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5 Big Stories

A look back at the week in business

By Jeff Harrington, Times Deputy Business Editor
Published May 20, 2007


1. Odyssey hits mother lode

Odyssey Marine Exploration says it found what may be the biggest shipwreck treasure.

WHAT IT MEANS: Shares in the Tampa company jump 80 percent after it says its discovery may be worth $500-million in gold and silver coins. But the company's mum on disclosing just where the wreck is.

2. Daimler sells Chrysler stake

Private investment group Cerberus Capital buys 80 percent of Chrysler from the German automaker for $7.4-billion.

WHAT IT MEANS: The sale price is a quarter of what Daimler-Benz paid for the American car company nine years ago in its historic global marriage. Much cost-cutting later, the sale underscores that brash experiment didn't work.

3. Publix joins meal prep market

The grocery chain plans a test site in the bay area to help shoppers assemble meals for later.

WHAT IT MEANS: Look for a bigger shakeout in the fix-and-freeze meal-assembly industry once Publix weighs in. Stand-alone businesses such as nearby Let's Eat in FishHawk Ranch (shown above) will be under pressure.

4. Amazon gives music store a spin

Amazon.com will offer songs that are free of copy-protection technology.

WHAT IT MEANS: Amazon's move will let consumers listen to music on any device they want, making an intensely competitive market more competitive.

5. Airline customer satisfaction plummets

Airline satisfaction is down 3.1 percent, continuing a four-year decline.

WHAT IT MEANS: The biggest service issues dogged two carriers that recently restructured under Chapter 11 bankruptcy: United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.