Out of control: OPEC's attempt to stem a free-fall in oil prices fizzled as global economic fears pushed crude down to lows last seen 15 months ago.

Share story

Out of control: OPEC’s attempt to stem a free-fall in oil prices fizzled as global economic fears pushed crude down to lows last seen 15 months ago. Prices slumped to $64.15 a barrel even as OPEC announced it would slash production by a daily 1.5 million barrels — reflecting the cartel’s diminishing control over prices.

From Safeco to AIG: Paula Rosput Reynolds, ex-CEO at Safeco who arranged the Seattle insurer’s recent sale to Liberty Mutual, has been named to lead the restructuring of troubled insurance giant AIG, bailed out by the U.S. government last month. New York-based AIG is selling businesses to repay its loan to the government.

Bank consolidation: Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services is buying Cleveland-based National City for $5.58 billion, the first bank to use fresh investments from a federal bailout program to make an acquisition.

Slashing jobs: Chrysler, whose owner has been in talks to sell the automaker to General Motors, said it will cut 25 percent of its salaried work force starting next month and warned that it will make more restructuring announcements soon. About 5,000 people are likely to lose their jobs.

Bucking the trends: Amid the financial meltdown and a moribund IPO market, Anchor Bank, of Lacey, Thurston County, hopes to raise as much as $60 million from its depositors and others in an initial public offering of stock. Anchor is mutually owned by its account holders, but it plans to convert to stockholder ownership as Anchor Bancorp while selling shares for $10 apiece.

Bellevue firm sold: Up to 150 jobs in Bellevue may be eliminated after IntelliTax, formerly known as Orr Software, was acquired by a unit of global publishing firm Wolters Kluwer.

Air traffic falls: Global airline-passenger traffic fell last month, the first drop in five years, the International Air Transport Association reported. Traffic, or the number of passengers multiplied by the distance flown, declined 2.9 percent from a year earlier, with freight traffic dropping 7.7 percent.

Strong wine results: Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the Woodinville-based wine unit of UST, said third-quarter net sales increased 21.2 percent to $99.8 million while operating profit surged 28 percent to $16.3 million.

FDA approval: Spiration said the FDA approved the use of its technology to control prolonged air leaks of the lung. The Redmond company said the agency granted a rare Humanitarian Device Exemption from a more rigorous process.

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