• Surpassing a threshold that could ultimately unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus compensation for its chief executive, Tesla’s share price hit a record high, @nirajc writes. Link
    DealBook Thu 23 Jan 2020 11:05

    Tesla’s share price hit a record high on Wednesday, surpassing a threshold that could ultimately unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus compensation for its chief executive, Elon Musk.

    The award is contingent on a $100 billion market capitalization for Tesla — the milestone reached Wednesday — over a sustained period. The stock closed at $569.56 per share, giving the company a valuation just shy of $103 billion.

    If the market capitalization remains above $100 billion on average over a six-month period, including at least 30 consecutive days, Mr. Musk will have the option to buy about 1.69 million shares at about $350 each — a payout worth more than $370 million before taxes at the current stock price.

    Forbes and Bloomberg estimate Mr. Musk’s current net worth at about $32 billion, about half of it composed of Tesla shares.

  • The central bank’s nine interest rate increases between 2015 and late 2018 — three of which it reversed last year — probably reined in business investment and the housing market, economists say. But not by 2 full percentage points. Link
    DealBook Thu 23 Jan 2020 09:35

    WASHINGTON — President Trump has repeatedly blamed the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy for preventing the American economy from reaching the 4 percent growth he had promised. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump renewed that criticism from the sidelines of an elite gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

    “No. 1, the Fed was not good,” Mr. Trump told CNBC when asked why economic growth was closer to 2 percent last year. Data for the full year isn’t in yet, but the economy probably expanded at 2.2 percent or 2.3 percent relative to the fourth quarter of 2018, economists estimate.

    Mr. Trump also pointed to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max plane and severe storms as factors that held back the economy, but added that “with all of that, had we not done the big raise on interest, I think we would have been close to 4 percent.”

    Economists said that claim was not realistic.

    The central bank’s nine interest rate increases between 2015 and late 2018 — three of which it...

  • “Even if manufacturing started to recover, there’s still going to be some continuing cutbacks in nonmanufacturing industries,” said an economist. “The full effect of the layoffs hasn’t really been transmitted to the full economy yet.” Link
    DealBook Thu 23 Jan 2020 06:10
    Kevin Luke, who transports goods from the Port of Long Beach near Los Angeles to local distribution centers, says his business has clearly felt the impact of the trade war.Credit...Rozette Rago for The New York Times
  • Consumers were outraged that nearly half the U.S. population had their personal information compromised by hackers in Equifax’s database. Despite the anger, the vast majority of the 147 million consumers eligible for the settlement are sitting it out. Link
    DealBook Thu 23 Jan 2020 05:45

    Roughly two years ago, nearly half the American population had their personal information compromised by hackers in Equifax’s enormous database. Consumers were outraged, lawmakers upbraided the chief executive and Equifax ultimately reached a settlement with regulators for up to $700 million.

    Despite the anger, the vast majority of the 147 million consumers eligible for the settlement are sitting it out. As of Dec. 1, just more than 10 percent of the consumers affected had filed for some type of compensation.

    Wednesday was the deadline for initial claims under the settlement, including requests for free credit monitoring services or the so-called alternative compensation — a payment of up to $125 for those who already had some form of monitoring in place. It was also the initial deadline to seek payment for time spent dealing with the inconvenience, and for claims for out-of-pocket expenses or losses incurred because of the breach.

    In some ways, the initial...

  • Two years after on-again-off-again trade talks have left U.S. farmers reeling, the trade war with China is de-escalating. And in recent months, there have been signs that the damage is spreading, write @jimtankersley, @nirajc, and @bencasselman Link
    DealBook Thu 23 Jan 2020 04:25
    Kevin Luke, who transports goods from the Port of Long Beach near Los Angeles to local distribution centers, says his business has clearly felt the impact of the trade war.Credit...Rozette Rago for The New York Times
  • “Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos’ phone are absurd,” the Saudi Embassy said on Twitter. “We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.” Link
    DealBook Thu 23 Jan 2020 03:05

    SAN FRANCISCO — On the afternoon of May 1, 2018, Jeff Bezos received a message on WhatsApp from an account belonging to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

    The two men had previously communicated using the messaging platform, but Mr. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, had not expected a message that day — let alone one with a video of Saudi and Swedish flags with Arabic text.

