Economy Briefs: Safeway to stop buying pork from pregnancy-crate farms

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Mortgage-investors rebuffed in Washington Mutual case

WILMINGTON, Del. — The judge in Washington Mutual’s bankruptcy case ruled Monday that a group of investors who are plaintiffs in a federal mortgage-backed securities lawsuit against WaMu cannot file a claim in the company’s bankruptcy case until distributions are made to a group of low-ranking creditors.

The plaintiffs, whose lawsuit is scheduled for a September trial in Seattle, have asserted a claim of $435 million in the bankruptcy case and argue that they should be treated as general unsecured creditors.

Washington Mutual maintains that the plaintiffs’ claims must be subordinate to those of other creditor classes.

NEBRASKA

‘Pink slime’ controversy to cost 650 jobs, firm says

LINCOLN — Beef Products Inc. will close processing plants in three states this month because of the controversy surrounding its meat product that critics have dubbed “pink slime,” a company official said Monday.

About 650 jobs will be lost when the plants close on May 25 in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; and Waterloo, Iowa, company spokesman Rich Jochum said. A plant in South Sioux City, Neb., will remain open but run at reduced capacity.

The South Dakota-based company blamed the closures on what it said were unfounded attacks over its lean, finely textured beef. During its processing, bits of beef are heated and treated with a small amount of ammonia to kill bacteria. The filler has been used for years and meets federal food-safety standards.

MASSACHUSETTS

Talbots given sweetened $211 million buyout offer

HINGHAM — Clothing retailer Talbots Inc. said Monday that it has received a sweetened buyout offer from private equity firm Sycamore Partners that values the company at about $211 million.

Sycamore, which is already Talbot’s largest shareholder with a 9.4 percent stake, is offering $3.05 per share for the company. That’s a 9 percent premium from the stock’s closing price Friday.

The retailer based in Hingham had rejected a $3 per share takeover offer from Sycamore in December, saying it undervalued the company. Talbots said Monday its board is evaluating the latest proposal and other strategic alternatives.

The women’s clothing company has struggled for some time, posting annual losses in four of the past five years.

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