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Beyond Tampa Bay: business briefs

Results at Ford Motor Co. could test investors' willingness to hang in during a year of lower profits on the promise of better returns ahead. Ford said Thursday its first-quarter net income fell 39 percent to $989 million, or 24 cents per share. That's down from $1.64 billion, or 41 cents per share, in the January-March period a year ago. Dearborn-based Ford had warned that this year would be leaner than 2013, when it enjoyed a near-record pretax profit of $8.65 billion.

For the first time, General Motors Co. could have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors. UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June. The move, which would be considered common in Europe, is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade.

Burger King reported a higher first-quarter profit as cost-cutting offset weak sales in the United States. The Miami-based chain said Friday global sales at established locations rose 2 percent as stronger results overseas boosted a 0.1 percent increase in the United States. McDonald's, Taco Bell and Dunkin' Donuts also reported underwhelming U.S. sales for the first three months of the year, citing the bad weather.

Philadelphia's two largest newspapers will be sold at an ascending-bid auction open only to insiders, a Delaware judge ruled Friday. The decision is a victory for majority owner George Norcross in his fight for control of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. Norcross and fellow investor Lewis Katz have been locked in a fight over how to run the company, prompting the troubled media company's latest sale. Both men have pledged to open with a starting bid of $77 million, which would make their 2012 investing partners whole.

tHE BOTTOM LINE: Medicine distributor Prestige Brands will spend about $750 million to buy EPT home pregnancy testmaker Insight Pharmaceuticals … A former part owner of the New York Islanders pleaded guilty to securities fraud Friday, admitting his participation in a 13-year fraud that authorities said enabled him to misappropriate more than $50 million for his own use.

Beyond Tampa Bay: business briefs 04/25/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2014 8:26pm]
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