    The video, a file of more than 4.4 megabytes, was more than it appeared, according to a forensic analysis that Mr. Bezos commissioned and paid for to discover who had hacked his iPhone X. Hidden in that file was a separate bit of code that most likely implanted malware that gave attackers access to Mr. Bezos’ entire phone, including his photos and private communications.

    Mr. Bezos has been on a singular quest to find out who penetrated the device since early 2019, when he said The National Enquirer’s parent company had threatened to release private photographs and texts, and...

  • “The authorities are sending a signal, which is that only the government agencies can talk about the epidemic,” a former Southern Metropolis Daily reporter wrote on his personal blog. “All other people should just shut up." Link
    DealBook Thu 23 Jan 2020 02:05

    The SARS disaster was supposed to drag China into a new era of openness and responsibility. The deadly disease rippled across the world 17 years ago, abetted by a Chinese government that covered up its spread. As the scope of it became clear, China’s journalists, intellectuals and other critics helped shame Beijing into opening up about the problem.

    “SARS has been our country’s 9/11,” said Xu Zhiyuan, then a young newspaper columnist and a fierce critic of the government’s handling of SARS, in a 2003 interview with The New York Times. “It has forced us to pay attention to the real meaning of globalization.”

    Today, China faces the spread of another mysterious disease, a coronavirus, which so far has killed 17 people and infected more than 570. And while Beijing’s response has improved in some ways, it has regressed in others. It is censoring criticism. It is detaining people for spreading what it calls “rumors.” It is suppressing information it deems...

  • Boeing said it did not expect regulators to approve its 737 Max jet to fly again until the middle of the year. If this new timeline holds, it would further push back when the plane will be available for commercial flights. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 14:30

    The return of Boeing’s 737 Max has been delayed again. On Tuesday, the company said it did not expect regulators to approve the jet to fly again until the middle of the year. American Airlines, United and Southwest had already taken Max flights off their schedules until June, and if this new timeline holds, it would further push back when the plane will be available for commercial flights.

    The announcement reflects Boeing’s new appreciation for the challenges facing the company in its effort to persuade regulators that the Max is ready to fly. Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration have continued to find new flaws with the Max that go beyond an automated software system known as MCAS. The software contributed to two accidents, in late 2018 and early 2019, that killed 346 people and led to the worldwide grounding of the Max in March.

    But the new estimate is conservative and intended in part to give Boeing some leeway with airline customers, who became...

  • The announcement that Boeing’s 737 Max has been delayed again reflects the company's new appreciation for the challenges facing the company in its effort to persuade regulators that the Max is ready to fly, writes @Nataliekitro Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 14:30

    The return of Boeing’s 737 Max has been delayed again. On Tuesday, the company said it did not expect regulators to approve the jet to fly again until the middle of the year. American Airlines, United and Southwest had already taken Max flights off their schedules until June, and if this new timeline holds, it would further push back when the plane will be available for commercial flights.

    The announcement reflects Boeing’s new appreciation for the challenges facing the company in its effort to persuade regulators that the Max is ready to fly. Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration have continued to find new flaws with the Max that go beyond an automated software system known as MCAS. The software contributed to two accidents, in late 2018 and early 2019, that killed 346 people and led to the worldwide grounding of the Max in March.

    But the new estimate is conservative and intended in part to give Boeing some leeway with airline customers, who became...

  • Netflix reported today that it has hit 167 million subscribers worldwide. The increase in U.S. subscribers fell short of the company's expectations. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 14:30

    Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, has grown used to going up against Amazon, Hulu and YouTube. But the Walt Disney Company’s entry into the streaming industry, with Disney Plus, caught his attention.

    After Netflix released its earnings figures for the fourth quarter of 2019 on Tuesday, Mr. Hastings noted his new rival’s “great” content lineup, including “The Mandalorian,” a “Star Wars” series featuring the character known as Baby Yoda. And in a rare acknowledgment of a competitor’s strength, he added that the emergence of Disney in streaming “takes away a little from us.”

    Disney Plus started strong in November, signing up 10 million customers on its first day, and industry insiders wondered how much Disney might have dinged Netflix.

    Turns out, a little bit, according to Netflix’s latest results.

    The streaming giant signed up 420,000 new customers in the United States during the last three months of 2019, the company reported. That fell shy...

