Business briefs

  • Updated: February 3, 2014 - 8:53 PM

Credit union sues Target for breach costs

A western Pennsylvania credit union is suing Target Corp. for the cost of reissuing debit cards to about 75 customers whose account information was compromised by computer hackers. The federal lawsuit filed Friday by the First Choice Federal Credit Union in New Castle seeks class action status, claiming there will be far in excess of the 100 victims and $5 million in damages needed to justify a class action under ­federal law once other financial institutions come forward. The lawsuit doesn’t say how much the credit union has spent to reissue its customer cards and take related precautions, and the law firms that filed the suit didn’t specify in a statement released Monday.

SEC halts sale of 255 stocks to curb fraud

The nation’s top securities regulator halted the buying and selling of 255 stocks in what the agency called a “massive trading suspension” to curtail a persistent investor fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the suspensions — part of its “Operation Shell-Expel” — affects stocks of dormant companies based in 26 states and two foreign countries. The action is part of a broader crackdown on fraud involving shares of small, or “micro-cap,” companies. The SEC’s worry is that the low-priced or “penny” stocks are ripe for abuse by fraudsters in so-called pump-and-dump schemes — akin to the massive fraud highlighted in the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

United to drop Cleveland as a hub

United Continental Holdings Inc., the world’s second-biggest airline, is dropping Cleveland as a hub for connecting flights and cutting 470 jobs as the carrier works to cut $2 billion in annual costs by 2017. Average daily departures will shrink about 60 percent by June as United eliminates most regional flights at an airport where United has been losing money, CEO Jeff Smisek said in a letter to employees. Only one of 26 peak-day departures on mainline jets will be halted.

Jos. A. Bank said to pursue Eddie Bauer

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, which told Men’s Wearhouse it won’t enter buyout talks, has been looking at other acquisitions including retailer Eddie Bauer, people familiar with the matter said. Jos. A. Bank sent a letter Sunday telling Men’s Wearhouse that a $57.50-a-share bid undervalues the company and that managers see no reason to enter negotiations. Meanwhile, Jos. A. Bank has held preliminary talks to acquire outdoor clothing retailer Eddie Bauer, said a source who asked not to be identified.

London firm to buy ArthroCare Corp.

Smith & Nephew Plc agreed to buy ArthroCare Corp. for $1.7 billion in cash to add products for minimally invasive surgery used in sports medicine. ArthroCare holders will receive $48.25 a share in cash, London-based Smith & Nephew said. The price is 6.3 percent more than the Austin, Texas-based company’s closing level Jan. 31 in Nasdaq trading. ArthroCare rose above the takeover price, indicating some investors may be speculating on a higher offer. ArthroCare makes products used in arthroscopic surgery on shoulders and knees that will enhance Smith & Nephew’s business, the U.K. company said.

Municipal bonds are latest market stars

The longest-maturity municipal bonds have gone from market laggards to the best-performing area of local government debt, a boon to issuers locking in borrowing costs for decades. Municipal obligations due in 22 or more years have earned 3.6 percent in 2014, beating shorter maturities and surpassing the 2.4 percent gain for the entire $3.7 trillion market, Bank of America Merrill Lynch data show. January was the best month for the longest-dated debt in two years.

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