Ten things you may have missed Monday from the world of business
Magazine ranks Mass. General as top US hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital edged out the Mayo Clinic to reclaim its spot as the top-rated hospital in the country, according to US News & World Report’s latest rankings. Boston’s largest hospital was followed by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Cleveland Clinic, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Both Mass. General and the Brigham are owned by Partners HealthCare. “The Boston region is like no other in the US when it comes to health care excellence. It’s gratifying to see MGH recognized as the best in the nation and for the Brigham to receive its highest-ever ranking,” said Partners’ chief executive, Dr. David Torchiana.
PRIYANKA DAYAL MCCLUSKEY
A&P again says it’s bankrupt
NEW YORK — Grocery store operator A&P is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to sell off stores as it faces increasingly tough competition. It’s the second time in five years the New Jersey company has gone to Bankruptcy Court. It has more than 100,000 creditors, more than $1 billion in liabilities, and over $1 billion in assets. It plans to sell as many of its 296 stores as possible and said it has bidders for 120 of them, with expected proceeds of $600 million.
Shake Shack falls as stock offering looms
Shake Shack Inc. stock fell 3.4 percent after the company disclosed plans for an offering of 4 million shares, which would dilute current investors’ stock. The shares are being sold by Shake Shack’s backers, the New York-based burger chain said. Shake Shack itself isn’t selling any stock and won’t receive proceeds from the offering. The announcement follows Shake Shack’s initial public offering by six months — the typical length of time insiders must wait before selling shares. The stock remains up more than twofold since the January IPO.
Obama picks economist for Fed’s board
WASHINGTON — President Obama is nominating economist Kathryn Dominguez to the Federal Reserve’s board of governors. He said her deep knowledge of the financial system, monetary policy, and international markets qualifies her to serve at ‘‘this important time for our economy.’’ Dominguez is a professor at the University of Michigan. She’s a Vassar College graduate and holds a PhD in economics from Yale University. She must be confirmed by the Senate to serve a 14-year term on the Fed board.
Lockheed Martin will pay $9b for Sikorsky
HARTFORD — Lockheed Martin will spend $9 billion to acquire the maker of the Black Hawk helicopter, Sikorsky Aircraft, from United Technologies Corp. The conglomerate wants to focus on high-technology systems and services for the aerospace and building industries. Sikorsky also makes the presidential helicopters; its craft have also returned astronauts home after they have splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at the end of their space travels. UT will use the sale’s proceeds to buy back stock.
Toshiba’s profits wildly inflated, panel says
NEW YORK — Toshiba, the Japanese industrial giant, overstated its earnings by more than $1.2 billion over seven years. Discrepancies detailed Monday by a committee of independent experts hired by the company point to a problem that reached the upper echelons of Toshiba. CEO Hisao Tanaka (left) and his predecessor, Norio Sasaki, now vice chairman, plan to announce their resignations on Tuesday, Japanese media reported. The problems, the experts said, date back to the 2008 global financial crisis, when managers began taking accounting shortcuts to meet increasingly difficult profit goals. The committee accused Toshiba of breeding “a corporate culture where it is impossible to go against one’s bosses’ wishes” and said the company’s most senior leaders were aware of some of the misleading accounting and that the accounting department “deliberately provided insufficient explanations to auditors, with the intention of carrying out a systematic cover-up.” Toshiba did not dispute the findings but said it would not address them until Tuesday. The committee, headed by a former prosecutor, found overstated profits totaling 151 billion yen since 2008, or $1.21 billion at current exchange rates. An additional 4.4 billion yen of overstated profit had previously been discovered by the company itself.
NEW YORK TIMES
Gas prices drop
The average price of gas in Massachusetts dropped six cents last week, marking two weeks of decline after a period that typically marks the annual peak for gas prices. AAA Northeast said the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline fell to $2.66 last week. Compared to last year at this time, gas is 96 cents cheaper per gallon, a slide that coincided with a sharp decline in the price of oil.
US not ready to say bird flu outbreak is over
MINNEAPOLIS — US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is not ready to declare the Midwest bird flu outbreak over, though no new cases of the H5N2 virus have been detected for more than a month. Poultry producers have gotten a break thanks to summer: Warm temperatures tend to kill the virus, Vilsack said. But the threat hasn’t passed. Bird flu has cost US poultry producers about 48 million birds, mostly egg-laying chickens in Iowa and turkeys in Minnesota. The government probably will pay farmers nearly $200 million in compensation and cover well over $300 million in cleanup costs, Vilsack said.
IMF picks White House adviser
WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund plans to name White House economic adviser Maurice Obstfeld as its chief economist. Obstfeld, who is on leave from the University of California Berkeley, would replace Olivier Blanchard, who is retiring. Obstfeld has written two influential textbooks on international economics, one with Nobel Prize winner and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Obstfeld would take the job on Sept. 8.
SpaceX suspects a failed strut doomed rocket
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX suspects that the failure of a two-foot steel strut doomed its unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, which crashed during its June 28 launch. The company’s founder and chief executive, Elon Musk, said Monday that these struts had been used many times without any problems. But two minutes into the launch, one of the struts in the second stage of the rocket probably broke loose. It was holding down a helium bottle in the liquid oxygen tank. If the strut snapped, as engineers believe, the helium bottle would have shot to the top of the tank at high speed, dooming the rocket and its Dragon supply ship for the International Space Station.