Business Briefs: Columbia Gas begins pipeline replacement

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Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc. began a $2.2 million pipeline project this week that will affect the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Overbrook, Allentown and Carrick. The Canonsburg-based natural gas utility plans to replace more than 10,230 feet of existing steel pipe by the end of the year. Construction will be between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and will require natural gas service interruptions. Company officials will be reaching out to customers before shutting off service. More information is available at: www.columbiagaspa.com/community-news/infrastructure-upgrade

Local gas prices remain steady at $3.67 per gallon

Gasoline prices in the Pittsburgh region remained virtually unchanged over the past week, dipping less than 1 cent to $3.67 per gallon on Sunday. According to GasBuddy.com, gas prices in the area are 19.4 cents lower than they were a year ago. Nationwide, the average gas price on Sunday was $3.59 per gallon, or 2.3 cents below the prior week, and 22 cents lower than during the same day last year. GasBuddy analysts said the conflict in Syria, which some feared might drive up gas prices, hasn't shown an impact at the pump yet.

Sale of rue21 recommended, but executive pay questioned

Two independent proxy advisory firms agree rue21 shareholders should vote to allow the $1.1 billion acquisition of the Cranberry teen clothing retailer by a private equity investor, but they split on whether the company's CEO is making out too well on the deal. Glass, Lewis & Co. raised concerns about golden parachute packages for top rue21 executives that include making cash payments for stock awards that haven't vested yet. Overall, the firm recommended shareholders say yes on the advisory vote required under Dodd-Frank reforms signed into law in July 2010. But Institutional Shareholder Services is recommending shareholders reject the packages, particularly for CEO Robert Fisch, who the firm calculates is due for more than $17 million. ISS doesn't like the decision to pay cash for stock awards that weren't due to vest yet, but it also isn't happy that Mr. Fisch can choose to leave his job six months after the sale and still get a "sizable cash severance." A special shareholder meeting on the sale is scheduled for Sept. 19.

Rivers Casino settles cases related to unionization

The Rivers Casino has reached a settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board over 28 cases related to the effort by workers at the North Shore venue to unionize. Robert W. Chester, regional director of the NLRB's Pittsburgh office, said the casino agreed to the settlement Monday. In reaching the deal, the casino admitted no wrongdoing, he said. The settlement agreement now goes to the Steel City Casino Workers Council Organizing Committee, which has been trying to unionize about 800 workers, for its approval. A casino spokesman declined comment.

Pilot program created to aid employees with disabilities

United Way of Allegheny County has partnered with Giant Eagle, Allegheny County and Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services to create a job coaching program for new Giant Eagle employees who have disabilities. Barbara Graham of Blind & Vision Rehabilitation has been named career transition liaison who will work on-site at the supermarket chain to provide support for the disabled employees and to train the stores' workforce on inclusion. The program is a two-year pilot, and Giant Eagle plans to employ 24 young adults to participate.

Mylan's CEO exercises options

Mylan Inc. CEO Heather Bresch netted $3.1 million exercising stock options last week, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ms. Bresch exercised options for 160,000 shares at $15.80 per share and sold the shares the same day at an average price of $35.35, the filing showed.

Casino operators to merge

Casino operators MTR Gaming Group Inc. and Eldorado Resorts LLC have agreed to merge in an all-stock deal, the companies announced Monday. The combined company will be called Eldorado Resorts Inc., and will be publicly traded. MTR operates and owns Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in Chester, W.Va., Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, and Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio.

CMU professor honored

Erica Fuchs, associate professor in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Engineering and Public Policy, was named a "Top 40 under 40 Young Scientist" by the World Economic Forum and the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues. Ms. Fuchs will receive the award this week at the forum's Summer Davos in Dalian, China.

Icahn gives up Dell fight

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is giving up his bitter takeover fight for Dell Inc. a few days before shareholders are scheduled to consider the latest buyout offer from the struggling computer maker's founder Michael Dell. Mr. Icahn said Monday in a letter to shareholders that he still thinks Michael Dell's bid to take his company private undervalues the business and freezes shareholders out of any future gains. But he also said it would be "almost impossible" to defeat that offer in a vote scheduled for Thursday.

Sony sets PS4 release times

Sony Corp. will release the Japanese version of the PlayStation 4 console three months after reaching shelves in North America as it seeks to avoid the supply issues that caused the preceding model to miss initial targets. The timing will allow the company to focus on meeting demand for the peak holiday shopping season. The $399 console will be released Nov. 15 in North America.

GSK sells drink brands

GlaxoSmithKline says it has sold its line of Lucozade and Ribena drinks brands to Suntory of Japan as part of the British company's effort to focus on its pharmaceutical and health-care businesses. Glaxo said Monday that it had agreed to sell the two brands to the Japanese consumer goods group for 1.35 billion pounds ($2.12 billion).

Google addresses concerns

Google has submitted new proposals to address concerns by Europe's antitrust watchdog that the U.S. internet giant is stifling competition, the European Commission said Monday. Google is looking to address concerns mainly by changing how it displays search results.

From staff and wire reports

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