Vermont will give FairPoint reorganization its blessing

Vermont utility regulators who last summer rejected FairPoint Communications Inc.’s plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy are giving the OK to a new version.

The state Public Service Board signed off on FairPoint’s reorganization plan Thursday.

The North Carolina-based FairPoint filed for Chapter 11 in 2009, about 18 months after buying Verizon Communications’ land line and Internet operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Regulators in Maine, New Hampshire and 15 other states have already agreed to the reorganization plan, but Vermont had been a holdout because of concerns about the company’s financial viability.

Toyota’s payment to family of crash victims: $10 million

Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to pay $10 million to the family of four people killed in a runaway Lexus crash that led to recalls of millions of the automaker’s vehicles, an attorney said Thursday.

The amount was released Thursday by Orange County, Calif., lawyer Larry Willis, who represents the dealership that lent the Lexus to the family, attorney Jean-Paul Jassy said. Jassy spoke with Willis and represented several media organizations, including The Associated Press, that filed a motion opposing efforts to keep the details sealed.

The settlement amount was first reported Thursday by the Los Angeles Times. Toyota, which did not admit or deny liability in the settlement, said in a statement it was disappointed the amount had been made public.

The August 2009 crash killed off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, 45, his wife, their daughter and Saylor’s brother-in-law. They were killed on a suburban San Diego freeway when their car reached speeds of more than 120 mph, struck a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames.

Investigators determined that a wrong-size floor mat trapped the accelerator and caused the crash.

Toyota recalled millions of cars to replace floor mats that it said could cause the accelerator to jam. The carmaker later recalled millions more vehicles to replace gas pedals that it said could stick.

Single-family home sales climb 5.5% in November

Sales of new single-family homes climbed 5.5 percent in November, a government report said Thursday, as the housing market continues to show stability at weak levels.

The Commerce Department said new-home sales rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 290,000, from a downwardly revised 275,000 in October.

Investment firm buying Jo-Ann stores for $1.6 billion

Fabric and craft store chain Jo-Ann Stores Inc. is being taken private by investment firm Leonard Green & Partners LP for about $1.6 billion, the latest in a series of billion-dollar retail buyouts.

The deal is the most recent in a flurry of retail buyouts that have occurred in the past three months. Last month preppy fashion retailer J. Crew Group Inc. agreed to be purchased for $3 billion in a deal that also involves Leonard Green & Partners, along with private equity firm TPG Capital.

Survey finds companies restoring 401(k) match

The stock market has rebounded nicely, yet there’s still more good news when it comes to 401(k)s. Most of the companies that suspended their matching contributions as the economy tanked have either restored the match, or plan to within the next six months.

A company match is the amount an employer contributes to a worker’s retirement account. The most common employer match is 50 cents on the dollar up to 6 percent of a worker’s pay.

Matching contributions for large companies average about 11 percent of profits, according to the Profit Sharing/401k Council of America, a nonprofit industry group. That means corporate America spends millions a year on employee retirement fund matches. When times get tough and profitability falls, as happened in 2008, many companies begin to conserve cash and cut costs including the 401(k) match.

Nearly 15 percent of the 400 companies surveyed in October by the 401(k) Council suspended their matching program within the last three years.

‘The Avengers’ to be filmed primarily in New Mexico

New Mexico has landed what Gov. Bill Richardson’s office is billing as the largest movie production in state history.

Richardson and Marvel Studios’ co-president Louis D’Esposito announced this week that the comic book-based adventure film “The Avengers” will be shot primarily in New Mexico.

Its cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johannson and Jeremy Renner.

The governor’s office says principal photography is scheduled to run from April through September.