Pacific Northwest Northstar Neuroscience on Tuesday rebuffed a takeover offer from major shareholder Tang Capital Partners. The Seattle medical-device firm...

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Biomedical

Northstar Neuroscience on Tuesday rebuffed a takeover offer from major shareholder Tang Capital Partners.

The Seattle medical-device firm said Tang’s $2.25-per-share proposal, which valued the company at about $58 million, “is not in the best interests of all shareholders.” The company said in a statement it will continue to “evaluate strategic alternatives” with the help of its financial adviser, Leerink Swann.

When San Diego-based Tang Capital made the offer July 2, it said it expected an answer by today. The investment firm already owns about 18 percent of Northstar.

Northstar’s stock closed at $1.91 Tuesday, up 7 cents, or 3.8 percent — a market capitalization of $49.85 million. The company’s valuation plummeted in January after the failure of a clinical trial evaluating its lead product, but as of March 31 it had about $73 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Manufacturing

Paccar plans stock buyback

Paccar said it will buy back an additional $300 million in stock and start a 5 percent production boost at its Dutch unit in September.

The Bellevue truck-maker’s repurchase program follows a plan now being completed for a similar amount, Paccar said Tuesday. Paccar had about 365.2 million shares outstanding as of March 31, based on Bloomberg data. At Tuesday’s closing price, the buyback would cover about 6.4 million shares, or 1.8 percent of the outstanding stock.

Increased output at DAF Trucks is aimed at meeting European demand, Paccar said. The company said in April that the unit’s production would rise “approximately 5 percent” without specifying a date.

Paccar stock rose $1.55, or 3.8 percent, to $42.82 Tuesday.

Biotechnology

Seattle Genetics announces deal

Seattle Genetics said Tuesday that it has entered a deal with Japanese pharmaceutical giant Daiichi Sankyo to develop anti-cancer therapies.

The deal will give Seattle Genetics an upfront payment of $4 million, plus royalties on sales of Daiichi Sankyo products from the collaboration with the Bothell firm, and milestone payments upon reaching certain targets. Seattle Genetics will also receive other fees for collaborating with Daiichi Sankyo’s research.

Seattle Genetics is the Seattle area’s largest independent biotech firm by market capitalization. Its shares closed on Tuesday at $8.12, up 20 cents, or 2.5 percent.

Forest products

Pacific Northwest

Aerospace

Boeing, SkyHook

plan hauler airship

Boeing said it is teaming up with Calgary-based SkyHook International to build an aircraft for hauling heavy equipment or materials into remote regions.

The JHL-40 would combine a helium-filled blimp with four helicopter rotors and carry loads up to 80,000 pounds as far as 200 miles, Boeing’s Web site said.

The companies aim to make the 302-foot-long aircraft commercially available by 2012 and envision it being used in oil drilling, mining or timber operations, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified company officials.

Forest products

Weyerhaeuser plant won’t reopen

Weyerhaeuser announced Tuesday it will permanently close its oriented strand board plant in Drayton Valley, Alberta. The Federal Way company closed the plant, which had 130 employees, in December.

The housing decline and the high value of the Canadian dollar led to the decision to close the plant and neither has improved, the company said.

Retail

Thrift Recycle to buy B.C. book company

Thrift Recycle Management, an online seller of secondhand books in Lakewood, Pierce County, is acquiring Canadian book recycler Discover Books for an undisclosed amount, the company announced Tuesday.

Thrift Recycle, which claims to be the largest online used bookseller with $20 million in sales, is expanding its presence in Canada by taking over that country’s top online used bookstore. Thrift Recycle said it will continue both brands.

British Columbia-based Discover sold 600,000 books last year and employed 30, compared with Thrift Recycle’s 3 million annual book sales and 150 employees.

Founded in 2004, Thrift Recycle purchases surplus books from thrift stores, nonprofit organizations and publishers. What it doesn’t sell online gets recycled and sold overseas.

Software

Microsoft expands its server products

Microsoft is strengthening its early-stage push to fend off competition by offering more Internet-based software, a change from its traditional method of selling programs that run on individual desktops or corporate servers.

With Internet-savvy rivals threatening Microsoft’s usual sales model, Microsoft started offering its Exchange e-mail server software and other programs to “beta” testers in March.

Companies including Eddie Bauer Holdings started to let some of their business software be run remotely in Microsoft’s data centers, rather than buying, installing and managing it themselves.

On Tuesday, Microsoft said it will sell a package of four server products — Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Communications Online and Live Meeting — to U.S. companies by the end of the year for $15 per PC user per month, and to global businesses in the first half of 2009.

The company also plans to sell a lightweight version that gives limited e-mail and SharePoint access to “deskless” workers like nurses, factory employees and salespeople for $3 per user per month.

Retail

Amazon is adding Bill Me Later service

Amazon.com, the world’s largest Internet retailer, will use Bill Me Later’s payment services to allow customers to purchase books and electronics without using a credit card.

Amazon said in December that it planned to use the alternative payment service. The Seattle-based retailer has made an investment in Bill Me Later, the two companies said Tuesday in a statement.

Nation and World

Airlines

Southwest plans flights to Canada

Southwest Airlines said Tuesday it plans to sell international travel — a first for the low-fare carrier — through a partnership with Canada’s WestJet.

The Canadian airline would actually do the cross-border flying, but Southwest would be able to sell the tickets and share the revenue.

Southwest and WestJet said they agreed to strike a so-called code-sharing agreement and planned to announce schedules and other features of the deal by late next year. The agreement is subject to review by U.S. and Canadian regulators.

Chief Executive Gary Kelly said Southwest is talking to “close to a dozen” carriers about similar deals to connect its customers to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean by late 2009, and eventually Europe.

Manufacturing

2nd-quarter profit hurt by high prices

Aluminum producer Alcoa said its second-quarter earnings fell nearly 24 percent as higher prices failed to offset raw material and facility outage costs.

The company earned $546 million, or 66 cents per share, for the quarter that ended June 30, compared with $715 million, or 81 cents per share, during the same period a year earlier.

Quarterly revenue dropped about 6 percent to $7.6 billion.

Results beat Wall Street estimates. Analysts, on average, expected profit of 64 cents per share on revenue of $7.36 billion.

Facility disruptions weighed down results by a total of $39 million, Alcoa said.

Shares of Alcoa rose $1.92, or more than 6 percent to $33.32 in after-hours trading after the earnings announcement.

During the regular session Tuesday, they fell $1.06, or 3.2 percent, to close at $32.33 in heavy trading.

Manufacturing

Siemens announces global cutbacks

Industrial conglomerate Siemens said Tuesday it will cut 16,750 jobs, or 4.2 percent of its global work force, to streamline operations and slice nearly $2 billion in costs in the face of a slowing economy.

The German company said the cuts would include 12,600 administrative jobs as well as 4,150 more positions involving restructuring projects at its various units.

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