Paw Print Rewind #025: July 19, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the Paw Print Rewind, a recap of the top news headlines.

BP reaches $18.7 billion settlement over 2010 oil spill

BP logo is seen at a fuel station of British oil company BP in St. Petersburg

BP will pay up to $18.7 billion in penalties to the U.S. government and the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to resolve nearly all the claims from its Gulf of Mexico oil spill five years ago in the largest corporate settlement in U.S. history.

The agreement adds to the $43.8 billion that BP previously set aside for criminal and civil penalties and cleanup costs. The company’s total pre-tax charge for the spill now stands at $53.8 billion.

Under the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the aforementioned states, BP will pay at least $12.8 billion for Clean Water Act fines and natural resource damages, plus $4.9 billion to individual states. The payouts will be staggered over an 18 year period.

The agreement, which still needs to be approved by courts, covers Clean Water Act fines and natural resource damages, along with claims from those five states and 400 local government entities.

“This is a realistic outcome which provides clarity and certainty for all parties. For BP, this agreement will resolve the largest liabilities remaining from the tragic accident.”

-Bob Dudley, BP CEO

“This agreement will not only restore the damage inflicted on our coastal resources by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it will also allow Louisiana to continue aggressively fighting coastal erosion.”

-Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor

“Companies have been slightly hesitant to make a bid while this has been hanging over it, so I think it does clear the way for a potential bid.”

-Joe Rundle, ETX Capital trading head

BP also settled with Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, and Halliburton, who worked on the Macondo well.

“Now Gulf Coast restoration can begin in earnest. It’s time to heal the wounds that BP tore in Gulf Coast ecosystems and communities.”

-David Yarnold, National Audubon Society CEO

Heinz/Kraft merger complete, Buffett joins board

Kraft Heinz Company Infographic

Heinz has completed its purchase of the Kraft Foods Group, creating North America’s third-largest food and beverage company and the world’s fifth largest.

The new Kraft Heinz Company will have roughly $28 billion of annual revenue from brands like Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Velveeta, Maxwell House, Ore-Ida, Jell-O, as well as the company’s namesake brands.

Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, which bought Heinz in 2013, have a combined 51 percent stake in the company and control over six of the company’s 11 board seats, including one for Berkshire chairman Warren Buffet. 3G managing partner Alex Behring is the combined company’s chairman.

Most of Kraft Heinz’s upper management comes from Heinz, including CEO Bernardo Hees, a 3G partner.

The company trades on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol “KHC,” and will have dual headquarters in Pittsburgh and Chicago suburb Northfield, IL – where the respective companies were based pre-merger.

FTC approves Dollar Tree’s Family Dollar takeover


Dollar Tree has received the go-ahead to buy Family Dollar from the U.S.’ Federal Trade Commission if they sell 330 Family Dollar stores.

The 330 stores are spread across 35 states, which Dollar Tree has offered to sell to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, has to be sold within 150 days of the deal’s closure, according to the agency.

The acquisition is valued at $9.2 billion, according to the FTC.

After the deal, Dollar Tree will control over 13,000 stores in the United States and Canada, allowing the company to become North America’s biggest discount retailer, with over $18 billion in annual sales.

Dollar Tree sells a mix of consumables in suburban stores nationwide, as well as discretionary items like gifts, party goods, and greeting cards.

Most Family Dollar stores are in low-income neighborhoods, which its highest presence in Texas and the eastern United States, where they sell lower-margin food and household products.

Airbus beats Boeing in first-half orders, lags on deliveries


Airbus beat its US rival Boeing on orders in the first half of this year, but remained behind on deliveries.

The Bagnac, France-based planemaker won orders for 382 aircraft in the first six months of the year, and delivered 304 planes to customers.

After cancellations and model conversions, according to Airbus, net orders totaled 348 aircraft.

Boeing won orders for 325 aircraft during the period, according to the Chicago-based company, or a net total of 281 following the aforementioned adjustments.

Boeing delivered 381 aircraft in the first half, maintaining a lead over Airbus.

