Business digest 11/09/06

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Two businessmen seek to buy Tribune Co.

LOS ANGELES -- Billionaire businessman Eli Broad and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle have teamed up to submit a bid for the Tribune Co., The Associated Press has learned. Details of the offer by the companies controlled by the two businessmen were not disclosed. A person familiar with the offer, who was not authorized to publicly discuss it, confirmed Wednesday the bid had been submitted. Broad and Burkle had been expected to bid for the Los Angeles Times, the Tribune's largest property. The joint bid for the entire company came as a surprise. Broad declined to comment on the report. A call to Burkle's office was not immediately returned.

McDonald's sales up by 5.5 percent last month

CHICAGO -- Breakfast offerings and a Monopoly game promotion strengthened U.S. results and helped boost McDonald's Corp.'s worldwide same-store sales by 5.5 percent last month, the burger chain said Wednesday. While extending its sales momentum, McDonald's continues to lag some of its biggest rivals in the fast-food industry's efforts to switch to a healthier cooking oil. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said it is testing a zero-trans fat oil in a limited number of its U.S. restaurants. But after disclosing in Europe on Tuesday that it plans to switch oils in its European outlets, it said it still isn't ready to make such a move in its largest market. Total October sales -- including those from restaurants opened in the past year -- grew 8.2 percent, or 6.6 percent excluding currency fluctuations. Same-store sales, or those from restaurants open at least 13 months, rose 5.6 percent in the United States, aided by sales of breakfast items and the Snack Wrap, as well as Chicken Selects and premium chicken sandwiches, which were both featured in McDonald's recent Monopoly promotion.

China's trade surplus hits record high

BEIJING -- China said Wednesday its politically sensitive trade surplus hit a record high in October as exports soared and import growth fell amid government efforts to rein in an investment boom. The surplus in October jumped to $23.8 billion, up 27 percent from the previous high of $18.8 billion in August, according to the General Administration of Customs. That raised China's total surplus for the first 10 months of the year to $133.6 billion, already exceeding the $102 billion surplus for all of 2005, the agency said. China's growing trade gap has fueled demands by Washington and other trading partners for Beijing to raise the value of its currency, the yuan. That would make Chinese goods more expensive for foreign buyers and might restrain surging exports.

-- From wire reports

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