Talking Points


Fireman Capital Partners sells Skip Hop Inc. to Carter’s


Fireman Capital Partners sells
Skip Hop Inc.
to Carter’s

Fireman Capital Partners of Waltham said it has sold Skip Hop Inc., a New York-based seller of products for babies and children, to Carter’s Inc. for $140 million in cash. Carter’s Inc. is a publicly traded maker of children’s clothing, based in Atlanta. Fireman Capital, a private equity firm, acquired a majority stake in Skip Hop in November 2013, for $50 million. Dan Fireman, managing partner at Fireman Capital and the son of former Reebok International Ltd. chief executive Paul Fireman, said Skip Hop has expanded its product line, international reach, and online presence over the last three years. Fireman Capital is chaired by Paul Fireman. — BETH HEALY


New technology coming to cellphones
this spring

This spring, cellphone carriers such as T-Mobile plan to start supporting a new kind of mobile data. Known as LTE-U, the technology may result in a faster, smoother mobile experience. But the technology has also produced bitter fights between some of the nation’s most powerful industries as they battle for dominance over the airwaves. Short for ‘‘LTE-Unlicensed,’’ LTE-U is a variant of the 4G LTE that millions of Americans rely on every day. Like its predecessor, LTE-U lets consumers connect to the Internet from almost anywhere they’ve got cell service. But what makes it different is the fact that LTE-U will share the same radio frequencies as WiFi routers and Bluetooth headphones. For the first time, cellphone signals will soon be occupying the same channels as those common technologies. Customers of T-Mobile and other carriers may find that the additional bandwidth increases their data speeds. The Federal Communications Commission gave the green light Wednesday to equipment makers such as Nokia and Ericsson to begin deploying LTE-U devices, saying industry testing had proved that LTE-U and WiFi can coexist peacefully. — WASHINGTON POST


Rates rise slightly

Long-term US mortgage rates rose slightly this week, continuing a holding pattern that has prevailed this month. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate loans edged up to 4.16 percent from 4.15 percent last week. The benchmark rate stood at 3.62 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent through 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971. The rate on 15-year mortgages rose to 3.37 percent from 3.35 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


The bacon boom is over


The bacon boom seems to be ending. Wholesale prices for pork bellies, the cut used for making bacon, plunged 14 percent on Wednesday, the biggest slump since August. The drop sent wholesale pork down the most in more than three years. Costs are tumbling as demand is easing for bacon after soaring this winter, a counter-seasonal move. Normally, bacon demand heats up in summer, when Americans eat more BLTs. This year, consumers devoured the meat year-round as retailers pushed the product with deals and restaurants added it to everything from burgers to salads. At the same, McDonald’s Corp. made it a mainstay with its rollout of all-day breakfast. The increased demand more than doubled prices since August. It’s finally gotten so expensive that the high costs are stemming the tide of bacon indulgence, according to David Maloni, a principal at the American Restaurant Association. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


More Americans applied for jobless benefits last week

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More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but claims remained at a low level consistent with a healthy job market. The Labor Department said Thursday that 244,000 Americans applied for jobless aid last week, up by 6,000 from the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell by 4,000 to 241,000, lowest since July 1973. Overall, 2.06 million people are collecting unemployment checks, down 7.7 percent from a year ago. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Violations rose 46 percent last year

Reports of drones violating safety standards in the United States continued to climb last year, rising by 46 percent over the same period a year earlier. There were 1,274 sightings of drones flying too close to other aircraft, people, and buildings reported to the Federal Aviation Administration from February through September last year, the agency said in an e-mailed statement. That was 400 more incidents than the same period in 2015. While the reports contained several claims that drones had hit traditional aircraft, the FAA wasn’t able to verify any collisions. Every investigation so far has found the collisions involved birds or other items, the agency said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Nordstrom stock climbs, despite Trump controversy

Nordstrom Inc., coping with the Ivanka Trump controversy and a persistent department store slump, is turning to cost cuts to keep investors happy. Slashing expenses and inventory helped the company post $1.37 a share last quarter, excluding some items. That was well ahead of the $1.15 a share estimated by analysts, despite slower sales in the period. The results signaled that Nordstrom is making faster progress streamlining its operations than expected. The Seattle-based retailer faces an industrywide decline, which also has hurt Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co., prompting Nordstrom to scale back capital spending and reduce inventory. The stock climbed as much as 5.3 percent to $46.25 in late trading. Shares of Nordstrom had slipped 8.3 percent this year through Thursday’s close. The company is coming off a highly public split with Ivanka Trump’s brand, which prompted criticism from the president himself. Donald Trump upbraided Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s products, saying the company had treated her unfairly. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Revlon turns
to Amazon and Lady Gaga to boost sales

Revlon, making its first major marketing push since it bought Elizabeth Arden last year, is tapping and Lady Gaga to reinvigorate sales and better reach millennials. As part of a campaign called the Love Project, the cosmetics maker will stamp its name on 10 million Amazon shipping boxes — a bid to get out in front of more e-commerce shoppers. Revlon also is relying more on social media and other digital technology after years of losing ground to upstart brands. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


More women on corporate boards, survey finds


Banking and capital markets, often viewed as dominated by men, achieved high scores in a newly released survey measuring the diversity in their director ranks. In 2016, women made up 26 percent of the boards in the banking and capital markets industry, which tied with the retail industry, according to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The average rate of women on boards of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was 21 percent. In addition, the 21 companies that the survey defined as its banking and capital markets sector have shored up their position by adding more women to their boards. About 13 percent of new directors in 2016 were women. The entertainment and media industry also scored well, with 22 percent women directors. Despite a negative spotlight on the lack of women in moviemaking, the 17 entertainment and media companies that were included in the survey increased the diversity of their boards last year: Two-thirds of their new directors were women. Even so, there were some sour findings in the survey, which for the first time looked at the board demographics of companies in nine industries. The insurance industry, for example, scored poorly, with women making up only 21 percent of its directors and only 7 percent of its new directors last year, the lowest percentage of any of the industries examined in the report. — NEW YORK TIMES