Ford to spend $1B on restructuring

By wire services
Published March 3, 2006

Ford Motor Co. expects to spend $1-billion before taxes this year on restructuring in North America and Europe, according to the company's annual report.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it doesn't expect to make a profit in 2006 as it continues to struggle with declining U.S. market share and rising costs. The report was filed late Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

SEC to change policy on subpoenas

The Securities and Exchange Commission will adopt a new policy on subpoenaing journalists, SEC chairman Christopher Cox said Thursday in a move to resolve a controversy over the agency's recent demands for reporters' records. Cox and the other four SEC commissioners decided unanimously at a closed-door meeting to issue "clear principles" to guide agency lawyers on media subpoenas within the next week or so, he said.

Wal-Mart seeks an ethics executive

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to hire a director of global ethics, a restructured position aimed at ensuring the retailer's code of conduct is applied across a growing global network of more than 6,200 stores and 1.6-million employees in 15 countries, the company said Thursday. The job advertisement comes a year after embarrassing revelations that Wal-Mart's No. 2 executive, Tom Coughlin, had been pilfering company money and goods for years for his personal benefit.

Times, Tribune argue over name in court

The parent companies for the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times argued in federal court Thursday over the right to publish a newspaper named Tampa Bay Times. Tribune Co. Holdings is asking U.S. District Judge James Moody to issue an injunction preventing Times Publishing Co.'s use of the name, saying it infringes on its trademark for the Tampa Times. Times Publishing has been using the name tbt* Tampa Bay Times for a free weekly that is scheduled to begin daily publication Monday. The Tampa Times ceased publication in 1982 and the Tribune uses the Tampa Times name in small print under the Tampa Tribune name on the front page of the newspaper. The Tribune says the new daily's use of the name Tampa Bay Times would cause confusion and harm the Tribune Co.

American gives Southwest a little Love

American Airlines on Thursday began flying from Love Field for the first time in five years, raising the stakes in a showdown with rival Southwest Airlines Co., which is based at the Dallas airport.

American, based at nearby Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, is flying 16 times a day from Love Field to St. Louis, Kansas City, Austin and San Antonio - all Southwest destinations. Love Field is closer to downtown Dallas than the international airport.

The flights are in response to Southwest's winning permission from Congress late last year to fly from Love Field to St. Louis and Kansas City. Southwest has been pushing for repeal of a 1979 law called the Wright Amendment that limits long flights at Love Field - a move opposed by American.

Throttled by Netflix? Blockbuster wants you

Movie-rental giant Blockbuster Inc., jumping on a recent admission by online rival Netflix Inc., is boasting that it doesn't discriminate against frequent renters when it runs short of popular titles.

However, Blockbuster's terms of use clearly state that it can consider sending popular movies first to people who don't rent as frequently.

Netflix has acknowledged that, to save money, it sometimes delays shipping popular DVDs to frequent renters and sends them instead to customers who keep the movies longer.

Karen Raskopf of Blockbuster said the company phased out a similar practice between August and December of last year. Instead, the Dallas company gives priority to renters who didn't get their first choice the last time they sought an in-demand movie, Raskopf said.

"As near as we can get to first-come, first-served, that's our goal," she said.

Other chatter

FREE STARBUCKS: Starbucks says the coffee's on them - for two hours. The Seattle coffee giant said Wednesday it will host a "Starbucks Coffee Break" from 10 a.m. to noon March 15 at its 7,500 U.S. locations. You'll get a free 12-ounce cup of joe. The only price you pay: Enduring the obvious marketing ploy to save about $1.50.

NATHAN'S BUYS ARTHUR TREACHER'S TRADEMARKS: Nathan's Famous Inc., the maker of the Nathan's brand of all-beef hot dogs, acquired the trademarks of Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips, a chain of seafood restaurants. Terms weren't disclosed.


Ablest Inc.: The Clearwater staffing services company said operating income rose 49 percent for the fourth quarter, but it recorded a net loss of $669,000 as of a result of an IRS audit of its 2001 tax return. The IRS required the company to take a $1.2-million adjustment related to the sale of its industrial maintenance business in 2000. Revenues were up 15 percent for the quarter and 18 percent for the fiscal year.

Information from the Associated Press, Cox News Service, the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune and Bloomberg News was used in this report.