Business news briefs — Nov. 13

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LOCAL BUSINESS

Akron stair company acquired

A Hagerstown, Md., maker of spiral staircases says it plans to add at least 50 jobs following its acquisition of Sharon Stairs, an Akron maker of interior metal stairs for commercial buildings.

The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reported on the growth plans of Duvinage Corp., one of the nation’s oldest makers of spiral steel staircases. President Robert Maruszewski said Duvinage purchased Worthington Metal Fabricators, formerly Sharon Stairs. He said Worthington’s production is shifting to Hagerstown. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Beacon Journal reported in April that Sharon Stairs, housed in a building near Akron-Fulton International Airport, planned to close. At that time, Sharon Stairs spokeswoman Sonya Higginbotham said operations would be phased out by the end of the year. She said the closing was the result of the downturn in commercial construction, and that parent company Worthington Industries Inc. of Columbus had been unable to find a buyer for Sharon Stairs.

She said employees at the nonunion Sharon Stairs plant would be eligible for unemployment benefits and receive severance benefits from Worthington.

The Herald-Mail said that Duvinage hired three former Worthington workers, bringing employment at Duvinage to 25. Maruszewski, with Duvinage, said the company planed to hire at least 50 more workers over the next five years. Duvinage is owned by the Washington investment firm Key Bridge Partners.

Sharon Stairs began in 1963 and was in Medina County before moving to Akron in 2006. Part of the attraction for the company at that time was a forgivable $400,000 loan from the city of Akron. Worthington Industries, the Columbus company, purchased Sharon Stairs from Alliance Holdings of Willow Grove, Pa., in mid-2008, amid the Great Recession

New store at Summit Mall

Versona Accessories will open its first Ohio store Thursday at Summit Mall near Dillard’s in Fairlawn.

Versona Accessories is a women’s specialty retailer of jewelry and accessories. The company said the store has an easy-to-shop format with merchandise organized by color and trends.

Versona stores employ about 25.

AMF files for Chapter 11

Bowling center operator AMF Bowling Worldwide, which has area operations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy so it can implement a prearranged restructuring agreement. The agreement is with a majority of lenders and the landlord of a majority of its bowling centers.

AMF operates AMF Hall of Fame Lanes in Canton, AMF Medina Lanes and AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn.

The company said the restructuring — expected to be completed in about five months — will eliminate debt. Bowling centers are expected to continue normal operations.

ENTERTAINMENT

Tickets sold via Wal-Mart

Live Nation Entertainment Inc.’s Ticketmaster unit will sell tickets on the website of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., expanding ties with the world’s largest retailer.

Tickets to major-league sports, arts, theater and other events will be available at Walmart.com, the companies said. Ticketmaster has already sold 1 million tickets through its 1,200 kiosks inside Wal-Mart stores.

The relationship with Wal-Mart is aimed at selling more tickets at prices under $30, according to the statement. Customers will be able to pick up tickets in stores or have them mailed. Live Nation, the world’s biggest concert promoter, is revamping Ticketmaster as it seeks to boost its operating income 35 percent through 2015, Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino told investors last month.

LEGAL

Apple settles patent lawsuits

Apple Inc. settled all global lawsuits with HTC Corp., signaling a new willingness to resolve patent disputes without resorting to the “thermonuclear war” stance favored by co-founder Steve Jobs.

Apple, which had accused HTC of copying features that made its iPhone unique, “will continue to stay laser-focused on product innovation,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in a news release Monday with HTC, which surged as the companies announced a 10-year licensing deal. HTC had claimed the maker of iPads and MacBooks infringed wireless patents.

The settlement with HTC, the first company Apple sued for violating iPhone patents, suggests Cook will take a softer line than Jobs, who vowed before his death last year to wage all-out war against smart phones powered by Google Inc.’s Android software. The accord may also serve as a blueprint for Apple to resolve patent disputes with Samsung and Google’s Motorola Mobility business, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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