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Photo: Paul Sakuma / AP

Honeywell today announced that it will spin off its Homes and ADI global distribution business, which generates around $4.5 billion in annual revenue, into a separate stand-alone company. It also will do the same with its transportation systems unit, which brings in around $3 billion per year.

Why it's a big deal: Because Honeywell is playing honey badger to activist investor Third Point, which has instead been calling for a spin-off of the company's aerospace division.

Salt in the wound: By spinning off those other units instead, Honeywell is effectively doubling down on aerospace at a time when the pending merger of Rockwell Collins and United Technologies (which Honeywell tried to buy) could make competing more difficult.

Early returns: Honeywell shares climbed at the Tuesday open but then dipped a bit. The company opened with a market cap just north of $109 billion.

Bottom line from Reuters: "Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk, like his peers at other industrial conglomerates, has been under pressure to pull apart a portfolio of disparate businesses that includes automotive turbo chargers, burglar alarms, and the Xtratuf boots popular in Alaska's fishing industry."

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
12 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.