Ripley's opens Odditorium at Harborplace

Ripley's Believe It or Not, one of the first of several new tenants opening for the summer tourist season at Harborplace in downtown Baltimore, will open Saturday in the Light Street Pavilion.

Ripley Entertainment Inc. said exhibits at the Inner Harbor "odditorium" will include Harry Potter's Hogwarts Castle made out of 600,000 matchsticks, a Mini Cooper car covered with one million Swarovski crystals, a one ton U.S. Lincoln penny made from 10,000 copper pennies and an art gallery with displays such as a portrait of Justin Bieber, made out of licorice and gummy bears.

A grand opening of the two-story, 10,000-square-foot museum is planned for June 26. Ripley's features nine themed galleries and more than 120 interactive activities in its odditorium as well as a mirror maze and a 4D movie theater, each of which are considered separate attractions. Single tickets for each attraction are $17.99 for adults and $11.99 for children, with discounted tickets for two or all three attractions.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. also opened recently. Other new offerings at the Light Street Pavilion this summer will include McCormick World of Flavors, a remodeled food court and a return of Johnny Rockets restaurant.

Lorraine Mirabella

Tribune may learn about reorganization OK in early July

Tribune Co., the biggest newspaper publisher in bankruptcy and owner of The Baltimore Sun, may learn by early July whether it has won the first of two rulings it needs to leave bankruptcy this year, lawyers involved in the case said.

Should the judge overseeing the case approve the company's reorganization plan by early July, Tribune may be able to exit bankruptcy by August, or by the end of the year at the latest, depending on how long it takes the Federal Communications Commission to make a key second ruling, Chief Reorganization Officer Don Liebentritt said in an interview Friday.

Tribune finished the last major court hearing in its bankruptcy Friday in Wilmington, Del., asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey to approve a plan that would divide ownership of the television and newspaper company among its senior lenders, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., and hedge funds Oaktree Capital Management LP and Angelo, Gordon & Co.

Should Carey approve that plan, the company would need to win approval from the FCC to transfer its television and radio licenses to the new owners before it can exit bankruptcy.

— Bloomberg News

GlaxoSmithKline extends offer for Human Genome Sciences

GlaxoSmithKline Plc extended its hostile takeover offer for Human Genome Sciences Inc. after failing to win control of the Rockville-based biotechnology company with its $2.6 billion bid.

Shareholders now have until June 29 to tender their stock, London-based Glaxo said in a statement Friday. Glaxo said 474,029 Human Genome shares were tendered before its $13-a-share offer expired Thursday. Human Genome has 199.1 million shares outstanding.

Human Genome shares have traded above the offer price since Glaxo announced the proposed takeover on May 9, signaling investors expect a higher bid. Glaxo went directly to shareholders of Human Genome after the company rebuffed its approaches, saying the bid was inadequate.

The "minuscule" number of shares tendered shows "there isn't any interest in this offer at this level," said Navid Malik, an analyst at Cenkos Securities in London. "Glaxo has to raise their offer. That's the only way forward."

Buying Human Genome would give Glaxo full control over marketing Benlysta, a treatment for lupus. The companies share revenue and profits from the drug equally.

— Reuters

Trade deficit shrinks on slower growth in Europe and China

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in April as slower growth in Europe and China bit into exports and the soft U.S. economy clipped import demand, a government report showed on Friday.

The trade gap shrank 4.9 percent to $50.1 billion, with exports falling 0.8 percent from last month's record level to $182.9 billion, the Commerce Department said. Imports dropped 1.7 percent to $233.0 billion.

Still both imports and exports were the second-highest on record. But with Europe teetering on the edge of recession, some analysts saw trouble ahead for U.S. overseas sales, which have been a driver of U.S. economic growth.

However, revisions to earlier trade data suggested economic growth in the first quarter was stronger than previously estimated. UBS Securities said GDP growth likely would be revised up to a 2.3 percent annual rate from 1.9 percent.

U.S. exports to the 27-nation European Union fell 11.1 percent in April to $22.3 billion, but for the first four months of 2012 were 3.5 percent above the same period last year. The EU was the United States' second-largest export market last year.

— Reuters

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