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First trading day boosts Dropbox stock

NEW YORK -- Shares of the digital file storage company Dropbox soared Friday in their stock market debut.

The stock rose $7.48, or 35.6 percent, to close Friday at $28.48 in its first day of trading on Nasdaq. It had climbed as high as $31.60 during the day.

The San Francisco company offered about 26.8 million shares of stock at $21 apiece, while selling shareholders were offering about 9.2 million shares. It had expected to price the shares in a range of $18 to $20.

The company, founded 11 years ago, boasts about 500 million users. It provides services for backing up documents, photos and video.

-- The Associated Press

Former ModCloth CEO leaves Walmart

Matt Kaness, who was the chief executive officer of online women's fashion retailer ModCloth when it was acquired by Walmart Inc. last year, is no longer with the company.

Walmart confirmed Kaness' departure Friday, saying in a statement he had recently decided to leave to "pursue other opportunities" after dropping the chief executive role last fall.

"We thank Matt for his contributions to ModCloth and wish him all the best in the future," Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said in a statement.

ModCloth is now led by Chief Executive Officer Antonio Nieves, who was previously chief financial officer at Bonobos. The men's online clothing company also was acquired last year, and its founder, Andy Dunn, was named senior vice president of Walmart's digital consumer brands.

Nieves has experience at ModCloth after working as the fashion retailer's chief financial officer before taking the role at Bonobos in 2016.

-- Robbie Neiswanger

Glaxo pulls out of bidding for Pfizer unit

Pfizer Inc.'s Advil and Centrum aren't as desirable as the U.S. drug giant expected.

The company was left without a potential buyer for its consumer-health unit on Friday as U.K. drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC withdrew from bidding, after Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC withdrew dropped out earlier this week. The development left the U.S. company with dwindling options to dispose of a business valued at as much as $20 billion.

Glaxo, Bayer AG, Sanofi and other makers of over-the-counter health products have experienced pressure on prices as drugstores and online retailers vie to get shoppers. Merck KGaA is exploring options for its consumer division and has yet to find a buyer. The sector's environment is changing as stores push their own brands and consumers become more budget-conscious, said Michael Leuchten, a London-based analyst with UBS Group AG.

-- Bloomberg News

Qualcomm shareholders re-elect board

Qualcomm's investors re-elected the chipmaker's board at a shareholders meeting that would have been dramatically different had the largest proposed acquisition in technology industry history not been stopped.

Ten directors, including Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf, were elected unopposed Friday at a meeting in San Diego rescheduled in the midst of Qualcomm's successful four-month effort to fight off a hostile takeover by Broadcom.

The world's largest maker of chips for mobile phones is struggling with the fallout from the proposed acquisition, which was blocked earlier this month by an executive order from President Donald Trump, citing security concerns. Singapore-based Broadcom appeared ready to seize control of the board and overturn Qualcomm's opposition to its rival's $117 billion acquisition offer before the White House action.

-- Bloomberg News

New-home sales down 0.6 in February

WASHINGTON -- Sales of new U.S. homes slipped 0.6 percent in February, a third straight monthly decline. But year to date, sales are up 2.2 percent compared with 2017 in a sign that buyer demand remains solid.

The Commerce Department said Friday that last month's sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618,000, down from 622,000 in January and 653,000 in December.

Homebuyers at the start of the spring purchase season are generally finding higher prices and fewer properties available. Those factors, along with rising mortgage rates, have suggested that homeownership is becoming less affordable. The shortage of existing homes on the market is intensifying competition among would-be buyers of newly built houses.

But buyers seem undeterred so far about the lack of available homes, given the low unemployment rate and wave of younger millennials who are entering the real estate market.

-- The Associated Press

U.S. investigates gun-maker in Florida

U.S. prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into a Florida factory that makes shotguns modeled after the AK-47 assault rifle and is run by executives with ties to top allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. attorney's office in Miami is seeking records related to Kalashnikov USA's 2015 request for state and local tax breaks, according to a grand jury subpoena sent to the city of Pompano Beach, Fla., this week. Federal prosecutors are investigating the business practices of RWC Group, which owns Kalashnikov USA's plant in Pompano Beach, a person familiar with the investigation said.

It's unclear which business practices are under investigation, and a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Miami declined to confirm or deny any investigation. Representatives for the company didn't respond to repeated requests for comment, but a top executive for RWC Group and Kalashnikov USA has said the manufacturer is doing nothing wrong.

RWC Group became Kalashnikov Concern JSC's sole U.S. distributor in 2012, and the Russian company planned to sell 200,000 guns a year in America through that arrangement.

But in 2014, the U.S. Treasury imposed economic sanctions on Kalashnikov Concern and other Russian arms makers to punish Putin for supporting separatists in the Ukraine. RWC Group has said that since then, it has cut all ties to Russia and Kalashnikov Concern and is fully complying with the U.S. sanctions.

-- Bloomberg News

Business on 03/24/2018

Print Headline: Business news in brief

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