Dish Network offers to buy Sprint for $25.5 billion

Dish Network is trying to snag U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel from a Japanese suitor. Dish offered $25.5 billion in cash and stock on Monday for Sprint, which Dish says beats an offer from Japan’s Softbank Corp.

If the Dish deal goes through, it would create a unique combination of pay-TV and wireless operator. Dish hopes to lure customers with the promise of TV service that can go with them, out of the house and on their phones. It has already broken ranks with the pay-TV industry by providing a set-top box that can send recorded shows to iPads.

J.C. Penney job No. 1: Calming down vendors

NEW YORK — As J.C. Penney Co. burns through its cash after a disastrous turnaround plan and taps almost half of its credit line, the struggling department store chain must calm investors and restore confidence among several hundred suppliers whose constant flow of merchandise must continue if the retailer is to survive.

Penney announced Monday that it will draw $850 million from its $1.85 billion revolving credit line to pay for replenishing inventory particularly for its overhauled home area.

It comes at a critical time. Penney is wrapping up back-to-school orders and starting to order goods for the critical holiday shopping season at the end of the year. Normally retailers order goods well in advance but don’t pay for them until about 30 to 60 days until after goods are shipped. If vendors start demanding to be paid in advance, stores face a cash crunch.

GM, Ford team up on new car transmissions

General Motors and Ford are putting aside their longstanding rivalry to work together to develop a new generation of fuel-efficient automatic transmissions.

The companies said Monday that their engineers will jointly design nine- and 10-speed transmissions that will go into many of new cars and trucks.

When transmissions have more gears, engines don’t have to work as hard. That saves fuel. As long as the shifting is smooth, most drivers probably don’t give much thought to their transmissions.

Home builders express worries over materials

U.S. homebuilders are concerned that limited land and rising costs for building materials and labor will slow sales in the short term.

Still, their outlook for sales over the next six months climbed to the highest level in more than six years — suggesting the obstacles could be temporary.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday fell this month to 42 from 44 in March. It was the third decline since January. Measures of customer traffic and current sales conditions both declined from March’s reading.

Citi cautious even as it posts strong 1Q profits

Citigroup on Monday announced strong first-quarter results, but executives were more cautious than celebratory.

Though they didn’t declare victory, they appeared to have reason to. Citigroup’s investment bank advised more companies on mergers and acquisitions. Its retail bank wrote more mortgages, and the company set aside less money for bad loans. Quarterly profit rose 17 percent to $4 billion while revenue climbed 3 percent. The results beat expectations and the bank’s stock ended slightly higher amid a broader market sell-off.

CEO Mike Corbat said that Europe’s debt problems and slowing growth in parts of Asia can still rattle investors. New regulations, low interest rates and legal and other costs from the financial crisis will weigh on the bank’s earnings.

Wire reports