Archive for Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Briefcase

December 14, 2004

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Comic-book characters make wireless play

A new deal will send Spider-Man and other comic superheroes swinging onto cell phones.

Mobile game maker Mforma Group announced a deal Monday with Marvel Enterprises to license Marvel's catalog of characters for use in content for mobile phones. The agreement will put more than 5,000 characters -- including the X-Men, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk -- into applications including custom ring tones, screensavers and games.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Advertising

Geico fights Google in trademark case

A federal judge heard arguments Monday in a trademark dispute that could threaten millions of dollars in advertising revenue for search engine Google Inc.

Attorneys for auto insurance giant Geico told U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema that Google should not be allowed to sell ads to rival insurance companies that are triggered whenever Geico's name was typed into the Google search box.

Geico claims that Google's AdWords program, which displays the rival ads under a "Sponsored Links" heading next to a user's search results, causes confusion for consumers and illegally exploits Geico's investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in its brand.

Acquisition

Honeywell to buy Novar for $1.7 billion

Honeywell International Inc., the aerospace and high-tech manufacturer, has agreed to buy the British industrial holding company Novar PLC for about $1.7 billion, the companies said Monday.

The British-based company has interests in electronics, aluminum extrusion and printing checkbooks. Honeywell said the Novar board had agreed to the terms of its offer and would recommend it to Novar shareholders.

Investing

Boeing lifts dividend

Aircraft maker Boeing Co. said Monday that its board approved a 25 percent dividend boost, raising its quarterly distribution to 25 cents per share from 20 cents and its yearly payout to $1.

The increased dividend is payable March 4 to shareholders of record Feb. 11, Boeing said. Boeing last raised its dividend by 17.5 percent in May.

Shares of Boeing closed Monday up 0.5 percent, or 25 cents, at $52.67, and continued climbing 2.2 percent, or $1.13, to $53.80 during after-hours activity on the New York Stock Exchange.

Processing

Meatpacking plant to cut 800 jobs

About 800 workers at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colo., will lose their jobs four days before Christmas.

The layoffs take effect Dec. 20, 11 days before a contract expires that had Swift processing cattle from three ConAgra Foods Inc. feedlots. ConAgra, the nation's second-largest food company, sold the lots earlier this year to Smithfield Foods Co., of Smithfield, Va.

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