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Interim director at BNL; other business briefs


Gibbs interim director at BNL

Doon Gibbs, a physicist and top administrator at Brookhaven National Laboratory, will take over as the facility's interim director in January while a search continues for a permanent leader, the lab's board announced Thursday. Gibbs will succeed Sam Aronson, who announced in February he would step down at year's end after running Brookhaven since 2006. Aronson, a physicist who has worked at the lab for 30 years, plans to return to research. Gibbs joined Brookhaven in 1983 and specializes in studying the atomic structure and properties of materials. He has served as associate lab director for basic energy sciences and is currently deputy director for science and technology. -- Joe Ryan

$63G for Island's agri-industry

New York has received $1 million in federal funding to support the state's agriculture industry, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced. About $63,000 will go to the Long Island region to support the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County's pest control program, which will help with pest issues on Long Island's fruit-bearing trees. The funding comes from a specialty crop block grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Of the $1 million, $200,000 will go toward growing the state's beer, wine and spirits industry. The funding comes after those in the industry told Cuomo in October at the Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit that more research and development was needed for the sector to grow. -- Lisa Du


Bids in for Hostess assets

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co. are among about two dozen parties bidding for assets being sold by Hostess Brands Inc., the bankrupt Twinkie and Wonder Bread maker, according to a media report Thursday. Some of the bidders are interested in acquiring all of the Hostess assets, while others are just focused on its cake or breads businesses, said the report by Bloomberg, which cited a person familiar with the matter. Spokesmen for Hostess, Wal-Mart and Kroger all declined to comment. A banker at Perella Weinberg, which is running the sale, was not immediately available. Hostess received court permission last month to wind down its 82-year-old business, which cleared the way for the company to begin selling assets. -- Reuters

Sprint to buy up Clearwire stake

Sprint has offered to buy the 49 percent of Clearwire that it doesn't already own for $2.1 billion. Sprint, the nation's third-largest carrier, uses Clearwire's network to provide "Sprint 4G," but it's building its own 4G network at the same time, and would like to see Clearwire upgrade its network to use a compatible technology. Sprint, which in late October got a $20.1 billion cash infusion from Japan's Softbank Corp. in exchange for a controlling stake, is struggling to compete with rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. Sprint has some 56 million subscribers, compared to AT&T's 105.2 million and Verizon Wireless' 94.2 million. -- AP

Producer prices down in Nov.

Cheaper gas drove down a measure of wholesale prices in November for the second straight month, a sign inflation remains mild. The producer price index fell 0.8 percent last month, the steepest drop since May, the Labor Department said Thursday. That follows a 0.2 percent decline in October. The index measures the cost of goods before they reach the consumer. Gas prices fell last month by the most in more than three years. Food prices, however, rose by the most in nearly two years, pushed higher by costlier beef and vegetables. Beef prices jumped 8.2 percent, the biggest gain in four and a half years. Vegetable prices rose nearly 12 percent. Grocery stores may mark up the prices of those products in the coming months, but probably not by as much. -- AP

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