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Government to buy stake in Wells Fargo; also: Best Buy Europe optimistic about growth, more non-deals at Target, and UnitedHealth cures HMO blues?

The U.S. government will soon own a $20 billion stake in Minnesota’s second-largest private employer. The Treasury Department announced this morning that it intends to buy equity in nine large banks, including Wells Fargo. It’s a largely symbolic move, says the Washington Post, meant to help unfreeze credit markets and spur banks to boost lending.

Looking for some optimism? Best Buy Europe says it plans to double Carphone Warehouse’s existing retail earnings in five years. (Best Buy Europe is a joint venture between Best Buy and British retailer Carphone.) Reuters reports today that the first Best Buy Europe store will open in the U.K. next year. Start-up costs for that store are estimated at about $35 million.

The Consumerist blog is on Target’s case for promoting some seemingly nonexistent/nonsensical bargains. A reader documents another example this morning. In bold type: Simply orange juice, two for $6. In fine print: $2.99 each. So buy just one instead of two and save a penny? The blog has previously documented deals for deodorant and cereal that, according to the shelf signs, offered no savings whatsoever.

UnitedHealth found a cure for its “HMO blues” in Monday’s stock market rally, Dow Jones reports. The Minnetonka-based company saw its stock rally 26 percent, while its rivals went up 8.5 to 15 percent. But some analysts said UnitedHealth looked good Monday because it’s stock has been beaten down more badly than its peers in the last year.

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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