Tesla rolling out Autopilot software updates to 1,000 cars

Tesla has began rolling out software updates to customers with newer cars, bringing them in line with owners who have “Autopilot 1” and setting the stage to ultimately unleash full self-driving capabilities.

Tesla has began rolling out software updates to customers with newer cars, bringing them in line with owners who have “Autopilot 1” and setting the stage to ultimately unleash full self-driving capabilities.

This comes ahead of an event held by the automaker at its Nevada Gigafactory 1 on Jan. 4.

Source: Automotive News

Finding Dory breaks animated movie opening weekend record

Disney’s Finding Dory brought in an estimated $136.2 million last weekend in the U.S., according to Disney, marking the highest opening for an animated film ever.

Disney’s Finding Dory brought in an estimated $136.2 million last weekend in the U.S., according to Disney, marking the highest opening for an animated film ever.

It’s also the U.S.’ second-largest opening overall, trailing only 2015’s Jurassic World ($208.8 million).

“The original movie is so beloved and a part of our culture, we’ve dubbed it ‘Generation Nemo.’ For those who saw this movie 13 years ago, it’s the movie of their childhood, the movie they saw in college.

“At the same time, it was the biggest animation release of all-time and left an indelible mark for great reason, and now there’s an insatiable want-to-see. From our exit polls, people are loving the movie effusively.”

-Dave Hollis, Disney distribution chief

Source: Gamespot

Paw Print Rewind #045

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

U.S. strikes Islamic State in Libya, killing 40 people

U.S. warplanes carried out airstrikes against Islamic State-linked militants in western Libya on Friday, killing as many as 40 people in an operation targeting a suspect linked to two deadly attacks last year in Tunisia.

According to the Pentagon, it targeted an Islamic State training camp and killed a Tunisian militant linked to major attacks on tourists in Tunisia.

According to Sabratha, Libya mayor Hussein Al-Thwadi, the planes struck at 3:30 a.m., hitting a building in the city’s Qasr Talil district. 41 people were killed, with six others being wounded.

According to municipal authorities, the air strikes targeted a house in a residential district about 5 miles west of the center.

“Destruction of the camp and Chouchane’s removal will eliminate an experienced facilitator and is expected to have an immediate on ISIL’s ability to facilitate its activities in Libya, including recruiting new ISIL members, establishing bases in Libya, and potentially planning external attacks on U.S. interests in the region.”

-The Pentagon

According to Thwadi, some Tunisians, a Jordanian, and two women are among the dead. Several Tunisians were among the survivors.

Ringing Bells briefly sells $4 smartphone before website crashes

Ringing Bells launched a $4 smartphone Thursday, before customer demand sent the Indian phonemaker’s website down hours later.

The Freedom 251 is being sold for 251 rupees ($3.66).

“We humbly submit that we are therefore taking a pause.”

-Ringing Bells, in an apology to customers

According to the company, they were receiving 600,000 hits per second to its website.

“It looks like it’s highly subsidized by the company and it’s not clear how they plan to sustain this.”

-Tarun Pathak, Counterpoint Technology Research analyst

Yahoo forms panel to explore strategic options

File photo of a Yahoo logo in front of a building in Rolle

Yahoo’s board has formed a committee of independent directors to explore strategic alternatives.

According to the company, the committee and its advisers are working on a process for reaching out to and engaging with potentially interested strategic and financial parties.

“It seems pretty clear that the only reason this is happening even is because of the threat of the proxy fight.”

-Brian Wiesel, Pivotal Research analyst

“I think a proxy fight would be the right thing to do.”

-Eric Jackson, SpringOwl Asset Management managing director

Citigroup exiting retail banking in Brazil, Argentina

People walk past the Citigroup headquarters in New York

Citigroup plans to exit its retail banking and credit card operations in Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia as part of its efforts to cut costs and boost profitability.

“We have decided to focus our efforts on opportunities with our institutional clients in these countries and throughout the wider region.”

-Michael Corbat, Citigroup CEO

The businesses being sold are part of its consumer banking operations and will be transferred to Citi Holdings, and will report financial results as part of Citi Holdings starting in the first quarter.

Citi Holdings holds all non-core assets that the bank is winding down or selling.

Amazon opening package locker network across Europe

Amazon Prime Air

Amazon wants to set up a network of package lockers across Europe to allow people to pick up their own orders.

These lockers already exist in the United States and Britain in places like shopping centers where customers key in a code to get their package.

