Business briefs: United Airlines buyouts cost $172 million

  • Updated: June 18, 2014 - 9:47 PM

United Airlines buyouts cost $172 million

The 2010 merger of United Airlines and Continental Airlines was followed by buyouts of about 2,900 union workers in the past 2½ years at a cost to the company of $172 million, according to a United Continental Holdings Inc. regulatory filing. That averages out to $59,310 per worker. The buyout numbers were disclosed in the footnotes of the Chicago-based airline’s most recent annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Flight attendants from the United side of the merger have borne the brunt of job cuts. The buyouts included 1,300 mostly United flight attendants, and in 2012 about 1,800 flight attendants from the United part of the deal took advantage of a company call for voluntary leaves of absence to avoid forced layoffs.

Men’s Wearhouse completes acquisition

The Men’s Wearhouse fight to own its onetime rival Jos. A. Bank is now complete. The announcement brings to a close a series of dueling bids, first from Jos. A. Bank to buy Men’s Wearhouse, and then vice versa. After a string of bids that grew quickly in value, the final price tag to combine the two retailers was $1.8 billion, or $65 per share. Industry watchers say that intense competition in the retail space made the tie-up inevitable. The new company will have about 1,700 stores and $3.5 billion in annual sales.

Canada OKs pipeline to the Pacific Coast

The Canadian government approved Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, eliminating the final major regulatory obstacle for the conduit that would move Alberta oil to the Pacific coast for shipment to Asia. The approval of the $6 billion project by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet is subject to Enbridge satisfying the 209 conditions placed on the proposal by a regulatory review panel in December, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said in a statement. Canada’s petroleum producers are seeking ways to get landlocked and price-depressed Alberta crude to world markets, especially after delays to TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Yahoo issues corporate diversity report

Yahoo Inc. revealed that its workforce is less than 40 percent female and that many of the women are in non-leadership roles, in the Web portal’s first such disclosure amid a Silicon Valley debate over diversity. Yahoo said 77 percent of its leaders — defined as vice presidents or higher — are men, according to the report. Women make up 15 percent of the technically focused positions and have 52 percent of the jobs in nontechnical posts. Almost 90 percent of Yahoo’s U.S. workforce is white or Asian. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, one of the few led by a female chief executive, Marissa Mayer, is disclosing the makeup of its staff after similar reports by Google and LinkedIn in the last few weeks.

Feds open investigations into Chrysler cars

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened two investigations involving 1.2 million Chrysler vehicles that might have faulty air bags or ignition switches. The air bag matter is a preliminary investigation involving Jeep Commanders from the 2006-2007 model years and 2005-2006 Jeep Grand Cherokees. The second is a “recall query” of ignition switches that might inadvertently shift into the accessory position. It covers 2008-2010 Grand Caravan and Town & Country minivans and Dodge Journey crossovers from 2008 through 2010 model years.

United Tech gets Canadian helicopter deal

United Technologies said its Sikorsky Aircraft division has signed a deal with Canada for the delivery of 28 maritime helicopters, ending a long and costly dispute. The delivery of the helicopters was originally scheduled to begin in 2012. But Sikorsky and Canadian officials clashed over production, support and other issues. Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. says Sikorsky will book sales of about $850 million and a charge of $440 million in the second quarter related to the deal. The charge will be offset by one-time gains over the course of the year so its full-year earnings outlook remains unchanged. Canada says the deal will allow it to begin retiring its fleet of Sea King helicopters in 2015.

Argentina to negotiate over bond default

Authorities from Argentina will travel to New York next week to negotiate with U.S. hedge funds that are owed a $1.5 billion payment for defaulted bonds, a lawyer for Argentina said. Attorney Carmine Boccuzzi told Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan federal court that Argentina wants “to have a dialogue” with bondholders who refused to exchange their bonds for new bonds at a much lower value in the years after Argentina’s economy collapsed in 2001. “We’re trying to resolve this,” Boccuzzi said. “There is that willingness to negotiate. … Everyone is saying they want a negotiation. So Argentina is prepared to negotiate with the holdouts.”

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