FedEx to buy Holland's TNT for $4.8 billion

FedEx Corp. has agreed to take over Dutch delivery company TNT Express for $4.8 billion, bolstering its global business with an acquisition that rival UPS had tried but failed to complete two years ago. FedEx said it reached a conditional agreement with TNT Express' management on an all-cash offer of $8.75 per TNT share. That represents a premium of 33 percent over the shares' closing price Thursday, the companies said. FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith said on a call with analysts that his company had built an air-express business in Europe but wanted a ground network. Buying TNT also allows FedEx to take advantage of growing Internet commerce, he said. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2016, pending shareholder approval.

McDonald's rolls out third-pound burgers

Bigger burgers will be back on the menu at McDonald's, at least for a while. McDonald's says it's introducing a trio of "Sirloin Third Pound" burgers for a limited time starting later this month, the latest sign the chain is pushing to improve perceptions about the quality of its food. The sirloin burgers would have the biggest beef patties on the chain's menu and come after McDonald's dropped its Angus Third Pounders in 2013. At the time, some analysts said the Angus burgers were too pricey for McDonald's customers. McDonald's says the sirloin burgers will cost around $4.99, although franchisees can determine their own prices.

Consumer borrowing up $15.5B in February

Consumers increased their borrowing to a record high in February, driven by a large jump in auto and student loans. The Federal Reserve reported that consumer borrowing expanded $15.5 billion in February after a $10.8 billion gain in January. The February increase pushed borrowing to a fresh record of $3.34 trillion. Borrowing in the category that covers auto loans and student loans increased by $19.2 billion, the biggest monthly gain since July 2011. That offset a $3.7 billion decline in the credit card category. Economists expect credit card use to rebound in coming months, which would bolster consumer spending this year. Consumer borrowing has risen 6.8 percent over the past year, fueled by an 8.3 percent rise in auto and student loans. The credit card category is up a more modest 3.4 percent.

HBO streaming service goes live on Apple

The long-anticipated unbundling of cable TV packages has begun. HBO Now, the stand-alone streaming service, launched Tuesday morning on Apple products, HBO said. Separately, Cablevision's Optimum Online customers also now have access to the subscription HBO service. The service costs $14.99 a month, although people who sign up in April receive the service free for one month. The groundbreaking move has been anticipated since HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler unveiled the service during an Apple product conference last month in San Francisco.

Home-buying sentiment at five-year low

Consumers think it's a good time to sell a home but they aren't so keen on buying one. Only 60 percent of participants in Fannie Mae's most recent monthly national survey said they would buy a home if they were to move, down 5 percentage points from last month to an all-time low since the survey began in June 2010. Meanwhile, the share of people who said it was a good time to sell a home reached a survey high of 46 percent. Economists at the agency attributed the falling desire to buy a home to concerns about household income now and in the future. Only 41 percent of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said they anticipated their personal financial situation to improve during the next 12 months.

FROM NEWS SERVICES