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Business Today

By wire services
Published March 25, 2005

TAMPA FLYER SOLD: Harte-Hanks Inc., which publishes PennySaver and other direct-marketing products, agreed to buy Flyer Printing Co.'s Tampa Flyer, a weekly shopper, for about $66-million, to expand in Florida. The publication is distributed by mail to more than 900,000 people in the Tampa area. Harte-Hanks said the acquisition will push circulation to more than 12-million in Florida and California.

SONY BOOSTS PLAYSTATION PORTABLE OUTPUT: Sony Corp., seeking a foothold in a market dominated by Nintendo Co. for more than 15 years, was expecting to sell all of the 1-million PlayStation Portable video-game machines that went on sale in North America on their first day of sales Thursday. Early demand prompted Sony to double output of the devices to 2-million a month in the next few months, said Jack Tretton, an executive vice president at Sony's U.S. unit.

UPS PILOTS TO VOTE ON STRIKE AUTHORIZATION: The executive board of the pilot union at UPS, the world's largest shipping carrier, has approved holding a strike authorization vote after protracted contract talks between the two sides broke down, the union said Thursday. The company, however, said talks have not broken down and the union was mischaracterizing the status of negotiations. More talks have been scheduled for May, UPS noted.

ADELPHIA NEAR $725-MILLION SETTLEMENT: Adelphia Communications Corp., the nation's fifth largest cable TV systems company, is close to agreeing to pay about $725-million to the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission to settle claims stemming from its corporate looting and accounting scandal, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The newspaper, citing sources familiar with the case, said a settlement at that price would be one of the largest corporate fraud penalties, just below the $750-million settlement that WorldCom Inc. made with the SEC in 2003.

WALL $TREET WEEK TO END: Wall $treet Week, a financial information program that became one of the longest-running national franchises in television, is retiring, Maryland Public Television said Thursday. The final show of the 35-year-old PBS series will be produced June 24.

MORTGAGE RATES RISE: Rates on 30-year mortgages this week climbed to their highest point since late July, rising just above the 6 percent mark. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac, in its weekly survey of mortgage rates nationwide, reported Thursday that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.01 percent for the week ending March 24.

YAHOO TO BUY BACK $3-BILLION IN STOCK: Yahoo Inc., the Internet portal company, Thursday said it will buy back up to $3-billion, or 7 percent, of its stock over the next five years. As of March 4, Yahoo had 1.4-billion shares outstanding. Based on Wednesday's closing price for Yahoo stock of $30.87 the buyback represents about 97-million shares.

[Last modified March 25, 2005, 01:15:01]

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