Paw Print Rewind #044

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

Dish swing to 2015 loss as subscribers decline

The sign in the lobby of the corporate headquarters of Dish Network is seen in the Denver suburb of Englewood

Dish Network swung to a loss in 2015, hurt by a drop in pay-TV subscribers and a wireless airwaves auction-related expense.

The U.S.’ No. 2 satellite TV provider’s net income attributable to the company fell about 21 percent from a year ago to $747.1 million ($1.61/share).

Dish incurred a $516 million expense related to a government auction of wireless airwaves.

The Englewood, Colo.-based company also had a $123 million asset-impairment charge to weigh on earnings.

Dish ended 2015 with about 13.9 million pay-TV subscribers including streaming service Sling TV, a decline of 81,000 subscribers from the end of 2014.

Churn, the rate subscribers defect to other services, grew in 2015 to 1.71 percent form 1.59 percent in 2014.

For the full year, the company’s revenue grew about three percent to $15.07 billion, with average revenue per user rising to $86.79 in 2015 from $83.77 in 2014.

In the quarter ending Dec. 31, net loss attributable to the company was $125.3 million ($0.27/share), while total quarterly revenue grew to $3.78 billion from $3.68 billion.

Wal-Mart quarterly earnings fall

The Walmart logo is pictured in Los Angeles

Wal-Mart Stores have reported lower quarterly earnings and cut its sales outlook due to a stronger dollar and recent store closures.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer’s sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter ending Jan. 31 from a year ago for its’ sixth straight quarterly gain.

For the current quarter, Wal-Mart expected a U.S. same-store sales increase of 0.5 percent, down from the 1.1 percent rise a year ago.

“It’s the same old story. They continue to struggle to drive traffic and sales.”

-Brian Yarbrough, Edward Jones analyst

The company’s fourth-quarter net income fell 7.9 percent to $4.57 billion ($1.43/diluted share).

Excluding a charge for store closings and other items, earnings were $1.49/share.

Wal-Mart’s operating income fell 16 percent to $6.6 billion in the quarter.

Consolidated revenue declined 1.4 percent to $129.7 billion, depressed by the stronger dollar’s impact on international operations.

Uber losing $1 billion/year to compete in China

Uber_NY_request-screenshot

Uber is burning through over $1 billion a year in China to compete with local rival Didi Kuaidi, according to the company’s CEO.

“We’re profitable in the USA, but we’re losing over $1 billion a year in China. We have a fierce competitor that’s unprofitable in every city they exist in, but they’re buying up market share. I wish the world wasn’t that way.”

-Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO

“Smaller competitors have to bleed subsidies to make up for their insufficient driver and rider network.”

-Didi Kuaidi spokesperson

“I prefer building rather than fundraising, but if I don’t participate in the funding bonaza, I’ll get squeezed out by others buying market share.”

-Travis Kalanick

T-Mobile profit nearly triples, adds 2.1 million customers

T-Mobile Logo

T-Mobile US nearly tripled its profit in the fourth quarter, as its “Binge On” video streaming program and lower-priced plans helped it add over two million subscribers.

According to the Bellevue, WA-based company, net income jumped to $297 million ($0.34/share) in the quarter from $101 million ($0.12/share) a year ago.

Total revenue rose 1.1 percent to $8.25 billion.

“We aren’t just winning customers, we’re keeping them too. Contrary to the belief that most of the donation (of subscribers) in the industry is coming from Sprint, it’s actually coming to AT&T.”

-John Legere, T-Mobile CEO

T-Mobile added a net 2.1 million customers, including 1.3 million new monthly or postpaid customers in the quarter that ended on Dec. 31. In 2016, the company expects to add a net 2.4-3.4 million postpaid customers, compared with the 4.5 million customers added in 2015.

“Subscriber growth continues to be solid.”

-Craig Moffett, MoffettNathanson analyst

The company’s average revenue per postpaid user fell marginally to $48.05 in the fourth quarter from $48.26 a year earlier.

“T-Mobile was the only operator to not disappoint on ARPU, the monthly phone payments of its customers.”

-Walter Piecyk, BTIG Research analyst

Europe launches satellite to help track global warning

Europe launched the Sentinel-3A satellite Tuesday to help predict weather phenomena such as El Nino and track the progress of global warming as part of the multibillion-euro Copernicus Earth observation project.

The satellite, part of a system of satellites set to monitor Earth, blasted off on board a Rockot launcher from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Russia’s northwestern Arkhangelsk region at 12:57 p.m. ET Tuesday.

