GM announces $5 billion stock buyback
General Motors announced a $5 billion stock buyback as part of a plan to return more cash to investors. In return, an activist shareholder decided to drop a potentially divisive bid for a seat on the company's board. The moves are part of a deal with Harry Wilson, a former member of the government task force that restructured GM coming out of its 2009 bankruptcy. Wilson, who represents four hedge funds which own about 2 percent of the company, had previously accused GM of hoarding cash to the detriment of shareholders and had sought an $8 billion buyback and a board seat.
GM crash compensation cases rise to 64
Families of at least 64 people killed in crashes caused by defective General Motors ignition switches will get compensation from the company. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the total Monday. It was up from 57 last week. An additional 108 injured people also are eligible for compensation. The fund received a total of 4,343 claims by the Jan. 31 deadline. Of those, 1,571 are under review and 742 were deemed ineligible. Feinberg says the rest lacked documentation or were deficient.
Sonic planning more candy-drink mashups
Sugar is a bad word in some circles, but that isn't stopping Sonic from pouring candy into its drinks. Last summer, Sonic Drive-In launched a lineup of Slush drinks with Nerds candy mixed in. They were so popular the chain says some people ask to get the crunchy little candies mixed into other drinks, like soda. And given their success, CEO Cliff Hudson says Sonic is looking at adding a second candy-drink mashup this summer, although he declined to provide details. In the meantime, the Nerds are still on menus as a drink add-in for around 30 cents.
U.S. sales down 4 percent at McDonald's
McDonald's said its U.S. sales fell 4 percent in February and 1.7 percent worldwide in the company's first monthly report under new Chief Executive Stephen Easterbrook. The decrease marks a sharp downturn from January when U.S. sales increased 0.4 percent, and global sales fell 1.8 percent. Easterbrook, who became chief executive March 1, has said his mission is to revive sales as competition intensifies in the U.S. To that end, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company hosted a "Turnaround Summit" for franchisees this month to encourage "renewed energy and focus" around the brand. The company has also launched a public relations campaign to fight perceptions that its food is unhealthful.
Creditors are losing patience with Greece
Greece's European creditors told Athens to stop wasting time and flesh out as of Wednesday its proposals for economic reforms, which are crucial to releasing vital funds to assure financial survival. "We have spent now two weeks apparently discussing who meets whom where, in what configuration, and on what agenda and it is a complete waste of time," Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who heads the meeting known as the Eurogroup, said Monday. "We've talked about this long enough now," he told reporters.
VW will invest $1 billion in Mexican plant
German automaker Volkswagen says it will invest $1 billion to expand its plant in central Mexico, where it plans to produce a version of the Tiguan sport-utility vehicle that will hit the market in 2017. In a statement, the company says it hopes the expansion will generate 2,000 jobs at the plant in Puebla state. It would be produced primarily for markets in North and South America. Volkswagen indicates that the expansion includes new production lines to build vehicle bodies.