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Business Briefly: Aug. 12, 2014

New Sprint CEO sees further cost cuts

Sprint Corp. Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure, in his first day on the job, told employees to expect further cost cuts and a more vigorous competitive edge.

“In the short-term, our success will come from our focus on becoming extremely cost-efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace,” Claure said Monday in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

After backing off this month on a plan to merge Sprint with T-Mobile US Inc., Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son brought in Claure, who founded phone distributor Brightstar Corp., to reinvigorate the ailing wireless carrier. The new CEO is charged with helping Sprint attract subscribers after his predecessor, Dan Hesse, lost monthly customers every year since 2007.

Claure said he’d hold a companywide meeting with employees Thursday. – Bloomberg News

U.S. warns about Bitcoin

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal regulators are warning consumers about the risks of using virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it will begin fielding complaints from people who rely on products such as Bitcoin and online exchanges for such currencies.

In issuing an advisory warning, the agency notes that the currencies are not backed by the government, have volatile exchanges rates and are targeted by hackers and scammers. And unlike bank accounts, Bitcoin-based deposits are not federally insured.

Bureau Director Richard Cordray says in a statement that “consumers are stepping into the Wild West.” Still, Cordray acknowledges that virtual currencies can facilitate online transactions by making it easier to process payments. The Securities and Exchange Commission previously issued an investor alert about virtual currencies.

Chicken fries are back

Burger King customers have been heard.

The Miami-based chain is bringing back chicken fries, the breaded and fried chicken strips served in a fry-style box, after consumers took to social media to request the item. Customers complained on Facebook and Twitter when they were taken off the menu in 2012.

“We underestimated the cult following that the product had,” Alex Macedo, president of North America for the company, said in a phone interview. “There’s a big opportunity for us to bring it back.”

Burger King Worldwide Inc. has been trying to boost sales by introducing new products as fast-food competition intensifies.

Its rivals also are revamping their menus.

McDonald’s Corp. recently began selling a $2 jalapeno double burger, while Wendy’s Co. brought back pretzel buns in June.