General Mills finalizes deal to acquire 51% of Yoplait SAS

General Mills Inc. said Wednesday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a 51 percent controlling interest in French yogurt maker Yoplait SAS for about $1.15 billion, a deal that should bolster its overseas operations.

Golden Valley, Minn.-based General Mills had reached a tentative agreement in March to buy the Yoplait stake of PAI Partners, a French private equity firm. The definitive agreement deal also calls for General Mills to acquire a 50 percent interest in a related Yoplait entity that holds the worldwide Yoplait brands. 

Enron schemer serving rest of his term at halfway house

The mastermind behind financial schemes that doomed Enron Corp. returned to Houston this week to serve the remainder of his six-year sentence at a halfway house.

A U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman said Andrew Fastow reported to the halfway house after leaving a federal prison in Louisiana, where he served most of his sentence.

Fastow joined another former Enron executive serving part of his sentence at the halfway house. A third ex-Enron executive left the facility a day after Fastow arrived. 

Staples stock price falls after sales fail to meet forecasts

Weaker-than-expected sales weighed on Staples Inc. in the first quarter, prompting the nation’s biggest office supply retailer to cut its full-year earnings guidance.

The Framingham, Mass., company’s quarterly earnings and revenue did climb, but fell short of Wall Street expectations. Those misses, combined with disappointing full-year and second-quarter outlooks, pushed Staples’ stock to a 52-week low Wednesday.

Shares of the chain slid $3.02, or 15.4 percent, to close at $16.863. 

Chrysler to repay $7.5 billion in loans from governments

Chrysler is expected to repay $7.5 billion in government loans on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the planning.

The move would come days before Chrysler’s two-year anniversary of emerging from government-backed bankruptcy on June 10, 2009.

But today the Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker is expected to announce the terms of a $3.5 billion bond sale, a major step toward repaying the $5.8 billion it owes the U.S. Treasury and the $1.7 billion it owes Canada and Ontario. 

Trying to add revenue, Yahoo purchases online ad service

Yahoo has bought an unprofitable online advertising service called 5to1 Holding Corp. for $28 million as part of an effort to revive revenue growth.

The deal announced Wednesday provides Yahoo with more tools to place online ads for big companies looking to promote their brands.

About 20 websites work with 5to1 to sell their unused advertising space. Those efforts haven’t been fruitful for 5to1, which has been losing money since its 2008 inception.

Yahoo Inc.’s earnings have risen recently, but its ad revenue hasn’t kept up with the rest of the Internet.

Price of Kodak’s stock jumps after favorable patent report

Stock in Eastman Kodak Co. rose sharply Wednesday after staff investigators at the U.S. International Trade Commission sided with the photography pioneer in its patent-infringement battle with smartphone giants Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd.

The third-party investigators at the federal agency, which oversees trade disputes, found that Apple and Canada-based RIM infringed an image-preview patent that Kodak obtained in 2001. They recommended an order barring imports of Apple’s iPhones and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry phones.

Recommendations by staff investigators are not always followed by the Washington-based commission. Its full panel of six commissioners agreed in March to rule on the patent claim by June 23.