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Starwood employees OK contract

Union workers at the Kyo-ya and Starwood hotels in Hawaii approved a new three-year contract yesterday that includes a $1.40-per-hour wage.

The nearly 2,800 union hotel workers at the six Hawaii-based Starwood-managed properties approved the contract with 99 percent voting in favor.

The contract covers workers at the Sheraton Maui, Sheraton Kauai, Sheraton Waikiki, Princess Kaiu­lani, Moana Surfrider and Royal Hawaiian hotels.

The contract maintains current family and retiree health and welfare coverage.

Ernest Nishizaki, executive vice president at Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts, said, "We must all pull together and continue working collaboratively, especially in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan."

General Mills to buy 50% of Yoplait

The owners of Yoplait, the French yogurt maker, said yesterday that they were in exclusive negotiations with the company’s longtime American partner, General Mills, to sell just over a 50 percent stake for about $1.1 billion.

The private equity firm PAI Partners and the dairy cooperative Sodiaal announced that General Mills had made a binding offer for the half of Yoplait owned by PAI. The deal values the company at $2.25 billion. Yoplait is the second-largest yogurt maker in the world after Danone, also a French company.

Financial giants plan stock buyback

With the Federal Reserve’s blessing, some financial giants rushed to raise dividends and buy back stock yesterday. After passing the latest stress tests, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and several other major lenders quickly laid out specific plans.

American Express and Goldman Sachs announced they were resuming large-scale stock repurchases, with Goldman buying back the $5 billion stake it sold to Warren Buffett in fall 2008.

Other institutions were more cautious. Still, the news caused bank shares to rally, helping lift the overall market. JPMorgan shares climbed 2.65 percent, to $45.74.

Wells Fargo shares rose to $31.83, a 1.5 percent increase.

Yum CEO gets $12.6M

Yum Brands Chairman, President and CEO David Novak received a 31 percent bump in pay in 2010, receiving compensation worth nearly $12.6 million, according to an analysis of data filed with regulators. The company that owns the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains said in a filing yesterday that the bulk of the increase stemmed from a 69 percent jump in performance-based cash incentives to $5.1 million and a big rise in the value of stock option grants.

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