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Business briefs: Ford, UAW team up for pilot health program

  • June 24, 2013 - 8:13 PM

Ford, UAW team up for pilot health program

Ford, the No. 2 U.S. automaker, and the United Auto Workers union are starting a pilot health care program for workers and retirees with chronic medical conditions, in a move they said could reduce costs. The program will begin in southeast Michigan with as many as 1,500 voluntary participants, representatives for Ford, the UAW and the union’s retiree health care trust told reporters at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. The pilot, which will target chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma, will be funded by Ford and the union trust. The pilot put together by Ford and the Detroit-based UAW and union trust originates from the four-year contract struck between the automaker and union in 2011.

Britain’s Vodafone to buy German cable giant

The British telecommunications giant Vodafone announced that it was buying Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s largest cable operator, for $10.1 billion. The deal, one of the largest in Europe this year, follows almost six months of jockeying to acquire Kabel Deutschland. By announcing the deal, Vodafone has joined a continuing overhaul of Europe’s telecommunications and cable industry in which local and international rivals compete to pocket assets across the Continent. Analysts, however, were quick to play down a wider rebound in deals across Europe. Europe’s sluggish economy continues to put off potential acquisitions, particularly in real estate and retail.

Oracle, Microsoft team up in cloud deal

Facing increasing competition from other cloud-computing companies, Oracle Corp. announced a partnership that will let business customers access some of its key products on cloud services provided by its longtime software rival Microsoft Corp. Under the deal, Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering, which companies use to run Web-based programs, and its cloud-based server will feature Oracle’s widely used database and Java software. Traditionally, Oracle’s software has been installed on individual business computers and those customers paid a fee to use the product and have Oracle maintain it. With the cloud-computing model, on the other hand, companies like Oracle keep their software on their own servers and let customers access it over the Internet for a fee.

Apple shares briefly sink below $400 a share

Apple shares dipped below $400 for the first time since April as a glut of unsold iPhones prompted Jefferies & Co. to lower its target price, and Global Equities Research said low morale is causing employee departures. Apple, the world’s most valuable technology company, touched $399.78 before closing at $402.54, down 2.5 percent. The stock had dropped 22 percent this year before Monday, compared with a 12 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. The stock has retreated more than 40 percent from a record high amid concern about Chief Executive Tim Cook’s ability to release a new breakthrough product as the iPhone faces stiffer competition.

Tenet to buy hospital operator Vanguard

Tenet Healthcare Corp. agreed to buy hospital operator Vanguard Health Systems Inc. for about $1.8 billion in cash to grow in new markets as the U.S. health care overhaul promises to expand insurance coverage to more Americans starting next year. Tenet, the third-biggest publicly traded U.S. hospital chain, will pay $21 a share, the companies said. That’s 70 percent above the $12.37 closing price Friday for Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanguard Health. Tenet also will assume $2.5 billion of debt, the companies said. The purchase gives Dallas-based Tenet 28 hospitals in the Chicago, Phoenix, Detroit, Boston and San Antonio, Texas, regions.

Big bankruptcy law firm to cut 170 jobs

Weil, Gotshal & Manges, one of the biggest bankruptcy law firms in the U.S., will fire 60 associates and 110 nonlawyers and cut some partners’ pay. Barry Wolf, executive partner and chairman of Weil’s management committee, attributed the cutbacks to a falling-off in restructuring and litigation work linked to the 2008 financial crisis and to a “new normal” lower market for transaction activity. The 1,200-attorney firm was ranked the 13th in gross revenue last year by the American Lawyer, a trade magazine, at $1.23 billion. The firm’s profit per partner was $2.23 million, the magazine said.

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