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Briefs

Sweetwater supplies IU sound gear

Basketball fans rocking to tunes at Assembly Hall in Bloomington this season can look to a Fort Wayne company as the source.

Music gear retailer Sweetwater Sound on Wednesday announced it provided the audio equipment at Indiana University’s college hoops mecca. The company collaborated with All Pro Sound, a Pensacola, Fla.-based audio installation business. The retail cost of the system was more than $750,000, but donations from Sweetwater and others lowered the bill.

Officials said the project took about a month. Typically, a job of that scope takes three to six months, they said. Besides removal of the old system, the project included installation of new speakers, amplifiers and signal-processing units. The equipment features 90 public address speakers, four subwoofers and a 24-channel digital mixer.

Sweetwater founder and President Chuck Surack said he was glad an Indiana company could provide the sound system. By working with All Pro Sound and others in the process, “we knew that, together, we would be able to meet the many challenges this huge project presented,” Surack said in a statement.

Hostess gets approval to start winding down

A bankruptcy court judge Wednesday approved a request by Hostess Brands Inc. to begin winding down its operations.

The ruling came Wednesday after the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread failed in last-ditch negotiations to end a walkout by its second-largest union.

Hostess now has the green light to terminate the jobs of its 18,000 workers without risking legal action and to sell off its brands.

In court Wednesday, Hostess said it needed to begin the liquidation process quickly to take advantage of outside interest in its brands, which a banker said could fetch up to $2.4 billion. That’s about how much Hostess generates in annual sales.

Measure of future economic activity up

A measure of the U.S. economy intended to signal future activity rose only slightly last month, suggesting growth could stay weak.

The Conference Board said Wednesday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.2 percent in October after a 0.5 percent gain in September. The index is intended to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.

The strength in October came from lower interest rates, a drop in applications for unemployment benefits, and an increase in demand for large manufactured goods.

In a separate report, the Labor Department said Wednesday that first-time applications for benefits fell by 41,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 410,000.

Two weeks ago, Superstorm Sandy drove applications up by 90,000 to 451,000, an 18-month high.

GM buys Ally assets in Europe, elsewhere

General Motors’ finance arm is buying Ally Financial’s loan businesses in Europe, Latin America and part of a joint venture in China for $4.25 billion.

GM says having its own finance operations will let it to make low-interest loans and cheap lease deals. Automakers with their own finance arms often subsidize loans and leases to boost sales.

The move will help Ally repay a $17.2 billion bailout from the U.S. government.

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