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5 Big Stories

The week in Business news

By Jeff Harrington, Times Staff Writer
Published May 27, 2007


1. Gas prices shatter records

Bay area motorists grapple with the new reality of $3-plus for regular unleaded.

WHAT IT MEANS: Blame lack of U.S. refinery capacity, summer blends, profiteering or ongoing political tension. Regardless, prices are above the inflation-adjusted highs of 1981 and show little signs of receding quickly.

2. Outback parent considers sweetened deal

The owner of Outback Steakhouse again reschedules a vote to sell the company, but this time the price tag goes up.

WHAT IT MEANS: Odds have greatly increased that shareholders of OSI Restaurant Partners will approve a sale this week. The buyers not only bumped up the offer price 3 percent, but okayed a restructured formula under which 4.4-million fewer "yes" votes will seal the deal.

3. Jabil profits tumble

Jabil Circuit reports it lost money in the quarter ended last August and its profits for the first six months of 2007 were two-thirds less than in the previous year.

WHAT IT MEANS: The review over Jabil's options accounting, which delayed reporting its financials for months, wasn't the St. Petersburg company's only problem.

4. TIA's rep takes a hit

Tampa International rates a below-average 14th among 25 medium-sized airports.

WHAT IT MEANS: The J. D. Power and Associates study surprised locals, who were used to the airport's high national rankings. TIA slipped in seven of eight categories, including cleanliness and how long it takes to deliver a checked bag.

5. Regulators crack down on Coast Bank

The Bradenton bank is accused of unsafe banking practices and violations of law as its president resigns.

WHAT IT MEANS: The fallout has been more than four months in the making, ever since Coast revealed 482 problem loans tied to St. Petersburg builder Construction Compliance Inc. Hundreds of homebuyers were caught in the middle with loans on unbuilt homes.

[Last modified May 25, 2007, 21:49:36]

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