Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


British executive accused in China drug bribery

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese police Wednesday accused a British executive of GlaxoSmithKline of leading a sprawling scheme to bribe doctors and hospitals to use its drugs.

The announcement was the first time a foreign employee in China of British-based GSK was accused in the investigation announced last July.

The executive, Mark Reilly, is accused of operating a massive bribery network, according to police. Reilly is accused of ordering his sales team to pay doctors, hospital officials and health institutions to use GSK's products that resulted in illegal revenue of billions of yuan (hundreds of millions of dollars).


Domino's CEO on chain's image, Italy prospects

NEW YORK (AP) — Italy may not seem like the ideal place for a Domino's Pizza shop, but the man who heads the American chain remains optimistic about the possibility.

CEO Patrick Doyle says that the chain's delivery model may give it an advantage in Italy, where he says there is a lot of pizza but not a lot of delivered pizza.

Domino's, which is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been enjoying strong sales growth overseas and boasts nearly 6,000 international locations. Back at home, where it has 5,000 locations, Domino's has been trying to improve the image of its pizza, which has long been plagued by a reputation for tasting generic and manufactured.


Europe's recovery gains speed, faces obstacles

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Official figures are expected to confirm that Europe's recovery from recession gathered pace in the first three months of the year. But the road to recovery is filled with worries, so much so that the European Central Bank is poised to deliver recession-appropriate stimulus measures.

Figures on Thursday are expected to show that the economy of the 18 countries that use the euro expanded by 0.4 percent in the first quarter from the previous three-month period. That's double the rate recorded in the previous quarter and would mark the third straight quarterly expansion.

Growth, even if shaky or uneven, is key to moving past those troubles.


Sears considering selling its Canadian operations

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears is considering selling its Canadian operations as the retailer looks for ways to prop up its sagging business.

The retailer, which operates its namesake stores and Kmart locations, said that it's looking at strategic options for its 51 percent interest in Sears Canada. The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company said this includes the possible sale of its stake or possibly the entire Sears Canada operation.

Sears Canada's board and management plan to cooperate with Sears Holdings as it explores strategic alternatives.

The news comes as Sears Holdings Corp.'s chairman, the billionaire hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, has been under intense pressure to turn around its business. He took over as CEO in February 2013.


Jury: Hyundai owes $240M in punitive damages

POLSON, Mont. (AP) — A Montana jury has ordered Hyundai to pay $240 million in punitive damages after finding that a manufacturing defect in a Hyundai vehicle caused a crash that killed two Missoula cousins in 2011.

The award handed down late Tuesday was on top of $8.6 million in actual damages and lost earnings the jury awarded to the families of 19-year-old Trevor Olson and 14-year-old Tanner Olson. The cousins died when their 2005 Hyundai Tiburon slammed head-on into another car.

It's unclear if the punitive damages will stand because of a $10 million state cap on such damages, which is being challenged.

Hyundai Motor America released a statement Wednesday saying it believes the jury's verdict is mistaken and plans an immediate appeal.


April sales surge bolsters Macy's optimism

NEW YORK (AP) — After a slow, cold winter, Macy's Inc.' s business improved in April as the spring thaw heated up shoppers' demand for shorts and T-shirts, the department store chain said Wednesday.

But Mother Nature's aid came too late to boost the department store chain's first-quarter sales, which missed expectations despite a 3.2 percent increase in profit.

Macy's stuck by its full-year earnings outlook, indicating it thinks the April sales surge will continue.


Samsung apologizes to sickened chip workers

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics Co. apologized and promised compensation to chip factory workers who suffered cancers linked to chemical exposure, a rare win for families and activists seven years after the death of a 23-year-old employee from leukemia galvanized a movement to hold the company to account.

Samsung said the apology does not mean it concedes a link between the chemicals used in its chip factories and cancer and other diseases. Still, the company's statement Wednesday that it should have sought a solution sooner is an abrupt shift in Samsung's stance and a form of vindication for workers and their families.


Abramson replaced as NYT executive editor

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times on Wednesday announced that executive editor Jill Abramson is being replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet after two and a half years on the job.

The company didn't give a reason for the change. Abramson and Baquet had both been in their current positions since September 2011.

Baquet, 57, who would be the first African-American to hold the newspaper's highest editorial position, received a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1988.


Yahoo snaps up the mobile messaging app Blink

NEW YORK (AP) — Yahoo is buying the mobile messaging app Blink.

Terms of the deal, which was announced Wednesday on Blink's website, are not being disclosed.

Messages sent through the Blink app self-destruct after a certain amount of time. The app allows users to send texts, sketches, record audio, make videos and take photos. Its main rival is Snapchat, which Facebook reportedly tried to buy for $3 billion.

Blink said it will shut down both the iOS and Android versions of the app in the coming weeks before the switchover.


Google resumes Glass sales in the US

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is once again selling its Internet-connected eyewear to anyone in the U.S. as the company fine-tunes a device that has sparked intrigue and disdain for its potential to change the way people interact with technology.

The latest release of Google Glass comes a month after a one-day sale gave U.S. residents their first chance to buy the hottest accessory in geek fashion.

Google Inc. isn't setting a time limit for people to buy Glass this time, although the company is emphasizing that the product remains in its test, or "Explorer," phase.

As has been the case since Google began selling Glass to a select group in 2012, the device costs $1,500. It's only available on Google's website for now.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 101.47 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 16,613.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8.92 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,888.53. The Nasdaq fell 29.54 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,100.63.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery added 67 cents to $102.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline gained 4 cents to $2.97 a gallon. Natural gas added 1 cent to $4.37 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $2.96 a gallon. Brent crude, an international benchmark, gained 77 cents to $109.31 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.