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Top News Links: Tuesday, July 21

Lockheed Martin to buy Sikorsky Aircraft

Global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin announced Monday it will acquire Black Hawk helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft for $9 billion, but it’s too early to tell how the acquisition might affect local jobs. A news release said Lockheed Martin reached a definitive agreement with Sikorsky’s parent company, United Technologies, to purchase Sikorsky. If regulatory officials approve the acquisition, the companies might close on the deal by the first quarter of 2016. The purchase price is expected to be $7.1 billion after taking into account tax benefits that result from the transaction. – Dothan Eagle

‘Watchman’ hits sales of 1.1 million and climbing

Critics dismissed it as a rough draft for "To Kill a Mockingbird" and readers despaired over an aging, racist Atticus Finch. But Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" is still a million seller. HarperCollins announced today that "Go Set a Watchman" in its combined print, electronic and audio formats has sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S. and Canada, a figure that includes first-week sales and months of pre-orders. The publisher stunned the world in February when it revealed that a second novel was coming from Lee, who had long insisted that "To Kill a Mockingbird" would be her only book. – AP/TimesDaily

Birmingham metro home sales up 11.5 percent

According to the Greater Alabama MLS, the Birmingham metro area* residential sales totaled 1,430 units in June, an improvement of 11.5 percent or 148 units from the same period last year. This represents the best sales results for the month of June since 2007. Year-to-date sales through June are up 10.1 percent from 2014. – AL.com

Sloss Fest works despite abundance of heat

The weather was hot, but business was even hotter for the many vendors set up at the first-annual Sloss Fest in downtown Birmingham. Despite the July humidity, many in attendance still frequented the many vendors set up around the festival grounds, whether it be to grab a slice of Papa's Johns pizza, a cold treat from Steel City Pops or to purchase hand-made jewelry. – BizJournals.com

ServisFirst opens third Atlanta branch

ServisFirst Bancshares is growing its Atlanta division with a new 9,500-square-foot office with a bank branch and corporate customer service office space. ServisFirst Bank Atlanta, a subsidiary, opened its third Atlanta-area branch at Cobb Galleria July 1. Fifteen people work there with and there are plans to add at least five more in the next six months. – AL.com

Critics fret over proposed tobacco tax hike

As lawmakers consider ways to patch the General Fund budget’s $200+ million hole in the Special Legislative Session this summer, the option of increasing the tobacco tax has seemingly become the most palatable tax option. But according to Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama, a broad expansion of taxes levied on tobacco and tobacco replacements could have devastating effects on an entire burgeoning industry. – Yellowhammer

Law firm to offer educational seminars

Sirote & Permutt, P.C., in collaboration with the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants, will present a series of continuing professional education seminars about key legal issues in accounting, beginning July 30 and continuing through September. Members of the law firm’s Corporate & Securities, Estates, Wills & Trusts, and Tax practice groups will present each section. – RealEstateRama

Top tech companies hunting talent

Another month, another list of the high-tech Huntsville employers looking to hire new employees for some of their high-paying positions. Alabama Department of Labor June jobs data shows bad signs for local job seekers. More than 1,000 more unemployed people entered the job market, while the number of job openings remained relatively stagnant. – WAAY-TV

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