg News