Business Briefs: 7/3/14

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County launches pilot for A-B-C eatery grades

The Allegheny County Health Department on Wednesday launched a six-week pilot for a new inspection system that could see A-B-C cleanliness grades go up on restaurant doors as early as this fall. During the test, health inspectors will grade restaurants following their inspections, but the results will be unofficial and only used internally to help tweak the system. The unofficial grades will be available to restaurant owners upon request. Results of the pilot are to be presented to the county Board of Health in September. The grading plan would need approval from the board and county council before it could be implemented.

Advent International hires former Heinz Co. leader

A Boston private equity firm has brought in Bill Johnson — former H.J. Heinz Co. chairman, CEO and president — as an operating partner. Advent International said Mr. Johnson, who left Heinz last year after the Pittsburgh-based food company was sold and taken private, will work to identify investment opportunities in the consumer industry, focusing on the consumer packaged goods and food businesses. Advent reports $32 billion in assets under management and said its operating partner program includes more than 60 senior industry executives who work as independent consultants.

PPG completes purchase of decoration manufacturer

PPG Industries said it closed on its acquisition of The Homax Group, a Bellingham, Wash., company that supplies decorative wall and ceiling products. The seller was Olympus Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed. Homax has fewer than 40 employees.

Target asks customers to keep guns out of stores

Target Corp. is asking customers not to bring guns into its stores, even in states where it’s legal to do so. The second-largest U.S. discount retailer said on its website that while it will follow local laws, it will “respectfully request” guests not bring guns into stores to maintain a “safe and inviting” atmosphere. “Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create,” CEO John Mulligan said. Target’s request echoes one Starbucks made in September.

China’s beer drinkers grab one as Coors alters cans

Not all beer drinkers want to grab a cold one. Molson Coors Brewing Co. learned this in China, where it tweaked the cold activated bottles and cans last year for Coors Light featuring images of the Rocky Mountains that turn blue when the beer is at ice cold temperatures. Drinking cold liquids is widely seen as undesirable in China. Warmer beverages are considered healthier for digestion. The mountains on the cans and bottles turn blue at 41 to 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit (5 to 7 degrees Celsius) in China, while the color changes at about 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit in the U.S.

Facebook acquisition adds video-advertising tools

Facebook Inc. agreed to acquire LiveRail, a startup that helps businesses buy more relevant video advertisements. Terms weren’t disclosed. The deal, disclosed in a blog post, is part of Facebook’s push to offer better video ads around the Web. The company earlier this year started offering TV-like promotional clips on its social network. Facebook and Internet rivals such as Google Inc. and Twitter Inc. have made a string of acquisitions in recent months to add tools for marketers.

Yellen says instability should shift rate policy

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said there is no need to change current monetary policy to address financial stability concerns, although she sees “pockets of increased risk-taking” in the financial system. In a comprehensive salvo into the worldwide debate among central bankers over whether interest rates are a first-order tool to curb financial excess, Ms. Yellen came down against that idea and in favor of regulatory mechanisms.

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