Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm •  Published: May 12, 2014
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Apple CEO dares to be different from Steve Jobs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — "Think different" became Apple's creed under Steve Jobs' reign as CEO. Now chief executive Tim Cook is embracing the idea, while making decisions that would have seemed crazy to his fabled predecessor.

Cook is straying from Jobs' cash-hoarding habits by committing to return $130 billion to shareholders. He has orchestrated a company stock split and agreed to match employees' charitable contributions up to $10,000 annually. And under Cook, Apple also is working to improve labor conditions, reduce pollution and make major acquisitions.

The shift in management philosophy has resulted in an odd twist: Apple Inc.'s pace of innovation has slowed and it now looks more like a conventional company than the corporate rebel Jobs tried to cultivate.

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Hillshire looks beyond meat with Birds Eye, Vlasic

NEW YORK (AP) — Hillshire Brands is pushing further outside the deli case with a deal to buy the maker of Birds Eye frozen vegetables, Duncan Hines cakes mixes and Hungry-Man frozen dinners.

The Chicago-based company, which makes Hillshire Farm lunch meats, Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park franks, said Monday that it would buy Pinnacle Foods in a deal valued at $4.23 billion. The move extends Hillshire's reach into other sections of the supermarket as more Americans watch how much meat they're eating.

Pinnacle's brands include Wish-Bone salad dressing, Celeste frozen pizzas and Vlasic pickles.

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Godzilla proves even giant monsters need lawyers

Even Godzilla needs a good lawyer sometimes.

Attorneys acting on behalf of Godzilla's owners, Toho Co. Ltd., have amassed a string of victories in recent decades, fighting counterfeiters and business titans along the way. The litigation has kept Godzilla's brand thriving and helped pave the way for commercial and merchandising tie-ins that will accompany the monster's return to the big screen on Friday after a 10 year hiatus.

Godzilla's image is for sale, but permission is needed.

Since 1991, Toho's attorneys have filed at least 32 copyright and trademark lawsuits and countless warning letters, gaining court injunctions in a quarter of the cases. Most others have resulted in settlement agreements that while confidential, result in products disappearing from the marketplace.

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High cost, corruption claims mar Brazil World Cup

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The cost of building Brasilia's World Cup stadium has nearly tripled to $900 million in public funds.

The spike has made it the world's second-most expensive soccer arena, even though the city has no major professional team. Mane Garrincha stadium has become the costliest project related to Brazil's $11.5 billion World Cup.

Critics call it the poster child for out-of-control spending and mismanagement, or worse.

An Associated Press analysis of data from Brazil's top electoral court shows skyrocketing campaign contributions by the very companies involved in the most Cup projects. The financial links between construction firms and politicians add to suspicions among Brazilians that preparations for the event are tainted by corruption.

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Pfizer underscores UK commitments in memo

LONDON (AP) — Pfizer Inc. wants to allay concerns over its proposed $106 billion takeover offer of pharmaceuticals firm AstraZeneca, insisting that its promises will be legally binding.

In a memo Monday to two U.K. parliamentary committees studying the proposed deal, the U.S. drugmaker laid out its vision ahead of its testimony before the science and business committees. The company sought to ease worries that British jobs will be lost and that the nation's science base eroded by the potential merger.

The cash and stock deal has become politically fraught, with much of the debate centering on whether Pfizer can be trusted to honor promises in what would be the biggest foreign takeover of a British business.

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Chrysler reports $690 million first quarter loss

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler Group's first-quarter sales jumped thanks to the new Jeep Cherokee and Ram pickup, but it lost money because of charges related to its merger with Italian automaker Fiat SpA.