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Business digest: World Class Capital buys Austin office buildings


REAL ESTATE

World Class Capital buys Austin office buildings

World Class Capital has purchased 13 office buildings at Braker Center in North Austin from Westmount Realty Capital LLC, Westmount officials said Friday.

The price was not disclosed.

Westmount, a Dallas-based real estate investment company, bought the buildings in April 2014. They are on Kramer Lane and Metric Boulevard, near The Domain.

The buildings have a total of 546,984 square feet. Tenants include Allergan Inc., Cenpatico, Integra Life Sciences and Renewal by Anderson.

World Class Capital has made a number of high-profile acquisitions in Austin in recent years. They include the Spaghetti Warehouse, La Zona Rosa and Katz’s Deli sites in downtown Austin, along with the former 118-acre Cypress Semiconductor property in Round Rock.

World Class Capital also bought land at Trinity and East Cesar Chavez streets downtown, where in 2013 it announced plans for a $100 million, 39-story apartment tower.

AUTOMAKERS

Ford CEO says Trump threats won’t change small car plans

Ford Motor Co. is going ahead with plans to move small-car production from the U.S. to Mexico despite recent threats from President-elect Donald Trump.

CEO Mark Fields tells The Associated Press that Ford’s plan to move production of the Focus from Michigan to Mexico will proceed, in part because U.S. consumers demand low prices for small cars. He stressed that no U.S. jobs will be lost, since the Michigan plant will make two new vehicles.

In a series of tweets Sunday, Trump reiterated a threat to impose a 35-percent tariff on companies that build new plants abroad and sell products back to the U.S.

Fields says tariffs would hurt the auto industry. But he says he’s optimistic that Trump supports policies like tax reform that could help the U.S. economy.

TECHNOLOGY

Apple chief Tim Cook picked to give MIT commencement speech

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has chosen Apple CEO Tim Cook to deliver its 2017 commencement address.

MIT made the announcement on its website Thursday. It says Cook will headline the June 9 ceremony. It calls Cook an advocate for equality and a champion of the environment.

MIT President L. Rafael Reif says Cook’s brilliance as a business leader and his passion for important issues will resonate with its graduates.

Cook has led Apple Inc. since 2011. He has degrees from Auburn University and Duke University. He says his Cupertino, Calif.-based company is proud to have many MIT graduates on its team and he looks forward to giving the speech.

MIT’s 2016 speaker was “Jason Bourne” actor Matt Damon, who followed U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.

TELEVISION

Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox agrees to buy Europe’s Sky

Rupert Murdoch may get all of European broadcaster Sky after all after the U.K. phone-hacking scandal scotched a previous effort.

Sky said Friday that Murdoch’s entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox has reached a preliminary deal to buy the rest of Sky for $13.60 per share, the equivalent of about $14.1 billion.

Fox already owns just over 39 percent of Sky.

Shares in Sky jumped 27 percent in London. Stock of 21st Century Fox fell more than 3 percent in afternoon trading in New York.

However, Sky and 21st Century Fox both said in statements that they’re still talking about some terms and a definitive deal is still not certain.

Murdoch had previously tried to take full control of Sky but was sidelined in 2011 amid a phone-hacking scandal at his British newspapers that rocked the U.K. political and media establishment. The outcry has largely died down since then.

Taking control of Sky would give 21st Century Fox, which owns cable networks Fox News, FX and the Fox broadcast channel and a major Hollywood film studio, a distributor in Europe. Sky plc has 22 million customers in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. It sells TV and internet service, has its own news operation and sports channels and makes some TV shows.

There has long been speculation that another takeover deal was coming from 21st Century Fox. James Murdoch, Rupert’s son and the CEO of 21st Century Fox, became chairman of Sky in April. He had been CEO of Sky, then known as BSkyB, from 2003 to 2007 and chairman from 2007 to 2012.



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