Business News at a Glance
Posted January 11, 2018 10:17 p.m. EST
Walmart’s Bumpy Day: From Wage Increase to Store Closings
Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, on Thursday announced it would use some of its savings under the new tax bill to provide wage increases, bonuses and expanded benefits to its hourly workers. The giant retailer said it would raise its minimum starting wage to $11 an hour, from $9. But within hours, Walmart had undercut its triumphal message when news leaked that it was closing 63 of its Sam’s Club stores. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which hopes to represent Walmart’s nonunionized workforce, called the wage increase a “public relations stunt” meant to distract from the closings.
Facebook Overhauls News Feed to Focus on What Friends and Family Share
Facebook introduced sweeping changes to the kinds of posts, videos and photos that its more than 2 billion members will see most, saying on Thursday that it will prioritize what their friends and family share and comment on while de-emphasizing content from publishers and brands. The shift is the most significant overhaul in years to Facebook’s News Feed, the cascading screen of content that people typically see when they log into the social network. Over the next few weeks, users will begin seeing fewer viral videos and news articles posted by media companies.
Kering to Spin Off Puma, Saying Goodbye to Sports Lifestyle
Kering, the owner of high-fashion labels such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, is getting out of the sports lifestyle business. On Thursday, the French conglomerate said it would spin off the German sports brand Puma to its shareholders, the final move in a series of deals brokered by Kering as part of its transformation into a pure luxury player. The move is a signal of Kering’s belief in the health of the highest end of the consumer market. The number of Puma’s publicly traded shares would be increased to approximately 55 percent, a statement said.
Dropbox Is Said to Be Planning to Go Public
Silicon Valley has birthed many highly valued and hugely hyped startups in recent years, including Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest. Few have made it onto the stock market successfully. Now Dropbox, the online file storage company that is part of Silicon Valley’s closely watched pack of “unicorns,” plans to try its luck. The company has filed documents to go public, people briefed on the matter said Thursday. If Dropbox — last valued by private-market investors at about $10 billion — follows through on an initial public offering, it will become one of the highest-profile technology companies of late to seek a stock market listing.
States Push Back After Net Neutrality Repeal
A new front is opening in the battle to restore net neutrality rules: state legislatures. Lawmakers in at least six states, including California and New York, have introduced bills in recent weeks that would forbid internet providers to block or slow down sites or online services. Legislators in several other states, including North Carolina and Illinois, are weighing similar action. They are responding to the Federal Communications Commission’s vote last month to end regulations that barred internet service providers from creating slow and fast lanes for different sites and services. The new policy will go into effect in the coming weeks.
When the President Says It, Does That Mean It’s Not Unprintable?
Lester Holt opened the “NBC Nightly News” on Thursday with a parental warning: “This may not be appropriate for some of our younger viewers.” Media outlets on Thursday took the unusual step of allowing the word “shithole” in print and on air, after a report that President Donald Trump had used the term to describe African nations and Haiti during a White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration. It is exceedingly rare for the country’s biggest news organizations to publish a quote that includes an expletive. But several media executives said Thursday that the news value of Trump’s remarks was undeniable.