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Roundup: FedEx says 10% of execs take buyout; iTunes hits 25B downloads; more

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

10% of FedEx executives accept voluntary buyout

FedEx Co., the world's second biggest package delivery company, will lose more than 10 percent of its U.S. executives under a voluntary buyout plan. The Memphis, Tenn., company says its personnel will leave the company in stages through May 2014. On Wednesday a spokesman declined to say how many employees are leaving, or even how many U.S.-based officers and executives FedEx employs. In December FedEx offered employees up to two years' pay to leave. It's seeking to reduce annual costs by $1.7 billion by 2016. FedEx, the world's second biggest package delivery company, employs more than 278,000 people worldwide. The company's FedEx Ground unit is based in Moon Township.

BlackBerry says U.K. Z10 sales triple its next-best debut model

BlackBerry said its new Z10 smartphone was selling almost three times better in the U.K. than any of its previous models in the first week they hit store shelves. Sales in Canada, which kicked off Tuesday, were up by more than 50 percent from any previous introduction, CEO Thorsten Heins said. BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion, debuted the new Z10 and Q10 phones last week in the two countries. Heins is seeking to capitalize on positive reviews to kickstart sales in the U.K. and Canada ahead of the Z10's U.S. release in March.

iTunes music store hits 25B downloads; lucky buyer rewarded

Apple's iTunes music store hit its 25 billionth download — equal to selling more than three songs for every person on Earth — and on Wednesday gave the German student who bought the track a gift card worth $13,500. Economics student Phillip Luepke, 22, of Hanover, Germany, downloaded the techno song “Monkey Drums (Goksel Vancin Remix)” by British DJ Chase Buch, hitting the number a decade after the online music store debuted. “I was very surprised to hear the news,” Luepke said by phone from his home in Germany. Apple launched the iTunes store in April 2003 and has averaged about 15,000 songs downloaded each minute. The store has a catalog of more than 26 million songs in 119 countries.

4Moms voluntarily recalling play yard product over safety issue

A Strip District-based maker of child products is voluntarily recalling about 1,440 sheets for its play yard product called the breeze, saying the cream-colored jersey items are too small and pose an entrapment hazard that could lead to suffocation. The 4Moms breeze Cotton Jersey Playard Sheets were sold in December and January nationwide for about $15. No injuries have been reported. Thorley Industries LLC, which operates under the 4Moms name, said Wednesday that consumers should stop using the sheets manufactured in China immediately and return them to 4moms for a refund. Details, 4moms.com or 888-977-3944.

900 to be hired by Home Depot for busy spring season

Home Depot plans to hire 900 people in the Pittsburgh area for the spring as it increases hiring nationwide at its home improvement centers. The Atlanta-based company said it is hiring 80,000 workers for its busiest season, 10,000 more than last year. Full- and part-time opportunities are available and technical school and college students, retirees and returning military personnel and veterans are encouraged to apply. Applications can be filed online at http://www.careers.homedepot.com. Home Depot has 16 stores in Western Pennsylvania.

Earnings

• Titanium products maker RTI International Metals Inc. of Moon reported a $7.1 million fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, compared to break-even results from a year ago, and announced management changes. The company's profit amounts to 23 cents a share. Quarterly sales rose 40 percent to $186.4 million. The company's new structure creates a titanium segment under Vice President Blane A. Salvador, who will continue to report to James L. McCarley, executive vice president of operations, and an engineered products and services segment that McCarley will lead. For 2012, RTI made a profit of $23.5 million, or 77 cents, up from $6.6 million or 22 cents, a year ago. Sales rose 40 percent to a record $738.6 million.

• CVS Caremark's fourth-quarter earnings climbed 6 percent, as new customers and Medicare prescription drug plans helped its pharmacy benefits management business, and revenue from the chain's established drugstores grew. The company said Wednesday it earned $1.13 billion, or 90 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compares with earnings of $1.06 billion, or 81 cents per share, in the same period in 2011. Revenue climbed nearly 11 percent to $31.39 billion.

Other business news

• H.J. Heinz Co. plans to lay off 80 full-time hourly workers at a factory in Pocatello, Idaho, because of its move to stop producing TGI Friday's brand frozen meals. The cuts take effect March 4, Downtown-based Heinz said Wednesday. The factory will continue to employ more than 400 full-time workers, Heinz said, although the production schedule there for other frozen entrees and snacks will be adjusted.

• Former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh will take over leadership of the law firm Pepper Hamilton L.L.P. later this month, replacing Nina Gussack, the firm announced. The Philadelphia-based firm has an office in Pittsburgh.

• The Pittsburgh litigation firm of Del Sole Cavanaugh Stroyd LLC said it has formed a class action litigation group co-headed by partners Benjamin Sweet and Edwin Kilpela Jr. Sweet had been associated with Reed Smith in Pittsburgh, and Kipela had been a class-action attorney in Washington and Denver.

— Staff and wire reports

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