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In Brief

PORTLAND, Ore.

Increased business overseas helps boost H.J. Heinz’s profits

H.J. Heinz Co.’s fiscal first-quarter net income jumped 13 percent as the foodmaker’s business boomed in growing overseas markets such as India, China and Russia.

Heinz, best known for its signature ketchup, reported before the market opened Wednesday that it earned $240.4 million, or 75 cents per share, for the quarter ended July 28. That’s up from $212.6 million, or 67 cents per share, in the a year earlier.

Heinz’s revenue rose 1.6 percent to $2.48 billion.

The earnings beat analyst expectations of 73 cents per share but fell short of revenue expectations of $2.53 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

NEW YORK

As loss widens, Borders looks to sell more than books

Borders Group Inc. reported a slightly larger loss in the second quarter and said it will sell more items besides books as it readies for the crucial holiday season.

The company is also closing underperforming stores and introducing a paid loyalty program as it continues to battle tough competition from online retailers like Amazon.com and discount stores such as Wal-Mart.

Borders’ loss for the quarter ended July 31 totaled $46.7 million, or 67 cents per share, compared with a loss of $45.6 million, or 76 cents per share, last year.

Revenue fell 11.5 percent, to $526.1 million from $594.2 million.

Revenue in stores open at least one year fell 6.8 percent.

NEW YORK

Buyout speculation sends Burger King shares higher

Shares of Burger King Holdings Inc. soared 15 percent Wednesday after published reports said the fast food chain was in talks to be acquired by a private equity firm.

Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that 3G Capital was among parties interested in pursuing a deal with Burger King. Neither publication named its sources.

Earlier in the day, The Wall Street Journal reported that the interested party was a different firm, 3i Group PLC.

When 3i denied its involvement, Burger King momentarily lost much of its hefty stock gains it made during the morning.

But the company’s shares ended up gaining $2.41, or 14.65 percent, to close at $18.86 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

A spokesman from Burger King declined to comment on the report, and a message left with 3G wasn’t immediately returned.

SAN FRANCISCO

Sony adds touch screen but raises price for e-reader

Amazon.com Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc. have tussled over which can offer consumers the best, cheapest e-reader. But rival Sony Corp. is now trying a different tactic: raising prices.

Sony said Wednesday that it is adding a touch-screen to its cheapest electronic-book reader, the Reader Pocket Edition, while increasing its price by $29 in a bet that consumers will be willing to shell out more for the ability to swipe the screen to turn pages.

The new Pocket e-reader, available for purchase Wednesday, uses an infrared sensor to read finger swipes or taps from a stylus that is included, eliminating the need for a special overlay that reduces clarity. Such an overlay on the device’s screen has been in use on Sony’s existing Touch Edition and Daily Edition e-readers.

Sony is selling the new device for $179, $40 more than Amazon’s cheapest Kindle. Even with the $29 price increase, however, the Reader is still $20 cheaper than what it sold for last year.

Besides the touch capabilities, the new Pocket has a higher-contrast electronic ink display that, like the Kindle, shows 16 shades of gray, compared with eight shades before.

 

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