Business News at a Glance
Posted June 12, 2018 9:34 p.m. EDT
AT&T’s Time Warner Takeover Wins Judge’s Approval in Defeat for Justice Department
A federal judge Tuesday approved the blockbuster merger between AT&T and Time Warner, rebuffing the government’s effort to stop the $85.4 billion deal, in a decision that is expected to unleash a wave of corporate takeovers. The judge, Richard J. Leon of U.S. District Court in Washington, said the Justice Department had not proved that the telecom company’s acquisition of Time Warner would lead to fewer choices for consumers and higher prices for television and internet services. The combined company would have channels like HBO and CNN, along with vast distribution reach through wireless and satellite television services.
After AT&T-Time Warner Approval, Focus Shifts to Comcast and Disney
The battle for the future of media has begun. A judge’s approval Tuesday of the $85.4 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal is sure to touch off a series of mergers as once-powerful news and entertainment companies, built for an era when cable was king, position themselves to compete against the likes of Netflix and Amazon. How quickly are things changing? Netflix recently surpassed Disney to become the most valuable media company at $158 billion. That helps set the stakes for the pending clash between Comcast and The Walt Disney Co. as each seeks to own the bulk of 21st Century Fox.
Seattle Officials Repeal Tax That Upset Amazon
Seattle officials scuttled a corporate tax Tuesday they had wholeheartedly endorsed just a month ago, delivering a win for the measure’s biggest opponent — Amazon — and offering a warning to cities bidding for the retailer’s second headquarters that the company would go to the limit to get its way. The tax would have raised about $50 million a year to help the homeless and fund affordable housing projects. As Seattle has boomed over the last decade, in large part because of Amazon, which is based there, rents have soared and some residents have suffered.
Elon Musk, in Search of Profit, Cuts Tesla’s Workforce
Tesla has lost money every year since its founding in 2003. But the automaker’s chief executive, Elon Musk, is pulling out all the stops to end that streak. In the latest sign, Musk said Tuesday that Tesla would reduce its workforce by about 9 percent, or roughly 3,500 of its 37,500 employees, as part of a companywide restructuring. The cutbacks come in the midst of a challenging and expensive effort to transform Tesla from a niche producer of electric vehicles to a mainstream automaker, an ambition hinging on its first mass-market offering, the Model 3.
New York’s Top Court Limits Time Frame for Martin Act Lawsuits
A law used by New York’s top prosecutor to bring fraud charges against Wall Street firms was reined in by the state’s highest court Tuesday, a decision that could imperil an $11 billion lawsuit against Credit Suisse and blunt a tool for pursuing wrongdoing by banks. The 4-1 decision by the New York State Court of Appeals said the statute of limitations for bringing claims under the Martin Act, a state securities law, is three years, not six. The ruling could scuttle a fraud lawsuit filed by the attorney general’s office against Credit Suisse over its marketing of mortgage-backed bonds.
Bird, the Electric Scooter Startup, Is Said to Draw an Investment Frenzy
More scooters may soon land on America’s sidewalks as the West Coast scooter war propels a rush of fundraising. Bird, an electric scooter startup, is raising $300 million in new funding that would value the company at $2 billion, according to three people with knowledge of the financing, who asked not to be identified because the proceedings were confidential. The round is set to be led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and will include other investors such as Accel Partners. The financing would cap one of the fastest and largest startup fundraising frenzies in recent memory.
Can’t Sleep? Let Bob Ross Help You Find Some Happy Little Zzzs
For years, insomniacs have been lulled to sleep by the dulcet voice of Bob Ross, the painter whose PBS show, “The Joy of Painting,” rose to popularity in the 1990s and has lately enjoyed a second life on YouTube. Now, the maker of a meditation app hopes Ross will put everyone else to sleep, too. Calm.com is recasting classic episodes of “The Joy of Painting” into “Sleep Stories,” an audio series designed for restless adults to ease the burden of slumber. It is the first time the company that manages Ross’ estate has agreed to license audio of the show.