Among other items: Aviation firm to shut its unit in Kirkland; loss of contract means security-services office closing; and animal-hospital firm buying rival.

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UCBH Holdings, the parent company of United Commercial Bank in San Francisco, said yesterday it plans to acquire Pacifica Bancorp in Bellevue for about $40.3 million. Pacifica has assets of $164.3 million and specializes in serving the ethnic Chinese community.

Bank regulators imposed stricter regulation on Pacifica in 2002. It was removed in February after the bank’s financial condition improved.

Its acquisition is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval and is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Rockwell Collins

Aviation firm to shut its unit in Kirkland

A Kirkland-based unit of aviation-electronics company Rockwell Collins is closing and has notified 135 employees they face layoff in August.

Rockwell, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is consolidating its cabin-electronics business in Tustin, in Southern California. The Kirkland facility makes cabin electronics for business jets.

A spokeswoman for Rockwell said the company will retain a local office with a small number of people to support Boeing programs.

Security services

Loss of contract means office closing

American Commercial Security Services shut its Redmond office and issued layoff notices to 155 workers last week.

The San Francisco-based company lost its contract with Microsoft, which had been a client for most of the past 15 years.

Securitas Security Services USA will take over security responsibilities for the software giant July 1.

American’s president, John Moore, said his office’s closure won’t mean that employees will lose their jobs. “We’re working with the new contractor to keep them at Microsoft.”

Pet’s Choice

Animal-hospital firm buying rival

VCA Antech, the largest U.S. operator of animal hospitals, agreed to buy rival Pet’s Choice for $60 million in cash, less assumed debt.

Bellevue-based Pet’s Choice operates 46 animal hospitals in Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Indiana and had $69.4 million in revenue in the year ended March 27.

The acquisition by the Los Angeles company is expected to close in July.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Bloomberg News

Nation / World briefs

General Motors

Shares fall as rating slumps to junk status

Fitch Ratings reduced its credit rating for General Motors to junk status yesterday, citing the profit-sapping impact of sales declines and industry price competition.

GM shares and bonds fell on the news, which means the company will likely have to pay more to borrow and complicate its attempt to cut costs.

The world’s largest automaker said it was disappointed.

“Clearly GM has many challenges in North America, but the company is moving aggressively to address the challenges,” GM spokeswoman Gina Proia said.

GM and its finance arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC), “have adequate cash and liquidity to fund their business for the foreseeable future,” she said. Fitch said GM had nearly $20 billion in cash at the end of the first quarter, and GMAC had an additional $18.5 billion.


Company to return to its original name

Two years and two spinoffs later, the handheld-computer company that made its name with the Palm Pilot is changing its name back to Palm Inc.

PalmOne announced yesterday that it will get full rights to the Palm brand name — and revert to its original corporate moniker — later this year.

Under terms of yesterday’s agreement, it will pay the software company it spun off in 2003, PalmSource, $30 million over three and a half years for the latter’s 55 percent share of Palm Trademark Holding.

PalmOne, which makes Treo-branded smart phones and Tungsten and Zire handhelds — also granted PalmSource certain rights to Palm trademarks over a four-year transition period. That move will likely force PalmSource to eventually change its name, PalmSource executives.

Federated / May

Shareholders to vote on planned merger

May Department Stores and Federated Department Stores set dates for shareholder meetings next month at which they will seek endorsement of a planned $11 billion merger.

St. Louis-based May scheduled its yearly stockholders meeting for July 13 at The Pierre-New York in New York City, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Federated said its annual gathering will be on the same day at its headquarters in Cincinnati.

The planned deal, announced in February, would create a retailing powerhouse better able to compete against Wal-Mart and upscale merchants. The merger requires approval by the Federal Trade Commission and is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

Federated has about 112,000 employees and more than 450 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in 34 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. May — operator of Lord & Taylor, Famous-Barr, The Jones Store, Filene’s and other regional department stores — has 132,000 employees in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Eastman Kodak

Launch delayed on digital camera

Eastman Kodak is delaying its launch of a highly touted digital camera that will use wireless technology to transfer images to computers, printers or kiosks.

The 4-megapixel EasyShare-One camera, unveiled in January, was expected to arrive in stores next month. But Kodak said yesterday it will be shipped in October to take advantage of the end-of-year holiday shopping season.

“What we’re doing is taking the necessary time to ensure the best possible customer experience with the camera,” said Kodak spokesman Gerard Meuchner, adding that the camera brings “significant technological advances to the marketplace.”

The camera will carry a $699 price tag and boasts a 3-inch touch-screen display.


Magazine deal exit for German firm

Meredith, a major publisher of women’s magazines including Ladies’ Home Journal, is buying four magazines including Child and Family Circle from the German publisher Gruner + Jahr for $350 million.

The deal, which also includes the magazines Fitness and Parents, effectively marks the exit from the U.S. magazine market for Gruner + Jahr, which had suffered a series of setbacks in its efforts to expand here.

Compiled from The Associated Press