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San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BUSINESS -

TRADE

Toshiba deal OKd

In a pre­lude to an eas­ing of trade ten­sions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing, Chinese of­fi­cials ended a month­s­long de­lay by ap­prov­ing Toshiba’s sale of a ma­jor­ity stake in its lu­cra­tive mi­crochip unit to a U.S.-led group.

A lack of ap­proval by Chinese reg­u­la­tors had held up the deal in what was widely seen as a sig­nal from Bei­jing about how it might pun­ish U.S. busi­nesses if the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion fol­lowed through on threats to im­pose tar­iffs on $150 bil­lion in Chinese-made goods.

Toshiba said Thurs­day it has re­ceived “all re­quired an­titrust ap­provals” for the deal with a con­sor­tium led by the U.S. in­vest­ment firm Bain Cap­i­tal. Bain con­firmed in its own state­ment that Chinese au­thor­i­ties had ap­proved the deal.

Chinese of­fi­cials could not be reached for com­ment late Thurs­day, and the coun­try’s of­fi­cial me­dia and web­sites were silent on the mat­ter. The rea­sons for the ap­proval af­ter the lengthy de­lay were not im­me­di­ately clear.

The ap­proval is likely to be seen as a pos­i­tive sign by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, and it hinted at the two coun­tries’ efforts to defuse ten­sions over trade issues. A se­nior Chinese gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, Liu He, has been in Wash­ing­ton for trade talks this week.

The ap­proval of the Toshiba deal came just days af­ter the White House ap­peared to make its own peace of­fer­ing to Bei­jing.

Pres­i­dent Trump, in a sur­prise tweet Sun­day, said he had asked U.S. of­fi­cials to find a way to help ZTE, a Chinese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany. Of­fi­cials in Wash­ing­ton last month pro­hib­ited U.S. com­pa­nies from sell­ing much­needed tech­nol­ogy to ZTE to pun­ish the Chinese com­pany for vi­o­lat­ing U.S. sanc­tions against sell­ing goods made in the United States to Iran, North Korea and other coun­tries. ZTE’s fac­to­ries ground to a halt, spurring anger from Bei­jing.

NORTH CAROLINA

Leg­is­la­tors push for Ap­ple

North Carolina leg­isla­tive lead­ers said Thurs­day they’re com­mit­ting to a big ex­pan­sion of tax breaks to at­tract em­ploy­ers promis­ing thou­sands of jobs, a move that comes as peo­ple fa­mil­iar with re­cruit­ment efforts tell the As­so­ci­ated Press that Ap­ple is strongly con­sid­er­ing the state for a new cor­po­rate cam­pus.

The top two lead­ers in the state’s Gen­eral Assem­bly said they would lower the thresh­old that so-called “trans­for­ma­tive” com­pa­nies must meet to get huge state sub­si­dies. Com­pa­nies in­vest­ing at least $1 bil­lion and gen­er­at­ing 3,000 jobs could get cash pay­ments based on the taxes paid by their em­ploy­ees for up to 40 years.

A North Carolina gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial and an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cial told the As­so­ci­ated Press that Ap­ple is close to de­cid­ing whether to build a planned hub in the Raleigh-Durham area. They spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of the con­fi­den­tial­ity of busi­ness re­cruit­ment.

The project could cre­ate 5,000 North Carolina jobs, with a later tar­get of 10,000 jobs, the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cial said.

Ap­ple de­clined to com­ment Thurs­day. DE­VEL­OP­MENT

West­field may add of­fices

West­field San Francisco Cen­tre plans to add 49,999 square feet of of­fice space on its sev­enth and eighth floors, by chang­ing ex­ist­ing re­tail, stor­age and meet­ing space, ac­cord­ing to the San Francisco Busi­ness Times.

The $75 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment pro­posal by West­field Corp. and For­est City Realty Trust in­cludes three new out­door ter­races and other types of ren­o­va­tion at 865 Mar­ket St. and would need the ap­proval of the City Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, ac­cord­ing to the Busi­ness Times.

A For­est City Realty Trust spokesman said there is a re­de­vel­op­ment plan for the mall, but could not con­firm the de­tails. West­field did not im­me­di­ately re­ply to a re­quest for com­ment.

RE­TAIL

Whole­sale club ready for IPO

BJ’s Whole­sale Club is go­ing pub­lic. Again.

BJ’s said Thurs­day that it filed a Form S-1 with the U.S. Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion for an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing. The com­pany, which op­er­ates 215 whole­sale mem­ber­ship ware­houses on the East Coast, didn’t say how many shares it would of­fer or what the price range might be. The of­fer­ing is ex­pected this year.

BJ’s listed a $100 mil­lion fundrais­ing tar­get in the fil­ing, but that fig­ure is likely to change af­ter gaug­ing in­vestor de­mand.

In its fis­cal year ended Feb. 3, BJ’s had net in­come of $50.3 mil­lion. On a con­tin­u­ing op­er­a­tions ba­sis, earn­ings per share rose to $3.94 from $3.45. To­tal rev­enue to­taled $12.75 bil­lion, in­clud­ing $258.6 mil­lion in mem­ber­ship fee in­come. Sales in stores open at least 13 months — a key met­ric of a re­tailer’s health — rose 0.8 per­cent. Ex­clud­ing gaso­line sales, they de­clined 0.9 per­cent.

EARN­INGS

Ap­plied Ma­te­ri­als

Ap­plied Ma­te­ri­als on Thurs­day re­ported fis­cal sec­ond-quar­ter profit of $1.13 bil­lion. On a per­share ba­sis, the Santa Clara man­u­fac­turer of chip-mak­ing equip­ment said it had profit of $1.09. Earn­ings, ad­justed for pre­tax ex­penses and costs re­lated to merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions, came to $1.22 per share.

The re­sults ex­ceeded Wall Street ex­pec­ta­tions. The com­pany’s rev­enue of $4.57 bil­lion also ex­ceeded fore­casts.

For the cur­rent quar­ter end­ing in Au­gust, Ap­plied Ma­te­ri­als ex­pects its per-share earn­ings to range from $1.13 to $1.21. An­a­lysts had fore­cast ad­justed earn­ings per share of $1.14.

MERG­ERS

AKKR buys Sage­works

Long­time fi­nan­cial soft­ware com­pany Sage­works has been ac­quired by AKKR, a pri­vate eq­uity firm in Menlo Park, the com­pa­nies an­nounced in a news re­lease. The amount of the trans­ac­tion was not dis­closed.

Sage­works founder Brian Hamil­ton said the deal will al­low the com­pany to ex­pand its role. Sage­works said its tech­nolo­gies are used by more than 1,200 U.S. banks and credit unions, as well as thou­sands of ac­count­ing pro­fes­sion­als.

Stephan Savoia / As­so­ci­ated Press

BJs Whole­sale Club has an­nounced that it filed a form S-1 with the U.S. Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion for an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing.

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