It headed for orbit 506 miles above Earth, where it will collect data on sea surface temperature and height that will contribute to more precise weather forecasts and help forecast the impact of rising temperatures.

“When we speak about global warming, we often focus on rising air temperatures, but 90 percent of the energy put out on our planet ends up in the ocean.”

-Volker Liebig, European Space Agency Earth Observation program director

The Copernicus project has over $9 billion in funding committed until 2020.

Images taken by Sentinel-3A have a lower resolution than those from Copernicus’ first two satellites – Sentinel-1A and 2A. However, the 3A will cover a wider swath of Earth.

It can deliver images of the entire planet within two days, but that will be cut to under a day once its twin 3B launches next year. According to Liebig, that compares to around six days for the twin Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites.

AmEx to overhaul management, cut jobs

american_express

American Express will overhaul its management, streamline its marketing operations, and cut jobs as it looks to reduce $1 billion in costs over the next two years.

“At this time, we do not know what the magnitude of those [job cuts] will be, as decisions on specific positions affected are yet to be made.”

-Kenneth Chenault, American Express CEO

According to the New York-based company, chief marketing officer John Hayes will leave the company after over 20 years of service.

According to AmEx, the company is consolidating its marketing operations to avoid duplicate infrastructure, resources, costs, and processes.

The company is creating a global marketing operations unit, which will be led by Mike McCormack.

Paw Print Rewind #042

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

Zomato breaks even at home, key markets abroad

Zomato

Zomato has broken even in key markets like India, according to the company, and is on track to make a profit as early as next June.

The New Delhi-based restaurant search and food delivery service has hit operational break-even in India, the UAE, Indonesia, and three other Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian markets. According to Zomato co-founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal, they together account for three-fourths of the company’s revenue.

“The fundamental model of our business is that in mature markets we should make profits and they shouldn’t need any more outside money to grow.”

-Deepinder Goyal, Zomato co-founder and CEO

Zomato operates in 17 other countries, including the United States, Britain, and Australia.

India intros net neutrality rules banning Facebook’s Free Basics

Facebook Free Basics

India introduced rules on Monday to prevent Internet service providers from having different pricing policies for accessing different parts of the Web, most notably banning Facebook’s Free Basics Internet service.

“Connecting India is an important goal we won’t give up on, because more than a billion people in India don’t have access to the Internet. We know that connecting them can help lift people out of poverty, create millions of jobs, and spread education opportunities.”

-Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook CEO

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Internet service providers would not be allowed to discriminate on pricing for different Web services.

“Essentially, everything on the Internet is agnostic in the sense that it cannot be priced differently.”

-Ram Sevak Sharma, TRAI chairman

“We are delighted by the regulator’s recognition of the irreversible damage that stands to be done to the open Internet by allowing differential pricing.”

-Mishi Choudhary, New York lawyer that led online campaign against Facebook

Kraft Heinz Company expands voluntary wrapped American slice recall

The Kraft Heinz Company has expanded the voluntary recall of individually-wrapped American slices due to the potential for a thin strip of packaging film remaining attached to the slice after the wrapper is removed. If the film sticks to the slice and is not removed, it could become a choking hazard.

Here are the new varieties included in the recall (Product Name: Best by date, code):

  • 4 LB Kraft Singles American: 13 DEC 15 S54-18 FEB 16 S54
  • 1 LB Kraft Singles American: 13 DEC 15 S54-18 FEB 16 S54, 13 DEC 15 S55-18 FEB 16 S55
  • 3 LB Kraft Singles American (Three 1LB packages): 14 DEC 15 S54-18 FEB 16 S54
  • 1 LB Kraft Singles American (part of 3LB Kraft Singles American): 14 DEC 15 S54-18 FEB 16 S54, 14 DEC 15 S55-18 FEB 16 S55
  • 3 LB Kraft Singles White American: 12 JAN 16 S54
  • 1 LB Kraft Singles White American: 12 DEC 15 S54- 13 FEB 16 S55, 12 DEC 15 S55- 24 JAN 16 S54
  • 1 LB Kraft Singles: 24 JAN 16- 06 FEB 16 S54, 24 JAN 16 S55-06 FEB 16 S55
  • 1 LB Kraft Singles White American: 11 JAN 16 S54, 11 JAN 16 S55
  • 3 LB Kraft Singles American (72 individually-wrapped Singles in cardboard carton): 09 DEC 15 S54- 19 FEB 16 S54
  • 3 LB Deli Deluxe Kraft American Singles: 21 JAN 16 S54- 02 MAR 16 S54
  • 1 LB Deli Deluxe Kraft American Singles: 21 JAN 16 S54- 02 MAR 16 S54, 21 JAN 16 S55- 02 MAR 16 S55

