6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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The Justice Department has started a probe of whether AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: VZ) had a way to lower competition. According to The Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether U.S. wireless carriers and an industry trade group teamed up to make it harder for cellphone subscribers to switch providers, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The agency in February sent civil investigative demands to the four major U.S. wireless carriers and the GSMA, an international standards organization responsible for eSIM technology, the people said. The eSIM standard lets wireless subscribers move their phone number to a new carrier without having to remove a physical SIM card.

The department for more than a year has had its eye on the issue of SIM cards and phone portability, with a focus on the two largest carriers, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., though the February subpoenas represent a new stage of the inquiry, the people said.

“A Quiet Place” topped the weekend box office. According to Box Office Mojo:

Early on it looked as if it might be a tight race for the weekend #1, and while the margin was slim, in the end A Quiet Place settled into the spot, topping last weekend’s champion Rampage. STX’s I Feel Pretty settled into third over its debut weekend, delivering results a shade over expectations, narrowly topping the outstanding performance from Fox Searchlight’s Super Troopers 2, which more than doubled expectations.

With an estimated $22 million, Paramount’s A Quiet Place topped the weekend as its domestic cume climbs to an outstanding $132.4 million after just 17 days in release. For comparison, Split and The Conjuring finished with $138.2 million and $137.4 million respectively over the course of their entire domestic runs. In fact, A Quiet Place is now Paramount’s highest grossing domestic release since 2016’s Star Trek Beyond ($158.8m) as it topped the $130.1 million brought in by Transformers: The Last Knight last year.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is about to finish another in a recent line of e-commerce M&A deals. According to Bloomberg:

Walmart Inc. is close to finalizing a deal to buy a majority stake in India’s leading e-commerce company for at least $12 billion and may complete the agreement in the next two weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

All the major investors in Flipkart Online Services Pvt are now on board with the Walmart purchase, after an earlier debate over an Amazon.com Inc. acquisition, said the people, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Tiger Global Management will sell nearly all its 20 percent stake in Flipkart, while SoftBank Group Corp. will offload a substantial part of its 20 percent-plus holding, the people said. Walmart will likely end up with 60 percent to 80 percent of Flipkart, valued at about $20 billion, they said.

Some major investors are betting on $80 a barrel oil. According to Bloomberg:

Hedge funds investing in oil are luring capital at the fastest pace in more than a year.

With crude climbing to levels not seen since 2014, commodity funds have recovered the client outflows they suffered last year. And if firms such as Westbeck Capital Management and Commodities World Capital are correct about prices soon exceeding $80 a barrel from about $68 currently, then the jump in allocations may just the beginning.

Local newspapers face large increases in their expenses due to rising newsprint costs. According to CNNMoney:

America’s newspapers were already struggling. Now they dread new tariffs on Canadian newsprint that they believe will make a strained situation even worse.

The US Commerce Department applied the tariffs to Canadian paper in January and March, causing the price of newsprint to spike about 30% overall, according to print publishers. The increase is making companies consider whether to cut staff, drop pages, or print fewer editions.

The Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper, said this week that it is cutting about 50 jobs. Publisher Paul Tash told CNNMoney that tariffs have added an additional $3 million in expenses that the paper can’t absorb.

“In some cases tariffs are supposed to protect American jobs,” he said. “In this case, not only at our company but around the American newspaper business, I believe these tariffs will cost jobs.”

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has converted all of its facilities to renewable energy. According to CNNMoney

Apple has made good on its promise to go green.

On Monday, the tech giant announced that all of its retail stores, data centers and corporate offices now run on 100% clean energy.

The milestone includes facilities in 43 countries, such as the US, UK, China and India. Overall, Apple uses a variety of clean energy sources, such as solar technology, wind farms and new concepts like biogas fuel cells and micro-hydro generation systems for generating electricity.

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