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POSTED: Wednesday, September 02, 2009

EBay to sell most of Skype

SAN FRANCISCO » Rather than enduring the uncertainty of spinning off the Skype telecommunications service through a public stock offering, eBay Inc. is selling the majority of Skype for about $2 billion to a group of private investors. EBay said yesterday it will trade a 65 percent stake in the business to a group of private investment funds for $1.9 billion in cash and $125 million to be paid later. EBay will own the other 35 percent. The agreement, which values Skype at $2.75 billion, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Investors in the group of buyers include Web browser pioneer and eBay board member Marc Andreessen and former Skype board members Danny Rimer and Mike Volpi.

Unite Here takes its case online

Unite Here Local 5, which represents about 1,800 workers at Kaiser Permanente, has launched a Web site to rally support: http://www.local5deliver.org.

Unite Here held a rally last week for more reasonable working conditions, proper staffing and job security for health care workers at the health maintenance organization's Honolulu and Wailuku clinics.

AIG Hawaii name change is on hold

AIG Hawaii policyholders will have to wait a little longer before they find out the new name of their insurance company.

The state's third-largest writer of automobile policies and 21st Century Insurance Group on the mainland were sold in April to Farmers Group Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth $1.9 billion. The deal closed July 1.

AIG Hawaii President Robin Campaniano had expected the company to get a new name by now, but, he said yesterday, “;strategically, Farmers is trying to find out the best names for all of the AIG entities that it bought.”;

“;We're part of Farmers, but we don't know what subsidiary name we're going to take,”; Campaniano said.

AIG Hawaii has 310 employees statewide and 65,000 auto insurance customers representing about 100,000 cars. The company ranks third in market share in the state, behind GEICO and State Farm.

American Electric debuts new unit

American Electric Co. is rolling out the first of a range of electrical services to Hawaii homes through its new residential services division.

The division will offer residents the CurrentSAFE service, which uses thermographic and ultrasonic testing equipment to detect concealed electrical problems within the home. Previously, this type of preventative and maintenance technology was available only to commercial and industrial customers.

Hawaiian-Korean code service starts

Hawaiian Airlines and Korean Airlines began offering their expanded code-share agreement yesterday in which Hawaiian's booking code is now listed on flights operated by Korean Air between Incheon, South Korea, and Honolulu, as well as on flights between Incheon and Busan in South Korea.

Hawaiian's code-sharing operations will be expanded in the near future to include Korean Air flights serving destinations in Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.

The two carriers began their code-sharing relationship in 2007, which allowed Korean to put its booking code on Hawaiian's flights among the islands and between Hawaii and the mainland.

Airlines lost $6 billion by midyear

GENEVA » Airline companies lost more than $6 billion during the first half of the year due to the economic crisis, even as fresh figures showed some signs of recovery in the passenger and freight business, an industry group said yesterday.

A sample of more than 50 airlines found their losses declined to $2 billion in the second quarter from $4 billion in the first quarter, the International Air Transport Association said.

American to cut 921 attendants' jobs

DALLAS » American Airlines is cutting 921 flight attendant jobs as it deals with an ongoing downturn in traffic and lower revenue.

The airline said yesterday that the cuts will take effect Oct. 1 and reduce its flight-attendant ranks by about 6 percent.

American, the nation's second-largest airline, said 228 employees will be furloughed—laid off but with rehiring rights—and the company will put 244 more on leave for two months. Another 449 will take voluntary options such as leave.

ON THE MOVE

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Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union has promoted Dane Shimabuku to consumer loans production manager. He has 19 years of finance experience, including 18 focused on lending.

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Xerox Hawaii has appointed Eric Ishikawa to marketing representative. He previously has worked as a human resources coordinator for Outrigger Enterprise Group as well as sales representative for Dolce Gusto coffee systems.

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State Farm Insurance has named Guy Matsumoto as an agent. His office is located in Waikele Professional Center. He previously was a senior vice president at Atlas Insurance Agency. Also, Rayna Man was named an agent. Her office is located in the Marketplace of Kapolei. She previously was an independent life insurance agent.