Channels offered to Prime customers
Amazon is beefing up Prime by letting customers of the $99-a-year loyalty service buy access to the premium TV channels Showtime and Starz. Those channels will each cost an additional $9 a month. Amazon will handle billing for them and some other streaming services it's partnering with. Amazon's move comes as TV lovers increasingly go online. It already has original series and mostly older seasons of traditional TV shows available free for Prime members. Customers can also buy current-season TV episodes. Starz is not available otherwise without a cable subscription in the U.S. Showtime is already available for Hulu subscribers for $9 a month and on its own for $11 a month.
Florida, Seminoles reach $3B gambling deal
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he and the Seminole tribe have reached a sweeping new gambling deal that will bring billions to the state while allowing an expansion of gambling in South Florida. Scott announced Monday that he had signed the new agreement. He says it would generate $3 billion for the state over a seven-year period starting in 2017. It must be ratified by the Florida Legislature. Lawmakers start their annual session in January. The deal would allow the tribe to keep card games such as blackjack at their casinos and permit the addition of table games such as roulette and craps.
Facebook lifts ban on Tsu.co content
Facebook has lifted a ban that blocked material from Tsu.co, a small rival challenging the world's largest social network's financial dependence on free content shared by its 1.5 billion users. The reversal comes a month after the Associated Press published a story airing concerns that Facebook might be abusing its power to thwart competition and stifle the concept that people should be paid for the stories and images that they post on social networks. The dispute began in late September when Facebook removed nearly 10 million posts containing links and other references to Tsu.co. Facebook restored the deleted posts and began allowing additional content from Tsu late Monday. The change of heart came after Tsu removed a feature that allowed users to transfer posts to Facebook with one click.
Pep Boys stock rises in buyout battle
Shares of Pep Boys rose Tuesday as investors bet that Bridgestone Corp. will boost its $15-a-share offer to beat billionaire Carl Icahn's Monday bid of $15.50-a-share for the Philadelphia-based auto parts sales and service chain. Shares closed at $16.30, up 1.5 percent or 24 cents, in Tuesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. That's the highest closing daily price since 2008 for the marginally profitable chain. On Tuesday morning, Pep Boys said its board recognizes that Icahn's offer may be "a superior proposal," compared to the deal it agreed to accept from Bridgestone in October. But for now, at least, the original Bridgestone offer is still on track to go before Pep Boys shareholders, led by New York investor Mario Gabelli's Gamco funds, which own 20 percent of the company. Bridgestone wants to merge Pep Boys garages into its Nashville, Tenn.-based, 2,200-store Firestone chain. Icahn wants to combine its retail stores with his Auto Plus chain.
WTC incentives mulled for News Corp., Fox
The government agency rebuilding the World Trade Center is considering giving millions in incentives to News Corp. and 21st Century Fox. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's agenda for Thursday's meeting includes a proposal to provide the incentives to the companies, which are effectively controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch's family. They would be tenants at the planned 2 World Trade Center building, which is expected to be built by developer Larry Silverstein. Negotiations on a lease are ongoing. Representatives of Silverstein, News Corp. and 21st Century Fox all declined to comment. The two media companies are presently based in midtown Manhattan. If approved, the concessions would mark a shift from earlier Port Authority declarations that said there would be "no public sector support" for 2 World Trade Center.