Axios Closer

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Tuesday βœ….

Today's newsletter is 684 words, a 2Β½-minute read.

πŸ”” The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 0.6%.

  • Biggest gainer? International Paper (+11.0%) announced it is replacing its longtime CEO with Andrew Silvernail, an executive adviser from KKR.
  • Biggest decliner? Super Micro Computer (-9.0%), the server maker, disclosed plans to sell roughly $2 billion of stock.

1 big thing: Unilever saying goodbye to ice cream

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Unilever today said it intends to spin off its ice cream unit, including Ben & Jerry's, along with top-selling global brands like Wall's and Magnum, Axios' Pete Gannon writes.

Why it matters: Known as much for social activism as its wonky flavors, the Vermont-based ice-cream maker will headline the newly separated $8.5 billion business.

Between the lines: Over a 20-plus year history, Ben & Jerry's relationship with its parent hasn't always been smooth.

  • Ben & Jerry's, which operates within Unilever under an independent board, is unapologetic about being a "values-led company" and has taken several high-profile social activist stances over the years.

Those impulses created a firestorm in 2021 when the company announced it would stop selling its ice cream in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

  • A handful of U.S. pension funds divested from Unilever, leading to a shareholder lawsuit. Later, after months of legal and diplomatic pressure, and a lawsuit from Ben & Jerry's, Unilever sold the ice-cream maker's business interests in Israel to a local licensee.

The reason for the separation, according to Unilever, is that both sides β€” the ice cream unit and what remains of Unilever β€” will fare better on their own.

  • The ice cream business can more directly deal with its distinct supply chain, channel landscape, seasonality factors and greater capital intensity, Unilever said.
  • What remains of Unilever will become a "simpler, more focused company."

The intrigue: In its last annual report, Unilever noted that its corporate responsibility committee β€” charged with overseeing the company's "conduct as a responsible global business" β€” had spent time on matters ranging from the war in Ukraine, safety on tea plantations, and activism by Ben & Jerry's.

The bottom line: It will not be causing a brain freeze for parent Unilever anymore.

2. Charted: We all scream for ice cream ($$)

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Ice cream has been one category where Unilever has seen price-weary consumers turn to cheaper brands, Pete writes.

What they're saying: "Ice Cream had a disappointing year with declining market share and profitability," the company said last month.

  • "Volumes were impacted throughout the year by high price elasticities."

3. What's happening

πŸ’» Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang told analysts that the company expects to boost its share of the $250 billion data center market. (CNBC)

πŸ˜• Wall Street bonuses slump to 2019 low after dealmaking drought. (Bloomberg)

4. $893 million on the line πŸ’°

Photo Illustration: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The jackpot for tonight's Mega Millions drawing is an estimated $893 million β€” the 10th-largest U.S. lottery prize ever, Axios' Kelly Tyko writes.

Between the lines: Only five Mega Millions' jackpots have been bigger. All of them eventually surpassed $1 billion, lottery officials said in a statement.

  • The cash option for the drawing is worth approximately $421.4 million, the lottery website said.

The big picture: Bigger prizes β€” and fewer jackpot winners β€” have become the norm since Powerball and Mega Millions made the games harder to win and more enticing to play a few years ago.

What we're watching: Mega Millions drawings are held at 11pm ET on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Go deeper

5. Auto emissions standards to receive challenge

A truck tailpipe. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The new auto emissions standards are due out this week from the Biden administration, and they're expected to see an immediate challenge, Nick Sobczyk writes for Axios Pro: Energy Policy.

Why it matters: The tailpipe rules, expected as soon as Wednesday, would be the toughest ever and would help spur the transition to EVs.

Driving the news: Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) says that he and Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) would immediately introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution as soon as the rules are finalized.

  • "A number of us view that this is going to be, in essence, a de facto ban on internal combustion engines," he said during a news conference at CERAWeek (h/t to Axios' Ben Geman).

The EPA initially proposed to effectively make most new car sales electric by 2030, though the agency is expected to ease the requirements.

If you need smart, quick intel on energy policy for your job, get Axios Pro.

6. What they're saying

"Creating magic is not for amateurs."
β€” George Lucas, in a statement backing Disney CEO Bob Iger while the company is engaged in proxy fights with activist investors.

Today's newsletter was edited by Pete Gannon and copy edited by Sheryl Miller.

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