Business news briefs for 12/07/10

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U.S. to sell remaining stake in Citigroup

The government said it would sell its remaining shares of Citigroup common stock in the latest effort to recoup costs from the $700 billion financial bailout. The Treasury Department said Monday that it would sell approximately 2.4 billion shares of Citigroup Inc. common stock. The sale would begin immediately and would end when the government determined that it had received an acceptable price for the shares. Citigroup received $45 billion in taxpayer support in one of the largest bank rescues by the government, and $25 billion was converted to a government ownership stake that the Treasury has been selling off since last spring. The bank repaid the other $20 billion last December.

Groupon says 'no' to bid for takeover by Google

Google Inc.'s attempt to buy local-coupon site Groupon Inc. appears to have failed for now, according to published reports. Groupon, whose ties to local merchants and some 35 million subscribers worldwide made it a company worth potentially $5 billion to $6 billion to Google, has decided to stay independent for now, according to the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, which cited unnamed sources close to the negotiations. The reports say Groupon may pursue an initial public offering of stock. Chicago-based Groupon dangles a bargain each day to service users.

Minnesota sues Discover over improper charges

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is suing Discover over allegations that the credit card company charged customers for unauthorized account protection programs such as credit score tracking and identity theft protection. Ms. Swanson filed a lawsuit Monday in Hennepin County District Court against Discover Bank, DFS Services and parent company Discover Financial Services. Discover is one of the nation's largest credit card companies. The suit alleges that customers were charged for programs such as wallet protection and payment protection after getting what they thought were courtesy calls from Discover. Ms. Swanson said Discover had failed to get informed consent for the charges.

CMU unit lands $6M for climate, energy issues

The Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making, a new research center at Carnegie Mellon University, has received a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to assist leaders in making decisions regarding climate and energy. The center is headed by executive director Inez Lima Azevedo.

Chrysler building 200 and Avenger midsize sedans

Chrysler Group wants to show the world that it's serious about midsize sedans. After years of disappointing sales, the company on Monday launched production of the revamped Chrysler 200 -- which replaces the Sebring -- and the Dodge Avenger. The cars have a new look, new engines and hundreds of other changes designed to lure back customers who have fled Chrysler in recent years, scared off by its financial troubles and its reputation for poor quality.

Also in business ...

Stantec of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, completed its acquisition of Burt Hill, an architecture and engineering firm based in Butler.


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