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Construction starts on $122M Ohio headquarters

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 11:15 PM

CINCINNATI -- Construction began Thursday on a consumer-data company's new $122 million headquarters in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, a development being touted for deepening the city's ongoing transformation from a declining Rust Belt dinosaur to a region pulsing with new development and revitalization.

The nine-story office tower will be home to dunhumbyUSA, which analyzes consumer habits for companies like Macy's, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

The company, a joint venture of Cincinnati-based Kroger and London-based dunhumby, began in Cincinnati with three employees in 2003 and now has more than 650; the company plans to nearly double to a 1,100-person workforce by 2018.

Both Cincinnati and state officials fought to keep the fast-growing company in the city, awarding it a combined $25 million in tax credits and incentives. Those efforts came despite arguments from some who said that in tough financial times, cities should tighten their belts.

Hostess picks lead bidders for Twinkies

NEW YORK -- Hostess has picked a lead bid for its famous Twinkies.

The bankrupt company said late Wednesday that it has selected a joint offer from two investment firms -- Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC -- as the lead bid for its Twinkies and other snack cakes.

Hostess says the two are teaming to on $410 million bid for the snack-cake business and five bakeries.

The "stalking horse" bid would set the floor for an auction process that lets competitors make better offers. A judge would have to approve any final sale.

Union agrees to back off protests at Wal-Mart

WASHINGTON -- Labor groups say they will end their picketing at Wal-Mart stores for at least 60 days as part of a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board. But they vowed they will continue to press the world's largest retailer to better overall working conditions, including wages.

The agreement, announced by the labor board Thursday, comes after the discounter filed a complaint on Nov. 20 with the board against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

It said that demonstrations at the stores organized by union-backed OUR Walmart that culminated on the day after Thanksgiving threatened to disrupt its business and intimidate customers and other store workers.

At issue were what constitutes picketing and whether the activity was aimed at gaining recognition for the union. Wal-Mart contended that such demonstrations violated labor laws because it claimed the "picketing" lasted more than 30 days and had the intent of unionizing its members.