Concur stock surged 14. 3 percent Tuesday after announcing that American Express bought 13 percent of the Redmond online expense-management...

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Concur stock surged 14.3 percent Tuesday after announcing that American Express bought 13 percent of the Redmond online expense-management company for $251 million, or 6.4 million shares at $39.27.

Concur stock closed up $5.15 at $41.20, a 52-week high.

The companies also entered an exclusive marketing arrangement that will have Concur promoting Amex corporate cards, and Amex’s global commercial card business exclusively promoting the Concur expense-management system.

Although their marketing deals are exclusive, Concur and Amex said their systems will continue to operate with other expense-management and corporate-payment systems. Half of Concur’s users already use Amex cards.

Amex is also getting a seat on the Concur board, which will be held by Amex Vice Chairman Ed Gilligan, and the option of buying an additional 1.28 million shares during the next two years at $39.27.


Horizon may cut seating again

Alaska Air Group’s Horizon Air may reduce seating capacity by another 8 percent next year.

“Everything is so volatile right now,” said Jeffrey Pinneo, Horizon’s chief executive officer, in a telephone interview Monday. The percentage “could be four, it could be eight; we’re still making that final determination.”

Capacity cuts in 2009 would add to the plan to shrink 2008 seats by 9 percent.

The Seattle-based regional airline is unloading its Bombardier Q200 turboprops and CRJ-700 jets and replacing them with more efficient Q400s after a 68 percent rise in the price of jet fuel over the past 12 months.

Video games

Vivendi to lay off 53 in September

Vivendi Games notified the state of Washington that it’s permanently laying off 53 employees at its Issaquah offices in September.

Activision Blizzard, the world’s largest video-game publisher, recently merged with Vivendi Games. It said earlier this month that the merger could result in job cuts. Vivendi Games couldn’t be reached for comment.

Vivendi — developer of “Guitar Hero,” “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty” — set up shop in Issaquah in 2006 when its Sierra Online group acquired Secret Lair Studios. The acquisition was designed to boost its role as a publisher of games for Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade casual-gaming service.


Billionaire sells all Yahoo shares at loss

Billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens has sold all of his holdings in Yahoo in a fit of pique over the way the Internet company’s management handled sales talks with Microsoft.

Pickens told the San Francisco Chronicle that he sold all 10 million of his Yahoo shares at a loss, because he grew frustrated with the company’s repeated rebuffs of Microsoft’s advances.

“I think that Yahoo management was pathetic,” Pickens said in a story published Tuesday.

Pickens declined to quantify his losses, but he acquired his stake in mid-May when Yahoo was trading between $24 and $28 per share.

Yahoo’s stock price hasn’t climbed above $22.50 for the past week, meaning Pickens probably lost tens of millions of dollars. Yahoo shares gained 3 cents Tuesday to finish at $20.15.


Honeywell wins modified tank order

Honeywell International won an order for modified fuel tanks for Boeing 737 planes to comply with a federal mandate.

Honeywell’s nitrogen generation system removes oxygen from the air before it’s pulled into airplane fuel tanks, reducing the risk of an explosion like the one that downed TWA Flight 800 in 1996. The system is already in place on about 60 737s and will be fitted to other Boeing models in coming months, said Steve Pitts, the Honeywell vice president in charge of relations with Boeing. The value of the contract wasn’t disclosed.

The Federal Aviation Administration this month ordered that all new airplanes be equipped with a system to prevent fuel-tank blasts within two years. Honeywell and Boeing are also developing a kit so airlines can retrofit their fleets to comply with the new rule, Pitts said. Existing jets will have to be equipped within nine years.


Whole Foods case back to lower court

A three-judge federal appeals court panel on Tuesday overturned a lower-court ruling from last year that allowed Whole Foods Market to acquire Wild Oats Markets.

The 2-1 ruling sends the case back to the lower court for further consideration, but doesn’t halt Whole Foods’ integration of the Wild Oats chain or require that the deal be undone. But it could disrupt Whole Foods’ efforts to combine the companies.

Whole Foods spokeswoman Kate Lowery said the company is disappointed with the decision and is “evaluating its legal options.” Jeffrey Schmidt, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said the agency was pleased by the ruling.

The FTC argues that the transaction would stifle competition by combining the two leading organic supermarket chains and lead to higher prices.

Whole Foods contends that competition from conventional supermarkets that are selling increasing amounts of organic food, keeps prices low.


Mervyns files for Chapter 11

Department store chain Mervyns filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, the latest merchant to become a casualty in a harsh retail environment.

The Hayward, Calif.-based chain, along with certain of its affiliates, filed for protection from its creditors in U.S. bankruptcy court for the District of Delaware. It said that all of its stores will remain open and business will continue as the company reorganizes.

The privately held retailer, which had been languishing for several years, operates about 175 locations in seven states but mostly in California.

Between January 2006 and February 2007, Mervyns closed all of its stores in Washington state, including 10 in the Puget Sound area.


Restaurants close, file for Chapter 7

Restaurant chains Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and stores owned by its parent company will shut their doors.

The companies owned by privately held Metromedia Restaurant Group of Plano, Texas, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in the Eastern District of Texas, less than two months after Metromedia said it was not preparing to do so. Metromedia Restaurant Group is a part of Metromedia Co., owned by billionaire John Kluge, that has interests in entertainment, radio stations and medical equipment.

In a Chapter 7 filing, a company seeks to liquidate its assets and shut down.


U.S. Steel reports profit, more growth

United States Steel said Tuesday that its second-quarter profit more than doubled and it expects continued robust growth in the third quarter because of surging demand and higher prices.

The Pittsburgh-based steel producer also raised its quarterly dividend 20 percent, and the company’s shares shot up more than 14 percent.

Substantial price increases across U.S. Steel’s three business segments — flat-rolled, European operations and tubular — outpaced increases in the cost of raw materials. Shipments also reached record levels, with mills operating at high output rates in North America and Europe.


Alcatel-Lucent top officials to resign

French telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent says its chairman and chief executive officer will both resign later this year.

Chairman Serge Tchuruk and Chief Executive Pat Russo’s departures come as the world’s largest fixed and mobile telecom gear maker reported its sixth consecutive quarter of losses on Tuesday.

Alcatel-Lucent says Tchuruk will step down Oct. 1, and Russo will resign “no later than the end of the year.”

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