American Apparel cutting costs


Teen clothing retailer American Apparel has launched a restructuring plan to cut costs.

The Los Angeles, CA-based company will cut jobs and close stores to slash about $30 million in costs over the next 18 months.

“There can be no guarantee that [American Apparel] will be able to raise such additional capital.”

-American Apparel

The company has posted losses for the last five years, with its market value shrinking from $540 million to $90 million.

Sheryl Sandberg joins SurveyMonkey board


Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is taking a seat on SurveyMonkey’s board. The online polling company was run by her late husband Dave Goldberg.

The Palo Alto, CA-based company also appointed Lyra Health CEO David Ebersman to the board.

The board is conducting a search for Goldberg’s successor, after he died in a treadmill accident while vacationing with Sandberg in Mexico in May.

Sandberg watched Goldberg and his team “[fulfill] their mission to help people make better decisions” and looked forward to helping “realize Dave’s vision of building a lasting company that will impact the way we all do business for years to come.”

She is SurveyMonkey’s second largest shareholder, only behind Tiger Global Management, whose partner Lee Fixel is also a company board member. Other backers include Google and Spectrum Equity.

Iderdrola filing new takeover plan for UIL in Connecticut


Spanish power group Iderdola will set out a new proposal for its $3 billion takeover of U.S. firm UIL Holdings, according to the two companies.

The energy companies will withdraw the pending application and submit a new one in Connecticut by the end of the month, according to a letter from the two companies to Connecticut utilities regulator.

Federal regulators have approved the takeover.

Carnival aims to start ‘cultural’ Cuba cruises next May


Carnival has won U.S. approval to operate cultural cruises to Cuba and plans to take travelers there next May.

The Miami-based company, which is the world’s largest cruise operator, was still in talks with Cuba for approval to start specialized humanitarian and cultural visits this fall that fall within the U.S. embargo’s guidelines.

Americans are still banned from visiting the island nation as tourists, but can go for a dozen approved aims like visiting family or participating in academic, professional, religious, or educational programs.

“A lot of Americans want to visit Cuba and this is one of the first real mass ways to get to Cuba.”

-Brad Tolkin, World Travel Holdings CEO

“I extend my congratulations and best wishes to Carnival for pioneering this critical first step.”

-Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO

The cruises will focus on education, the environment and economic development, and feature Spanish lessons and workshops on the country’s heritage, according to Carnival. There will be no casinos or stage shows.

The Cuba cruises will start at $2,990 per person excluding taxes and other fees. They will be more expensive than typical regional cruises because of visa costs, paperwork, and the fact that U.S. rules require passengers on Cuba cruises to spend at least eight hours a day on the ground participating in academic, professional, religious, or educational programs.

Corzine settles MF Global lawsuit for $64.5 million

MF Global

Jon Corzine and nine other former MF Global Holdings officials have reached a $64.5 million settlement of litigation brought by investors seeking to hold them liable for the future brokerage’s 2011 bankruptcy.

Preliminary approval of the settlement was granted by Manhattan-based U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero. He scheduled a November 20th hearing to consider final approval.

The class action accord would boost the investors’ recovery to $204.4 million, including $74.9 million from underwriters and $65 million from auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Other settling defendants include former company CFOs J. Randy MacDonald and Henri Steenkamp, and seven former independent directors.

All denied wrongdoing, and their insurers will cover the settlement payments, according to court papers.

The $204.4 million recovery represents 18 percent of the maximum reasonably possible, according to a court filing made by the investor’s lawyers.

Facebook building new Fort Worth data center


Facebook has announced plans to build a new data center in Fort Worth, TX; its fourth in the United States and fifth worldwide.

The Menlo Park, CA-based company will invest at least $500 million in the center, according to a company spokesperson, and will employ at least 40 full-time employees. The center will be powered entirely by renewable energy, according to Facebook vice president of infrastructure Tom Furlong.

As part of the deal, the social networking giant brought 200 megawatts of new wind energy to Texas, according to Furlong.

Facebook also has data centers in Prineville, OR; Altoona, IA; Forest City, NC; and Lulea, Sweden.


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