Tuesday, June 26, 2012

FORT WORTH — Striking Lockheed Martin Corp. machinists will vote Thursday on a new labor deal.

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Fort Worth went on strike April 23. Union members earlier rejected an offer that would have raised health care costs and eliminated pensions for new hires.

Leaders of Machinists Local 776, which represents about 3,600 striking workers, announced a tentative deal Saturday after four days of talks.

The four-year agreement, outlined Monday, says workers would get $2,000, plus annual pay increases starting at 3 percent the first year. Current basic health care plans would not change.

Workers hired after July 2, the deadline for ratification, would not get traditional pensions but instead would have a retirement savings plan and contributions from Lockheed Martin.


Madison Square Garden Co. buys L.A. Forum for $23.5M

NEW YORK — The Madison Square Garden Co. says it bought the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., for $23.5 million.

The historic arena opened in 1967 and was home to both the NBA’s Lakers and NHL’s Kings until they left for the Staples Center in 1999.

The venue also hosted generations of pop music acts, including Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith and Nirvana. It’s currently owned by the Faithful Central Bible Church, which uses it for services as well as concerts.

Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the namesake New York arena along with the NBA’s Knicks and the NHL’s Rangers, says it plans to start renovating the Forum later this year.

Shares of MSG closed down 35 cents at $36.76.


SBA Communications buys towers in $1.45B deal

BOCA RATON — Communications tower operator SBA Communications Corp. is buying 3,252 towers in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $1.45 billion.

The transaction with affiliates of TowerCo includes $1.2 billion in cash and 4.6 million shares of SBA common stock.

The towers are in 47 states and Puerto Rico. SBA says the towers will be in great demand for future cell-splitting needs of U.S. wireless carriers.

SBA and rivals such as American Tower Corp. and Crown Castle International Corp. make money by leasing towers and other equipment to wireless carriers.

“We believe the TowerCo assets are high quality, well located and have ample capacity for additional tenants,” SBA President and CEO Jeffrey Stoops said in a statement.

SBA said Tuesday that it will pay for the cash portion of the buyout with available cash, existing credit facilities and up to $900 million in financing commitments from J.P. Morgan.

The transaction comes a little more than four months after SBA announced that it would buy more than 2,300 antenna tower sites in the U.S. and Central America from Mobilitie LLC for $1.1 billion in cash and stock.

SBA, which is based in Boca Raton, Fla., said that the deal with TowerCo will immediately add to its adjusted funds from operations per share.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter.


Heinz appoints new head of North American business

PITTSBURGH — H.J. Heinz Co. announced Tuesday that it has appointed Dave Woodward as executive vice president in charge of Heinz North America, its largest business segment.

Mr. Woodward, 47, was formerly the executive vice president of the company’s segment that includes Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. He will assume his new role immediately.

Mr. Woodward succeeds Scott O’Hara, who is leaving Heinz to pursue other opportunities.

Heinz said it plans to name a new leader for Mr. Woodward’s previous position shortly.

The company, based in Pittsburgh, makes products including Heinz Ketchup, Ore-Ida potatoes and Smart Ones entrees. Its shares fell 28 cents to $52.95.

From wire dispatches and staff reports