Impact of high gas prices affecting more, poll finds

With gasoline still close to $4 a gallon across the country, drivers have made some tough choices: scaling back vacations, driving less or ditching the car altogether.

A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows the impact of sustained high prices is spreading among seniors and higher-income Americans.

According to the poll, the share of all Americans who say increases in the price of gasoline will cause serious financial hardship for them or their families in the next six months now tops 4 in 10.

Overall, 71 percent said rising prices will cause some hardship for them and their families, and 41 percent call it a “serious” hardship. Just 29 percent said rising gas prices are not negatively impacting their finances. 

Airline ticket companies subject of pricing probe

The government is investigating whether companies that distribute airline flight and fare information are stifling competition and violating federal antitrust laws.

The Justice Department confirmed the investigation Friday after several airlines and two leading ticket information-distribution companies said they received letters from antitrust officials.

This is the latest twist in an escalating fight between airlines and so-called global distribution systems over how air travel is sold, especially to lucrative corporate accounts.

Many consumers buy tickets online directly from the airlines, but corporations often use travel agencies that get information about flights and fares from the three big distribution companies. 

BP looks to spread liability costs after Gulf oil spill

BP has struck a deal to receive around $1 billion from one of its minority partners in the blown-out Gulf of Mexico well, raising hopes it will successfully pursue other companies involved and reduce its bill for the disaster.

BP PLC said Thursday that MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC, which had a 10 percent interest in the Macondo well, has agreed to pay $1.065 billion to settle all claims between the companies over the accident on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Under the settlement, MOEX, a unit of Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co., agreed to recognize findings by the U.S. Presidential Commission that the accident “was the result of a number of separate risk factors, oversights and outright mistakes by multiple parties and a number of causes.” 

Korean investors to buy several golf-related brands

The company behind Fila shoes and clothing is taking a swing at golf, forming a foursome to purchase the maker of Titleist golf balls and FootJoy shoes from liquor company Fortune Brands Inc.

Korean investors led by athletic company Fila Korea Ltd. and Mirae Asset Private Equity plan to buy Fortune’s golf giant Acushnet Co. for $1.2 billion. The purchasing group also includes the National Pension Service of Korea and Korea Development Bank.

Titleist is the top-selling golf ball and a leader in golf clubs, while the unit’s FootJoy brand is a leader in golf shoes and also makes golf gloves and jackets, Fortune said. 

Skype cancels IPO after accepting Microsoft bid

Internet calling service Skype has canceled its IPO now that it’s agreed to be sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion. Skype served notice that it was withdrawing its initial public offering of stock in a Friday filing with regulators.

The IPO became moot last week after Skype accepted Microsoft’s takeover offer. Skype, currently owned by investment funds and eBay, filed its plans to go public last August. Microsoft Corp. hopes to complete the Skype purchase, which is the most expensive acquisition in Microsoft’s 36-year history, by year’s end.