Southwest plans TV
DALLAS — Southwest Airlines plans to sell live television service on five planes and expand it to more aircraft by mid-July. The airline said Thursday that it would offer seven sports and news channels for passengers to watch on their own devices. Southwest said it will test prices from $3 to $8 during a trial period. Passengers will need a Wi-Fi-enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer. Live TV will be offered separately from wireless Internet access and customers won't have to buy Internet access to watch TV. The Southwest channels: NBC Sports, MLB (Major League Baseball), NFL Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News and Fox Business News.
Abound Solar in trouble
WASHINGTON — A Colorado-based solar panel maker that received a $400 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration is set to file for bankruptcy, the latest setback for an industry battered by the recession and stiff competition from companies in China. Abound Solar of Loveland, Colo., said Thursday it will suspend operations and file for bankruptcy next week, after talks with potential buyers broke down. The company received about $70 million from the Energy Department before officials froze its credit line last year. Abound is the third clean-energy company to seek bankruptcy protection after receiving a loan from the Energy Department under the economic stimulus law. Abound said about 125 workers would be laid off.
AOL starts stock offer
NEW YORK — AOL Inc. has started a “Dutch auction” tender offer to buy back up to $400 million of its common stock. A “Dutch auction” offer allows shareholders to say how many shares they want to tender and at what price within a specified range. Based on that information, the company then determines the lowest price per share within the range that lets it buy the amount of shares that it wants. AOL stockholders will have the chance to tender some or all of their shares between $27 and $30 per share. The company's stock gained $1.09, or 4 percent, to $28.40 in premarket trading on Thursday. The tender offer starts Thursday and expires Aug. 2 unless extended or ended earlier.
Study looks at tomatoes
WASHINGTON — Using genetics, scientists have been able to dig up the dirt on why homegrown tomatoes taste so much sweeter than the ones in the supermarket. Researchers found a genetic switch responsible for some of the sugar production within a tomato. A new study in Friday's edition of Science found that the common type of tomato bred for firmness and good shipping also inadvertently turns off the sugar-producing switch. That makes it less sweet and blander than garden varieties.
News Corp. faces split
LOS ANGELES — Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Thursday that its board has approved a plan to split into two companies, one containing struggling newspaper and book publishing businesses and the other comprising faster-growing entertainment operations. Murdoch will serve as chairman of both new companies and CEO of the entertainment company. The Murdoch family, which controls nearly 40 percent of the voting shares in News Corp., is expected to maintain control of both companies.
Nordstrom to enter NYC
NEW YORK — After circling Manhattan for about two decades, Nordstrom Inc., the upscale department store chain, announced plans Thursday to open its first full-scale store in New York. The arrival of Nordstrom will increase the competition in Manhattan. But experts believe Nordstrom also will inject new energy into what's already a retail mecca. The new store will open in either 2017 or 2018 at 225 W 57th Street, between Broadway and Seventh Avenue.
Sony shareholders upset
TOKYO — The record 9,000 shareholders that packed Sony's annual meeting was no cause for celebration. After four years of losses and a halving of the share price, some angry investors doubt even a new CEO can pull up the entertainment and electronics giant. The questions for management at a Tokyo this week were familiar ones, but only growing harsher. Shareholders demanded to know why management didn't have more fresh faces, asked if the quality of Sony products was dropping, and even wondered whether Sony faced collapse.
From Wire Reports