Business notes


Lexington's Mersive Technologies receives venture capital infusion

Lexington-based display technology company Mersive Technologies has secured more than $4 million in venture capital financing. The company announced Monday the close of a $4.6 million round of financing that includes a $4 million commitment from Hopewell Ventures, an equity capital group that works primarily in the Midwest. Mersive, founded in 2004, develops software that allows projectors to be clustered together and automatically calibrated to create large, ultra-high-resolution, seamless displays on any surface and in any configuration. The money will help Mersive continue its work on multi-projector alignment solutions for the military simulation and commercial markets.

Sale allows focus on premium wine, liquor

Constellation Brands Inc. said Monday it is selling its value spirits business to Sazerac Co. Inc. for $274 million as it tries to focus on the more lucrative premium end of the wine and spirits markets. The world's biggest wine company said the sale involves more than 40 vodka, gin, rum, schnapps, cordial and other liquor brands including the Barton, Mr. Boston and Skol labels. Distillery and bottling operations included in the sale are at Bardstown and Owensboro, as well as a leased bottling plant at Carson, Calif.


Judge lets Madoff stay out on bail

A judge allowed indicted investor Bernard Madoff to remain free on bail Monday, rejecting an attempt by prosecutors to send him to jail for mailing more than $1 million in jewelry to family and friends during the holidays. The decision means Madoff will avoid having to leave his $7 million penthouse and await trial in a jail cell with nothing but bunk beds, a sink and toilet. Madoff will remain under house arrest and under the constant watch of security guards. The ruling further outraged investors who have been clamoring for Madoff to be sent to jail for allegedly carrying out the largest financial fraud in history. They find it shocking that Madoff is free on bail, despite distributing assets that could be used to help repay investors who lost billions.

Dell to pay $3.85 million in consumer case

Dell Inc. said Monday it has agreed to a legal settlement with states that claimed the computer company made misleading financing and service offers to PC buyers. Dell will pay $3.85 million to at least 46 states participating in the settlement. A portion of the money will be used to reimburse states for legal costs.

Alcoa's fourth-quarter loss tops $1 billion

Alcoa Inc., the world's third-largest aluminum company, said Monday it lost $1.19 billion during its fourth quarter as prices and demand for the metal plunged in a troubled global market. Alcoa's loss highlighted the effect of the weakening world economy on key aluminum markets, such as the construction and auto industries. Prices of the metal, used in everything from cars and aircraft to window frames and beer cans, have fallen steeply along with other commodities since mid-2008. Alcoa, the first component of the Dow Jones industrial average to post results and considered an earnings bellwether, said quarterly revenue sank 19 percent, to $5.7 billion from $7 billion, in the year-earlier period.

Abbott Labs buys optics company

Medical products and drug maker Abbott Laboratories said Monday it is buying Advanced Medical Optics Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif., for $1.36 billion plus debt to expand its eye-care offerings, including laser vision correction. Illinois-based Abbott's $22-a-share offer is more than double Advanced Medical's Friday closing price of $8.85. Including debt, the deal is worth $2.8 billion.


Russia says gas will be on its way

Russia's state gas monopoly has promised to resume shipping Europe-bound gas through Ukraine on Tuesday morning, nearly a week after it shut off the taps and forced countless Europeans to huddle cold and resentful in freezing homes. However, a spokesman for the Gazprom monopoly indicated lingering problems could prolong the crisis. More than 15 countries have been the inadvertent victims of a complex and acrimonious wrangle between Russia and Ukraine over gas prices, past debts and allegations of theft. They also jockeyed over an EU-brokered deal to send pipeline monitors to ensure that restored gas shipments reach their destination.

Compiled from Staff, wire reports