Archive for Saturday, January 6, 2001

Business Briefcase

January 6, 2001


Bluefin tuna sells for $175,000 at auction

The first auction of the year at Tokyo's famous Tsukiji fish market reeled in a whopper on Friday: A bluefin tuna that set a record price of some $25 a mouthful.

The 444-pound fish sold for a little more than 20 million yen some $175,000 a market official said. At about $395 a pound, it was by far the most expensive sold at the market since 1996. That year, a 250-pound bluefin tuna went for $44,000.

Called honmaguro in Japanese, bluefin is served raw as sashimi without rice or as sushi, with rice.

The market declined to identify who it hooked into buying the big fish.

New chairman wants review of Tyson-IPB merger

The new chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee wants the attorney general's office to review the proposed merger of Tyson Foods and meat processor IBP Inc.

But the attorney general's office says it doesn't have the resources to conduct a full investigation of the $3.2 billion deal, which critics say would give the merged companies too much market power.

"It is an appropriate role for government to monitor and oversee economic changes of this magnitude, which have the potential to significantly impact many Kansans," said Sen.-elect Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, who will become chairman of the Agriculture Committee when the Legislature convenes Monday.

Sale barns, ranchers want vote on beef checkoff

Three South Dakota ranchers, the Livestock Marketing Assn. and others are suing in federal court to force a referendum on the beef checkoff program.

The U.S. Agriculture Department received thousands of signatures 14 months ago from cattlemen requesting a nationwide vote on the program but has not yet scheduled an election.

Farmers and ranchers have been charged $1-per-head of cattle sold since Congress approved the program in 1985. The fee generates about $80 million a year, which goes to the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. for beef promotion and research.

But many of those who raise cattle argue that the money is squandered. Beef consumption has declined, and the checkoff should be ended, they say.

Borders expects earnings to fall in fourth quarter

Book and music retailer Borders Group Inc. on Friday warned its fourth-quarter earnings would miss Wall Street's expectations because of soft holiday sales and the costs of increased promotions. It also announced plans to sell its underperforming toy store unit. Its stock price tumbled.

The nation's second biggest bookstore chain, which has a store in Lawrence, said its latest operating earnings will fall about 10 percent short of analysts' estimates.

The warning came a day after major retailers announced the weakest holiday sales results for perhaps a decade, as economic worries were worsened by the stock market's volatility and winter storms that kept shoppers out of stores and malls.

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