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Business Briefing

December 09, 2009

GM may hand over $6.7 billion

General Motors Co., which was set to begin making payments next month on $6.7 billion in government loans, is considering paying off that entire sum, Edward E. Whitacre, the company's chairman and chief executive said.

U.S. taxpayers would still be owed an additional $45.3 billion in bailout funds. The company hopes to repay at least part of that when it sells stock to the public sometime next year.

GM reported last month that it had $42.6 billion in cash at the end of the third quarter.

CONSUMER GOODS

P&G chairman is set to retire Jan. 1

Procter & Gamble Co. Chairman A.G. Lafley, who stepped down in July as chief executive of the largest consumer products company, will retire as chairman Jan. 1. Robert McDonald, his successor as CEO, takes over the role.

Lafley, 62, will leave P&G Feb. 25 after working there since 1977, the company said.

COURTS

3 firms sued over automated calls

The Federal Trade Commission has sued three companies allegedly offering worthless credit card interest rate reduction programs through illegal automated calls.

The cases were filed in federal courts in Florida, Georgia and Illinois against Economic Relief Technologies, Dynamic Financial Group (USA) Inc. and JPM Accelerated.

The FTC alleged the firms made illegal automated calls telling consumers they could lower their credit card interest rates by paying upfront fees ranging from $495 to $1,495.

MUSIC

MySpace venture acquires Imeem

MySpace's online music venture with recording labels completed its purchase of song streaming site Imeem, scooping up its 16 million users and mobile phone applications for less than $1 million.

In a blog post, MySpace Chief Executive Owen Van Natta said the deal would enable MySpace Music to integrate Imeem's offerings.

With Imeem, MySpace acquires a mobile phone application that streams songs on Apple Inc.'s iPhones and devices using Google Inc.'s Android operating system.

In May, Warner Music Group Corp. wrote off its $16-million investment in Imeem and forgave $4 million owed by Imeem in song royalties in exchange for a small stake.

AIRCRAFT

Fewer deferring Boeing orders

A Boeing Co. executive said fewer customers were deferring jet orders, which may be a sign that things have stopped getting worse for airlines.

Boeing President and Chief Financial Officer James Bell told analysts that customers had deferred orders for 215 aircraft through September, but that few new requests have come in since then.

"The good news is we have not seen a significant number of new deferral requests since the third quarter," he said.

INTERNET

Google packages newspaper stories

Google is testing a service that packages stories from the New York Times and the Washington Post to make it easier for readers to follow evolving news stories.

The "Living Stories" project marks Google Inc.'s latest attempt to frame itself as an ally of the newspaper industry. Google is bundling ongoing stories under categories such as healthcare reform and executive pay.

The newspapers aren't being paid by Google.

-- times wire reports

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