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Business Highlights

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Lunch meat maker Hormel orders up Skippy sandwich

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Hormel Foods apparently has a hankering for a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. The company primarily known for Spam and other cured, smoked and deli meats said Thursday that it's buying Skippy, the country's No. 2 peanut butter brand, in its biggest-ever acquisition.

Skippy, which was introduced in 1932 and is a staple in American pantries, is intended to increase Hormel's presence in the center of the supermarket, where nonperishable foods are sold. It also gives the Austin, Minn.-based company a stronger footing in international markets. Skippy is sold in about 30 countries and is the leading peanut butter brand in China, where Hormel has been trying to build up its Spam business for the past several years.

Hormel, which also makes canned chili, sausages and pepperoni, currently gets the vast majority of its sales in the U.S., with only about 4 percent of revenue coming from abroad. Now the company is hoping that Skippy, which it's buying from Unilever for $700 million, will help it expand at home and overseas.

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Al-Jazeera pays $500 million for Current TV

LOS ANGELES (AP) â¿¿ With its $500 million purchase of left-leaning Current TV, the Pan-Arab news channel Al-Jazeera will soon be seen in tens of millions of U.S. homes. It's a steep price, but the acquisition helps the channel in its aim to quickly spread its message to more Americans.

The purchase will create a news channel called Al-Jazeera America, coming to American homes 90 days from now with a distinctly non-American view of the world. The network claims many people in the U.S. have sought its programming online, and that it aims to present an "unbiased" view, "representing as many different viewpoints as possible."

The deal already had its first casualty.

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