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Business Briefs

For Saturday, November 12, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Black Press Group to buy Examiner

SAN FRANCISCO » Clarity Media Group announced today it is selling the San Francisco Examiner newspaper to a consortium led by Black Press Group Ltd. The newspaper once owned by William Randolph Hearst is being acquired by a group led by Canadian-based Black Press, which publishes more than 170 newspapers in North America, including the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Akron Beacon-Journal, Clarity Media said.

Clarity Media, a Denver-based company owned by Philip Anschutz, bought the Examiner from the Fang family in 2004. The Fangs had acquired it in 2000 from the Hearst Corp., which sold the Examiner after it bought the San Francisco Chronicle. The Examiner is a free daily newspaper with an estimated circulation of 190,000, according to the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

David Black, president of the company based in Victoria, British Columbia, said, "We are delighted to become involved with such a strong newspaper. Readership is second to none in San Francisco and on the peninsula."

The deal is expected to close on Nov. 30. The two privately held companies did not release details of the agreement.

France irate about S&P downgrade error

PARIS » France reacted with outrage after the Standard & Poor's ratings agency accidentally sent out a message saying it was downgrading France's prized "AAA" credit rating during a tumultuous week in Europe's protracted debt crisis.

Germany and the European Commission also bristled Friday, warning ratings agencies to act responsibly and underscoring European unease about the power they wield over governments.

The error stood for an hour and a half on Thursday while the U.S. and most European markets were open before it was corrected by the agency -- spooking investors by foreshadowing an event that would rock the 17-nation eurozone.

D.R. Horton reports fourth-quarter profit

LOS ANGELES » D.R. Horton ended fiscal 2011 in the black for the second time in as many years, as the homebuilder cut costs aggressively in the face of fewer home sales.

The company also reported a return to profitability in the fourth quarter, aided by a 17 percent increase in home closings and a 7 percent bump new home orders.

The sales trends echo those of other major homebuilders, some of which have reported improved sales for the July-to-September quarter.

The company reported its net income for the three months ending Sept. 30 totaled $35.7 million, or 11 cents a share. That compares with a loss of $8.9 million, or 3 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose 16 percent to $1.07 billion from $925.7 million.

Electric car battery catches fire after test

WASHINGTON » A Chevrolet Volt that caught fire three weeks after its lithium-ion battery was damaged in a government crash test has regulators taking a harder look at the safety of electric car batteries, federal officials said Friday.

But based on testing so far, regulators believe the batteries are safe and don't pose a greater fire risk than gasoline-powered engines, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official told The Associated Press. The official requested anonymity in order to speak freely.

The car that caught fire was tested May 12 by an agency contractor at a Wisconsin facility using a relatively new side-impact test intended to replicate crashing into a pole or a tree, the official said. Three weeks later, while the car was parked at the test facility, it caught fire and set several nearby vehicles on fire. A NHTSA investigation concluded the crash test damaged the battery, which later led to the fire.

Latest 'Call of Duty' game breaks record

NEW YORK » By the third time around, it really shouldn't be a surprise.

The latest "Call of Duty" video game set a first-day sales record this week, generating $400 million in sales in its first 24 hours in stores. That breaks the record its predecessor set this time last year.

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" is the third game in the military shooter series to set such a record. Last year, "Call of Duty: Black Ops" raked in $360 million in its first 24 hours on sale.

"Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2" sold 4.7 million copies in its first 24 hours to reap $310 million.


Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has named Amanda Fiesta administrative manager. She is a former office manager for Century 21 All Islands and began her real estate career with Monarch Properties in 2001.


Prosis Hawaii has promoted Dan Yousey to general manager. He was director of project management.


Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing has announced these new hires:

» WilliamW.L. Yuen as a director. His practice includes real estate development and land use planning, securities law and venture capital financing, public finance law and banking and financial services law.

» Claire Wong Black as an associate licensed in New York. She is a civil litigator in commercial disputes and banking, insurance and class action defense.

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