Pacific Northwest Howard Schultz told DreamWorks Animation SKG on Thursday that he will not stand for re-election to its board, given the...

Share story

Howard Schultz told DreamWorks Animation SKG on Thursday that he will not stand for re-election to its board, given the time requirements of his new chief executive job at Starbucks.

Schultz, 54, will remain a director until DreamWorks’ annual meeting May 7, according to a securities filing. He has been a director of Glendale, Calif.-based DreamWorks since October 2004.

According to a recent Starbucks filing, DreamWorks is the only public company board outside Starbucks on which Schultz sits.

Nastech Pharmaceutical

Bothell biotech to lay off 20 more

Nastech Pharmaceutical is laying off 20 more employees than it had announced in mid-February, the company said Friday in a regulatory filing.

The Bothell biotech had previously said it would cut 50 jobs, or about a third of its work force. The layoffs began on Friday and are expected to conclude in April. Some 87 employees will remain with the company, the filing said.

The company also said that it’s considering consolidating its Bothell operations, now in two buildings, into a single building to further reduce costs.

Nastech embarked on a cost-cutting campaign after consumer products giant Procter & Gamble pulled out of a lucrative research partnership.

Real estate

Condo owner files for Chapter 11

The owner of a troubled Bainbridge Island condominium project filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle this week.

Meridian of Bainbridge Island, which built the four-story condo building of the same name, reported liabilities of between $50 million and $100 million, and assets in the same range. It listed 20 creditors.

The state Department of Financial Institutions charged last summer that the corporation and others involved with the condominium building had violated securities law by misrepresenting the project to investors. Many had not been repaid as promised, according to the state order.

Condo project

Bellevue Towers offers price deal

A second new high-rise condo project — this one in Bellevue — is offering a novel price guarantee in hopes of getting reluctant prospective buyers off the fence.

The developer of the 540-unit Bellevue Towers says that if someone buys a unit now, and later someone buys a similar unit for less, it will give the earlier buyer the lower price at closing.

The Olive 8, now under construction in downtown Seattle, was the first to offer the guarantee earlier this month. Developer R.C. Hedreen acknowledged sales had slowed because of fears of a recession, and said the new offer was a bid to jump-start them.

Bellevue Towers, two towers now under construction at Northeast Fourth Street and 106th Avenue Northeast, is scheduled to house its first residents later this year. Spokesman Michael Graubard said 360 units have been put on the market so far, and 180 have been sold.

The project had sold about 160 units as of September, according to a published report.


Company’s shares up most since 2005

While the overall stock market plunged Friday, Esterline Technologies shares rose the most in more than two years after the company forecast 2008 profit above analysts’ average estimate.

The Bellevue company’s stock climbed $4.26, or 8.9 percent, to $52.40 for the biggest advance since May 2005.

On Thursday, Esterline, a supplier for the aerospace and defense industries, projected full-year profit of $3.35 to $3.50 a share. Six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News estimated an average $3.21.


Fewer search ads, more gains seen

Google expects to make more money over time by showing users fewer advertisements alongside query results.

The company, which gets almost all of its $16.6 billion in annual sales from ads, upgraded its programs to eliminate promotions that aren’t relevant to searches and to show the best links more prominently, said Nick Fox, product manager at Google.

Google fell to a nine-month low this week in Nasdaq trading after researcher ComScore said fewer users are clicking on text ads, raising concern that growth is slowing.

Last month, Google reported fourth-quarter revenue that trailed analysts’ estimates on slower advertising sales. The stock has tumbled 36 percent from its high in November.

Still, Google’s share of the U.S. Internet search market increased in January to 58.5 percent from 47.5 percent a year ago, while Yahoo fell, according to ComScore.

United Airlines

Leap year confuses “Easy Check-In”

Passengers using United Airlines’ “Easy Check-In” found it anything but that on Leap Day when the automated system failed, resulting in longer lines at its U.S. airport counters.

The Chicago-based carrier blamed the service interruption on software issues related to the leap year.

Spokeswoman Megan McCarthy says customers couldn’t get Easy Check-In kiosks to confirm they had been checked in or print out their boarding passes for several hours.

McCarthy says no flights were delayed because of the problem. The airline apologized to customers for any inconvenience.


Restoration rejects offer from Sears

Home furnishings and gift retailer Restoration Hardware on Friday spurned Sears Holdings’ $4.55-per-share offer for the company, saying it is not superior to Catterton Partners’ offer of $4.50 per share.

Sears had submitted its offer on Thursday, the last day of a 35-day period for Restoration to solicit competing offers.

Restoration said after discussions with Sears about terms of the proposal that it decided the offer was not likely to result in a superior bid because of “significant uncertainties” compared with the Catterton offer.

Federal Reserve

New auctions to banks planned

The Federal Reserve announced Friday that it will auction another $60 billion this month as it continues to combat the effects of a severe credit crisis. It repeated a pledge to keep holding the auctions “for as long as necessary.”

The central bank said it will make $30 billion available to cash-strapped banks at each of two auctions, on March 10 and 24.

The Fed began the new auctions in December in hopes that the increased supply of cash would prompt banks to keep lending and prevent a severe credit squeeze from making the economic slowdown worse.

In its announcement Friday, the central bank said that it intended to keep holding the auctions every two weeks “for as long as necessary to address elevated pressures” in the credit markets.

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