  • France and United States strike temporary truce in a trans-Atlantic trade war  Link by @LizAldermanNYT
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 14:25

    PARIS — France and the United States appeared to strike a temporary truce in a trans-Atlantic spat, French officials said Tuesday, after President Emmanuel Macron agreed to suspend a tax on American technology giants in exchange for a postponement of threatened retaliatory tariffs on French goods by the Trump administration.

    The apparent détente emerged after Mr. Macron and President Trump agreed in a phone call late Sunday to grant more time for negotiations over a global solution to taxing Amazon, Facebook and other digital companies.

    “We will work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation,” Mr. Macron said on Twitter on Monday. “Excellent!” Mr. Trump replied on the social media platform.

    Mr. Trump, who is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said on Tuesday that he and Mr. Macron had a “good conversation” and that the United States “is very happy with the result.”

  • Victims who had stepped forward before a previous deadline worked to find others who could share in a relief fund projected to total $13.5 billion Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 13:40

    A deadline extension and an aggressive effort to track down victims have doubled the number of damage claims against Pacific Gas & Electric over California wildfires started by its equipment.

    A filing Tuesday related to the giant utility’s bankruptcy case said more than 80,000 people were now seeking to tap into a relief fund projected to total $13.5 billion.

    In his report, a court-appointed accountant charged with identifying and finding additional wildfire victims attributed the increased number of claims to, among other things, “grass-roots campaign efforts of the fire victims themselves.”

    Less than three weeks before the previous Oct. 31 deadline, The New York Times reported that about 31,500 victims had filed claims but that 70,000 others could lose out on benefits if they did not act quickly.

  • Raids of Mitsubishi offices in Germany are the latest blow to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance  Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 12:24

    FRANKFURT — Mitsubishi Motors is under investigation for possibly selling diesel vehicles in Germany that had been programmed to cheat on emissions tests, Frankfurt prosecutors said Tuesday as the police raided offices of the Japanese carmaker.

    The investigation is another setback for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which has been under severe strain since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, its former chairman, more than a year ago in Japan.

    Another diesel emissions scandal could also weigh on the entire auto industry. Accusations of emissions cheating against Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler, Daimler and others have hurt the reputations of the traditional carmakers when they are under fierce pressure from Tesla and its emission-free electric cars.

    Investigators raided 10 offices in and around Frankfurt, near Munich and in other locations around Germany on Tuesday, the prosecutors said. The searches included two suppliers, which the authorities did not identify.

  • Britain's sweeping new online safeguards for children will far outstrip kids' privacy protections in the United States. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 11:04

    Britain unveiled sweeping new online protections for children on Tuesday, issuing expansive rules despite widespread objections from a number of tech companies and trade groups.

    The rules will require social networks, gaming apps, connected toys and other online services that are likely to be used by people under 18 to overhaul how they handle those users’ personal information. In particular, they will require platforms like YouTube and Instagram to turn on the highest possible privacy settings by default for minors, and turn off by default data-mining practices like targeted advertising and location tracking for children in the country.

    The new rules are the most comprehensive protections to arise from heightened global concern that popular online services exploit children’s information, suggest inappropriate content to them and fail to protect them from sexual predators. The British children’s protections far outstrip narrower rules in the United States, which...

  • More than a decade after a fatal Boeing crash, Dutch officials released a critical study that had been "buried." Its lessons would have proved relevant to the 737 Max accidents. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 09:34

    After a Boeing 737 crashed near Amsterdam more than a decade ago, an expert study that sharply criticized the manufacturer was never published by the Dutch safety authorities, and its key findings were either excluded or played down in their accident report.

    On Tuesday, the Dutch Safety Board, which had commissioned the study, reversed course — publishing it a day after The New York Times detailed the findings.

    The Times’s review of evidence from the accident, which killed nine people on a Turkish Airlines flight in 2009, showed the study’s conclusions were relevant to investigations into two more recent crashes of Boeing aircraft that killed 346.

    [Read The Times’s investigation here.]

    The study, by Sidney Dekker, acknowledged that the pilots made serious errors but also found that Boeing bore significant responsibility. It accused the company of trying to deflect attention from its own “design shortcomings” with “hardly credible” statements drawing...

  • Two extra months and a push to find additional California fire victims more than doubled the total from early October  Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 06:24

    A deadline extension and an aggressive effort to track down victims have doubled the number of damage claims against Pacific Gas & Electric over California wildfires started by its equipment.

