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IBS takes action for reporting Russert’s death; also: General Mills’ profits steady, Best Buy in the clear, Select Comfort strategy questioned

A St. Paul company contracted to update NBC’s website has either fired or suspended an employee, according to reports, for inadvertently scooping everyone in reporting the death of Tim Russert. An update to Russert’s Wikipedia entry was made from a computer at Internet Broadcasting Services a full 40 minutes before his heartattack was reported by NBC. A spokeswoman told The New York Times that IBS has taken appropriate action with the employee and apologized to NBC. More at MPR’s News Cut blog. (Disclosure: As a freelance journalist, I worked a bit for IBS earlier this year.)

So far, rising food prices haven’t appeared to hurt General Mills’ profits. In part, that’s because the company raised prices (or shrunk sizes), passing the higher costs onto their customers. One analyst says the Golden Valley food company’s recent success also reflects product innovation, increased marketing and people cutting back on dining out. General Mills announces its latest quarterly earnings Wednesday.

A U.S. District Court in Texas said Monday that Best Buy and other companies have not infringed on a patented method for putting value on gift cards, Reuters reports. A firm called Realsource had sued Best Buy, Starbucks, Costco and several other major companies. The court, which specializes in patents, dismissed the allegation in a summary judgment.

A Select Comfort stakeholder is calling for the company to change its marketing strategy and find a replacement for CEO Bill McLaughlin. The Clinton Group, which owns 7.73 percent of the Plymouth mattress maker, expressed its concerns in a letter filed with the SEC and reported by Dow Jones News Wire. The investor group is also upset that Select Comfort denied its request for two board seats.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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