These products are part of the original recall:

  • 4 LB Kraft Singles American: 29 DEC 15 S54- 01 JAN 16 S54
  • 1 LB Kraft Singles American: 29 DEC 15 S54- 01 JAN 16 S54, 29 DEC 15 S55-01 JAN 16 S55
  • 3 LB Kraft Singles American: 30 DEC 15 S54- 04 JAN 16 S54
  • 1 LB Kraft Singles American (part of 3LB Kraft Singles American): 30 DEC 15 S54- 04 JAN 16 S54, 30 DEC 15 S55- 04 JAN 16 S55
  • 3 LB Kraft Singles White American: 02 JAN 16 S54- 03 JAN 16 S54
  • 1 LB Kraft SIngles White American: 02 JAN 16 S54- 03 JAN 16 S54
  • 4 LB Kraft Singles White American: 02 JAN 16 S54
  • 1 LB Kraft Singles White American (part of 4 LB Kraft Singles White American): 02 JAN 16 S54- 02 JAN 16 S55

The company is taking this action as a result of two new consumer complaints of choking in connection with the packaging issue.

Approximately 335,000 additional cases of the recalled products were shipped by Kraft Heinz to retailers in the following countries:

  • United States/Puerto Rico
  • Anguilla
  • Bahamas
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Cayman Islands/Grand Cayman
  • Netherland Antilles
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • South Korea
  • St. Lucia
  • British Virgin Islands

Customers that purchased the product should not eat it, and return it to the store where it was purchased for an exchange or full refund. If you’re in the US and Puerto Rico, you can also contact Kraft Heinz Consumer Relations for a full refund at 1-800-442-3101, Monday through Friday from 9AM-6PM ET (6AM-3PM PT).

Source: Kraft Heinz Company

Paw Print Rewind #033

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

Major carmakers agree to make automatic braking standard in U.S.

Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, and Volvo have agreed to make automatic emerging braking standard on all U.S. vehicles.

The carmakers, which accounted for 57% of car and light truck sales in the United States last year, will work with regulators and the insurance industry to roll out collision avoiding braking technology across their lineups over the next few years.

“We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring.”

-Anthony Foxx, U.S. transportation secretary

The collaborative agreement took shape over the last two weeks, according to overseer the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit group affiliated with the insurance industry, has pushed automakers to install automatic emergency baking by making it a requirement to earn top marks in its influential crash test rankings.

“[AEB]’s visible and the pressure’s on to make this happen fast.”

-Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator

The NHTSA plans to make a series of new auto safety initiatives during the fall, according to Rosekind.

Only about four percent of cars built in North America will have automatic emergency braking, according to the IHS business information firm.

GoDaddy prevails in lawsuit over Oscar trademarks

godaddy

GoDaddy prevailed in a cybersquatting lawsuit brought by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which accused the Scottsdale, AZ-based Internet domain registrar of illegally profiting off its trademarks, including for the Oscar telecasts.

In a 129-page decision on Thursday, Los Angeles-based U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte said the Academy failed to show that GoDaddy acted in bad faith by letting customers purchase 293 domain names like academyawards.net, oscarsredcarpet.com, billycrystal2012oscars.com, and theoscargoestothehangover.com.

GoDaddy “reasonably relied” on its users’ representations that their domain registrations did not infringe any trademarks, according to Birotte, including the Academy’s.

GoDaddy always, sometimes within a matter of minutes according to Birotte, reassigned domains to advertising-free templates after trademark holders filed takedown requests.

“Any inadvertent use by GoDaddy of domain names that are confusingly similar or identical to the AMPAS Marks via its automated processes was unintentional. AMPAS has failed to prove that GoDaddy had the required specific bad faith intent to profit from the AMPAS marks.”

-Andre Birotte, Los Angeles-based U.S. district court judge

“We are disappointed at the court’s decision. While we appreciate the court’s recognition of the strength of the Academy’s marks, we believe the court should have found that the GoDaddy Parked Pages program improperly uses those marks. We will evaluate our appellate options.”

-An Academy spokeswoman

“[GoDaddy] has always supported brand owners in protecting their intellectual property rights.”

-Nima Kelly, GoDaddy general counsel

The decision supports its efforts to protect the legitimate interests of customers and brand owners.

Europe launches two more Galileo satellites

Europe has become one step closer to launching its own satellite navigation system after successfully launching two Galileo satellites from French Guyana.

