Business Week in Review
A bumpy week for U.S. auto industry
The country's auto industry went on a rough ride this week. General Motors offered the federal government a controlling stake in the company to repay loans while announcing plans to close plants and retire the legendary Pontiac brand. Meanwhile, Chrysler drove itself into bankruptcy court and toward a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat.
While the fortunes of the Michigan economy are directly tied to the health of Chrysler and GM, the moves will certainly mean another round of dealership closings and mergers here in Greater Boston and other metro areas.
Sales-tax hike wins OK from House, draws fire
The state House of Representatives narrowly gave a proposed sales-tax hike a veto-proof majority when it voted 108-51 to increase the tax to 6.25 percent from 5 percent.
Lawmakers are working feverishly to fill a gaping budget hole, and this proposal could raise $900 million a year to help close it. But the proposal drew fierce opposition from Gov. Deval Patrick, who promised to veto the bill, and from retailers and communities near the border of sales-tax-free New Hampshire.
Clean Harbors plans $387M acquisition
Clean Harbors Inc. of Norwell lined up its biggest acquisition in seven years with a plan to buy Eveready Inc., a Canadian company that provides services to industrial customers such as energy companies that drill in Alberta's oil sands.
The deal, which Clean Harbors values at $387 million, could increase the company's annual revenue by at least 50 percent and add more than 2,000 employees to the company's payroll.
Difficult negotiations at The Boston Globe
With a Friday deadline for agreeing to $20 million in concessions looming, The Boston Globe's 13 unions negotiated with the newspaper's management through the week.
By the end of the week, union members were furious, saying management suddenly made it harder to reach the target by disclosing that the salaries and benefits of people who left the paper this year were not originally included in the estimates.
The paper's parent company, The New York Times Co., has threatened to close the paper if the savings target cannot be reached.
Home sales continue to slide in Massachusetts
The relentless downturn in the state's housing market showed few signs of leveling off in March, with single-family home sales dropping by 7 percent and the median price falling 16 percent to $255,000.
South Shore homeowners could take solace, at least, that their region was the only one to show any gain in sales activity in the first three months of the year.
The Patriot Ledger