Homecomings Financial, an indirect subsidiary of consumer lending giant GMAC, is closing its Bellevue office and laying off 60 people, according to a filing with the state's Employment Security Department.

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Banking

Homecomings Financial, an indirect subsidiary of consumer lending giant GMAC, is closing its Bellevue office and laying off 60 people, according to a filing with the state’s Employment Security Department.

The layoffs will be effective Oct. 31.

Homecomings is an operating unit of Residential Capital, or ResCap, GMAC’s real-estate finance business. Like other mortgage firms, ResCap has been hit hard by the national mortgage meltdown: The company lost $2.7 billion in the first half of 2008.

Aviation

American Airlines buys six 737-800s

American Airlines said Wednesday that it will take delivery of six more Boeing 737-800s in 2010, in an effort to speed up the replacement of gas-guzzling MD-80s in its fleet.

The move brings the total number of 737-800s expected to be delivered in 2009 and 2010 to 76 aircraft.

American said the deal is part of an amendment under its purchase agreement with Boeing, in which the airline exercised its right to buy 20 of the planes for delivery in 2009 and 2010.

American said it has secured financing for about two-thirds of the Boeing 737-800 deliveries in 2009 and 2010.

While the carrier said it has the option to finance all of its 2009 deliveries under the deal, it declined to disclose any further details about the plan.

Aviation

Vought halts fuselage line

Because of previously announced delays to Boeing’s 787 delivery schedule, Vought Aircraft Industries has stopped making further rear fuselage sections at its South Carolina plant until the final assembly line in Everett is unblocked.

Another major supplier, Spirit Aerosystems of Wichita, Kan., stopped making 787 nose sections as its factory filled up months ago.

Vought President Elmer Doty says fuselage production might ramp back up later this year.

About 1,100 workers are employed in plants at Charleston International Airport making sections of the airliner’s fuselage, including parts imported from Japan and Italy.

Technology

Yahoo pays its saviors

Yahoo has shelled out $36 million in the first half of 2008 to outside advisers that helped the company navigate stormy buyout talks with Microsoft and the ensuing proxy threat from activist investor Carl Icahn.

Yahoo leaned on investment banks Goldman Sachs Group, Lehman Brothers Holdings and Moelis & Co., and the law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, after Microsoft announced its initial $44.6 billion offer in February.

Yahoo’s $36 million tab, disclosed in a regulatory filing, amounts to about 5 percent of the $673 million in profit Yahoo reported in the first six months of the year.

Retail

Grocery stores plan wine tastings

Thirty grocery stores across Washington will offer wine and beer tastings beginning Oct. 1 as part of a pilot program by the state Liquor Control Board.

Each store must hold at least six tastings during the yearlong program and is limited to one tasting a month. Beer and wine samples will be 2 ounces or less, and a customer can have up to 4 ounces, the board said. Store employees must be able to see participants to make sure that minors and people who are intoxicated do not take part.

The public can make comments about the pilot beginning today by e-mailing tastingpilot@liq.wa.gov.

The pilot will include seven Safeway stores, five Fred Meyer and QFC stores (which are owned by Kroger), two Haggen and Top Food & Drug stores and one Albertsons. The chains are still deciding which of their stores will participate. The other 15 stores are independently owned.

Technology

Microsoft sued in Massachusetts

Microsoft has been sued by a software rival that is seeking to block Microsoft’s plan to take over its space in a 17-story Cambridge, Mass., building to build a research lab.

InterSystems, which filed the suit in Middlesex (Mass.) Superior Court, also sued the building owner, Equity Office Partners, a subsidiary of The Blackstone Group, contending it conspired with Microsoft to lease space InterSystems had rights to, and sought to drive up rents in the process.

Microsoft denied any wrongdoing.

“Microsoft has a valid lease at the building that was negotiated in good faith … and looks forward to expanding its strong R&D presence in Cambridge,” said spokesman David Bowermaster.

Labor market

Training board seeks comment

The state Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board is updating its master plan for boosting the skill levels of workers and wants public input.

The board will hold a public forum from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at South Seattle Community College’s Tech Center, Room TEC 129. The session also will be simulcast at Tacoma Community College, Room 222 of Building 28, and at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, in the Norwood Cole Library building.

Comments can also be e-mailed to Madeleine Thompson at mthompson@wtb.wa.gov.

The latest draft of the “High Skills, High Wages” plan is available at www.wtb.wa.gov/Documents/HSHWDraftJuly2008.pdf.

Nation and World

Automaker

Chrysler to retool for new vehicle

Chrysler Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda said Wednesday his company will invest $1.8 billion to expand the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit and retool it to make a new car-based sport-utility vehicle.

That plant now makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Biotech

Genentech rejects $43.7B Roche bid

Biotech giant Genentech rejected a $43.7 billion buyout offer from its majority owner Roche on Wednesday but said it is open to a higher takeover bid.

The rejection comes nearly a month after Roche offered $89 per share for the rest of Genentech. Roche already owns about 55.9 percent of the company.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, The Boston Globe and The Associated Press