6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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Weinstein Co. has found a buyer after teetering toward bankruptcy. According to The Wall Street Journal:

An investing group said it reached a last-minute deal to acquire the assets of Weinstein Co. Thursday, potentially allowing the embattled movie studio to avoid a planned bankruptcy and laying the groundwork to settle government lawsuits stemming from allegations that former co-chairman Harvey Weinstein had engaged in sexual misconduct.

Backed by investor Ron Burkle and led by businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet, the buyers would assume $225 million in Weinstein Co. debt and commit to invest about $275 million to launch a new company, said a person with knowledge of the deal.

Georgia’s legislature removed a Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) tax credit because the airline broke ties with the NRA. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Georgia’s senate Thursday passed a bill promising large tax cuts for state residents but only after stripping out a provision that would have benefited Delta Air Lines Inc., punishing the carrier for ending some discounts for National Rifle Association members.

The bill, having now passed both chambers of Georgia’s Republican-dominated legislature, heads to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. He has said he would sign the bill, despite its lacking the jet-fuel tax break he supported benefiting Delta, Atlanta’s biggest employer.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) will make an aggressive move into the self-driving car business. According to the company:

Toyota will establish a new company in Tokyo in the latter part of this month named “Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development” (TRI-AD) that will accelerate its efforts in advanced development for automated driving.

To enable the new efforts at TRI-AD, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. (Aisin), and Denso Corporation (Denso) have concluded a memorandum of understanding on joint development of fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving. Going forward, the three companies will hold further discussions, aiming to conclude a concrete joint development contract.

The head of Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) made about $800 million last year. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Blackstone Group LP Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman took home at least $800 million in 2017, one of the largest paydays ever at a publicly traded company and the latest affirmation of Wall Street’s postcrisis rebound.

The haul, detailed Thursday in a regulatory filing, underscores the ascendancy of firms that manage private investment funds for institutions and the wealthy. Blackstone , which collects fees for managing clients’ money and keeps a slice of investment gains, has benefited lately from robust markets for stocks, debt and real estate as well as banks’ retreat from businesses such as specialty lending, into which Blackstone has expanded.

Smith & Wesson said gun sales are falling, as it announced its quarterly numbers:

Age limits and bans on assault-style rifles are in vogue now, but the biggest threat to gun sales may still be President Donald Trump.

Consumer demand is falling to “new, lower levels,” according to the 166-year-old maker of Smith & Wesson firearms. The company, American Outdoor Brands Corp., is bracing for the downturn by cutting jobs and repaying debt. Rivals, including one in bankruptcy, are contending with the same slowdown.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) will close some of its smaller stores. According to Fortune:

Best Buy is closing its 250 small-format mobile phone U.S. stores, but rather than reflect problems at the electronics retailer, the move illustrates so much of what it has been doing right as it proves a retailer can push back at Amazon.com.

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