Today in the Fortune 500: Dish buys bankrupt Blockbuster, Boeing surprised by cracks in Southwest’s 737s and more questions about Berkshire’s Sokol

April 6, 2011, 7:31 PM UTC
A Blockbuster location in Moncton
Image via Wikipedia

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

BLOCKBUSTER SOLD to Dish Network Corp., which won the bankruptcy auction for the failed video rental store. Dish paid about $320.6 million for Blockbuster (BLOAQ). Dish says it doesn’t plan to liquidate the company, but will instead use some Blockbuster stores to sell Dish subscriptions. [Wall Street Journal]

CRACKING UNDER PRESSURE Boeing never expected its 737 jets to start to crack so soon, the company said, regarding the metal fatigue that caused a five-foot hole in one of Southwest’s planes on Friday. The Southwest (LUV) jet had only completed 40,000 takeoffs and landing cycles. By Boeing’s (BA) estimates, the body of the plane shouldn’t have started to crack for another 20,000 cycles. [New York Times]

BERKSHIRE’S SOKOL SITUATION is only getting more confusing. Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) CEO Warren Buffett issued a memo to his top employees last year warning against trading shares of companies in which Berkshire might later invest. Sokol, Buffett revealed last week, bought $10 million worth of shares in the chemicals company Lubrizol before Berkshire made a deal to acquire it. Buffett also said that Sokol told him these Lubrizol purchases were not a factor in his decision to resign. [Wall Street Journal]

IN HOT WATER Investors are gearing up to grill BP (BP) about everything from its plan to improve safety practices to executive salaries during BP’s annual shareholder meeting next month. Already, an alliance of investors with a total of 1 million shares in BP has has said it won’t approve the energy company’s annual report because it doesn’t provide a clear enough safety plan. [Wall Street Journal]

MAKE FLIGHT RESERVATIONS, NOT WAR American Airlines and online travel booking site Expedia have settled their differences. Expedia had pulled American Airlines (AMR) flights from its site in December because the airline had been trying to sell tickets through its own direct connect link. But the two companies have agreed to work together again. [CNNMoney]

BIG ECO-PAYOFF for Dow (DOW), which has invested $2 billion in energy saving technology since the 1990’s. The company said that investment has saved Dow 1.8 quadrillion British Thermal Units of energy since 1994 and pulled in a $7 billion net profit. [Fortune]