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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Ex-Globe executive named GateHouse Media unit COO

THE REGION

Richard J. Daniels, a former president and general manager of The Boston Globe, confirmed he has been named chief operating officer of GateHouse Media New England, a unit of GateHouse Media Inc. headquartered in Fairport, N.Y. Daniels, 50, said he will report to Kirk Davis, chief executive of GateHouse's New England division, which is made up of daily and weekly newspapers, including the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, as well as websites and other publications. (Chris Reidy)

Tunnel ownership transfers to Turnpike Authority
With the Big Dig finished and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway nearing completion, Massachusetts transferred ownership of the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel, I-93 through downtown, to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. The transfer was called for in 1997 legislation that created the Metropolitan Highway System, which includes the Tip O'Neill and Ted Williams tunnels. Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen said the transfer clears the way for development by nonprofits on the Greenway. In 1991, the state paid the City of Boston $44.08 million for the land under the old elevated Central Artery, allowing for construction of the $14.7 billion Big Dig. By the end of this year, the Zakim-Bunker Hill bridge and the last of the land used in the project are expected to be transferred to the Turnpike, which operates the highway system. (Thomas C. Palmer Jr.)

Herald set to outsource home delivery of papers
The Boston Herald said it will outsource much of its home delivery service, a move that will result in the loss of 36 jobs. Effective Aug. 20, Publishers Circulation Fulfillment Inc., a Maryland company, will perform the bulk of the Herald's home delivery service , the Herald said. "With this contract comes a reduction in force of 36 nonunion Herald branch and zone managers," the Herald said. Herald president and publisher Patrick J. Purcell said "utilizing PCF will allow us to broaden the geography in which we offer home delivery of our paper, increase service to our existing customers, and provide cost efficiencies as we move forward." (Chris Reidy)

Athenahealth plans IPO worth as much as $86.3m
Athenahealth Inc., a Watertown provider of Web-based business services for healthcare practices, said it plans an initial public offering of its shares. The company did not say how many shares it plans to offer or their expected price range. The proposed maximum offering price is about $86.3 million, according to a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (AP)

THE NATION

Outline for IPO filed with federal regulators
Visa, the biggest credit card network in the United States, took its first official step toward becoming a public company, outlining to federal regulators how it proposes to restructure and combine its global operations. The registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had few financial details, said Visa will float a majority of the company in an initial public offering expected to take place in early 2008. That means about half its 775 million shares outstanding -- now owned by the network's member banks -- would be sold to the public. (AP)

Dubai firm agrees to buy Barneys New York
In a bid to make the company more profitable and valuable, Jones Apparel Group Inc. said it has reached a deal to sell Barneys New York, synonymous with high New York fashion, to an affiliate of Dubai-based investment firm Istithmar for $825 million. Jones is selling the chain for more than twice what it paid in December 2004. The deal is expected to close during the third quarter, Jones said. There are three Barneys locations in Massachusetts. (AP)

Studio to halt production of direct-to-DVD sequels
In a major strategy shift, Walt Disney Co. said it will stop making direct-to-DVD sequels of such classic animated films as "Cinderella," a move that reflects the growing influence of former Pixar Animation executives John Lasseter and Steve Jobs, who once called the films "embarrassing." The change comes with a shake-up at the company's DisneyToon Studios, including the removal of longtime president Sharon Morrill, who will continue with the company in another capacity, Disney said. (AP)

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