The stock of Northstar Neuroscience, the Seattle-based maker of a device for stroke patients, plunged nearly 84 percent after the company...

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Northstar Neuroscience

Stock tanks after disappointing trial

The stock of Northstar Neuroscience, the Seattle-based maker of a device for stroke patients, plunged nearly 84 percent after the company said a trial didn’t meet a goal.

The trial was designed to determine whether cortical stimulation combined with rehabilitation therapy would lead to greater gains in hand and arm function and daily activities than the therapy alone, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Northstar said it doesn’t think the data is good enough to submit to the Food and Drug Administration for approval. It plans to test the therapy for other conditions and said it might treat depression and tinnitus.

Northstar stock slumped $6.99, or 83.6 percent, to $1.37.


SPEEA names new executive director

The white-collar union at Boeing has appointed Ray Goforth as its new executive director.

Goforth succeeds Charles Bofferding as chief executive of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), which represents more than 24,000 aerospace engineers and technical staff at Boeing and three of its major suppliers in six states.

SPEEA has been riven by internal strife since Bofferding was ousted by a dissident faction last July. Goforth, 39, must quickly forge a united front as the union prepares for major contract negotiations with Boeing later this year.

Goforth was previously a senior official and contract negotiator with Local 17 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) in Seattle.


Buyer of 787s ID’d as Air Europa

Boeing announced an order for eight 787-8s by Air Europa of Spain. The order was previously listed on Boeing’s Web site and attributed to an unidentified customer. It’s worth $1.3 billion at list prices, but after standard discounts, the planes’ actual value is about $870 million, according to estimates by aircraft valuation firm Avitas.

Pacific Northwest

Getty Images

Stock rockets on possible sale

Shares of Getty Images soared nearly 13 percent Tuesday after the seller of stock photography and video footage acknowledged it is exploring strategic alternatives and said it retained Goldman Sachs as a financial adviser.

Investors sent the stock up $2.81, or 12.8 percent, to close at $24.75.

“While the evaluation process, including discussions with various interested parties, is ongoing, there can be no assurance that any transaction will occur,” the Seattle company said in a statement.

In a note to investors, Lehman Brothers analyst Caroline Sabbagha said Getty is worth more than $1.5 billion, but potential buyers may have problems raising money, given the credit crunch in the U.S.

Celebrate Express

New finance chief

is ex-Tully’s CFO

Kirkland-based Celebrate Express said Tuesday it has hired Kristopher Galvin, previously of Tully’s Coffee, to be its chief financial officer.

Galvin, 54, was CFO at Tully’s from 2002 until this month, when he resigned from the Seattle coffee company along with John Buller, its chief executive officer for nearly a year and a half.

Galvin will join Celebrate Express on Jan. 29.

The Internet and catalog retailer of party supplies did not say whom Galvin is replacing, though last year Darin White resigned as vice president of finance and corporate secretary to become CFO at Dry Soda in Seattle.


Company fetches $10 million in sale

Seattle-based CleverSet said Tuesday it will be acquired by Art Technology Group (ATG) of Cambridge, Mass., for $10 million in cash.

CleverSet, founded in 2000, develops online tools that help provide recommendations to visitors of e-commerce Web sites that are designed to increase sales. Publicly held ATG also develops e-commerce software.

The deal is expected to close soon after it gets approval from CleverSet’s stockholders and receives other customary closing conditions.

World Wide Packets

$300 million deal for telecom supplier

World Wide Packets, which has raised $158 million in venture capital, said Tuesday it will be acquired by a Maryland company for about $200 million in cash and $90 million in stock.

Linthicum, Md.-based Ciena helps telecom companies transition their networks to newer, more flexible systems.

World Wide Packets, based in the Spokane area, sells equipment for one of those systems called Ethernet.

Ciena will pay $200 million in cash and 3.4 million shares, worth about $90 million based on its Friday closing price of $26.52. It will also assume up to $15 million in debt.

World Wide Packets expects to continue operating in its Spokane-area and San Jose, Calif., locations. It has 155 employees, including 87 in Washington.

A World Wide Packets spokesman said it was too early to say if there will be any layoffs.

Todd Shipyards

Everett Shipyard assets to be added

Todd Shipyards said it has agreed to buy the assets of Everett Shipyard and plans to retain the unionized work force as well as the shipyard’s president.

Seattle-based Todd also cut its dividend to 5 cents from 15 cents. It said the move reflects business conditions, the Everett acquisition and the company’s need for working capital to build ferries for the Washington State Ferry System.

Financial terms of the shipyard purchase were not disclosed.

Todd said the acquisition includes a 1,000-ton dry dock recently added to Everett Shipyard’s operations. Plans include building out a ship-repair facility on a newly leased waterfront parcel at the Port of Everett.

The transaction is expected to close next month, pending approval by the Port of Everett, the shipyard’s landlord. Nation and World


Google best boss, Fortune poll says

Google, owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, is the best U.S. company to work for, according to a Fortune Magazine survey.

Google was the top-ranked employer for the second straight year, beating Internet home lender Quicken Loans and Wegmans Food Markets, a grocery chain in the Northeast, Fortune said Tuesday on its Web site.

The magazine surveyed employees at 406 companies.

Google workers are drawn to the “flexibility, financial security, of course, and the opportunity to get things done,” Fortune said in a video report.

Google, which employed 15,900 people as of Sept. 30, lets workers spend one day a week on their own projects.

Edward Jones & Co., the brokerage, ranks fourth, followed by Genentech, the world’s second-biggest biotechnology company, and Cisco Systems, the largest maker of computer-networking equipment.

Seattle-based Starbucks, Qualcomm, Goldman Sachs and Methodist Hospital System complete the top 10.


More employees have health plans

Wal-Mart said Tuesday its rate of uninsured employees dropped more than 20 percent in the last year, fueled in part by its new health-care plans for workers.

The world’s largest retailer said only 7.3 percent of its workers reported being uninsured, down from 9.6 percent the year before.

Wal-Mart, which union groups have targeted over health care, said more than half of its eligible employees received coverage under its health-care plans, a first in recent reporting.

The company said about 1 million of Wal-Mart’s 1.3 million full-time and part-time workers in the U.S. were eligible for health-care benefits during its last enrollment period. The retailer said 50.2 percent of employees took the company’s health-care coverage.

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