Pacific Northwest Fisher Communications of Seattle said it may sell real-estate holdings including its high-tech Fisher Plaza development...

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Pacific Northwest

Fisher Communications

Fisher Communications of Seattle said it may sell real-estate holdings including its high-tech Fisher Plaza development, an office and data-center complex that houses the company’s headquarters and its local radio and TV stations.

Fisher Plaza earned $4.1 million last year on revenue of $11.3 million, according to company regulatory filings. The 294,000-square-foot property in the shadow of the Space Needle was 98 percent occupied as of March 31, with 43 percent used by Fisher.

“While Fisher Plaza has been a desirable facility to develop and own, it represents a very valuable noncore asset that we do not believe is fully reflected in the value of the Company,” said Colleen B. Brown, Fisher’s president and CEO, in a news release.

The first of the complex’s two buildings was completed in 2000.

Dismissal upheld in antitrust case and Borders Group won dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit brought by a customer challenging the companies’ online-marketing agreement.

Amazon customer Gary Gerlinger didn’t pay higher prices for books, and thus suffered no harm, after the retailer took over the unprofitable Borders Web site in 2001, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Tuesday.

Gerlinger sued on behalf of all customers, saying the companies’ agreement that Borders abandon direct-online-book selling after the takeover violated federal laws prohibiting competitors from dividing markets among themselves, according to the ruling.

Borders, which put itself up for sale in March, started selling books and music on a new Web site Tuesday, taking over its online business that Amazon had run for the past seven years.


Company raises $15 million

Pelago said Tuesday it raised $15 million from venture capitalists.

The Seattle company, which created the Whrrl social-networking service, said it will use the funds to invest technology and develop partnerships.

The round was led by Deutsche Telekom’s venture- capital arm, T-Mobile Venture Fund. Other investors include Reliance Technology Ventures and DAG Ventures. Original investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Trilogy Equity Partners; and Bezos Expeditions also took part.

Stephan Noll, managing director at T-Mobile Venture Fund, will join the company’s board of directors.


New packaging OK’d for drug

Federal regulators approved a new package for ZymoGenetics’ only commercial product, Recothrom, the company said Tuesday.

The Seattle biotech company said it will be ready to ship 20,000 international unit (IU) vials of Recothrom, which helps control surgical bleeding, within two weeks.

In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed ZymoGenetics to sell 5,000-IU vials.

Recothrom, a genetically engineered form of thrombin, competes with products derived from bovine and human thrombin.

Analysts say sales for the ZymoGenetics’ product will ramp up slowly.

ZymoGenetics stock closed Tuesday at $9.01, up 11 cents, or 1.2 percent.

E-book reader to cost $40 less

Web retailer has nipped $40 from the price of its Kindle e-book reader.

The $399 Kindle launched in November and sold out in hours. Amazon sorted out its supply chain and manufacturing problems, and the device was back on sale in April.

Spokesman Drew Herdener said Tuesday that Amazon’s cost of manufacturing the Kindle dropped as the number produced increased.

He would not say how many Kindles have been sold.

The Kindle’s new $359 list price is still higher than Sony’s competing Reader, which retails for $299.

Nation and World


Report: US Airways, United talks shatter

Consolidation talks between United Airlines and US Airways appear to have fallen apart, The New York Times reported late Tuesday, citing unnamed people with direct knowledge of the discussions.

The board of United parent UAL and CEO Glenn Tilton, raised questions about the arrangement, three people told The Times.

One person said senior executives at both airlines, as well as external bankers and lawyers working toward a deal, have put it on “permanent hold.”

United spokeswoman Jean Medina declined to comment to The Associated Press. Messages seeking comment were left for US Airways representatives.

A key sticking point appeared to be labor complications, The Times said.

Sorting out issues such as union representation and seniority could have taken years, delaying any cost savings.


Oil slips below $129 on demand worries

Oil dropped below $129 a barrel Tuesday, falling sharply on a growing sense that soaring gas and oil prices have cut demand during the normally busy summer driving season.

At the pump, meanwhile, retail gasoline prices rose, but only slightly, leading to renewed speculation that gas may follow the normal pattern of peaking around Memorial Day then declining over the summer.


Company back in black; CEO quits

Vodafone Group, the world’s biggest mobile-phone company by sales, announced the surprise resignation of Chief Executive Arun Sarin on Tuesday as it posted a return to full-year profitability.

Sarin, who led Vodafone’s expansion into emerging markets like India, Turkey and the Czech Republic over his five years in the top job, will be replaced by his deputy, Vittorio Colao.

Sarin is a former chief executive of Bellevue-based InfoSpace.

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