Business news in brief

20151001_inq_sum01-a
Mickey Mouse and chef Masaharu Morimoto exchange a greeting at the new Disney Springs complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The shopping and dining spot is scheduled for completion in 2016. When done, the complex will have more than 150 shops and restaurants, including a new Morimoto offering, and park-like scenery.

In the Region

Judge drops Saudis from suit

A federal judge in Manhattan has dismissed the government of Saudi Arabia as a defendant in a long-running lawsuit alleging that it was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. U.S. District Judge George Daniels said on Tuesday that the plaintiffs failed to show the desert kingdom participated in the plot. It was the second time in the 12-year litigation battle that Saudi Arabia has been been dropped as a defendant. It was first dismissed in 2005, but later restored as a defendant by an appeals panel. Despite the latest ruling, the legal clash is likely to continue. Sean Carter, a partner at the Philadelphia firm Cozen O'Connor, which has taken the lead in the suit against the Saudis, said Daniels' decision would be appealed. - Chris Mondics

SugarHouse adding 500 jobs

SugarHouse Casino announced three job fairs this month to help fill the 500 jobs it expects to add after it completes its $164 million expansion near the end of the year. The fairs are scheduled for Saturday in the Macy's Court at Cherry Hill Mall from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 13 in Room 118 of the Pennsylvania Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Oct. 27 in the Winnet Student Life Building at the Community College of Philadelphia from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. SugarHouse employed 1,224 at the end of June, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. - Harold Brubaker

Comcast buys foreign ticketer

Comcast Corp.'s Fandango unit has agreed to acquire the Brazilian online and mobile movie-ticketing site Ingresso.com. The Rio de Janeiro company has six million registered users in a nation that accounted for 40 percent of the Latin American box office take in 2014. Fandango paid $71 million, according to published reports. Fandango sells tickets for 27,000 movie screens in the United States and reports 42 million unique visitors to its website. Comcast has said it would look overseas for acquisition targets after abandoning a $45 billion deal for Time Warner Cable Inc. in April. - Bob Fernandez

Philly firm folded into Lombard

The former Philadelphia Financial Group Inc. is now the U.S. branch of Lombard International, a $75 billion-asset life insurance and annuity administration firm specializing in tax-sheltered financial arrangements for rich people around the world. In June, the Blackstone investment firm bought control of Philadelphia Financial, located in One Liberty Place in Center City, from Tiptree Financial Inc. and Philadelphia Financial executives led by founder John Hillman for $155 million. Blackstone has since combined Philadelphia Financial with Luxembourg-based Lombard International Assurance, which Blackstone also owns. - Joseph N. DiStefano

Pa. Senate appoints Place

The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved the appointment of Andrew Place, corporate director for energy and environmental policy at EQT Corp., to serve a five-year term on the Public Utility Commission. Place, 54, a Green County resident and ultramarathon runner, was a deputy in the Department of Environmental Protection. - Andrew Maykuth

Developers switch hotel brands

Chancellor Hotel Associates, the group behind a hotel proposal at the Little Pete's restaurant site in Center City, has ceased efforts to brand the project as a Philadelphia sibling to New York's trendy Hudson Hotel, and will develop an upscale Hyatt at 17th and Chancellor Streets instead, a Chancellor official told City Council members on Wednesday. Carol Horne Penn, project director for Chancellor Hotel Associates, said the project near Rittenhouse Square would be built under the banner of Hyatt's boutique Centric brand.

- Jacob Adelman

Elsewhere

ComScore to threaten Nielsen

ComScore Inc., the Internet researcher, agreed to buy Rentrak Corp. in an all-stock merger valued at more than $800 million, creating a more formidable media-monitoring rival to Nielsen. Investors will receive 1.15 shares of ComScore for each Rentrak share they own, the companies said Tuesday. The merger represents a new challenge to Nielsen, which produces the TV audience ratings that underpin advertising rates. The deal combines two of its competitors - ComScore tracks Web activity while Rentrak reports on TV viewing, DVD sales and the movie box office, as well as some online activity. - Bloomberg News

Amtrak to charge luggage fee

Here's a warning for Amtrak riders: Pack light or be ready to pay for excess luggage starting on Thursday. That's when Amtrak will limit bags that can be brought on board free to two personal items weighing less than 25 pounds each and two pieces of luggage no more than 50 pounds apiece. Extra pieces - or heavier ones - will carry a $20 fee per item. "We are doing this to manage space" aboard trains, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said in an telephone interview. "Our trains are really busy and we need to make sure there's room for everybody's carry-ons." - Bloomberg News