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Business Briefing

December 19, 2009


Infant car seats are recalled

A baby products manufacturer recalled about 447,000 of its infant car seats/carriers, including some branded with Eddie Bauer and Disney logos, after dozens of reports of the carrier's handle coming loose.

There have been at least three injuries to babies. Dorel Juvenile Group Inc. of Columbus, Ind., received 77 reports of the child restraint handle fully or partially coming off.

For more information or to order a free repair kit, call Dorel Juvenile Group at (866) 762-3316 or visit


AIG plane unit's debt downgraded

The debt of American International Group Inc.'s Century City-based plane-leasing unit was slashed to junk by Moody's Investors Service on prospects that the bailed-out insurer may cut off funding for the business next year.

"Longer-term support from AIG is less certain because of International Lease Finance Corp.'s diminished strategic importance to AIG," Moody's said in a statement.

It cut the unit's senior unsecured debt rating four levels to B1. Previously ILFC was Baa3, the lowest investment-grade rating.


Twitter hacked by 'Iranian Army'

Hackers briefly blocked access to the popular Internet messaging service Twitter, steering traffic to another website where a group calling itself "Iranian Cyber Army" claimed responsibility.

Users trying to reach Twitter early Friday were redirected to a page that had a picture of a flag and a message that said, "This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army."

There was no evidence the hackers are linked to Iran.

Twitter said its Domain Name Systems' records "were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed."


Zell must face employee lawsuit

Sam Zell, the real estate investor who took Chicago-based Tribune Co. private in an $8.3-billion stock buyback two years ago, must face an employee lawsuit claiming he knowingly violated federal pension laws.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer in Chicago rejected Zell's request to dismiss the suit, filed last year.

Tribune's holdings include the Los Angeles Times.


Cadbury CEO talks up Hershey

Cadbury Chief Executive Todd Stitzer told investors that Hershey Co. could get a bigger boost to earnings per share than Kraft Foods Inc. by buying the British confectioner, according to three people who heard the statement.

Stitzer, 57, said Hershey could expect higher earnings per share even though a Kraft deal would present more cost-cutting opportunities, the people said. He was responding to a question during a presentation with investors in Manhattan, part of a campaign to fight a $16.8-billion bid from Kraft.


Life expectancy index scrapped

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. discontinued an index used by investors who bet on life expectancies.

"I can confirm that we have discontinued" the QXX index, said Michael DuVally, a spokesman for the New York-based bank. "It never really did much business."

The index gave life insurers an option for hedging against a health crisis that increases the death rate, while companies with pension obligations could seek protection against a rise in life expectancy.

-- times wire reports

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