This project from the European Space Agency is meant to be an alternative to the U.S.’ Global Positioning System (GPS). Friday’s launch took the number of satellites sent up to 10 out of a planned total of 30.

“The day of Galileo’s full operational capability is approaching. It will be a great day for Europe.”

-Jan Woerner, ESA director general

Galileo is due to reach full operational capability by 2020, according to Galileo system procurement service Joerg Hahn.

The total cost of the project until 2020 was $7.4 billion, according to Hahn, which includes $2.2 billion for the initial validation phase.

Friday’s satellites were on board a Russian Soyuz launcher that reached their target orbit about four hours after liftoff.

The ESA plans to launch another two Galileo satellites this year.

Starting next year, Galileo satellites will take off on board a European Ariane rocket launcher that can send up four satellites with a single launch.

 

Paw Print Rewind #032

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

Schlumberger buying Cameron

schlumberger

Schlumberger is buying oilfield gear maker Cameron in a $14.8 billion deal, which values Cameron around the market cap it had when oil prices were still $100 a barrel, marks the second big merger among energy services companies since crude prices entered a 60% slide last year.

The acquisition will allow Schlumberger to bundle its offerings, which range from surveying a site to drilling wells, with ones from Cameron including pressure valves and blowout preventers.

“The deal should allow a more complete solution to customers and should allow [Schlumberger] to grow market share. Smaller companies offering discrete products and services will likely be at a disadvantage going forward.”

-Daniel Boyd, BMO Capital Markets analyst

The combined company would’ve had pro-forma revenue of $59 billion in 2014, according to Schlumberger.

Schlumberger expects no antitrust hurdles and has no plans to divest any part of Cameron’s portfolio to get regulatory approval.

“With SLB-CAM, there is not much in the way of overlapping businesses … we do not envision an overly difficult antitrust review.”

-James Schumm, Oppenheimer analyst

Exelon-Pepco merger rejected by Washington DC regulators

exelon_reception_detail

Washington D.C. utilities regulators denied Exelon’s $6.8 billion bid for Pepco Holdings, dealing a major blow to a deal that would’ve create the country’s top power distributor.

Three three-member commission was the final regulatory hurdle for the deal. The four other states required to approve the deal voted in favor of the merger.

The companies have 30 days to ask the commission to reconsider its order.

If the commission rejects an application for reconsideration, the companies could then appeal the decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals or submit another application.

“Pepco would become a second-tier company in a much larger corporation whose primary interest is not in distribution, but in generation.”

-Betty Ann Kane, Washington D.C. commission chairwoman

“The proposed acquisition would have been a substantial step backwards in the District’s efforts to move toward more sustainable electricity generation and greater reliance on local, renewable energy.”

-Power DC; coalition of environmentalists, public advocacy groups

Pepco serves about two million customers in the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey, while Exelon serves about 7.8 million customers in Maryland, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

Monsanto drops pursuit of Syngenta

monsanto

U.S. agribusiness leader Monsanto has abandoned its pursuit of Swiss rival Syngenta, which rejected a recently sweetened $47 billon offer.

Syngenta’s board unanimously rejected the offer that “significantly undervalued the company.” Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, will focus on building its core business and meeting its long-term growth objectives.

“Our board is confident that Syngenta’s long-term prospects remain very attractive with a leading portfolio and a promising pipeline of new products and technologies. We are committed to accelerate shareholder valve creation.”

-Michel Demare, Syngenta chairman

“[Syngenta has] to justify to their shareholders that they can create the value that they have just turned down.”

-Pauline McPherson, Kames Capital global equity fund co-fund manager

Monsanto made a revised offer to Syngenta on August 18th, raising a previous offer to $489/share, valuing the company at roughly $47 billion, according to Monsanto. Monsanto also raised a reverse breakup fee to $3 billion.

The verbal proposal set a price of $254.74 in cash and a fixed ratio of 2.229 Monsanto shares per Syngenta share, according to Syngenta.

Monsanto wanted to acquire Syngenta primarily to boost its agrichemicals portfolio, which now relies mainly on its Roundup glyphosate-based herbicides, according to the company

Monsanto is known for its development of genetically altered crops, while Syngenta is the world’s largest agrichemical company and has a portfolio of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and seed treatments used by farmers worldwide.

“[The potential deal] is clearly not only good news for family farmers, but for economically competitive markets as well.”

-Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union (NFU) president

Monsanto was also unclear on key issues like estimated revenue synergies, according to Syngenta.

