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Newspaper chain deal called off; more business briefs







Newspaper chain deal called off


A deal to sell The Long Islander -- one of the Island's oldest publications -- and several other community newspapers owned by Queens-based Tribco Llc to a Washington, D.C., investment firm has been called off, Tribco confirmed yesterday. The planned purchase of Tribco's assets by Phoenix Financial Holdings was announced Jan. 2. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "The newspapers are back under the ownership of original board members and investors" of Tribco, said Michael Nussbaum, associate publisher of Tribco's papers and a board member. Nussbaum declined to give details about why the deal was canceled. In addition to The Long Islander, a paper founded by poet Walt Whitman, Tribco owns the Half Hollow Hills Newspaper and the Record, which covers Northport and Commack. Tribco's primary holding is the Queens Tribune, a paper founded in 1970 by former Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights). -- Lisa Du



Business incubator opens


LaunchPad Long Island, the new co-working space in Mineola, officially opened its doors yesterday. The building, a project of local investors Andrew Hazen and Rich Foster, allows start-up companies to rent inexpensive office space and work in a social environment to promote creativity. About 10 start-up groups have been accepted so far, and about 50 more applications are in the pipeline, Hazen said. He said he and Foster are planning a similar co-working space in Suffolk County, and added that local investors have expressed interest in adding to a $250,000 fund the two started to invest in the early stage companies that work at LaunchPad. -- Lisa Du







Four Loko to alter look of cans


The maker of Four Loko, a popular carbonated alcoholic drink guzzled on college campuses, must change the look of its cans to settle the government's charges of deceptive marketing. The Federal Trade Commission said yesterday Chicago-based Phusion Projects must put an "alcohol facts panel" on cans containing more than two servings of alcohol. Phusion also must redesign cans containing more than 2.5 servings of alcohol so they can be resealed and the drink wouldn't have to be consumed in one sitting. The FTC accused Phusion of implying in ads that its 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko was equal to one or two beers. In fact, the agency says, the can -- with up to 12 percent alcohol -- is like four or five beers. Company co-founder Jaisen Freeman said Phusion did not agree with the allegations, but considered the agreement a way to move forward.



December job openings down


Employers advertised fewer jobs in December and cut back on hiring, suggesting many were cautious at the end of the year. The Labor Department says job openings dropped 4.6 percent in December from November to 3.62 million. Employers hired 4.2 million people, the fewest in a year. One positive sign: Employers cut just 1.57 million jobs, the fewest layoffs on records dating back to 2001. About 12.2 million people were unemployed in December, meaning there were 3.4 unemployed people competing for each open job. A healthy ratio is 2 to 1.



Coca-Cola profit up, sales dip


Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, the world's biggest beverage maker, said yesterday its profit rose in the fourth quarter, as it benefited from growth in emerging markets and a shift in the calendar that resulted in two extra selling days. But sales volume fell in China and Europe, while in North America, its biggest market by revenue, volume rose just 1 percent, boosted by its Powerade sports drinks and bottled teas. The company sold 2 percent less soda. For the October-to-December period, the company earned $1.87 billion, or 41 cents per share, on revenue of $11.46 billion. -- AP

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