Fiji Time: 8:17 PM on Friday 19 December

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Bbc/News.Com.Au/Reuters
Saturday, January 05, 2013

Skippy sold

PEANUT butter brand Skippy has been sold for $US700million ($F1.24billion) to the US company behind Spam. Hormel Foods, which also owns Wholly Guacamole, bought the brand from Dutch food giant Unilever. It said that Skippy's 11 varieties of peanut butter would "strengthen our global presence, and should be a useful complement to our sales strategy in China for the Spam family of products". Skippy has been around since 1932 and has annual sales of $US370m ($F658m).

$1.4b penalty

OFFSHORE rig contractor Transocean Ltd has agreed to pay $US1.4billion ($F2.48b) to settle US government charges arising from BP Plc's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The settlement unveiled on Thursday by the Department of Justice includes $US1b ($F1.77b) in civil penalties and $US400million ($F711m) in criminal penalties. The company had set aside $US1.95b ($F3.46b) in potential losses related to the Macondo well disaster, including $US1.5b ($F2.66b) for its anticipated DoJ settlement.

TV takeover

AL Jazeera has acquired Current TV, the cable television network founded by former US Vice President Al Gore. The Qatar-owned broadcaster plans to replace Current with a new Al Jazeera America news channel based in New York, doubling its US-based staff. Al Jazeera has been struggling to gain more viewers in the US. Launched in 2005, Current is at present available in about 60 million US homes. The deal was reportedly worth about $US500m ($F889m). Al Jazeera said that almost 40 per cent of all online viewing of its current London-headquartered Al Jazeera English news channel comes from the United States.

No charge

US regulators said they would not charge Google with illegal bias in Internet search, but won commitments from the tech titan to end its "most troubling" practices, officials said Thursday. The US Federal Trade Commission said it was unable to bring a case against Google for manipulation of search results. But it settled a separate case with Google that requires the company to allow rivals access to its patented technologies. FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said the action concludes a 20-month probe of the Internet giant, accused by rivals of abusing its market dominance to snuff out competitors.





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