    A filing Tuesday related to the giant utility’s bankruptcy case said more than 80,000 people were now seeking to tap into a relief fund projected to total $13.5 billion.

    In his report, a court-appointed accountant charged with identifying and finding additional wildfire victims attributed the increased number of claims to, among other things, “grass-roots campaign efforts of the fire victims themselves.”

    Less than three weeks before the previous Oct. 31 deadline, The New York Times reported that about 31,500 victims had filed claims but that 70,000 others could lose out on benefits if they did not act quickly.

  • Working to limit information about dissatisfied customers, SmileDirectClub, which sells teeth aligners online, requires customers to sign a confidentiality provision to receive a refund. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 05:54

    To fix some crowding in her teeth, Taylor Weakley, an environmental scientist in Denver, ordered teeth aligners two years ago from SmileDirectClub, a start-up she had seen advertised on social media.

    At $1,850, the products were cheaper than braces, and she did not have to visit an orthodontist to get them.

    But when the aligners did not correct Ms. Weakley’s teeth as promised, she asked for a refund. After a lengthy back-and-forth, SmileDirectClub said she would get her money back if she signed a nondisclosure provision as part of a general release form. In September, Ms. Weakley, 25, agreed.

    “Going forward, I can’t say anything,” she wrote in an email.

    What Ms. Weakley experienced was part of SmileDirectClub’s methods to limit information about customers’ dissatisfaction with its products. Seven people who ordered teeth aligners from the company described to The New York Times how the products did not fix their teeth; four said the aligners had created...

  • A deal between the France and the U.S. would buy time for the development of an international framework to prevent multinational companies from avoiding taxes by shifting profits between countries. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 05:09

    PARIS — France and the United States appeared to strike a temporary truce in a trans-Atlantic spat, French officials said Tuesday, after President Emmanuel Macron agreed to suspend a tax on American technology giants in exchange for a postponement of threatened retaliatory tariffs on French goods by the Trump administration.

    The apparent détente emerged after Mr. Macron and President Trump agreed in a phone call late Sunday to grant more time for negotiations over a global solution to taxing Amazon, Facebook and other digital companies.

    “We will work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation,” Mr. Macron said on Twitter on Monday. “Excellent!” Mr. Trump replied on the social media platform.

    Mr. Trump, who is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said on Tuesday that he and Mr. Macron had a “good conversation” and that the United States “is very happy with the result.”

  • Britain just unveiled sweeping new online protections for children, issuing expansive rules despite objections from some tech giants and trade groups. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 03:54

    Britain unveiled sweeping new online protections for children on Tuesday, issuing expansive rules despite widespread objections from a number of tech companies and trade groups.

    The rules will require social networks, gaming apps, connected toys and other online services that are likely to be used by people under 18 to overhaul how they handle those users’ personal information. In particular, they will require platforms like YouTube and Instagram to turn on the highest possible privacy settings by default for minors, and turn off by default data-mining practices like targeted advertising and location tracking for children in the country.

    The new rules are the most comprehensive protections to arise from heightened global concern that popular online services exploit children’s information, suggest inappropriate content to them and fail to protect them from sexual predators. The British children’s protections far outstrip narrower rules in the United States, which...

  • After France's president agreed to suspend a tax on U.S. technology giants in exchange for a postponement of threatened retaliatory tariffs on French goods by the Trump administration, France and the U.S. appeared to strike a temporary truce. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 02:29

    PARIS — France and the United States appeared to strike a temporary truce in a trans-Atlantic spat, French officials said Tuesday, after President Emmanuel Macron agreed to suspend a tax on American technology giants in exchange for a postponement of threatened retaliatory tariffs on French goods by the Trump administration.

    The apparent détente emerged after Mr. Macron and President Trump agreed in a phone call late Sunday to grant more time for negotiations over a global solution to taxing Amazon, Facebook and other digital companies.

    “We will work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation,” Mr. Macron said on Twitter on Monday. “Excellent!” Mr. Trump replied on the social media platform.

    Mr. Trump, who is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said on Tuesday that he and Mr. Macron had a “good conversation” and that the United States “is very happy with the result.”

  • A study faulting Boeing in a deadly crash near Amsterdam remained confidential for a decade. On Tuesday, the Dutch made it public after The Times detailed its findings, which have proven relevant in the investigations of 2 fatal crashes of the 737 Max. Link
    DealBook Wed 22 Jan 2020 01:09

    After a Boeing 737 crashed near Amsterdam more than a decade ago, an expert study that sharply criticized the manufacturer was never published by the Dutch safety authorities, and its key findings were either excluded or played down in their accident report.