Monsanto could handle antitrust hurdles, according to the company, and would sell off Syngenta’s seeds and generic traits businesses. The deal would have brought “substantial synergies” translating to higher profits for a combined company, according to Monsanto.

“[Monsanto officials] are pretty fed up. There is a complete frustration about the whole pursuit and that is why this is the end of the Syngenta talks.”

-Brett Wong, Piper Jaffray analyst

Walmart to stop selling AR-15, other semi-automatic rifles

The Walmart logo is pictured in Los Angeles

Walmart, the United States’ top seller of guns and ammunition, will stop selling the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles because of sluggish demand and focus instead on “hunting and sportsman firearms,” according to the company.

The decision is unrelated to high-profile incidents involving the rifles, including the killing of 26 people at Newtown, CT’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

“This is done solely on what customer demand was. We are instead focusing on hunting and sportsman firearms.”

-Kory Lundberg, Walmart spokesman

Walmart will stop selling the modern sporting rifle (MSR) class, which includes the AR-15. That class was sold in fewer than a third of its roughly 4,500 U.S. stores.

“It shows that the Walmart of this decade is quite different from the prior four decades.”

-Burt Flickinger, retail consultant

“Trinity Church is very pleased to hear that Walmart will no longer sell the kinds of weapons that have caused such devastation and loss in communities around our country.”

-William Lupfer, New York City-based Trinity Church rector

“Modern Sporting Rifles are extremely popular with an estimated 10 million of them in the hands of Americans since 1990. Walmart’s decision was based on what its management sees as best for their business.”

-Michael Bazinet, National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman

Ten automakers sued in U.S. over ‘deadly’ keyless ignitions

Ten automakers were sued by U.S. consumers who claim they concealed the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning in over five million vehicles equipped with keyless ignitions, leading to 13 deaths.

According to the complaint filed in a Los Angeles federal court, carbon monoxide is emitted when drivers leave their vehicles running after taking their electronic key fobs with them, under the mistaken belief that the engines will shut off.

The 28 named plaintiffs can injure or have “deadly” results for people who inhale the colorless and odorless gas, including when vehicles are left in garages attached to homes. The defect reduces their vehicles’ resale values, according to the plaintiffs.

A keyless ignition lets drivers start a vehicle by pushing an on-off button, rather than inserting a key, once the vehicle senses the presence of an electronic fob.

The defendants include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

The lawsuit claimed that the 10 automakers have long known about the risks of keyless ignitions, which have been available in the United States since 2003, yet deceived drivers by marketing their vehicles as safe.

Airbus delays delivery of first A380 to Transaero

An Airbus A380, owned by Malaysia Airlines, lands ahead of the Farnborough Airshow 2012 in southern England

Airbus is delaying the delivery of Russian carrier Transaero Airlines’ first A380 superjumbo, according to a company spokeswoman, as the recession-hit Russian economy dents travel demand in the region.

“The contract is still in place. We are looking at rescheduling the delivery of the first plane, which was planned for this year.”

-An Airbus spokeswoman

Transaero ordered four A380s.

The delay will not affect Airbus’ plans to breakeven on the A380 program this year.

Prosecutor seeks to summon Murdoch in Deutsche Bank trial

Munich prosecutors have requested that 30 additional witnesses including Rupert Murdoch, publishers Friede Springer and Axel Springer, as well as CEO Mathias Doepfner be summoned in a trial against Deutsche Bank executives.

Munich prosecutors are pursuing criminal allegations against current and former Deutsche Bank executives in the wake of a civil suit brought by the heirs of deceased media magnate Leo Kirch.

Prosecutors accused the executives of misleading the court about the bank’s role in connection with the collapse of the Kirch media empire in 2002.

They want to establish whether Deutsche Bank sought a mandate to restructure and sell parts of the Kirch empire and now want to question executives at rival media companies, according to prosecutors.

Defense lawyers have until September 22nd to respond to the request, after which the court will decide whether to summon the additional witnesses.

Sarao fails to have UK extradition case postponed

Navinder Sarao, a London-based day-trader accused by the United States of market manipulation that contributed to the 2010 Wall Street “flash crash,” failed to persuade the Westminster Magistrates Court to postpone his extradition hearing.

James Lewis, Sarao’s defense lawyer, needed more time to obtain expert evidence about trading and how the market worked to help address the issue of whether Sarao made false representations through his trading activity, according to Lewis.

District Judge Quentin Purdy rejected the application because he didn’t think expert evidence would be relevant to what he had to decide, according to Purdy.

