Business briefs: Whole Foods plans to drop Chobani yogurt

  • Updated: December 18, 2013 - 10:15 PM

Whole Foods plans to drop Chobani yogurt

Whole Foods said that early next year its stores would no longer stock Chobani yogurt, primarily because the explosion of Greek yogurt brands has made the chain more selective in how it allocates its prized refrigerated shelf space. Chobani, which was founded in 2005 and has grown to more than $1 billion in annual sales, helped propel the Greek yogurt craze. Now, retailers are struggling to keep up with the increasing number of brands. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported Whole Foods’ decision to drop Chobani, attributed it to the yogurt maker’s use of milk from cows whose feed is derived from genetically engineered crops. Robin Kelly, a spokeswoman for the retailer, said that issue was one of several considerations.

Fed said to delay leverage limits for banks

The Federal Reserve has decided to delay imposing limits on leverage at eight of the biggest U.S. financial institutions until a global agreement is completed, Bloomberg News reported. Fed officials want to wait for a finished rule from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision before completing their own requirement for how much capital U.S. banks must hold as a percentage of all assets on their books, Bloomberg said, citing anonymous sources. The international accord is shaping up as weaker in some respects than the U.S. plan. The Fed’s wait-and-see position is aligned with groups representing the banking industry, who have argued for a delay.

WestJet weighs bid for Reagan National slots

Canada’s WestJet Airlines is considering joining Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Virgin America in seeking to acquire takeoff and landing rights at Washington’s Reagan National airport. WestJet is “exploring” a possible bid, Chief Executive Gregg Saretsky said. American Airlines was required to give up 104 takeoff and landing slots at Reagan to settle an antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. government and complete its merger with US Airways Group Inc. Selling the rights to low-cost competitors would fulfill the U.S. government’s plan to ensure more low fares are offered at the airport.

Toyota Prius tops Consumer Reports value list

For the second consecutive year, the Toyota Prius liftback topped Consumer Reports’ annual list of vehicles giving buyers the best bang for their automotive buck. The hulking Nissan Armada SUV won the prize for the worst value. Consumer Reports said the Prius had the best combination of reliability, resale value, fuel economy and driving performance of the cars measured by the magazine. The five-year ownership cost of the hybrid amounts to 47 cents per mile. The Armada, by comparison, will set its owner back $1.20 a mile.

Shares of AMC climb 5% in market debut

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the U.S. movie-theater chain controlled by China’s second-richest man, jumped in its trading debut after raising about $332 million in an initial public offering. The shares rose 5 percent to close at $18.90 after the company sold 18.42 million shares for $18 each. The IPO marks AMC’s return to the public markets after nine years. The Leawood, Kan., company was acquired by a private-equity group in 2004 and then merged with Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. Dalian Wanda Group, led by Wang Jianlin, purchased AMC last year for $2.6 billion including debt.

New Qualcomm CEO gets a healthy raise

Qualcomm Inc., which last week named President Steve Mollenkopf as its next chief executive, increased his annual salary to $1.1 million and awarded him stock worth $50 million over the next five years. Mollenkopf, 44, also is eligible for a cash bonus targeted at 200 percent of his yearly salary, the company said. Qualcomm is giving him restricted stock units valued at $20 million as a retention payment, which will vest starting in three years, and $30 million of additional restricted stock vesting over five years. The executive’s 2012 base pay was $805,582 as part of a $14.2 million package.

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