In Brief


NEW YORK

PepsiCo paying $3.8 billion for stake in Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods

PepsiCo Inc. is buying a majority stake in Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods, a producer of dairy products, juices, mineral water and baby food, for $3.8 billion, a deal that will make it the biggest food and beverage company in Russia.

The deal is Pepsi's largest international acquisition ever. It gives the company dominant position in the fast-growing Russian market and furthers its plan to build its global nutrition business.

Combined, the companies will hold six of Russia's 20 largest food and beverage brands and will be about twice the size of its nearest competitor in the country. PepsiCo said the deal will make Russia its second-largest market behind the U.S.

CINCINNATI

Kroger reports increase in profits, sales for third quarter

Kroger Co. doesn't yet see the end of rough economic times for American consumers, even after ringing up increased sales and a solid profit for its third quarter.

The nation's largest traditional-format grocer said many shoppers are buying more items but at lower prices, and they're still showing uncertainty in their spending amid intense competition for their dollars.

Kroger reported net income of $202.2 million, or 32 cents a share, in the three months ended Nov. 6, reversing a loss of $875 million, or $1.35 a share, a year earlier, when the company took a $1.05 billion charge reflecting the declining value of its Ralphs division in recession-pounded California.

Without that charge, Kroger would have earned $176.7 million, or 27 cents a share.

Revenue rose 5.9 percent to $18.7 billion.

In Southern Nevada, Kroger operates 30 Smith's, 14 Food 4 Less supermarkets and three Fred Meyer Jeweler's shops.

SAN FRANCISCO

Google promises to better police copyright breaches

Google Inc. is promising to do a better job of weeding out copyright violations on the Internet.

As part of a crackdown announced Thursday, the Internet search leader said it will respond to complaints about pirated material posted on its YouTube video site and other services within 24 hours. Google didn't specify what its average response time is now, but many copyright holders have griped in the past about the company taking too long to remove videos or other content posted illegally.

Under federal laws, websites aren't held liable for hosting unauthorized copyright content, as long as they remove the pirated material after being told of the problem. That can be a daunting task given that Google's search engine indexes more than 1 trillion unique Web links and about 35 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube per minute.

WASHINGTON

Rates for 30-year mortgages rise in week, statistics show

Rates on fixed mortgages edged up again this week after hitting their lowest level in decades last month.

Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for 30-year fixed loans rose to 4.46 percent from 4.4 percent last week. Three weeks ago, the rate hit 4.17 percent, the lowest level on records dating back to 1971.

The 15-year loan also rose, to 3.81 percent from 3.77 percent. It hit its lowest point since the survey began in 1991 a month ago, when rates fell to 3.57 percent.

 

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