Sara Lee Corp., which makes Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park franks, said Monday it is considering selling its household and personal-care unit in Europe after receiving some “expressions of interest.”
News reports surfaced earlier this month that the food maker might sell the division, which makes products like Kiwi shoe polish and Bloom insecticides, to focus on its core domestic food operations. The business is expected to fetch more than $2 billion.
The potential sale coincides with Sara Lee's recent streamlining of its operations, which includes the spinoff of apparel maker Hanesbrands in 2006. Food makers are shedding unprofitable businesses to focus on their best-selling brands amid the economic slowdown.
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Trying to gain ground in China,
the search engine company Google said Monday that it had begun to offer links to free music downloads – a service it does not offer anywhere else in the world.
Google executives said they were responding to the phenomenal popularity of free music downloads in China, one of the few markets where the company lags, by forming an alliance with the music industry, including Sony, Universal Music and Warner Music.
The search engine company hopes the demand for music downloads will raise Google's profile in China, which has already overtaken the United States as the world's biggest Internet market with nearly 300 million users, and also help the company gain market share against its chief rival there, Baidu, the nation's dominant search engine. New York Times
Sales of vacation and investment homes slid 22 percent last year, a sign that tough economic conditions and tight lending requirements had shut out buyers, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.
Second home sales comprised 30 percent of the entire housing market, down from a peak of 40 percent in 2005 when financing was easier.
Just 9 percent of sales last year were for vacation homes, down from 12 percent in 2007. Proportionally, investment properties held steady at 21 percent.
Wealth and age are strong factors in second home sales. Nearly half of vacation home buyers and two-fifths of investment home buyers had a household income of more than $100,000. The median age for vacation home buyers was 46, nine years older than buyers of primary homes. Associated Press