CNN Money: Top business headlines for Feb. 20

    7:10 AM, Feb 20, 2014   |    comments
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    NEW YORK (CNN) -- CNN Money's Maribel Aber has your top business and financial news on this Thursday, February 20.

    Ethanol station sale boosts Murphy USA 4Q income
    Murphy Oil USA Inc. of El Dorado on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $93.6 million, up from $19 million during the same quarter of 2012. Earnings for the publicly traded gas station chain were $2 per diluted share, up from 41 cents in 2012. Earnings came on revenue of $4.19 billion, down from $4.89 billion in 2012. Broken down, $3.58 billion of Murphy USA's sales came from selling fuel; $533 million from merchandise and $72 million from ethanol and other. A big chunk of the year-over-year gain came as the company sold an ethanol plant in Hankinson, N.D., during the quarter for $173 million. The deal generated a $52.5 million gain on the sale. The buyer was Guardian Hankinson LLC.

    Beware the 'dirty dozen' tax scams
    From IRS impersonators to tax preparers behaving badly, scammers are on the prowl this tax season. Here are "the Dirty Dozen" schemes the IRS is warning about: 1. Identity Theft. The IRS continues to be overwhelmed by identity theft, which occurs when a fraudster uses someone else's name and social security number to claim refunds. While the agency has been cracking down on the issue -- the number of identity theft-related criminal investigations surged 66% last year -- it still paid out nearly $4 billion in fraudulent refunds last year.

    Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion
    In a play to dominate messaging on phones and the Web, Facebook has acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion. That's a stunning sum for the five-year old company. But WhatsApp has been able to hold its weight against messaging heavyweights like Twitter (TWTR), Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) Skype. WhatsApp has upwards of 450 million users, and it is adding an additional million users every day. Referring to WhatsApp's soaring growth, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a conference call, "No one in the history of the world has done anything like that."

    A bluetooth E-cigarette and a speakerphone
    We've been punked, right? This thing can't possibly actually exist. We've seen plenty of ridiculous inventions in our day, but a combination electronic cigarette and speakerphone? What the what? According to the people behind this abomination, the Supersmoker Bluetooth "aesthetically combines the convenience of electronic smoking with modern-day technology." (Given that there are bigger fish to fry here, we'll forgive them for calling a speakerphone "modern-day technology.") From what we can tell, the Supersmoker Bluetooth is real, and it's available now from a Dutch e-tailer in black, silver and gold for the princely sum of €84.90 (about $117). Oh, and it plays music, too.



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