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GM offers buyouts at 14 plants

General Motors Co. is offering buyouts to several thousand skilled trades workers at 14 plants around the U.S.

The Allen County truck assembly plant and the Defiance, Ohio, foundry are not among the 14 plants.

The automaker will pay eligible workers $60,000 to retire with full benefits. Younger workers will have the option to take the $60,000 in exchange for giving up retiree health care and other benefits.

GM spokesman Chris Lee didn’t know how many workers will get the offers. The company estimates it has 2,000 more skilled trades workers than it needs right now. Skilled trades workers do jobs that need special training, like electrical work and welding.

Eligible workers will be notified by Dec. 23 and will have to leave the company by March 1.

Walgreen, McDonald’s databases breached

Walgreen Co., McDonald’s and Twitter reported unrelated security breaches Monday.

Walgreen said hackers who gained access to a list of customer e-mail addresses may have sent spam directing customers to enter personal data into outside websites.

McDonald’s said private information that customers supplied when signing up for online promotions or subscriptions was exposed when a subcontractor improperly handled the data.

And Twitter said hackers broke into an unspecified number of its users’ accounts and sent spam promoting acai berry drinks.

Fewer homeowners underwater in quarter

The number of homeowners who owe more than their houses are worth fell for the third straight quarter this summer.

About 10.8 million households, or 22.5 percent of all mortgaged homes, were underwater in the July-September quarter, housing data firm CoreLogic said Monday. That’s down from 23 percent, or 11 million households, in the second quarter.

The decline came mainly because more homes had fallen into foreclosure and not because home prices had increased.

In a healthy housing market, about 5 percent of homeowners with a mortgage owe more than their homes are worth, CoreLogic’s economist Sam Khater estimates.

A.O. Smith sells unit for $875 million

Manufacturer A.O. Smith Corp. said on Monday that it will sell its electrical products unit to Regal Beloit Corp. for $875 million. A.O. Smith said the unit is one of the largest makers of electric motors for residential and commercial use in North America.

The selling price includes $700 million cash and about 2.83 million Regal Beloit shares, which the company said were worth $175 million based on their 10-day average share price.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal.

Grocer A&P files for bankruptcy protection

The Great Atlantic & Tea Co., best known to grocery shoppers as A&P, says it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Montvale, N.J., company, founded in 1859, says it will have access to $800 million in debtor-in-possession financing and that all of its 395 stores, which are located in eight states in the eastern U.S., are open for business.

The filing was widely anticipated.