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Newspaper Guild approves Boston Globe contract

S. Prestley Blake S. Prestley Blake

THE REGION
The Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents newsroom, advertising, and other employees at The Boston Globe, approved a four-year contract that ties pay raises to revenue increases. The 364-194 vote comes nearly two months after union members rejected an offer that tied raises to revenue but excluded revenue of Boston.com, the paper's online affiliate. The new contract includes online revenue and increases contributions to employee healthcare. The Guild agreed to allow management greater flexibility in assigning workers. "This agreement recognizes the current economic challenges facing the Globe," said Globe senior vice president, Gregory L. Thornton. Like many newspapers, the Globe, which is owned by The New York Times Co., has struggled with declining circulation and advertising. Dan Totten, Guild president, said the union "fought and kept the integrity of one of the best contracts in the newspaper business." (Robert Gavin)

Boston Medical nurses OK 3-year contract with raises
About 850 nurses at Boston Medical Center have a new three-year contract giving them annual raises of 4, 3, and 2 percent over its term. The hourly wage range is now $29.98 for new hires to $62.03 for the most experienced nurses. The nurses, who are represented by 1199SEIU, also received increased tuition reimbursement in the contract, which was approved Nov. 28 but disclosed yesterday. (Christopher Rowland)

Bingham McCutchen acquires Tokyo law firm
Continuing its expansion into Asia, Bingham McCutchen LLP has acquired Sakai & Mimura LLP, a 22-attorney Tokyo law firm, and will open a three-lawyer Hong Kong office Jan. 1. Bingham already has a Japanese practice group of about 30 lawyers based mainly in New York, as well as a Tokyo office with one full-time lawyer. Bingham currently has 950 lawyers in 12 offices worldwide. (Sacha Pfeiffer)

Shareholder files lawsuit against Friendly chairman
A major shareholder of Friendly Ice Cream Corp. sued the company's chairman, Donald Smith, alleging he engineered "a series of improper business transactions" involving the company. The presiding judge in the litigation has denied the company's motion to dismiss S. Prestley Blake's litigation and has found that the board failed to meet the standard of independence, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said. Blake, an 11.6 percent stakeholder, disclosed the pending lawsuit in the SEC filing. (Dow Jones)

IPG Photonics shares rise 55% in first trading day
The stock of IPG Photonics Corp., which makes lasers based on optical fiber, rose 55 percent from their offering price in first-day trading. Shares were sold at $16.50 in the offering and closed at $25.60 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The Oxford company sold 9 million shares above its expected $13.50 to $15.50 range, which was set by underwriters. In the first nine months of this year, the company's sales rose 63 percent to $101.1 million, and net income nearly quadrupled to $12.6 million. (Dow Jones/AP)

Deere employees allege hidden fees for 401(k)s
Deere & Co., the world's largest maker of farm equipment, and Fidelity Management Trust Co. were sued by four Deere employees who claim they were charged hidden fees in their 401(k) retirement accounts. The lawsuit, filed Dec. 8 in federal court in Madison, Wis., seeks class-action status. "We disagree with many of the factual and legal assertions in the complaint," said a spokesman for Boston-based Fidelity Investments. (Bloomberg)

THE NATION
SEC eases key provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley law
The Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to ease financial-control rules for smaller public companies, proposing changes in how US companies must apply the sweeping Sarbanes-Oxley antifraud law. The SEC also proposed to raise the minimum financial requirements for individuals to invest in hedge funds, a burgeoning industry that has seen a rise in fraud as well as an increase in the number of ordinary investors getting into the high-risk pools. The five SEC commissioners voted unanimously at a public meeting to tentatively adopt the control-rules plan, which gives corporate managers more flexibility in assessing the strength of internal financial controls. (AP)

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