Economy & Business

Why it matters: Despite murmurs of an impending economic crash, the U.S. has seen strong job growth and record low unemployment as trade wars, sweeping technological change and new media consumption habits are changing the American economy.

All economy & business stories

Timeline: The major developments in the college admissions scandal

Michelle Janavs, whose family owns food manufacturing company Chef America, maker of Hot Pockets. Photo:
Boston Globe / Contributor

In what Department of Justice prosecutors have called the biggest admissions scam in U.S. history, parents allegedly bribed coaches and paid for forged standardized tests in a conspiracy to get their children into elite American colleges.

Driving the news: Michelle Janavs, whose family created Hot Pockets, was sentenced on Tuesday to five months in prison for agreeing to pay $300,000 in bribes to get her two daughters into universities.

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 10 mins ago - Economy & Business

Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block steps down

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Keith Block is stepping down as co-CEO of Salesforce, leaving co-founder Marc Benioff as the sole chief executive of the company once again.

The big picture: Block, who joined the company in 2013 from Oracle, was promoted to co-CEO less than two years ago to give Benioff more time to focus on other interests. Block will stay on as an adviser to Benioff, the company said.

Meanwhile: Salesforce separately agreed Tuesday to buy Vlocity, which makes cloud-based apps that run on Salesforce's signature platform, for $1.33 billion.

Wall Street sees 2nd day of brutal sell-off

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AF via Getty Images

The stock market fell another 3% on Tuesday, following Monday’s sell-off. Bond yields touched record lows.

The big picture: Stocks continued to fall as the CDC said it expects the coronavirus to spread in the U.S. The Dow and S&P are more than 7% below the record highs seen earlier this month.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Mallinckrodt proposes $1.6 billion opioid settlement via bankruptcy

Mallinckrodt offices in New Jersey. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mallinckrodt is floating a $1.6 billion proposal to settle allegations that it fueled the opioid crisis by pushing its painkillers. The drug company would make payments in the eight years after its generics business, which sells oxycodone and hydrocodone pills, emerges from bankruptcy.

Why it matters: The attorneys general from 47 states and territories, as well as the plaintiffs in the global opioid lawsuit, are supporting the deal, Mallinckrodt said. Mallinckrodt's brand-name drug business will not be affected, but its generics bankruptcy marks the third opioids bankruptcy, after Purdue Pharma and Insys Therapeutics.

Southeast Asian "super-app" Grab raises $856 million

Photo: Getty Images

Grab, a Southeast Asian "super-app" for everything from ride-hail to payments, raised $856 million from Japanese investors Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and TIS Inc.

Why it matters: This appears designed to help Grab maintain its market lead over rival GoJek — the companies were most recently valued at $14 billion and $9 billion, respectively — although comes less than 24 hours after a report about merger talks.

Trump's opportunity to use Bernie as an economic scapegoat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Zach Gibson/Stringer, The Washington Post/Getty Contributor

Bernie Sanders is poised to become an economic scapegoat for both the White House and Corporate America, assuming that Sanders comes through Super Tuesday unscathed.

The big picture: If the U.S. economy remains strong, President Trump and CEOs will claim credit (as they've been doing for three years). If it turns sour, they'll blame Bernie (even though it's a largely baseless charge).

Netflix introduces top 10 lists for movies and TV shows

Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said Monday that it will begin putting out daily lists of the top 10 movies and top 10 TV shows in each country.

Why it matters: The company says that the lists will help users "easily see what’s in the zeitgeist," but industry onlookers argue that by releasing the lists, Netflix is undermining its almighty algorithm, which is supposed to surface personalized content recommendations for users.

Exclusive: Local newsrooms raise $1 million from philanthropy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Report for America (RFA), a program of the nonprofit The GroundTruth Project, which supports emerging journalists, helped newsrooms raise nearly $1 million in local fundraising donations last year, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: Support from donors for local news is becoming more critical as the Trump administration looks to severely cut funds for public media.

Free, ad-supported streaming on the rise as major media companies buy up platforms

Data: PwC and Digital TV Research; Chart: Axios VisualsA few of the last remaining major ad-supported streaming platforms are reportedly nearing sales to major media companies.

A few of the last remaining major ad-supported streaming platforms are reportedly nearing sales to major media companies.

Why it matters: The acquisitions show how valuable big media companies think ad-supported streaming services could be to their overall streaming strategies, as they continue to also invest in subscription streaming offerings.

Investors are wary of ViacomCBS' new streaming strategy

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Shares of the newly-combined ViacomCBS dropped a startling 15% last week, after the company announced plans for a new streaming service during its first earnings report as a combined entity.

Why it matters: The company is now worth far less combined ($17 billion in market capitalization) than the two companies were worth separately (around $30 billion) prior to their merger.

Only 33% of Republicans trust the media

Reproduced from Edelman Trust Barometer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The gap between Democrats and Republicans in their trust of media and business as institutions remains wide ahead of the election, according to Edelman's latest Global Trust Barometer study.

The state of play: The gap is wide for media trust — as 66% of Democrats trust it, while only 33% of Republicans feel the same. Independents sit at 43%.

Bernie Sanders' rise forces media to reckon with how to cover him

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Staff

Bernie Sanders' rise is forcing news outlets to come to terms with ways they should covering his candidacy as a frontrunner, instead of a fringe candidate.

Why it matters: The media finds itself in the same position as it was in the 2016 election, when Donald Trump began to pull ahead in the Republican primary.

Why big banks are breaking up with some fossil fuels

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

JPMorgan Chase is the latest financial giant to unveil new climate commitments, and like its peers, it is hard to disentangle how much is motivated by pressure, conscience or making a virtue of necessity.

Why it matters: The move comes as grassroots and shareholder activists are targeting the financial sector's fossil energy finance, especially amid federal inaction on climate.

Coronavirus doesn't tell the full story behind Dow's plunge

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

As someone has certainly told you by now, the Dow fell by more than 1,000 points yesterday, its worst day in more than two years, erasing all of 2020's gains. Most news headlines assert that the stock market's momentum was finally broken by "coronavirus fears," but that's not the full story.

What's happening: The novel coronavirus has been infecting and killing scores of people for close to a month and, depending on the day, the market has sold off or risen to record highs.

Univision sells majority stake to private investors

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States, announced plans Tuesday to sell the majority of its company to a group of investors led by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis. Deal terms were not disclosed.

Why it matters: The company had been struggling to find a strategic buyer since it said it was putting itself up for sale last year.

Scoop: Sports podcast upstart Blue Wire raises $1.2 million seed round

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Blue Wire, a new sports podcast company, has raised $1.2 million in a seed round, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Blue Wire is looking to build out long-form sports narrative podcasts. The company believes that while sports highlights will continue to be mostly viewed via short video clips, more long-form sports media consumption will eventually shift to podcasts from traditional radio and print.

More economy & business stories