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Business

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Briefs

Google sells Motorola to Lenovo

Google is selling Motorola’s smartphone business to Lenovo for $2.9 billion, a price that makes Google’s biggest acquisition look like its most expensive mistake.

The deal announced Wednesday will rid Google Inc. of a financial headache that has plagued the Internet company since buying Motorola Mobility for $12.4 billion in 2012. Motorola has lost nearly $2 billion since Google took over, while trimming its workforce from 20,000 to 3,800.

Google had previously recovered some of the money it spent on Motorola by selling the company’s set-top operations last year to Arris Group Inc. for $2.35 billion.

While Google is backpedaling, China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. is gearing up for a major expansion. Already the world’s largest maker of personal computers, Lenovo now appears determined to become a bigger player in smartphones as more people rely on them instead of laptop and desktop computers to go online.

Chrysler, Fiat reveal new joint name

Chrysler and Fiat will be known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV as they move forward as a single company.

Fiat’s board of directors agreed on the new name Wednesday, with headquarters for tax purposes in the United Kingdom. But the board sidestepped the thorny political issue of whether the true headquarters would be in the United States or Italy.

Fiat and Chrysler also announced fourth-quarter and full-year earnings. Chrysler’s strong profits once again propped up its parent company, which otherwise would have lost money.

Shares of the combined company will trade jointly on the New York Stock Exchange and in Milan, Italy, by Oct. 1. The shares will trade under the symbol FCA, which also appears on the new company logo.

WellPoint’s profits take steep 68% drop

WellPoint’s fourth-quarter earnings tumbled 68 percent, as customers of the nation’s second largest health insurer raced to use their coverage last fall before it lapsed because of the health care overhaul.

The Indianapolis company said Wednesday that its medical expenses spiked 18 percent to $14.58 billion in part because of higher use of individual policies ahead of overhaul-mandated changes that unfolded this year.

Insurers typically see a rise in use at year’s end as patients who have paid up deductibles – the out-of-pocket cost before coverage starts – take advantage of coverage before the deductible renews in the new year.

But WellPoint said it also saw a jump in use from patients who wanted to take advantage of policies while they had them.

Nintendo earnings fall on sluggish Wii U sales

Profit at Nintendo Co. fell 30 percent in the first nine months of the fiscal year as sales of Wii U home consoles, 3DS devices and game software languished. Top executives announced they would take pay cuts.

The Japanese maker of Super Mario and Pokemon video games reported Wednesday a $99 million profit from April to December, down from $142 million a year earlier. It did not break down quarterly numbers.

Nintendo’s president, senior managing director, managing director and directors said they will take pay cuts for five months starting in February to take responsibility for the poor performance.

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