Business News at a Glance
Posted June 6, 2018 9:55 p.m. EDT
Brand Crisis: When a Namesake Leaves a Company
Soon after fans of Kate Spade learned that the designer had died in an apparent suicide Tuesday, stunned customers remembered the handbags they purchased after their first big promotion, or the linens they were given for their first home, or the onesies in which they dressed their babies. Many wondered how the Kate Spade label would fare without Kate Spade. Spade, though, hadn’t had a role there for more than a decade. But all the while, her identity — the smile, the beehive, the colorful dresses — remained a big part of the brand’s appeal to customers.
A Russian Oligarch’s $500 Million Yacht Is in the Middle of Britain’s Costliest Divorce
With a spa, a swimming pool, two heliports and room for 18 guests, the Luna is more like a floating luxury villa than a yacht. But for now, the Luna isn’t moving. It sits in a dry dock in Dubai. In December 2016, a High Court judge ordered Farkhad Akhmedov, a Russian billionaire, to pay the equivalent of $646 million to his ex-wife, Tatiana Akhmedova. He refused. Unconvinced and unable to enforce his ruling, the judge in April ordered Akhmedov to hand over the yacht, valued at roughly $500 million. It has since been impounded by the authorities in Dubai.
Bush Scion Is Out as Health Firm’s Chief After Intense Activist Campaign
Jonathan Bush, a nephew of one president and cousin of another, stepped down as chief executive of Athenahealth under pressure from Elliott Management, which last month made a hostile takeover offer for the company. The hedge fund is renowned for its use of sharp-elbowed tactics. Late last month, a 2005 court filing that accused Bush of hitting his ex-wife surfaced. A few days later, Bloomberg News reported on a 2007 complaint by a female employee who cited inappropriate conduct by Bush. In announcing his departure, Athenahealth said it was evaluating its strategic options, including a possible sale.
As Fuel Prices Rise, Airlines Warn of Higher Fares
The price of jet fuel has gone up 50 percent in the past year, and airline executives are warning that they may have to raise ticket prices and cut capacity if fuel costs continue to rise. With the summer travel season about to begin and many of their seats already booked, the airlines have indicated that they are not going to act immediately. In fact, Delta told investors Wednesday that it planned to make decisions in the next month on capacity in the fall, when demand usually drops off.
White House’s NAFTA Approach Frustrates Businesses, Panicked Emails Show
A rocky process has plagued President Donald Trump’s attempt to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement from the start, as internal divisions and a thinly staffed bureaucracy often left big American companies with much at stake shut out of deliberations, according to internal administration emails. Documents show corporations and trade groups — such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers — struggling to get their voices heard within a supposedly business-friendly administration and sending increasingly panicked emails to the United States trade representative’s office about its approach to rewriting the pact.
Alexander Nix, Ex-Chief of Cambridge Analytica, Is Defiant in British Hearing
Facebook struck a conciliatory tone in the wake of a data-privacy scandal. But that was not the case Wednesday for the former chief executive of Cambridge Analytica. Alexander Nix shot back at accusations from British lawmakers that he or his company engaged in unethical business practices, abused information pulled from the social network or played a role in the British vote to leave the European Union. Nix said Cambridge Analytica did at one point have data on millions of Facebook users. But, he said, Cambridge Analytica did not find the information useful and deleted it.
Consumer Bureau’s Acting Chief Purges Its Advisory Boards
Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was expected to meet on Wednesday with members of its consumer advisory board, which provides feedback on the bureau’s rules and policies. Instead, one of his deputies dismissed the board’s members. By law, the bureau must convene the advisory board and hold at least two in-person meetings with its members a year. The bureau canceled a meeting scheduled for February, and last week it canceled one planned for this week. In place of that meeting, the bureau gathered the board’s members for a conference call Wednesday and fired them.