Business news briefs
Four months after acquiring "Star Wars" maker Lucasfilm, The Walt Disney Co. is shutting down video game production at subsidiary LucasArts and laying off staff as it focuses on the less-risky, less-expensive path of licensing its characters and stories to other developers. Website Kotaku said 150 people affected, citing unnamed source.
J.C. Penny cuts
top staffs' pay
In a clear sign of its dissatisfaction with the direction of the company, the board of J.C. Penney gave its chief executive, Ron Johnson, a pay cut of almost 97 percent, to $1.9 million, for 2012, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. In addition, not a single top executive received a cash bonus for the year.
for service firms
U.S. service companies grew at a slower pace in March and private employers pulled back on hiring, suggesting businesses may have grown more cautious. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 54.4 from 56 in February. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.
787 testing more than half done
Boeing said it has finished more than half of the testing on its proposed battery fix for the 787, with the rest of the ground and flight tests coming in the next several days. Smoldering batteries including one fire on the ground prompted air safety authorities to ground the world's 787s in mid-January.
free digital songs
Amazon says that every time a person buys a vinyl record from its online store, it will give that customer a digital version of the songs for free. The feature, AutoRip, was launched in January for CDs. The new offer, announced Wednesday, extends to any physical albums bought on Amazon since 1998.
rises 22 percent
Monsanto reported Wednesday its income increased 22 percent in the agriculture products company's second quarter on strong sales of biotech seeds, particularly in Brazil and other emerging markets. The company boosted its full-year earnings guidance, citing its strong performance in the first half of the year.
Oreo maker gave
CEO sweet pay hike
Mondelez International gave CEO Irene Rosenfeld a pay package worth $22 million last year, as the maker of Oreo cookies and other sweet snacks split from Kraft Foods and began operating as an independent company. The compensation represents a 40 percent increase from Rosenfeld's pay in 2011.