Early Briefing: Mixx Looks Beyond News

The McLean-based news site Mixx.com is hoping to persuade consumer product developers to draw on the wisdom of the Web as it launches a service that pairs its online community of news junkies with companies wanting to bounce ideas off a test audience, reports Mike Musgrove. The site's new service, called "Sifter," aims to help consumer-oriented businesses and marketers fine-tune their upcoming products and pitches by putting them in front of a group that already spends much of its time voting things up or down. Basically, it's an online version of focus-group testing.

Some of the nation's largest defense contractors, labor unions and trade groups are banding together to argue that the Obama administration is putting 100,000 or more jobs at risk by proposing deep cuts in weapons programs.
The defense industry and its supporters argue that the proposals by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will increase unemployment during a historic economic crisis. Why, they ask, would President Obama push hundreds of billions in stimulus spending to create jobs only to propose weapons cuts that would eliminate tens of thousands of them?

Sallie Mae extended the term of its $21.8 billion asset-backed commercial-paper facility to April 23, 2010 from this week's expiration. The extension provides liquidity for the Reston-based student lender while the Education Department completes its plans to fund student loans, Sallie Mae said in a statement.

LaSalle Hotel Properties said underwriters of its public offering of nearly 10.8 million shares have exercised their overallotment option to acquire an additional 1.6 million shares. The offering, announced Thursday, was priced at $10.10 per share, a 9 percent discount to the stock's closing price that day.
LaSalle expects to receive $119.4 million in proceeds from the offering, which it will use to reduce amounts outstanding under its senior unsecured credit facility, as well as under the unsecured credit facility of its subsidiary, LaSalle Hotel Lessee. It will also use proceeds for general corporate purposes.

Host Hotels & Resorts
, a Bethesda-based lodging real estate investment trust, said that the underwriters of its public stock offering of 66 million shares decided to exercise their overallotment option in full. The option gives the underwriters the ability to buy up to an additional 9.75 million shares at $6.60 per share, the same price as the offering.
Host said it plans to use the estimated $479 million in proceeds to pay off debt and for general corporate purposes.

By Terri Rupar  |  April 28, 2009; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch , Morning Brief
Previous: Marriott, Host Shares Gain on Earnings Report | Next: Early Briefing: Nonprofits Suspend United Way Memberships

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