Hostess: Talks with union fail
Hostess Brands Inc. lived to die another day.
The maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs said late Tuesday that it failed to reach an agreement with its second-biggest union. As a result, Hostess plans to continue with a hearing today in which a bankruptcy- court judge will decide if the company can shutter its operations.
The renewed talks between Hostess and The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union came after the company declared last week that it would move to wind down its business and start selling off its assets in bankruptcy court. The company cited a crippling strike that was started Nov. 9 by the union, which represents 30 percent of Hostess workers.
Hostess shut down its three dozen plants late last week after it said the strike by the bakers union hurt its ability to maintain normal production. The bakers union says the company’s demise was the result of years of mismanagement, however, and that workers already have given steep concessions over the years.
HP accuses company of fraud
Hewlett-Packard Co. said Tuesday that it’s the victim of a multibillion-dollar fraud at the hands of a British company it bought last year that lied about its finances.
HP CEO Meg Whitman said executives at Autonomy Corp. PLC “willfully” boosted the company’s figures through various accounting tricks, which persuaded HP to pay $9.7 billion for the company in October 2011.
Autonomy’s former CEO said HP’s allegations are false.
HP now is taking an $8.8 billion charge to align Autonomy’s purchase price with what HP now says is its real value. More than $5 billion of that charge is due to false accounting, HP said.
The revelation is another blow for HP, which is struggling to reinvent itself as PC and printer sales shrink. The company’s stock hit a 10-year low in morning trading.
New flu vaccine OK’d
The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved the first seasonal flu vaccine made using animal-cell technology, rather than the half-century-old egg method.
The FDA approved Novartis’ Flucelvax to prevent influenza in people age 18 and older.
The new method has been promoted by U.S. health officials because it is faster than egg-based production and could speed up manufacturing in the event of a pandemic.
Thanksgiving car-rental shortage
Thanksgiving travelers who have yet to rent a car in the Northeast probably are out of luck: Superstorm Sandy has created a shortage.
The storm has damaged thousands of cars — including those owned by rental companies. The loss of vehicles has been compounded by rising demand. Thanksgiving and Christmas normally are busy rental periods. And lingering mass- transit problems caused by Sandy have added to demand.
From wire reports