Pacific Northwest Ousted Starbucks Chief Executive Jim Donald will receive $1.25 million in severance pay over the coming year, according...

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Ousted Starbucks Chief Executive Jim Donald will receive $1.25 million in severance pay over the coming year, according to a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Donald left the company effective Jan. 7, and Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz assumed the CEO role.

For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, Donald received a salary of $1 million for 2007, option awards worth $6.49 million and $36,920 in other compensation.


Deucalion buys 777 freighters

Eight Boeing 777 freighters have been purchased by Deucalion Capital VII, a company advised and managed by DVB Bank of Germany.

Boeing and Deucalion announced Monday that the planes are being leased to AeroLogic, a new joint venture of Lufthansa Cargo and DHL Express.

The planes are worth $2 billion at list prices, but after standard discounts, the planes’ actual value is about $1.2 billion, according to estimates by the aircraft-valuation firm Avitas.


Judge: Alcatel infringes patent

Alcatel-Lucent lost a key ruling in Microsoft’s U.S. trade complaint over patents for a system that integrates telephones and computers for voice calls, e-mail and video conferencing.

U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Paul Luckern said Alcatel’s OmniPCX Enterprise system infringes one Microsoft patent and recommends that it be barred from the U.S.

He rejected claims that the system infringed three other patents or that the OmniPCX Office servers infringe any of the four patents.

Paris-based Alcatel denied infringing the patents and argued they are invalid or unenforceable.

The dispute over systems that allow messages to be routed to both a user’s phone and computer is part of a larger battle between the two companies over patented technology in computers.

Coldwater Creek

Stock rises 11.4% in clothing retailer

The stock of clothing retailer Coldwater Creek rose 11.4 percent Monday after Chairman Dennis Pence bought shares.

The Sandpoint, Idaho, company’s shares climbed 54 cents to $5.26. The shares have declined 21 percent this year after plunging 73 percent in 2007.

Pence purchased 784,536 shares last Tuesday and Wednesday for $3.26 million, an average of $4.15 a share, according to figures compiled from Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Washington Service.

Current Media

Gore’s media firm plans to go public

Cable-television upstart Current Media plans to go public later this year, giving investors a chance to assess the entrepreneurial skills of its co-founder, former Vice President Al Gore.

In documents filed Monday, the San Francisco-based owner of the Current TV cable channel set a preliminary fundraising target of $100 million for the initial public offering (IPO).

Although a specific timetable wasn’t spelled out in the prospectus, Current Media said it hopes to complete the IPO by early May so it can repay a large debt due then.

Current Media is still small with just $64 million in annual revenue, but Gore’s involvement ensures that the company’s IPO will attract plenty of attention. Gore helped create Current Media in 2002 and still plays a prominent role as a major shareholder and the company’s executive chairman.


3 more carriers raise fuel surcharge

American Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways doubled their fare surcharges to $40 round trip to offset higher jet-fuel prices, according to

The moves match an increase led by Continental Airlines on Jan. 24, said Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of the Dallas-based Web site that tracks ticket prices, in an e-mail Sunday. Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines followed Continental’s lead late last week.

Airlines have struggled to pass along higher fuel costs to passengers by raising ticket prices. Jet fuel for immediate delivery in New York harbor has surged 51 percent in the year before today. Fuel has surpassed labor as the biggest expense at some carriers.


Slowdown affects fast-food giant

McDonald’s showed its first sign of vulnerability to the U.S. economic slowdown Monday and uneasy investors responded by selling off the fast-food chain’s stock despite its booming international sales and healthy $1.27 billion profit.

The company said sales were flat last month at U.S. restaurants open more than a year, blaming winter storms but also acknowledging “softer consumer spending” as Americans tightened their wallets in a volatile economy.

That snapped a streak of 56 consecutive months of higher year-over-year U.S. comparable sales, and a recession-wary Wall Street pushed McDonald’s stock to a 4 ½-month low.

Shares of Dow component McDonald’s, already down 7 percent since a hint of a December sales slowdown surfaced two weeks ago, shed another $3.48, or 6.4 percent, to $50.62 on Monday.

Sears Holdings

CEO departs amid restructuring

Sears Holdings announced the abrupt departure of president and chief executive Aylwin Lewis on Monday, leaving a management void at the top of the department-store chain controlled by Chairman Edward Lampert as it tries a high-stakes restructuring to reconnect with customers and reinvigorate slumping sales.

Lewis was an executive at fast-food chain Yum Brands and had little retail experience when he was hand-picked by Lampert in 2004 to run Kmart and later Sears. W. Bruce Johnson was named interim CEO while the company looks for a permanent successor.

Sears shares, which reached a high of $195.18 in April, rose $1.28, or 1.3 percent, to $100.28 Monday.

American Express

Expecting defaults, card firm takes hit

American Express said Monday its profit slumped nearly 10 percent in the fourth quarter after it set aside more money to prepare for cardholder defaults.

The credit-card issuer posted net income of $831 million, or 71 cents a share, down 9.9 percent from $922 million, or 75 cents a share, in the previous year’s fourth quarter.

Total revenue rose 10 percent to $6.42 billion from $5.84 billion in the prior fourth quarter. Excluding interest expense, revenue came to $7.36 billion, up from $6.68 billion a year ago.

American Express shares fell 2.7 percent in after-market trading, having risen $1.96, or 4.3 percent, to close at $47.40 Monday. Last week, its shares hit a four-year low.


No. 2 telecom posts strong earnings

Verizon Communications on Monday said it was seeing little effect of the turmoil in the U.S. economy, reporting higher fourth-quarter earnings that were largely in line with expectations.

There has been speculation on Wall Street that telecommunications companies, which have been branching out from their old business of providing utility phone services, would be more sensitive to a recession this time around.

AT&T reported an increase in disconnections in the last three months of 2007, but Verizon appears to be holding up better.

AT&T is the nation’s biggest telecommunications company by revenue; Verizon is second.

Verizon shares rose 35 cents to $38.11 Monday as the overall market rose.


Soaring results not enough for Wall St.

VMware, the software company with the best-performing U.S. technology initial public offering last year, reported fourth-quarter profit that more than doubled. Sales missed analysts’ estimates, sending the shares down in extended trading.

Net income increased to $78.2 million, or 21 cents a share, from $31 million, or 9 cents, a year earlier, the company said Monday in a statement. Sales climbed 80 percent to $412.5 million, short of the $416.8 million average estimate of analysts.

VMware is the dominant supplier of virtualization software, which saves money on maintenance and energy by letting a single computer run multiple operating systems. The company is stepping up spending amid competition from Microsoft and Citrix Systems.

VMware rose $2.45 to $83 in Monday trading.

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