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Roundup: Groupon CEO to stay; Supervalue sale talks stalled; Verizon retirees sue; more

| Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Groupon CEO to stay after directors discuss tenure

Groupon Inc., the largest provider of online coupons, has no immediate plans to replace CEO Andrew Mason, a Mt. Lebanon native, after its board met to deliberate whether to make changes to senior management. Directors of the Chicago-based company met on Thursday, and some members were planning to voice frustration with Mason's leadership, a person with knowledge of the matter said this week. Groupon shares fell on the disclosure that he wouldn't be ousted. “The board and the management team are focused on the performance of the company, and they are all working together with heads down to achieve Groupon's objectives,” Paul Taaffe, a spokesman for Groupon, said.

Supervalu sale talks stall

Cerberus Capital Management LP's pursuit of grocery chain Supervalu Inc. has stalled because the private-equity firm has had trouble obtaining the funds for a leveraged buyout, people familiar with the matter said. Lenders are balking because they're concerned with how the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based chain will manage increased debt load as revenue shrinks. Lenders are pressing Cerberus to put more money into the deal than the firm is willing to. Without a sale to Cerberus, Supervalu risks having to restructure its grocery chains on its own or sell individual assets, the people said. That may pose a challenge because the struggling retailer would face large tax payments for selling the assets, the people said. Supervalu supplies Shop 'n Save, Foodland and Kuhns stores in the Pittsburgh area.

Mylan adds to generic offerings

Mylan Inc. said on Thursday that it introduced a generic incontinence drug to the U.S. market and was selected by the South African government as a supplier of antiretroviral drugs. Cecil-based Mylan has started selling Tolterodine Tartrate tablets, the generic version of Detrol, made by Pfizer Inc. Tolterodine Tartrate had U.S. sales of $61.5 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30. The company said the South African National Department of Health selected Mylan's Indian subsidiary to supply it with 31 percent of the 30 million units of HIV/AIDS drugs it will buy in a two-year period ending Dec. 31, 2014. Mylan's share of the contract is valued at about $127.5 million.

Real estate investors favor city

Investors from across the nation continue to buy Pittsburgh offices, hotels and other real estate developments because the city is viewed nationally as one of the most stable regions in the country, a quality that lenders like, according to a BlackRock Inc. executive. “Not only are they coming from California and New York to purchase Downtown or Oakland offices, hotels and other real estate developments, but the city is also attracting major financial giants to refinance existing properties,” said Clinton Soose, vice president BlackRock. Goldman & Sachs refinanced the mortgage at Station Square, and Deutsche Bank did the same about nine or 12 months ago for Piatt Place, he said. Soose spoke at the 4th Annual Commercial Real Estate Finance Update, sponsored by the Commercial Real Estate Women chapter in the Rivers Club, One Oxford Centre, Downtown.

Verizon retirees sue over pension

Verizon retirees have sued the phone company because it's planning to transfer the responsibility of paying their pensions to an insurance company, where they will have weaker legal protection. Verizon Communications Inc. said last month that it would transfer $7.5 billion of its pension obligations, covering 41,000 management retirees, to Prudential Insurance. The deal effectively turns the company's defined-benefit pensions into annuities. Members of the Association of BellTel Retirees sued in federal court in Dallas. They're seeking a court order to halt the deal, which is set to close in December. They note that annuities aren't covered by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. A shortfall in the assets backing the annuities would be replaced by a “patchwork network of state guaranty associations, many of which are underfunded,” the group said.

— Staff and wire reports

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