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IN BRIEF

MGM Mirage enters hotel company venture

Casino operator MGM Mirage said Thursday it signed a joint venture agreement with United Arab Emirates investment and development company Mubadala Development Co. to create a new hotel company.

Mubadala Development is owned by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Through the newly formed company, MGM and Mubadala plan to develop luxury nongambling hotels and resorts globally, initially targeting Abu Dhabi and Las Vegas.

MGM said the joint company will develop its own hotel management platform and brands, using one or more of the MGM Mirage brands.

Pulte buying acreage from Hughes Corp.

Pulte Homes is buying 300 acres of land in Summerlin from The Howard Hughes Corp., with plans to develop a Summerlin village called Reverence.

Pulte closed on 150 acres of the property, which is west of Interstate 215 between Lake Mead Boulevard and Cheyenne Avenue, in December. The builder paid $123 million for the first half of the village, according to records at the Clark County Assessor’s office. Pulte plans to close on the second half of the village by the end of 2007. The Clark County Assessor values the remaining 150 acres at more than $70 million. The acreage is Summerlin’s northernmost point.

Pulte officials plan to build about 1,500 homes in Reverence. The builder said it would use environmentally friendly, green-building practices at Reverence, which is scheduled to break ground in the fall.

CHEVY CHASE, Md.

MedImmune reverses anti-takeover stance

Drug company MedImmune said Thursday it is willing to consider takeover offers, reversing its stand against a sale because of interest from big pharmaceutical companies and investor unhappiness with the company’s performance.

MedImmune said its board of directors authorized company management to gauge interest from potential bidders. It also hired Goldman Sachs & Co. and the law firm Dewey Ballantine to help with a possible sale.

The company, based in Gaithersburg, has a market capitalization of nearly $9 billion and posted $1.28 billion in revenue last year, mostly from its childhood respiratory drug Synagis. MedImmune also makes the inhaled influenza vaccine FluMist.

But the company’s recent performance has rankled some major shareholders, who said MedImmune should consider selling itself because its failure to meet some major milestones has hurt investors.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Krispy Kreme reports slimmer quarterly loss

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts said Thursday its fourth-quarter loss narrowed as the doughnut maker continues its recovery from a bad stumble several years ago.

“Krispy Kreme is in the midst of a turnaround,” said Krispy Kreme’s Chief Executive Daryl Brewster on a call with analysts. “We are moving out of a survival mode and addressing key challenges.”

For the quarter ended Jan. 28, the Winston-Salem-based company said its net loss was $24.4 million, or 39 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $37.7 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 8.2 percent to $112.2 million from $122.2 million.

DETROIT

General Motors plans to hire more engineers

General Motors Corp., looking to increase its expertise in emerging technology amid mounting pressure to boost fuel economy, will use a job fair to try and fill 400 new engineering and technical positions.

While the auto maker has been shedding tens of thousands of jobs via buyouts and early retirements, there are growth areas the company has been beefing up, spokeswoman Brenda Rios said Thursday.

Wanted are engineers to fill positions in powertrain engineering, product development, fuel cells, the OnStar telematics system and information technology.

Apple delays release of system software

Apple delayed the release of its new Macintosh system software after shifting engineering resources to ensure the iPhone makes its debut in June.

The stock fell 2.6 percent in late trading after Apple said Leopard, an update to the Mac operating system software, will be pushed back to October instead of June. The iPhone handset will ship in late June in the U.S., Apple said in a statement.

“IPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price,” Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said in the statement. “Life often presents trade-offs and in this case we’re sure we’ve made the right ones.”

HARRISBURG, Pa.

Rite Aid profits miss Wall Street forecasts

Rite Aid Corp. on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter profit that missed expectations, and the nation’s third-largest drugstore chain said it has agreed to divest two dozen stores in a deal for 1,850 Brooks and Eckerd stores that it expects to close in May.

Rite Aid said it agreed with Federal Trade Commission staff to shed the 24 stores in nine states as part of the acquisition. The move is expected to satisfy antitrust concerns. The commission still must approve the deal, which is now expected to close by the end of May.

For the three months ended March 3, Rite Aid said it earned $7.1 million, or a penny per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial predicted a profit of 2 cents a share.

In the same period a year ago, the company reported a gain of $1.25 billion, or $1.83 cents per share, although all of it except for $5.3 million was attributed to one-time items, mainly a tax benefit.

Revenue fell 4.4 percent to $4.56 billion from $4.77 billion.

In sale, Delta pilots raise $1.16 billion

Delta Air Lines’ pilots union said it raised $1.16 billion by selling almost all of its claim against the bankrupt carrier.

The Delta Air Line Pilots Association sold 92 percent of its $2.1 billion claim at an average price of 60 cents on the dollar, Lee Moak, the union’s chairman said in a letter posted Thursday on its Web site. The union represents 6,850 pilots at the Atlanta- based airline.

The union plans to distribute the money to members shortly after Delta exits court protection, Moak said. The airline expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of this month. The bankruptcy court approved the claim last year based on pilots’ pay cuts and concessions on benefits such as pensions.

NEW YORK

Bond prices static after indexed-notes auction

Treasurys closed nearly unchanged Thursday after the government held an auction of inflation indexed notes that wasn’t particularly well received.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was down 63 cents per $1,000 in face value, or 0.06 points, from its level at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, was unchanged at 4.73 percent.

The 30-year bond fell 0.03 points. Its yield was unchanged at 4.91 percent.

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