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EARNINGS

Applebee’s parent has smaller loss

The parent of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP Restaurants said its fourth-quarter loss narrowed as it cut costs and improved margins at company-run Applebee’s.

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Glendale-based DineEquity Inc. reported a loss of $48.2 million, or $2.84 a share, compared with a loss of $136.9 million, or $8.15, a year earlier.

Revenue dipped 0.1% to $355.2 million.

Taking out impairment and store-closing charges and other items, profit was 76 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had predicted 15 cents.

Shares of DineEquity rose $3.67, or 12%, to $33.29 on Wednesday.

HOTELS

Radisson owner to grow, rebrand

The owner of the Radisson chain is launching a $1.5-billion rebranding and expansion to make its hotels more luxurious in markets where it lags and to increase the number of hotels it operates by 50%.

Carlson Hotels Worldwide said it would open five “flagship” hotels in major U.S. cities and spend hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading and renovating existing hotels.

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The Minneapolis company plans to add 500 hotels worldwide over 5 years: a mix of Radissons, Country Inns & Suites, Regent Hotels and Park Inns.

PHARMA

Alzheimer’s drug fails in study

A promising Alzheimer’s disease drug that Pfizer Inc. and a partner are developing failed to work in a late-stage study, a startling disappointment after the potential blockbuster kept symptoms from worsening for a year in a prior test.

Pfizer and partner Medivation Inc. said the experimental drug, Dimebon failed to meet its primary and secondary goals -- improving thinking ability and overall daily function over six months in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The results don’t necessarily spell the end for Dimebon, one of the key prospects for New York-based Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug maker by revenue. Medivation and Pfizer are continuing three studies that could prove Dimebon helps patients in combination with other Alzheimer’s drugs or when used for a longer period.

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Pfizer said to bid on Ratiopharm

Pfizer Inc. is bidding as much as $4.08 billion for German generic-drug maker Ratiopharm, said two people with knowledge of the talks.

Pfizer could make a presentation to Ratiopharm’s management as early as this week to support its bid, said the two people, who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to comment on the process.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Actavis Group are also bidding, and Ratiopharm is expected to decide this month, one of the people said.

INTERNET

IBM to launch cloud software

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International Business Machines Corp., playing catch-up to Microsoft Corp. in the so-called public-cloud market, will start offering development software over the Internet this month.

IBM, which began testing programs in October, is ready to sell them, said Erich Clementi, the company’s strategy chief.

The programs enable users to create and test their own software on the Web.

-- times wire reports

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