The full extradition hearing remains set for September 25th.

The 36-year-old is accused of using an automated program to “spoof” markets by generating large sell orders that pushed prices down. He then canceled those trades and bought the contracts at lower prices, reaping roughly $40 million in profits on his trading, according to U.S. authorities.

“I’ve not done anything wrong apart from being good at my job.”

-Navinder Sarao; day-trader, to the Westminster court in May

Kraft, Heinz complete merger

Kraft and Heinz’s merger has succeeded to officially create the Kraft Heinz Company.

The transaction creates the third-largest food and beverage company in North America, and the world’s fifth largest.

“I am honored and humbled to be the CEO of the Kraft Heinz Company. Kraft and Heinz are both world-class organizations with storied pasts and together, an even brighter future.”

-Bernardo Hees, Kraft Heinz Company CEO

Source: Kraft Heinz Company

Paw Print Rewind #031

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

Anthem buying Cigna to create biggest U.S. health insurer

Anthem

Anthem will buy Cigna for about $54.2 billion to create the largest U.S. health insurer by membership and accelerating the industry’s consolidation from five national players to three.

The proposed acquisition comes after Aetna agreed to buy Humana for $37 billion.

Buying Cigna will help Anthem reduce costs and negotiate lower prices with doctors and hospitals, according to Anthem.

“The lack of a competitive health insurance market allows the few remaining companies to exploit their market power, dictate premium increases, and pursue corporate policies that are contrary to patient interests.”

-The American Medical Association (AMA)

Under the deal, which expects to be closed by the companies in the second half of 2016, Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish would serve as the combined companies’ CEO and chairman. Cigna CEO David Cordani would be president and chief operating officer.

“Strategically and financially, it’s very attractive, but they will face regulatory scrutiny. They also both possibly face divestitures and may have to make concessions to consumers to make the merger go through.”

-Ana Gupte, Leerink Partners analyst

41% of U.S. metropolitan areas already have a single health insurer with a commercial market share of at least 50%, according to the AMA.

“It is imperative that we closely examine changes in the healthcare market, and what has caused these changes, to ensure that consumers are not harmed.”

-Mike Lee, Utah senator (R)

WTO slashes tariffs on IT goods; implementation held up

The World Trade Organization has finalized a list of 201 information technology (IT) products to be freed from import tariffs in a $1.3 trillion deal, according to the organization, but it is still short of the critical mass of countries needed to put it into force.

The first global tariff-cutting deal in 18 years will mean consumers should pay less for products like computers, touchscreen devices, videogame consoles, and hi-fi systems, while companies will see cuts in the cost of machine tools and components.

“Today’s agreement is a landmark.”

-Roberto Azevedo, World Trade Organization director-general

The value of trade involved was worth seven percent of the global total, according to Azevedo.

The products included include new-generation semiconductors, GPS navigation systems, medical products like magnetic resonance imaging machines, printed circuits, and satellites, according to the WTO.

Once in force, the agreement will update the Geneva-based company’s 18-year-old Information Technology Agreement to add the 201 products to the list of goods covered by zero-tariff and duty-free trade.

Removing tariffs on $1.3 trillion of trade is expected to give a $190 billion boost to the global economy.

However, five of the 54 WTO members responsible for the deal (Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, Colombia, and Mauritius) failed to sign up, leaving the deal short of a quorum, measured as 90% of world trade in those products, needed to bring it into force for all 161 WTO members.

“The majority have already confirmed their participation. We expect those participants who didn’t, that they will soon, and others who haven’t even participated before have expressed their interest in joining.”

-Roberto Azevedo

“This was the best possible outcome.”

-Michael Punke, U.S. Ambassador

More than $100 billion of U.S. exports alone would be covered by the updated agreement, according to U.S. trade representative Michael Froman.

“ITA’s expansion is great news for the American workers and businesses that design, manufacture, and export state-of-the-art technology and information products, ranging from MRI machines to semiconductors to video game consoles.”

-Michael Froman, U.S. trade representative

“This deal will cut costs for consumers and business – in particular for smaller firms, which have been hit especially hard by excessive tariffs in the past.”

-Cecilia Malmstrom, EU trade commissioner

Tech companies like General Electric, Microsoft, Intel, Texas Instruments, and Nintendo are among those expected to benefit from the deal.

“[The deal] definitely impacts Intel and that’s important, but also as important are the other technologies that it covers that were not even dreamt of when the original ITA was negotiated.”

