Pacific Northwest Compiled from Bloomberg News and Seattle Times staff ...

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Pacific Northwest


Boeing raised its quarterly dividend by 20 percent. The 30-cent-a-share dividend, up from 25 cents, is payable March 3 to shareholders of record Feb. 10.

The increase reflects “continued strong operational performance and excellent cash generation,” Chief Executive Officer James McNerney said Monday.

Alaska Air Group

Stock sale may raise $208 million

Alaska Air Group plans to sell 5.7 million shares — boosting its shares outstanding by about 21 percent — which might raise about $208 million.

Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, the Seattle-based operator of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said Monday.

Alaska stock closed at $37.36 Wednesday, its highest since November 1999. The stock closed Monday’s regular trading session at $36.55, up 12 cents; but after the stock-sale announcement, the shares fell $1.17, or 3.2 percent, to $35.38 in after-hours trading.

Xcyte Therapies

Company seeks delay in delisting

Xcyte Therapies said Monday it will request a hearing to delay delisting of its stock from the Nasdaq.

The Seattle biotech company was notified last week that its stock, trading under $1 per share since late April, was no longer in compliance with minimum prices for listing on the exchange and faces delisting Thursday.

National Securities

Rules violations costly for firm

Seattle-based brokerage National Securities and its former chief executive, Steven Rothstein, were fined $30,000 Monday by the National Association of Securities Dealers for not properly accounting for business loans.

In 2001, National’s parent, Olympic Cascade Financial of Chicago, borrowed $2 million from First Clearing Corp. of Virginia, which National had recently hired to provide clearing and related services.

The NASD found that Olympic Cascade had pledged National’s assets as collateral for the loan but did not deduct those pledged assets from National’s net capital — the money it must keep on hand to protect customers and ensure a stable business.

In addition to the fine, National must pay $55,000 for violating several other NASD rules. National neither admitted to nor denied the charges but consented to the NASD findings.

Compiled from Bloomberg News and Seattle Times staff

Pacific Northwest


Japanese purchase 41,817 Xbox 360s

Microsoft sold 28 percent of Xbox 360 consoles on store shelves in Japan in early sales, according to preliminary figures from Tokyo-based market researcher Media Create.

Microsoft sold 41,817 consoles in the first two days since the Xbox 360 was introduced Saturday in Japan, Media Create said Monday.

“It sounds like a pretty weak start,” said Eiji Maeda, a video-game industry analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo. “It will be important to watch how sales are in the last week before Christmas.”


New phone service with MCI in works

Microsoft and MCI have formed a multiyear partnership to provide a service for people to place calls from a personal computer to regular telephones.

The service, MCI Web Calling for Windows Live Call, will be available through a future instant-messaging program from Microsoft. It is in a limited test in five markets worldwide and will be rolled out more broadly next year, Microsoft said.

Olympic Pipe Line

Canadian company to acquire 65% stake

Canada’s Enbridge agreed to acquire a 65 percent stake in Olympic Pipe Line from BP for about $100 million in cash to enter the oil-products market on the West Coast.

Calgary-based Enbridge, which owns the largest crude-oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S., said Monday that the transaction is expected to close by year end, subject to regulatory approval.

The 400-mile Olympic pipeline system transports gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from refineries on Puget Sound to terminals in Washington and Oregon.

London-based BP will continue to operate the Olympic system, Enbridge said. BP announced Dec. 1 that it acquired sole ownership of the system, buying out a minority stake held by Royal Dutch Shell for an undisclosed amount.

Dwango Wireless

Company changes its name to Dijji

Dwango Wireless announced Monday that it has changed its corporate name to Dijji.

The Seattle company, which develops ringtones and other mobile content for brands such as Playboy and Napster, was required to change its name after it completed a trademark- and technology-separation agreement with Japan’s Dwango Co. in October.

Nation and World

Burlington Resources

Company shares rise on acquisition report

Shares of oil and gas producer Burlington Resources rose more than 7 percent on reports the company is in advanced talks to be acquired for more than $30 billion by ConocoPhillips, the nation’s third-biggest oil company.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday the deal would likely be worth more than $30 billion, and The New York Times said it would be worth more than $31 billion. The Journal cited unidentified people familiar with the matter, while the Times attributed its report to unnamed executives involved in the negotiations.

Both Burlington and ConocoPhillips are based in Houston. Spokesmen for both declined to comment.

Shares of Burlington Resources rose $6.41, or 8.4 percent, to close at $82.50 Monday. Investors drove shares of ConocoPhillips down $1.82, or 2.9 percent, to close at $61.25.

The takeover would be the biggest such transaction in the oil and gas field in several years.

Dunkin’ Brands

Equity firms to buy fast-food company

Pernod Ricard has agreed to sell Dunkin’ Brands to three U.S. private equity firms for $2.43 billion, the French drinks giant said Monday.

Pernod announced the sale to Thomas H. Lee Partners, the Carlyle Group and Bain Capital four days after bidding closed in an auction for the U.S. fast-food company — owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts chain, Baskin-Robbins ice-cream parlors and Togo’s sandwich stores.

Pernod said the sale will be completed early next year, subject to regulatory approval.

The Paris-based drinks maker announced plans to sell Dunkin’ Brands after acquiring its former British parent Allied Domecq in July.

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