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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Martha Stewart Living co-CEO to step down Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. said yesterday that Wenda Harris Millard, co-chief executive in charge of media, will be leaving the company, after less than a year in that position, to join the New York public relations firm Media Link LLC. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Quebecor looking for fresh start

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Blockbuster lowers rental rates for new releases Amid growing competition and problems at its U.S. parent, Canada’s largest video rental chain has lowered the price of new releases to $3.99, as long as you return it on time. Blockbuster Canada said yesterday that represents a 30 per cent price reduction, or $2 savings, over its previous price on a Online two-night • The average rental. Canadian spent The vid10 hours view- eo rental ing videos on- store inline in February, dustry is a 53 per cent in- facing crease over the growing previous year, competimarket tion from research firm alternative comScore Inc. forms of found. media, • The average such as onvideo was just 4 line DVD minutes long. rental services, and falling prices in discount stores, such as Wal-Mart, for video purchases. Blockbuster’s move undercuts its nearest rival, Rogers Plus, which lowered its price in March to $4.99

The Bank of Canada has taken its key policy interest rate to the lowest practical level in an effort to combat what it says has become a deeper than expected economic slump. The central bank sliced its target for the overnight rate in half to 0.25 per cent and signalled it will keep it there until at least mid2010 in an effort to arrest the economy’s steep fall. The commercial banks quickly cut their prime lending rate in step with the Bank of Canada’s move. They were led by Bank of Montreal, which announced less than two minutes after the central bank’s announcement that prime — the benchmark

SLUMP PAUL SAKUMA/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Quebecor World has filed a restructuring plan designed to give the insolvent printer a fresh start. A court hearing is scheduled for May 15 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. The Montreal-based company plans to sever its ties with its founders by changing its name and replacing its board with independent directors, according to court filings. New company shares are expected to be publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange once it exits bankruptcy and creditor protection by mid-July. The reorganization plan doesn’t anticipate any recovery for the holders of its existing multiple voting shares such as the Peladeau family, redeemable first preferred shares, or subordinate voting shares. Quebecor World filed for court protection in Canada and the United States in January 2008 after its debt was estimated to exceed $1 billion US. INSOLVENT

bank cuts interest Video war brewing Top rate to its lowest level for variable-rate mortgages and other loans — was dropping by a quarterpoint to 2.25 per cent. Some fixed rates were also trimmed. Yesterday’s Bank of Canada action suggests governor Mark Carney is Mark Carney willing to pull out all the stops to boost borrowing and ease lending, said economist Michael Gregory of BMO Capital Markets. Carney will be outlining options for quantitative easing (expanding the money supply) tomorrow. THE CANADIAN PRESS

A customer looks at movies for sale at a Blockbuster store in Santa Clara, Calif., in this file photo.

for a two-night release. Much like Rogers’ recent price changes, the new pricing regime at Blockbuster reintroduces a form of “late fee.� Customers who fail to return their two-night rental on time will face a $1.99 per night additional fee. Or they can opt to pay the old two-

night price, $5.99, up front and keep the movie for up to seven days. Rogers adopted a similar approach in its pricing structure, saying the elimination of late fees had depleted its shelves, as customers took too long to return the movies. TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE

Business in brief BEVERAGES Coca-Cola Co. said

yesterday that its first-quarter profit fell 10 per cent on restructuring charges and writedowns but the results met analysts’ estimates. The Atlanta-based company has been focusing on core brands like Sprite and Coke as consumers pull back.

MINING Teck Cominco has been given some relief from its lenders, sending its stock soaring 30 per cent yesterday. Teck said its lenders have agreed to defer $4.4 billion US of payments due this year and extend the maturity date of $3.5 billion US of the bridge facility to October 2011. METRO NEWS SERVICES

GM, Chrysler may get more cash

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BAILOUT General Motors Corp. could get as much as $5 billion US more in U.S. federal loans, while Chrysler LLC could get $500 million as they race against government-imposed deadlines to restructure, according to a government report filed yesterday. The report by a special inspector general on the auto industry and bank bailout programs says the money will be made available for working capital. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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a garden. Ride your bike. Remem- ber the oceans, the bees, the worms — they are your neighbours ... and our heroes. Albert Einstein famousl...

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