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Briefs

Microsoft eyes HTC cellphones

Microsoft is talking to HTC about adding its Windows operating system to HTC’s Android-based smartphones at little or no cost, people with knowledge of the matter said, evidence of the software maker’s struggle to gain ground in the mobile market.

Last month, Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s operating systems unit, asked HTC, based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, to load Windows Phone as a second option on handsets with Google’s rival software, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Myerson discussed cutting or eliminating the license fee to make the idea more attractive, the people said. The talks are preliminary, and no decision has been made, two people said.

It’s willingness to add Windows as a second operating system underscores the lengths to which Microsoft will go to get manufacturers to carry its software. HTC, the first company to make both Windows and Android phones, hasn’t unveiled a new Windows-based handset since June and has no current plans to release any more, said one person. Microsoft, with 3.7 percent of the market, is finding it necessary to make concessions after agreeing to acquire Nokia’s handset unit, which competes with other smartphone makers.

Investors gobble up new Potbelly shares

Investors gobbled up shares of Potbelly Corp. on Friday, and the sandwich chain’s shares more than doubled in their debut on the Nasdaq.

The company’s initial public offering was another win for food companies going public. Shares of Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. rose 123 percent in the natural and organic grocery’s August IPO. Restaurant chain Noodles & Co.’s stock more than doubled in its June debut.

Potbelly’s stock rose $16.77, or 120 percent, to close at $30.77, after the IPO raised $105 million – more than the company had expected.

80 workers being cut from Indiana bank

More than 80 workers at northwestern Indiana’s Citizens Financial Bank will be laid off following its takeover by a central Indiana-based bank.

Citizens Financial Bank President Daryl Pomranke says all the layoffs will be of employees in support roles such as operations and technology, while tellers, loan officers and salespeople will keep their jobs.

In all, nearly a third of the 260 workers at Munster-based Citizens Financial will be laid off.

Muncie-based First Merchants bought Citizens Financial and its 20 branches in northwestern Indiana and Chicago’s southern suburbs in May as part of a nearly $115 million deal.

Swiss regulator probes alleged market rigging

Switzerland’s financial markets regulator said it’s investigating several firms over the possible manipulation of the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority “is coordinating closely with authorities in other countries as multiple banks around the world are potentially implicated,” the regulator said in a statement Friday. Several domestic firms are being investigated, Finma said.

The probe comes after Bloomberg News reported in June that dealers at banks pooled information through instant messages and used client orders to move benchmark currency rates. Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said that month it was reviewing the allegations.

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