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Roundup: Heinz shareholder lawsuits dismissed; Dick's CEO paid $10.8 million; more

| Saturday, April 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Heinz shareholder lawsuits to block sale dismissed

Three shareholder lawsuits seeking to stop the sale of H.J. Heinz Co. that were filed in federal court in Pittsburgh have been dismissed, Heinz said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. But a similar case in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas will go to a hearing April 29, the day before shareholders are scheduled to vote on the deal, and where a judge could delay or halt completion of the $28 billion deal. Heinz, which agreed to be bought by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, is seeking dismissal of the remaining lawsuit. But, the company noted in the SEC filing, granting of a preliminary injunction April 29 “could delay or jeopardize the completion of the merger.” The company has turned over confidential documents to shareholder attorneys and will make board members available for deposition before the hearing.

Dick's CEO compensation dips

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. CEO Edward Stack's total compensation last year dipped to $10.8 million from $11.1 million in 2011, said proxy materials filed Friday. His salary rose to just over $1 million from $961,538, and the value of his stock awards jumped to $5.2 million from $3.8 million. But the amount of his non-equity incentive pay fell to $2 million from $3.4 million. Based in Findlay Township, the retailer will hold its annual shareholders meeting at 1:30 p.m. on June 5 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Premier medical expands practice

Premier Medical Associates has hired 10 doctors in the last several months as the Monroeville multi-specialty physician practice gears up to work in Highmark Inc.'s new integrated health system. Premier, the region's largest physician practice with about 75 doctors, was acquired by the state's largest health insurer at the end of December 2011. It has 300 employees, 10 offices and has about 100,000 patients. The practice has also hired nurses and physician assistants, and is expanding its specialties, adding behavioral health, ophthalmology, infectious disease, rheumatology and others.Highmark is trying to buy five-hospital West Penn Allegheny Health System and make it the core of a new hospital and doctor network that will compete against UPMC, the largest hospital system in Western Pennsylvania.

FAA set to clear Boeing 787 flights

Federal officials intend to lift the order grounding the beleaguered 787 Dreamliner after accepting Boeing's revamped battery system even though the root cause of battery failures that led to a fire on one plane and smoke on another remains unknown. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it would send airlines instructions and publish a notice next week lifting the 3-month-old grounding order that day. Boeing will then have the go-ahead to begin retrofitting planes with an enhanced lithium ion battery system. Dreamliner flights could resume within a week, the agency told members of Congress. Boeing said it has stationed teams around the world to begin installing the fix.

GE 1Q earnings rise on NBC sale

General Electric's first quarter results were dragged down by deteriorating economic conditions in Europe, highlighting the danger that the region's struggles still pose to the global economy. GE CEO Jeff Immelt said he expected results in Europe to be bad in the quarter — and they were worse. Revenue from the region fell 17 percent compared with last year. While GE's results were roughly what analysts expected and Immelt said the company remained on track to meet its financial goals for the year, his gloomy comments about Europe and the weak performance of the company's core industrial operations sent GE shares tumbling.

McDonald's fails to boost sales

McDonald's managed to eke out a higher profit for its first quarter even as the world's biggest hamburger chain failed to lift sales with its Dollar Menu. The company said Friday that an important sales measurement fell 1 percent during the period and warned that it's expected to dip again in April. That marked the first quarterly decline in a decade in sales at restaurants open at least 13 months and underscored the troubles the company has been facing.

Other business news

• Mattress Firm Inc., one of the nation's largest specialty mattress retailers, said it will open five store locations in the Pittsburgh area, beginning in May. The Houston-based company's first store will open in May in Ross Township. Four more stores will open by July — two others in Pittsburgh, one in Gibsonia and one in Cranberry. All five of the stores will be open seven days a week. Mattress Firm has more than 1,000 stores in 28 states.

• WVS Financial Corp., McCandless Township, reported net income fell 64 percent to $139,000, or 7 cents a share, for the fiscal third quarter ended March 31, from $382,000, or 19 cents a share, the year earlier. Results fell primarily because of lower net interest income, or the difference between interest earned on loans and interest paid on deposits. West View Savings Bank operates six branches in the Pittsburgh area.

• First Niagara Financial Group Inc. reported quarterly net income increased 9 percent to $60 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with $55 million, or 16 cents a share, the year earlier. Significantly higher net interest income and noninterest income offset higher noninterest expenses. Results include $6.3 million in pre-tax charges related to severance pay stemming from the departure of two key executives during the quarter, including CEO John Koelmel. The Buffalo-based bank operates about 60 branches in Western Pennsylvania.

— Staff and wire reports

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