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Business Briefing

December 23, 2009

MUSIC

Warner will offer videos on Hulu.com

Warner Music Group Corp. has agreed to offer music videos on Hulu.com, the website that presents prime-time TV shows.

The company will provide artist interviews and concert footage from labels including Atlantic Records, Rhino Records and Warner Bros. Records, the New York firm said in a statement. British rockers Muse will be the first band from the label on Hulu, Warner announced.

Hulu, whose owners include NBC Universal, News Corp. and Walt Disney Co., competes with Vevo.com, the music service introduced this month by Universal Music Group and Google Inc.'s YouTube. Warner Music, home to Metallica and R.E.M, is the only one of four major labels that's not part of the Vevo venture.

Warner Music shares fell 20 cents to $5.83.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Amgen, Roche reach settlement

Amgen Inc. said Swiss drug maker Roche Holding would be able to sell its anemia medicine Mircera in the U.S. in mid-2014 under the terms of a settlement reached to end a five-year patent-infringement battle.

Roche will have a "limited license agreement" with Amgen, which is based in Thousand Oaks. Roche, in documents filed in federal court in Boston, agreed to drop its challenge to five Amgen patents that expire in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and a judge Tuesday agreed to end the case.

The settlement doesn't include any monetary payments, Amgen said in a statement.

Amgen sued in 2005 to prevent Roche from challenging the market dominance of its drugs Epogen and Aranesp.

COURTS

Pro soccer sues Black & Decker

Black & Decker Corp., which is being acquired by Stanley Works, was sued by Major League Soccer for running ads that suggest to the Latino community that the company's DeWalt power drills are associated with the sport.

Major League Soccer, with 16 teams in the U.S. and Canada., and Soccer United Marketing, which promotes U.S. soccer matches, filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against Black & Decker, which is based in Towson, Md.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring the company from suggesting that its DeWalt drills are associated with the league.

Black & Decker "apparently has concluded that there is no better way to link their product and message to soccer and the Hispanic community than by creating in the minds of consumers a false association and affiliation between DeWalt and the preeminent Hispanic soccer brands," according to the complaint.

GOVERNMENT

IRS enforcement collections fall

Tax collections from IRS enforcement activities including audits, liens and levies fell 13.3% in fiscal 2009 to $48.9 billion as a crackdown on certain tax shelters concluded and the economy softened, the agency reported.

The audit rate for all Americans was 1.03% in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Internal Revenue Service said in releasing its annual statistics.

About three-quarters of all audits for Americans earning under $200,000 were conducted by mail rather than face-to-face, the agency said.

Wealthier Americans were more likely to be audited. The IRS audited 2.89% of returns filed by Americans earning more than $200,000, down from 2.94% in the previous fiscal year. The agency audited 6.42% of Americans earning more than $1 million.

Steve Miller, head of enforcement for the IRS, attributed the drop in overall collections to people having difficulty paying tax bills in a weak economy and the end of two initiatives to shut down tax shelters that increased revenue in the previous two years.

-- times wire reports

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