By Shelley DuBois
January 19, 2011
January 19, 2011

The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

CARGILL’S LATEST MOVE TO STAY PRIVATE involves selling $24.3 billion worth of shares in fertilizer company Mosaic MOS . Mosaic, which has a market cap of $38 billion, could now be up for a takeover by a foreign agribusiness company. The sale will allow Cargill to stay private and still placate representatives of charitable trusts formerly held by the late Margaret Cargill, the granddaughter of the company’s founder, by letting them cash in on Mosaic shares. The deal should also help Cargill pay off some debt. [Wall Street Journal]

APPLE STILL ‘FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS,’ the company’s CEO Steve Jobs said in a news release about Apple’s great sales numbers from the holiday quarter. Apple’s APPL net income in the last three months jumped to $6 billion–that’s a 78% increase from the same time the previous year. The good sales numbers should help assuage fears from investors spooked by recent news that Jobs will be taking medical leave. [New York Time]

OUT OF ORBITZ, ONTO PRICELINE American Airlines announced that it will soon team up with travel site Priceline.com. The announcement comes as American Airlines AMR has had a number of spats with other search sites. Travelocity.com and Expedia.com, for example, both dropped data for American Airlines flights, because they refused to use the airline’s own online ticket sales platform, called “Direct Connect.” Priceline.com, however, has agreed to work with the technology. [CNNMoney]

DELTA STOCK RUNS OUT OF GAS Delta stock fell the farthest for the company since October 2009, dropping 8.2% to $11.70 on Tuesday. Delta DAL was hit hard by increased fuel prices, and the company claims that the high cost of fuel will remain its greatest challenge going forward. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

SO LONG, LONG JOHN’S Yum Brands announced plans to sell the seafood chain Long John Silvers along with its A&W All-American Food restaurants because they no longer fit into the food company’s corporate strategy. Instead, Yum YUM Brands, which owns 37,000 stores worldwide, wants to focus on strengthening its top-selling brands abroad. Namely, Yum wants to make sure that KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut access more of the markets in China, India, South Africa and Russia. [Wall Street Journal]

JOHNSON & JOHNSON PARTNERS TO SPEED ALZHEIMER’S DRUG DEVELOPMENT The drug development arm of Johnson & Johnson JNJ has teamed up with an medical research facility called the Sanford-Burnham Institute in the hopes that the partnership will  shorten the path to getting new Alzheimer’s treatments FDA approval. This kind of academic-industry partnership is becoming a trend, as companies look for ways to move quickly through early-stage research. [FierceBiotech]

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