Pacific Northwest Alaska Airlines' pilot union said it filed for federal mediation as part of an effort to reach a new contract in talks...

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Alaska Airlines’ pilot union said it filed for federal mediation as part of an effort to reach a new contract in talks that began in January 2007.

“We hope management will now come to the conclusion that it’s time to reach a consensual agreement,” Bill Shivers, chairman of Alaska’s chapter of the Air Lines Pilot Association, said Friday in a statement.

Should the National Mediation Board grant the request, talks would continue until a contract is reached or the union is released for a 30-day cooling-off period that could be followed by a strike, according to the statement.

A message left for airline spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey wasn’t immediately returned.

Alaska is a unit of Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, which also owns regional carrier Horizon Air.


CombiMatrix sells debt, raises $10M

CombiMatrix said Friday that it will issue up to $10 million in convertible debt to YA Global Investments.

The debentures, which can be converted into stock and warrants, will accrue interest of 10 percent a year. They must be repaid on July 10, 2010, or shortly after the company receives the proceeds of litigation against National Union Fire Insurance of Pittsburgh.

The litigation is on appeal in a federal court, the Mukilteo biotech company said in a securities filing.

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General Electric

Profit falls; shares hold their own

General Electric reverted to form with no big surprises in its latest earnings report, and investors shocked by an unexpected profit shortfall three months ago showed their appreciation.

Even though earnings fell in the latest quarter, investors helped GE shares hold their ground Friday.

The conglomerate whose interests range from making loans, TV shows and light bulbs to building industrial machinery reported a 6 percent drop in its second-quarter earnings but still matched analysts’ expectations. GE’s share price edged up 2 cents to close at $27.66.


Sweeter deal to be OK’d, reports say

After weeks of public bickering, Anheuser-Busch’s board is likely to accept a sweetened buyout offer from the Belgian-based brewer InBev as early as this weekend, a published report said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that InBev has boosted its takeover offer for the St. Louis-based maker of Budweiser, Bud Light and other beers by $5 a share to $70. It said one person it did not identify by name said the Anheuser-Busch board is likely to accept the offer this weekend.

An earlier New York Times report, also citing unnamed sources, said talks have become friendly and that an announcement of a deal could come Monday.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press