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Business briefs, January 12

Published January 12, 2007 at midnight

NATIONAL

AT&T ready to re-brand Cingular Wireless

AT&T plans to fold the Cingular Wireless name into the AT&T brand.

Starting Monday, AT&T Inc. said it is launching a new multimedia campaign to begin transitioning the Cingular brand to AT&T in advertising and customer communications, throughout Web sites and nationwide retail stores and on company buildings and vehicles.

Former Tyco CEO out of hospital, back in prison

L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive officer of Tyco International Ltd., is back in prison after eight days at a hospital, a prison official said. People close to Kozlowski said he underwent a heart procedure.

Kozlowski, 60, is serving eight to 25 years in a New York state prison for looting Tyco and defrauding shareholders. Since May, he has been incarcerated at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, N.Y., about 250 miles from Manhattan.

Ford to shut down Indianapolis plant

Ford Motor Co. plans to idle its Indianapolis steering systems plant with more than 1,500 workers by the end of 2008, the company said Thursday.

Ford was unable to find a suitable buyer for the plant, which opened in 1957 and has been outdated by changing automotive production, Ford spokeswoman Della DiPietro said.

MTV Networks exec leaving after 15 months

MTV Networks President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Wolf said he is leaving after 15 months in the job, becoming the latest senior Viacom Inc. executive to leave the company in recent months.

A former consultant who led the media practices at both McKinsey & Co. and Booz Allen Hamilton before joining Viacom in 2005, Wolf said he decided to leave because he had accomplished everything he set out to do at the cable network operator.

Nearly 1,500 take offer to leave American Axle

Detroit-based auto supplier American Axle said Thursday that 1,473 workers agreed to leave the company through early retirement incentives, buyouts and educational opportunities.

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. is projected to save more than $100 million annually from the program, Chairman and Chief Executive Richard E. Dauch said in a statement.

Drug industry fees could rise 29 percent

The annual user fees the drug industry pays the government to review its products before approval could rise nearly 29 percent to $393 million, under a proposal Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration.

The $87 million increase in fees would in part bolster the FDA's oversight of the safety of drugs already on the market, allowing it to add 82 employees to do such review work, the agency said.

Eli Lilly plans to halt construction of Va. plant

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. said Thursday it will halt construction of a Virginia insulin plant as part of a shift in the drugmaker's focus toward biotech products.

The company said it will stop building the Prince William County, Va., center because production can be handled by existing plants and a center being built in Italy. All 120 employees in Prince William will be given a chance to transfer or will receive severance packages.

Sundance films to be available at iTunes

Nearly half of the short films being screened at this month's Sundance Film Festival will be available for purchase at Apple's iTunes store under a deal announced today.

The digital downloads will supplement the free streaming at Sundance's Web site, which will offer the shorts for only a three-month period beginning Jan. 18, the start of the festival in Park City, Utah. The iTunes downloads are expected to be available for three years and once purchased will play for at least the life of the owner's computer.

LOCAL

Proxy firms back McData-Brocade deal

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and McData Corp. said two independent proxy advisory firms recommended that both companies' shareholders approve Brocade's purchase of McData.

Broomfield-based McData and San Jose, Calif.-based Brocade make switches for data-storage networks.

Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass, Lewis & Co. are encouraging shareholders to vote in favor of the all-stock transaction at shareholder meetings Jan. 25.

IHS acquires Texas geology firm

Douglas County-based IHS Inc., a provider of oil and gas information, software and consulting services, on Thursday said it has acquired Geological Data Services Inc. of Addison, Texas.

Geological Data Services provides interpreted sub-surface data covering the Permian Basin, U.S. midcontinent and Rocky Mountain regions.

ECONOMY

Jobless claims at lowest level in 6 months

The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in nearly six months.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for jobless claims dropped by 26,000 to 299,000 last week on a seasonally adjusted basis.

It marked the first time jobless claims have fallen below 300,000 since the week of July 22.

The improvement was much better than the decline of 9,000 that analysts had been expecting and provided further evidence that the slowing U.S. economy has not begun to seriously affect the labor market outside of specific industries such as housing and auto manufacturing.

Rates on 30-year mortgages rose this week to the highest level since mid-November after a better-than-expected employment report renewed inflation worries in financial markets.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.21 percent this week, up from 6.18 percent last week. It was the highest level since 30-year mortgages stood at 6.24 percent the week of Nov. 16.

THIS JUST IN...

Denver-based Colorado Business Bank promoted Cyd Petre to senior vice president of the construction and real estate lending divisions.

The board of directors of the Steadman Hawkins Research Foundation hired J. Michael Egan as chief executive officer of the Vail- based nonprofit orthopedic research organization.

ARC Thrift Stores has named Juan Grado, David Eaton and Mickey Mesa as employees of the year.

Arapahoe County-based Frontier GMAC Real Estate has added Kami Heshmaty as broker associate in its DTC office.

The Colorado-Springs based Space Foundation has added Barbara M. Barrett, Martin C. Faga and Elon Musk as members of the board. Lon Levin, chief strategic officer of Transformational Space Corp., and co-founder of XM Satellite Radio, was elected to a two-year term as treasurer.

The Galloway Group LLC, a private consulting firm based in Denver, hired Christina Carlson. Her responsibilities will include building community relationships through a variety of public relations and marketing efforts.

Ken Krechmer, a University of Colorado lecturer in electrical and computer engineering, was awarded second prize in the IEC Centenary Challenge, an international competition concerned with the economic, business and social impacts of technological standards.

SafeHouse Denver, a provider of shelter and nonresidential counseling services to victims of domestic violence and their children, has appointed Donald Mares and Scott Browning to its board of directors.

Centennial-based Colorado Casualty celebrated its 25th anniversary Monday. The company also provides insurance in several other Western states.

Perkins Coie has named Bob Miller to the Colorado Bar Foundation's board of trustees. He will hold his post until 2010.

ISEE Corp. of Lafayette, a digital security and surveillance recording company, promoted David O. Patton to president and chief operating officer.

John Mahoney joined Broomfield-based MWH as geochemical practice leader for its mining business unit.

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado has named Marilen Reimer executive director of the organization.

Colorado Healthcare Communicators, the state's public relations and marketing society for health care professionals, has elected its 2007 board of directors: Kelly Robbins, president; Dana Berry, past president; Tracy Weise, vice president and Gold Leaf co-chair and Jessica Wood as remaining Gold Leaf co-chair; Tonya Ewers, treasurer; and Julie Scott, secretary.

Compiled from News staff and wire reports.

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