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Fremont woos jobs with rehab

An eyesore at an industrial park in Fremont has a new owner that plans to make at least $600,000 in improvements to prepare the 170,000-square-foot structure for a potential tenant, a Steuben County official said Tuesday.

Montpelier, Ohio-based Rupp Enterprises acquired the building from Leggett & Platt Inc. of Carthage, Mo., for an undisclosed sum. The building, once occupied by Laclede Steel Inc., has been vacant for a decade, said David Koenig, executive director of Steuben County Economic Development Corp.

“The building is in pretty bad shape. It’s never shown very well and hasn’t been presentable,” Koenig said. “(Rupp) has a good reputation for turning properties around.”

Next month, Fremont town officials will consider a 10-year tax abatement that will save the company about $42,000. Typically, such projects require job creation, but Town Manager Chris Snyder said he hopes the building’s rehab will result in new jobs when a tenant moves in, according to a statement from the Steuben County Economic Development Corp.

Shareholder lawsuit silly, Apple CEO says

Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling a shareholder lawsuit against the company a “silly sideshow,” even as he said he is open to looking at shareholder proposals for sharing more cash with investors.

Investor David Einhorn sued Apple Inc. last week, saying a proposal slated for a vote at the company’s annual meeting in two weeks will make it more difficult to enact his plan to reward shareholders by distributing a new class of shares.

Cook said Apple’s proposal puts more power in the hands of shareholders, making it difficult to understand why a shareholder would fight it. Cook also said that the company is “seriously” looking at ways to hand out more cash to shareholders.

WellPoint CEO pick surprises analysts

Health insurer WellPoint Inc. surprised analysts and investors Tuesday when it announced that a veteran hospital executive who has never run a public company will become its next CEO.

The Indianapolis company said after markets closed that Trinity Health Corp. CEO Joseph Swedish will take over March 25, replacing interim CEO John Cannon.

Swedish, 61, will be charged with guiding the nation’s second-largest health insurer through sweeping changes, as the industry prepares to cover millions of newly insured people who gain coverage under the health care overhaul. Some on Wall Street expected the Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage provider to pick someone with more hands-on experience in the complex business.

Opposition builds to Dell buyout plan

A shareholder rebellion against Dell’s proposed $24.4 billion sale to its founder and other investors is gaining more support, fueling a belief that the struggling personal computer maker will have to wrangle a higher price to get the deal done.

Mutual fund firm T. Rowe Price joined the opposition Tuesday. Price and another shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, believe that founder and CEO Michael Dell and the investment firm Silver Lake are seizing control and ending Dell Inc.’s 25-year history as a publicly held company on the cheap.

T. Rowe Price and Southeastern are the two largest independent shareholders.

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