Business briefs

Market flower seller Baker's is for sale

OLYMPIA - Baker's Greenhouses, founded in 1976 and a popular fixture selling flowers at the Olympia Farmers Market, is for sale. Hodges, Gilliam & Dana Investment Real Estate announced Friday it was trying to sell the farm.

Reached at the Farmers Market on Friday, owner Jerry Baker said he hoped to sell five acres at 4609 87th Ave. S.E., in East Olympia and continue living on two acres. His wife, Mary, who founded the business, died in December of cancer.

Jerry Baker retired from the Olympia Brewery Co. in 1992 and joined his wife's flower business. He said he was open to taking on a partner to continue the flower business, but was uncertain of its future. Before she died, Mary urged her husband, who is 68, to stop working so hard, Jerry Baker said.

"This has been the most gratifying business you can be in, it's a fun business," Baker said.


Takeover talk gives fuel to Macy's stock

CINCINNATI - Shares of Macy's Inc., which operates a store in Olympia's Westfield Capital mall, jumped 9 percent Friday amid speculation that the department store operator was being targeted for a takeover.

Macy's shares rose $3.52 to $42.39. Their 52-week range is $32.57 to $46.70. Macy's spokeswoman Sharon Bateman declined to comment.

Macy's, formerly known as Federated Department Stores Inc., has faced investor scrutiny as it struggles to transform its acquired May Department Stores Co. branches to the Macy's brand, resulting in lackluster sales. The company has also blamed weak demand for home goods.

Wall Street

Bear Stearns plans to bail out hedge fund

NEW YORK - Bear Stearns Cos. confirmed Friday it will bail out one of its troubled hedge funds with

$3.2 billion in secured loans, but the Wall Street firm sought to convince the broader market its troubles are "relatively contained."

Bear said it stepped in to save the Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Fund because market uncertainty made it "difficult" to unwind the fund's assets - mostly securities backed by risky mortgage loans.


Parts maker has deal with largest union

DETROIT - Struggling auto parts maker Delphi Corp. reached a tentative wage-cutting agreement Friday with its largest union in what may set the pattern for future pay in the U.S. automotive parts industry.

The deal, which still must be voted on by Delphi members of the United Auto Workers, was signed just before a 1 p.m. meeting between the UAW leadership and presidents of the union's locals.