Fiat Chrysler recalls 450K SUVs worldwide

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling nearly 450,000 SUVs worldwide in two separate recalls that includes the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The automaker said Thursday about 353,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs with model years 2011-2012 are being recalled because wiring in the vanity mirror may overheat and create a fire hazard. No injuries or accidents were reported. The second recall is for more than 93,000 Jeep Compass and Patriot SUVs with model year 2015. The company says it will inspect and fix a clamp that may be out of position. The out-of-position clamp may allow power steering fluid to leak, creating a possible fire hazard. The automaker says no injuries or accidents were reported.

Applications for jobless aid drop again

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week, reflecting a job market that continues to look persistently healthy. Applications for jobless aid declined 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The less-volatile 4-week average ticked up slightly to 272,500. Over the past 12 months, the number of people collecting benefits has dropped 7.7 percent to 2.2 million. Net job growth has been robust. Employers are hiring 210,000 workers a month so far this year. And unemployment last month remained at a seven-year low 5 percent. Claims have been below the critical threshold of 300,000 for the past 42 weeks, a level that generally points to monthly job gains in excess of 200,000.

Stock awards soar for Netflix CEO Hastings

Netflix plans to pay its chief executive, Reed Hastings, a slightly smaller salary next year and a much larger potential stock option award. The video-streaming service, the top performer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index in 2015, will pay its billionaire CEO $900,000 in salary in 2016, down from $1 million this year. His annual stock-option allocation will rise to $19 million from $13.7 million, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company said in a filing Thursday. The actual value of the options changes based on the performance of Netflix shares. While much of the conventional pay-TV industry is losing viewers, Netflix has expanded its online service overseas and continues to add subscribers, even with increased competition from companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu. Netflix finished the third quarter with 69.2 million subscribers worldwide, up 30 percent from a year earlier.

Puerto Rico Electric in restructuring deal

Puerto Rico’s electric utility reached an agreement with insurance companies MBIA and Assured Guaranty and bondholders to restructure the utility’s $8.2 billion of debt, marking a first step by the Caribbean island to ease the pressure that’s left the government contending with a mounting fiscal crisis. The deal brings together the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the largest U.S. public-power utility, insurers and others such as hedge funds that hold 70 percent of its debt, the agency, known as Prepa, said in a statement late Wednesday. The utility’s obligations would be cut by more than $600 million, with investors taking losses of about 15 percent in a debt exchange. The transaction aims to free up cash so the utility can modernize plants. The pact requires that lawmakers approve the deal by Jan. 22.

Pep Boys agrees to offer from Bridgestone

Pep Boys agreed to a $947 million takeover offer from Bridgestone Corp., shunning a competing bid from billionaire investor Carl Icahn that had promised a higher price. Pep Boys said Thursday in a statement that its board no longer considers Icahn’s most recent offer, which included a vow to beat any bid up to $1.01 billion, to be a superior proposal. The agreement shows Pep Boys is willing to accept a lower price to complete the tie-up with Bridgestone that it originally agreed to in October. Bridgestone’s new offer is $17 a share. While that exceeds Icahn’s most recent bid of $16.50 a share, it’s still below the maximum $18.10 a share that he has said he is willing to pay. The takeover battle for Pep Boys underscores the confidence Icahn and Bridgestone have in the U.S. auto-parts retail industry, which is poised for one of its best years ever as an aging vehicle fleet spurs demand.

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