    On Tuesday, the Dutch Safety Board, which had commissioned the study, reversed course — publishing it a day after The New York Times detailed the findings.

    The Times’s review of evidence from the accident, which killed nine people on a Turkish Airlines flight in 2009, showed the study’s conclusions were relevant to investigations into two more recent crashes of Boeing aircraft that killed 346.

    [Read The Times’s investigation here.]

    The study, by Sidney Dekker, acknowledged that the pilots made serious errors but also found that Boeing bore significant responsibility. It accused the company of trying to deflect attention from its own “design shortcomings” with “hardly credible” statements drawing...

  • President Trump and Greta Thunberg: two starkly different visions of the future Link
    DealBook Tue 21 Jan 2020 23:39

    DAVOS, Switzerland — Neither uttered the other’s name. But President Trump and the Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg took unmistakable aim at each other on Tuesday at this conference of business and government figures, reprising their roles as antagonists on the global stage.

    The 73-year-old president and 17-year-old activist dominated the first full day of the gathering, painting starkly different visions of the future, and staking out opposite poles on the signature theme of this year’s forum: how best to manage a world of increasing temperatures, rising seas and catastrophic wildfires.

  • Uber, a distant No. 3 in food delivery in India, gives up and sells the business to a local rival, Zomato. It's part of the company's efforts to exit money-losing businesses. Link
    DealBook Tue 21 Jan 2020 11:48

    MUMBAI, India — Uber, in its latest move to drop money-losing businesses, agreed on Tuesday to sell its food delivery business in India to Zomato, a local competitor, in exchange for 9.99 percent of the Indian start-up.

    All delivery drivers for the service, known as Uber Eats, and basic information about customers, including their phone numbers and order history, will be transferred to Zomato, the companies said. In addition, Uber’s app will send Indian users to Zomato for six months when they click on the “Get Food Delivery” button.

    Uber has faced increased pressure from investors to turn a profit, and it spent much of 2019 cutting costs and laying off employees after a disappointing initial public offering last May. While its food delivery service, Uber Eats, has grown quickly, it faces aggressive competition around the world, and the company has been forced to spend heavily on subsidies and promotional offers to gain new users.

  • On Sunday, The Times and news outlets around the world reported on more than 700,000 leaked documents showing how Africa's wealthiest woman exploited Angola's riches. On Monday, she was barred by her own bank -- where she is the biggest shareholder. Link
    DealBook Tue 21 Jan 2020 10:28

    Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman and the daughter of Angola’s former president, is under scrutiny by her bank and the Angolan government after a leak of more than 700,000 documents showed how she exploited the country’s wealth to enrich herself.

    EuroBic, a Lisbon-based arm of a bank where Ms. dos Santos is the biggest shareholder, said on Monday that it was ending its “commercial relationship” with her and investigating transfers worth tens of millions of dollars, transactions that were revealed on Sunday by The New York Times and other news outlets working with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

    Angola’s attorney general said on Monday that the government would “use all possible means” to bring Ms. dos Santos back to the country, where she faces possible corruption charges and where her assets were frozen last month, along with her husband’s and those of a Portuguese business associate, Agence France-Presse...

  • The C.E.O.s were uneasy with him last time around. But this year at the annual conference in the Swiss Alps, Trump could be the Davos Man. Link
    DealBook Tue 21 Jan 2020 08:58

    DAVOS, Switzerland — The last time President Trump arrived at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, his trip was treated with deep skepticism, if not disdain, by the business and political leaders who gather once a year in this ski town in the Swiss Alps. It was 2018 and even with his newly enacted tax cuts, his populist, antiglobalist rhetoric and Twitter outbursts were more than enough to make the event’s collection of plutocrats uneasy.

    This time is likely to be different.

    With the stock market at record highs, two trade deals announced and the possibility that Mr. Trump may be in office for another four years, there is an increasing sense that he will be accepted, if not embraced (although some attendees may roll their eyes behind his back) when he arrives on Tuesday, even as he faces an impeachment trial.

    As anathema as it may be to some participants, Mr. Trump may be the new Davos Man.

    The Davos forum, marking its 50th year, has always sought...

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