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Go 'Green,' Dell urges rivals in PC business

By TIMES STAFF and TIMES WIRES
Published January 10, 2007


Michael Dell, chairman of Dell Inc., issued a challenge Tuesday to the entire PC industry to adopt free recycling programs for customers as he announced that his company would offer to plant a tree for every PC sold. "It's the right thing to do for our customers. It's the right thing to do for our earth," Dell said during a keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show. The company has received high "green" marks from some environmental groups, including Greenpeace. In 2004, Dell began offering free recycling of any brand of computer or printer if consumers bought a new Dell system. The policy was revised in June so that consumers can recycle all Dell-branded printers, personal computers or other electronics gear for free, no purchase of new Dell gear required.

Hard Rock sale to Seminoles okayed

Shareholders in Rank Group PLC have approved the $965-million sale of the Hard Rock cafes and associated businesses to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the company said. On Dec. 7, Rank announced that it had agreed to sell the Hard Rock business, including its massive collection of rock 'n' roll memorabilia. The Hard Rock business includes 124 Hard Rock Cafes, four Hard Rock Hotels, two Hard Rock Casino Hotels, two Hard Rock Live concert venues and stakes in three unbranded hotels. The Seminole Tribe, the first U.S. tribe to get into the gambling business, owns and operates five other casinos in Florida. More than 90 percent of the tribe's budget now comes from gaming revenue.

Rite Aid advised against acquisition

Proxy Governance Inc. announced Tuesday that it advised Rite Aid Corp. shareholders to vote against the company's pending acquisition of 1,858 drugstores from the Jean Coutu Group because the deal is too expensive and greatly increases the chain's leverage. However, Rite Aid said a day earlier that two other proxy firms, Glass Lewis & Co. and Institutional Shareholder Services, advised shareholders to vote for the deal, which was valued at about $3.4-billion when it was announced in August. Last summer, Rite Aid announced it was buying 337 Brooks stores and 1,521 Eckerd stores from the Canadian company for a total for $1.45-billion in cash and 250-million shares of company stock while also assuming $850-million of Jean Coutu Group's debt.

Insurance servicer to add 300 jobs

Tampa's HealthPlan Services will be adding 300 workers in Tampa to handle three recent contracts, including one signed this week with Nationwide Health Plans. HPS will be hiring claims processors, customer service and tech support at an average annual salary of $35,000 to service about 150,000 Nationwide members in Ohio and California. It will also be opening offices in Columbus and Sacramento. Last year, HPS added contracts to provide service and support to AIG and Cigna. The company has about 1,300 employees in 16 states; in Tampa, HPS has 650 permanent employees and 130 contract workers.