April 26, 2023
UK blocks Microsoft-Activision gaming deal, biggest in tech
LONDON (AP) — British regulators have blocked Microsoft’s $69 billion deal to buy video game maker Activision Blizzard over worries that it would stifle competition in the cloud gaming market. The Competition and Markets Authority said Wednesday that “the only effective remedy” to the substantial loss of competition “is to prohibit the Merger.” The all-cash deal was set to be the biggest in the history of the tech industry. But it has faced stiff opposition from rival Sony and is being scrutinized by global regulators over fears that it would give Microsoft control of popular game franchises like Call of Duty. The companies have vowed to appeal the U.K. decision.
Bud Light fumbles, but experts say inclusive ads will stay
Bud Light may have fumbled its attempt to broaden its customer base by partnering with a transgender influencer. But experts say inclusive marketing is simply good business, and it’s here to stay. On April 1, transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney posted a video of herself with a Bud Light can with her face on it that the brand sent her, setting off backlash almost immediately. Bud Light’s sales fell 17.6% the week ending April 15, and two top marketers have taken a leave of absence. Still, marketing experts say younger people support diversity efforts and want companies to take a stand on controversial issues.
No one is driving this taxi. What possibly could go wrong?
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An Associated Press reporter recalls the first time he took a ride in a car without sitting in the driver’s seat. It happened one night last September when a Chevy Bolt named Peaches picked up the reporter outside a San Francisco bar. The half-hour ride was going fine until he neared his destination and the car started going in a different direction. He eventually made it out. The experience provided a snapshot of the artificial intelligence technology that is advancing toward a goal of improving the lives of humans while still malfunctioning in potentially alarming ways.
Stock market today: US futures subdued as earnings arrive
Stocks on Wall Street were slow to gain traction in premarket trading ahead of another full slate of corporate earnings and more economic reports later in the week. Futures for the Dow ticked down less than 0.1% and futures for the S&P 500 were essentially unchanged before the bell Wednesday. Shares of Activision Blizzard tumbled more than 11% after British regulators blocked Microsoft’s $69 billion deal to buy videogame maker over worries that it would stifle competition. Geopolitical tensions, another regional bank in crisis and anxiety over stubborn inflation and a potential recession continue to hang over markets.
Boeing loses $425 million but plans production boost for Max
Boeing says it lost $425 million in the first quarter as it continues to deal with production problems on its airline jets. The loss is more than Wall Street expected. Boeing said Wednesday that revenue jumped 28% from a year earlier, however, beating analysts’ expectations. The company continues to get orders as airlines scoop up new planes to meet rising travel demand. Boeing’s latest production problem involves fittings used to attach the tail to the fuselage on its 737 Max jet. Airlines will have to wait for new planes while Boeing fixes the problem.
McCarthy struggles for debt bill votes, makes late changes
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans have made post-midnight changes to their sweeping debt ceiling package to win over holdouts. Facing a revolt from Midwestern Republicans over doing away with biofuel tax credits that were just signed into law last year by President Joe Biden, Republicans relented and allowed the tax credits to stay on the books. Republicans also agreed to more quickly launch bolstered work requirements for recipients of government aid, starting in 2024. Speaker Kevin McCarthy is struggling to round up the votes for the bill, which would couple an increase the country’s debt ceiling with restrictions on federal spending. A final vote on the package is likely Thursday.
EU launches overhaul of euro rules as pandemic and war bite
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is overhauling its euro single currency rulebook as economies creak under high debt caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fallout from Russia’s war on Ukraine. The overhaul would see member countries design plans outlining their fiscal targets, any measures they might use to address imbalances and the main reforms and investment they aim to undertake. The EU’s executive branch will recommend ways for a country to ensure that debt and the national deficit are reined in if it misses its targets. The current rules date from the 1990s. European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said Wednesday that “we now face different challenges and economic priorities, and our rules need to reflect these changes.”
Silicon Valley company raises $250M for hydrogen technology
In what could prove a milestone for an industry that hopes to address climate change, the Silicon Valley company Ohmium announced Wednesday it has raised $250 million to expand production of machines that can make clean hydrogen. Some climate experts say burning hydrogen can substitute for burning coal, oil or gas — without contributing to climate change. Just four or five years ago, a hydrogen company working on electrolysis would not have been able to raise several hundred million dollars, said Daryl Wilson, executive director of the Hydrogen Council. Mark Viehman, a hydrogen and clean fuels expert at Capgemini, called $250 million a “very impressive” fundraise. CEO Arne Ballantine said Ohmium will expand production at company facilities in Chikkaballapur, outside Bengaluru, India.
Japan’s Honda outlines global strategy for electric cars
TOKYO (AP) — Honda is gearing up for an electrification shift in North America with two models developed with General Motors going on sale next year, and a bigger EV with a new platform in 2025, a year earlier than initially announced. President Toshihiro Mibe outlined a sprawling set of initiatives intended to put Honda on the global EV map. In China, the world’s biggest EV market, Honda aims for 100% electric by 2035, ahead of other regions. Honda’s goal is to have all its models electric or fuel cell by 2040, producing more than 2 million EVs a year by 2030.
Norfolk Southern estimates that Ohio derailment cost $387M
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Norfolk Southern said it expects February’s fiery Ohio derailment to cost it $387 million, but that total will likely increase over time and that doesn’t reflect how much the railroad’s insurance companies will eventually cover. The Atlanta-based railroad provided that estimate of the cost of the Feb. 3 derailment outside East Palestine, Ohio, Wednesday when it released its first-quarter earnings report. That derailment and several others since then have prompted a nationwide focus on railroad safety. That cost estimate includes the $30.9 million the railroad has pledged to help the community recover, but it doesn’t reflect how much Norfolk Southern will put into funds to cover any long-term health problems and compensate residents.