Whats Happening In Business America – Facebook says it plans to invest $5.7 billion in India’s telecom giant Reliance Jio. The investment will give Facebook a 9.99 percent stake in Jio Platforms, the digital technologies and app developing division of Reliance Industries.
Reliance Jio has the highest number of customers in the country, and plans to roll out an e-commerce business using WhatsApp. India is one of the world’s fastest growing Internet markets, with the number of users forecast to grow to 907 million by 2023, according to a report by Cisco issued in February.
One quarter of Americans say they are likely to lose their jobs
A quarter of working Americans believe it’s ‘‘very likely’’ or ‘‘fairly likely’’ they will lose their job or be laid off in the next 12 months, according to a Gallup poll. That’s a 17 percentage-point swing in one year, from matching its lowest reading since 1975 to its highest, driven by the rapid impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the US economy.
The survey, released Wednesday, was conducted April 1 through 14. In the three weeks that ended April 10, four days before the survey closed, nearly 19 million Americans filed for jobless benefits. Some economists see unemployment topping 20 percent as soon as this month.
Tyson shuts its largest pork plant as virus strikes workers
Tyson Foods Inc. is halting its largest pork plant, becoming the third major US facility to shut as the coronavirus sickens workers, exacerbates livestock gluts, and threatens supplies. The Waterloo facility in Iowa, which has been running at reduced levels due to worker absenteeism, will stop mid-week until further notice, Tyson said in a statement Wednesday.
It’s the latest blow to the nation’s meatpacking industry that’s struggling to contain the disease among workers. JBS SA is shuttering its pork-processing facility in Minnesota, and Smithfield Foods Inc. closed a slaughter plant in South Dakota.
Combined they make up about 15 percent of US capacity. The growing disruptions in slaughtering and processing are cascading through supply chains, affecting farmers, truckers, distributors and supermarkets. While there’s plenty of frozen inventory in the United States, wholesale pork prices have surged.
CEO of bankrupt California power company to leave
PG&E Corp. chief executive Bill Johnson is stepping down from the bankrupt California power giant, effective June 30. Johnson, who joined the company about 11 months ago, is not leaving as a result of any disagreement, the utility said in a filing.
William L. Smith, a PG&E board member, will serve as interim CEO. PG&E filed for Chapter 11 last year facing an estimated $30 billion in liabilities from wildfires blamed on its equipment.
Earlier this week, California regulators said they’d approve the company’s bankruptcy plan if it submitted to increased state oversight and took other steps, moving the power giant one step closer to exiting the biggest utility bankruptcy in US history.
“I joined PG&E to help get the company out of bankruptcy and stabilize operations. By the end of June, I expect that both of these goals will have been met,” Johnson, said in a statement. —
Administration will explore limiting liability of businesses, Kudlow says
President Trump’s top economic adviser said the administration will look at limiting liability for businesses over the spread of the coronavirus.
“I think liability reforms and safeguards are going to be a very important part of this,” Larry Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, told CNBC in an interview Wednesday morning. “That’s a very important point here — somebody’s got to defend the businesses.”
Trump has indicated the administration is looking to limit liability in cases where workers, or possibly customers, fall ill from the virus.
AT&T loses $600m because of March Madness ads
AT&T Inc. posted a 4.5 percent drop in revenue from a year ago and withdrew its forecast of 2 percent revenue growth for the year, saying it can’t provide a financial forecast for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis hurt earnings by 5 cents a share in the first quarter and knocked $600 million off of revenue due to lower ad sales from canceled sports events like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
But the US stay-at-home orders, which started in mid-March, did help improve some of AT&T’s slumping consumer businesses. Homebound customers craving videoconferencing and cellular connections helped boost broadband and wireless numbers.
AT&T added a total of 27,000 wireless subscribers, exceeding analysts’ prediction for a loss of 132,000.