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Business

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Briefs

Profit off at designer bag maker

Vera Bradley Inc. on Wednesday reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $15.2 million, or 37 cents per diluted share, a 14 percent decline from the $17.7 million, or 44 cents a share, posted for last year’s comparable period.

The Fort Wayne-based company designs and makes quilted cotton handbags, luggage, accessories and home décor items. Like many retailers, Vera Bradley follows a fiscal calendar that ends in late January.

This was the first quarterly earnings report issued under the leadership of Robert Wallstrom, a former Saks Fifth Avenue executive who was named president and CEO last month. He joined the company on Nov. 11. The fiscal quarter ended Nov. 2.

Vera Bradley’s net revenues were $130.1 million, a 6 percent decline from the $138.3 million reported for the previous third quarter.

Hilton public offering fetches $2.35 billion

Hilton is back, and in a big way.

The hotelier, which went private in 2007, on Wednesday priced its initial public offering at $20 a share. The company and a shareholder sold 117.6 million shares, about 5 million more than originally planned, for a total take of $2.35 billion.

The payoff surpasses the $2.1 billion generated by Twitter’s IPO last month. If the banks involved buy the extra shares in the deal – the over-allotment – it will be the second-biggest IPO of the year, behind Plains GP Holdings LP at $2.9 billion.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is the world’s largest hotel group, with 665,667 rooms across 90 countries and territories.

FDA plans to reduce antibiotics in meat

Citing a potential threat to public health, the Food and Drug Administration is taking steps toward phasing out the use of some antibiotics in animals processed for meat.

Many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their animals antibiotics regularly to ensure that they are healthy and to make the animals grow faster. Now, the agency has announced that it will ask pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs important for treating human infection as acceptable for that growth promotion in animals.

If the drug companies sign on – and two major companies have already signaled they will – using those antibiotics to promote growth in animals would be illegal. Prescriptions would be required to use the drugs for animal illnesses.

FDA endorses first generic Cymbalta

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic versions of the blockbuster antidepressant Cymbalta, offering lower-cost access to one of the most widely prescribed treatments for depression, anxiety and other disorders.

Cymbalta is Eli Lilly & Co. Inc.’s best-selling drug and posted 2012 sales of $4.7 billion, making it the fifth-highest selling medication in the world.

The drug’s patent expired Wednesday, clearing the way for the launch of cheaper versions of the drug from generic drug makers. Generic drugs often sell for a fraction of the price of the original branded product.

Besides depression, Cymbalta is also prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorder, diabetic nerve pain, fibromyalgia and forms of chronic pain.

The FDA said it approved six generic versions of the pill.

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