-Lisa Malloy, Intel communications director

AbbVie’s revenue below expectations on lower Humira sales

abbvie

 

AbbVie’s quarterly revenue was lower than analyst expectations for the first time in six quarters, sparking concerns over slower growth for its flagship Humira arthritis drug.

Total Humira sales were $3.54 billion in the quarter that ended on June 30th, which is down 7.6% from a year ago, according to the North Chicago, IL-based company.

The drug accounted for 55% of the company’s revenue in the latest quarter.

AbbVie blamed changes in shipment timing and a strong dollar for a 14.3% drop in international sales in the three months before June.

“We have seen no impact of Remicade’s biosimilar on Humira sales.”

-Richard Gonzalez, AbbVie CEO

The company reported sales of $277 million of the hepatitis C treatment drug Viekira Pak in the United States.

AbbVie’s revenue rose 11% to $5.48 billion in the second quarter.

Excluding special items, the company earned $1.08/share.

Teva buys Allegan’s generic business for $40.5 billion, drops Mylan bid

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries will pay $40.5 billion in cash and stock for Allergan’s generic drugs business.

“Allergan’s business is more high-end [than Mylan]. It’s a more interesting business, a profitable business, and it’s well managed.”

-Gilad Alper, Excellence Nessuah analyst

Allergen will use the $36 billion in net proceeds from the generics sale to help fund further acquisitions, according to company CEO Brent Saunders.

“We can accelerate our timing on transformational M&A.”

-Brent Saunders, Allergan CEO

Aesthetics, eye care, central nervous system disorders, and gastrointestinal therapies were cited by Saunders as potential future deal areas.

Baidu profit weighed down by offline mobile services push

Baidu

Baidu’s selling, general, and administrative expenses jumped 81%, mainly due to promoting “online to offline” services, while R&D costs rose 56.2% primarily due to hiring more personnel.

The Beijing-based company’s net profit rose 38.3% to $2.57 billion, with the mobile business contributing half of the revenue.

Net income attributable to Baidu rose 3.2% to $568.56 million. On a per share basis, the company earned $1.58/American depositary share.

McGraw Hill Financial buying SNL Financial for $2.23 billion

McGraw Hill Financial

McGraw Hill Financial, the parent company of Standard & Poor’s rating agency, is buying data company SNL Financial for about $2.23 billion.

The deal will strengthen McGraw Hill’s S&P Capital IQ data analysis unit, according to the New York-based company, particularly in providing information on banking and insurance.

Tax benefits of about $550 million will mitigate the acquisition’s financial impact, according to a McGraw Hill statement.

McGraw expects the deal to add to diluted earnings per share in 2016, according to the company, excluding amortization and special items.

SNL Financial, owned by private equity firm New Mountain Capital, has about 3,000 employees in 10 countries.

Evercore Partners and Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisors and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, along with Clifford Chance LLP were McGraw Hill Financial’s legal advisors. SNL Financial received legal counseling from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

BlackRock dives into private deals as banks shy away

BlackRock

BlackRock is looking for energy and infrastructure projects in the U.S., Mexico, and Asia that its institutional clients can invest in, according to company institutional business head Mark McCombe.

BlackRock is trying to build a name for itself in private financing deals to attract and please yield-hungry clients like U.S. pension funds, according to McCombe.

“We are doing more direct deals, so it means our name is going to be more prominent and hopefully, people will see the name and approach us with more deals.”

-Mark McCombe, BlackRock institutional business head

The New York-based company is also looking for more deals in asset management technology, like its investment in Wall Street-backed research and data digital marketplace Symphony Communications Services.

“We love energy and we love anything that has the characteristics of becoming too expensive for the banks to warehouse.”

– Mark McCombe

Gaddafi’s son, eight others sentenced to death: Libyan court

Saif al-Islam, Muammar Gaddafi’s most prominent son, and eight other former officials have been sentenced to death over war crimes including killing protesters during the 2011 revolution that ended Gaddafi’s rule.

The former Gaddafi regime officials sentenced to die by firing squad include former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and ex-prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, according to Tripoli state prosecutor’s office chief investigator Sadiq al-Sur.

The trial process and outcome drew condemnation abroad, with Human Rights Watch calling it riddled with legal flaws and carried out amid widespread lawlessness undermining the judiciary’s credibility.

Eight former officials received life sentences and seven got 12-year jail terms each, according to al-Sur. Four of the 37 defendants were acquitted, while others got shorter jail terms.

The sentences can be appealed and must be confirmed by Libya’s Supreme Court.