Take stock – November 24

Apple says people snapped up more than 450,000 copies of Beatles albums plus two million individual songs during the Fab Four’s first week on sale through iTunes.

Beatles fans downloaded 450,000 albums

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple says people snapped up more than 450,000 copies of Beatles albums plus two million individual songs during the Fab Four’s first week on sale through iTunes.

Apple Inc. says the bestselling Beatles album in the U.S. is “Abbey Road,” and the bestselling individual track is “Here Comes the Sun.” The Beatles Box Set, which costs $149, is No. 10 on Apple’s weekly iTunes top-10 list. The Beatles’ music went on sale on iTunes on Nov. 16. Until then, the biggest-selling, most influential group in rock history has been glaringly absent from iTunes and other legal online music services. Apple struck an agreement after on-and-off negotiations with the Beatles’ recording label, EMI Group, and their management company, Apple Corps.


Ontario teachers sells its one-quarter of Maple Leaf

TORONTO — The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board has agreed to sell its entire 25.2 per cent stake in Maple Leaf Foods (TSX:MFI) for just under $362.4 million, severing a 15-year-old business relationship with the Toronto-based company.

The OTPPB initially sold a block of about 21 million common shares Tuesday afternoon to a syndicate of underwriters but later in the day increased that to more than 34.5 million shares. “We got a call later in the afternoon and there was enough demand for our whole holding, so we sold it all under the same terms,” Teachers spokeswoman Deborah Allan said Tuesday.

In both cases, the shares were sold for $10.50 each — about 17 per cent below the market price of $12.69 on Tuesday, just before trading of Maple Leaf shares was halted mid-afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Allan said the discount price was “basically a function of the size of the deal.” It was no secret that Teachers was rethinking its position at Maple Leaf Foods — a company that OTPPB has backed since it joined the family of Wallace McCain to buy Maple Leaf from Hillsdown Holdings in 1995.