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Company News: J.C. Penney, Time Warner Cable, BP

J.C. Penney: Bringing discounts back

J.C. Penney (JCP) will start offering holiday-related promotions, a departure from Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson’s earlier plan to eliminate discounts and rely on everyday low pricing. The move, which investors cheered by bidding up the stock, comes after the retailer’s revenue fell at least 20 percent for the past three quarters. The sales will be tied to holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day, and there will be fewer than 100 events a year, compared with almost 600 unique promotions in 2011, when Johnson joined the company. Johnson has been working to lure shoppers back through offers such as a $10 in-store coupon, free children’s haircuts, and free family portraits.

Time Warner Cable: Extra fees for the Dodgers

Time Warner Cable (TWC) is raising rates on Los Angeles subscribers to help pay for rising sports costs, including a new network focused on the Dodgers. Customers in the area will pay $72.50 a month, 8.2 percent more than last year, for basic cable and can’t opt out of receiving the new channel, SportsNet L.A., which begins airing games in 2014. Costs for pay-TV operators are up almost 10 percent from a year ago, reflecting rising fees from sports networks and other broadcasters.

BP: A guilty plea gets a stamp of approval

BP (BP) won final approval of a $4 billion guilty plea that resolves all criminal charges against the company related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A federal judge approved the agreement tied to the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, including 11 counts of felony seaman’s manslaughter. The plea also includes a record $1.26 billion criminal fine and monitoring of the company’s future drilling operations. The plea doesn’t resolve possible environmental penalties and civil claims.

General Motors: A boost in Kansas

As part of a plan to invest $1.5 billion in North American factories this year, General Motors (GM) will spend $600 million to expand a Kansas plant that assembles vehicles. The project includes construction of a new 450,000-square-foot paint shop and installation of a new stamping press at the factory. The upgrades will take about two years to complete. The Kansas City plant employs about 3,900 people to build the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse sedans and produced more than 280,000 cars in 2012.

Rio Tinto: A dispute in Mongolia

Rio Tinto (RIO) is considering temporarily halting construction at its $6.2 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project in Mongolia as the government demands a greater share of the profits. The central Asian nation wants a bigger stake in the project and new mining royalty rates, according to two people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to comment publicly. At full capacity the mine would account for almost one-third of Mongolia’s economic output.

On the Move

— Chesapeake Energy: CEO Aubrey McClendon resigns after board clears him of wrongdoing

— Time Warner: Kevin Tsujihara named CEO of Warner Bros. studio

— Zynga: Chief Game Designer Brian Reynolds departs


Weise is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in Seattle. Follow her on Twitter @kyweise.

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