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GE to buy key Italian aviation biz

Industrial conglomerate General Electric plans to buy the aviation business of Italian manufacturer Avio for $4.3 billion to grow its jet propulsion business and strengthen its supply chain.

The Fairfield, Conn., company said Friday it wants to build its supply chain as it ramps up engine production. The deal also gives GE a chance to offer Avio products outside the aviation industry, in power generation, oil and marine products.

GE, which has operations in Fort Wayne, will buy Avio S.p.A.’s aviation business from European private equity firm Cinven and the Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica.

Avio has supplied GE Aviation since 1984. The company, which is based in Turin, Italy, employs about 5,300 people. It makes aviation propulsion components and systems for civilian and military aircraft, including low-pressure turbine systems, accessory gearboxes, geared systems and combustors. Last year, its aviation business generated $2.4 billion in revenue, more than half of which was derived from components for GE and GE joint venture engines.

Hostess to split snack cakes in sale

Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Devil Dogs are likely to return to shelves in coming months, but probably not under the same owners.

Hostess Brands Inc. said in bankruptcy court Friday that it’s narrowing down the bids it received for its brands and expects to sell off its snack cakes and bread to separate buyers. The testimony came from an investment banker for Hostess, which is in the process of liquidating.

A likely suitor has emerged for the namesake Hostess brand, which includes Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, along with Dolly Madison cakes, which includes Coffee Cakes and Zingers, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners. He said another viable bid was made for Drake’s cakes, which includes Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels. That bidder also wants to buy the Drake’s plant in Wayne, N.J., which Scherer said is the country’s only kosher bakery plant.

Additional bids have been submitted for its bread brands, which include Wonder and Home Pride. Sales could be completed by as early as mid-March.

Nokia, RIM resolve patent-license feud

Nokia, the Finnish mobile-phone maker struggling to reverse a slide in sales, agreed on a new patent-licensing deal with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, ending all legal disputes between the companies.

RIM will make a one-time and “ongoing” payments to Nokia, the Espoo, Finland-based company said in an emailed statement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Nokia is trying to expand revenue from its patent portfolio as sales at its unprofitable smartphone unit decline.

Earnings at Walgreen off 26% in first quarter

Walgreen’s fiscal first-quarter earnings sank nearly 26 percent as costs tied to a couple big deals and Superstorm Sandy helped put a bigger-than-expected dent in the drugstore chain’s performance.

CEO Greg Wasson told analysts he saw the quarter as a “turning point” for the Deerfield, Ill., company, which has been working to recapture customers it lost during a contract dispute with Express Scripts Holding Co. But investors didn’t buy the message as its stock shares fell in Friday trading.

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