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Originally published June 5, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 5, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Business Digest

747 Dreamlifter certified by FAA

Pacific Northwest The Federal Aviation Administration has certified the gigantic cargo plane Boeing built to transport large sections of...

The Federal Aviation Administration has certified the gigantic cargo plane Boeing built to transport large sections of its new 787 Dreamliner, the airplane maker said Monday.

The modified 747, dubbed the Dreamlifter, has completed 437 hours of flight tests and 639 hours of ground tests since its first flight in early September 2006.

Tully's Coffee

Approval sought for a reverse split

Tully's Coffee on Monday asked shareholders to approve a 1-for-8 reverse stock split to set the stage for a proposed public offering.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Seattle coffee company specified the ratio of the share consolidation on which stockholders will vote at its June 27 annual meeting.

A shareholder who owns 1,000 shares before the reverse split would have 125 shares afterward. The Tully's stake represented by those shares would remain unchanged.

Tully's said the reverse split will increase interest in the initial public offering because many institutional investors won't buy shares priced below a certain threshold.

Tully's hasn't set a price range or a date for its much-promised IPO.

HipCricket

Mobile marketer raises $6 million

HipCricket, a Bellevue mobile marketing company, plans to announce today that it has raised $6 million in second-round capital.

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HipCricket helps broadcasters, such as radio stations, increase their audience by creating text-messaging campaigns on mobile phones.

To date, HipCricket has raised more than $10 million from angel investors, Broadmark Capital and an unnamed European investment group.

IceBreaker

$7.2 million more in venture capital

Bellevue-based IceBreaker plans to announce today that it has raised $7.2 million in second-round venture capital.

The company, which has 30 employees in its Bellevue and Beijing offices, is creating a social-networking service for cellphones. IceBreaker claims it has more than 150,000 registered members that use it on average two times a week.

The round of funding was co-led by Frazier Technology Ventures and existing investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. IceBreaker would not disclose how much money it raised previously.

Amgen

Drug maker buying Ilypsa

Amgen, which bought Seattle's Immunex for $10 billion in 2002, agreed to buy Ilypsa, a closely held developer of kidney treatments, for $420 million in cash as its two top-selling drugs face declining sales.

The acquisition will give Amgen an experimental drug for the treatment of people with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis, the company said Monday.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

Buying the dialysis treatment bolsters Amgen's product line at a time when analysts expect sales of its Aranesp and Epogen to drop.

Amgen, which has about 500 employees in Seattle, said last month it's cutting operating expenses by as much as $800 million this year and may make more reductions.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended May 10 new restrictions on prescribing Aranesp and Epogen, after studies showed they increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

Safeco / Geico

Credit-rating ruling a win for companies

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Safeco and Geico on Monday, limiting the circumstances under which companies must tell customers their credit ratings are affecting the amount they pay.

The justices said Geico did not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act and that Seattle-based Safeco might have but did not do so recklessly.

Consumer groups point to the notification requirement as the cornerstone to cleansing credit reports of inaccurate information.

In order for a company to be found liable, its conduct must entail an unjustifiably high risk of harm that is either known to the company or is so obvious that it should have been known, wrote Justice David Souter.

The court ruled that the law's notification requirements apply to initial applicants, which means new customers will be informed when their credit scores affect the rates they're being quoted.

But the court overturned an appeals court's ruling that would have required notification of the vast majority of customers.

Notification would have been the rule unless consumers were paying the very lowest rate offered to those with the very best credit ratings.

On another issue, the companies lost on their contention that in order to be found liable for a willful violation, it must be shown that they knew they were breaking the law.

The court said "reckless disregard" was sufficient. But the justices laid down a restrictive definition.

The court's ruling on the liability question was unanimous, while the decision on notification was 7-2.

Palm

Elevation Partners acquiring 25% stake

Faced with mounting competition in the smart-phone market, Palm is selling a quarter of its company to a private equity firm to arm itself with new leadership, most notably the former technical guru behind the iPod.

The deal with Elevation Partners — which agreed to invest $325 million for a 25 percent stake in Palm — will infuse new talent in the handheld-computer pioneer as it battles stiffening competition that will get tougher with Apple's June 29 launch of the iPhone.

As part of the deal, Palm will pay a special distribution of $9 a share, or about $940 million in cash, to shareholders. It said the special distribution would be financed by the new investment, cash on hand and $400 million in new debt.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, The Associated Press and Seattle Times staff

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