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A federal judge in Fayetteville has approved a $160 million settlement between Walmart Inc. and a Michigan pension fund in a class-action lawsuit accusing the Bentonville retailer of securities fraud.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said Thursday that the company is "pleased with the final approval."

The City of Pontiac General Employees' Retirement System sued Walmart and former chief executive Mike Duke in July 2012 after reports surfaced that Walmart de Mexico bribed Mexican officials to issue building permits faster. Investors claimed Walmart knew about the bribes in 2005 but hid that knowledge until learning in early 2012 that The New York Times was investigating the matter.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, claimed the plaintiffs lost money when Walmart's stock price fell after the Times' story was published on April 21, 2012.

The two sides filed a settlement agreement in October 2018. Judge Susan Hickey ruled Monday that the settlement is "fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the class." The judge dismissed all claims with prejudice, meaning the judgment is final.

-- Serenah McKay

Tyson unit invests in food-safety firm

Clear Labs Inc. of Menlo Park, California, a food-safety firm that tests for meat spoilers, is the latest investment by Tyson Ventures, the Springdale food company's capital arm.

Clear Labs uses robotics to detect pathogens, such as salmonella, in food supplies at a faster rate than current methods, Bloomberg News reported Thursday.

The investment is Tyson's first in a food-safety company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"If all goes as planned, this will be in lab settings and help us do that better, faster and more accurately," Reese Schroeder, Tyson Venture's managing director, told Bloomberg News. Food companies use microbiology labs to ensure no food-poisoning culprits, such as E. coli, are in edible products before hitting store shelves.

-- Nathan Owens

Arkansas Index up 3.58, ends at 429.97

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, rose 3.58 to 429.97 Thursday.

"Equities recovered from a mid-day sell-off to close slightly higher on light volumes led by the industrials sector as investors prepare for earnings season for the first quarter to kick off in earnest over the next several days," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.

Total volume for the index was 13.2 million shares.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 04/12/2019

Print Headline: Judge OKs $160M Walmart settlement

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