Author: News Room

F.T.C. Says Middlemen Appear to Be Driving Up Drug Prices

The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday sharply criticized pharmacy benefit managers, saying in a scathing 71-page report that “these powerful middlemen may be profiting by inflating drug costs and squeezing Main Street pharmacies.”The regulator’s study signals a significant ramping up of its scrutiny of benefit managers under the agency’s chair, Lina Khan. It represents a remarkable turnabout for an agency that has long taken a hands-off approach to policing these companies.The F.T.C. has so far stopped short of bringing a lawsuit or other enforcement action against a benefit manager. But the industry fears that the report could lead to a…

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Music Catalog Giant Hipgnosis Is Sold, and Merck Mercuriadis Exits

Six years ago, an outspoken music executive named Merck Mercuriadis kicked off a new wave of dealmaking in the industry when his company, Hipgnosis, began buying up the song catalogs of artists like Neil Young, Shakira, Justin Bieber and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.Now, Mercuriadis, who once managed Beyoncé and Elton John, is stepping down from the company after its assets have been sold to the private equity giant Blackstone, following a tumultuous year that has involved a shareholder revolt, an accounting scandal and a bidding war.In the company’s complex structure, Hipgnosis Songs Fund is an “investment trust,” which is…

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What Happens When Your Bank Isn’t Really a Bank and Your Money Disappears?

For close to a century, putting your savings into a federally insured bank has been a sure thing: If the institution fails, up to $250,000 of your money will be protected.What if it isn’t anymore?The promise of bank insurance — a tenet of U.S. consumer protection since the Great Depression — is now being tested by a crisis swirling around online-only lenders with hundreds of millions of dollars of deposits between them. Customer accounts have been frozen, preventing people from cashing out their life savings. Most depositors have little clue where their money has gone, and whether they will get…

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Political Gridlock Will Raise the Economic Stakes in France

One thing was clear after France’s surprise election results on Sunday: Any new government formed by President Emmanuel Macron would face months of political paralysis. What’s less certain is whether that gridlock will tip France’s heavily indebted economy further into distress.The turmoil has focused attention back on France’s ballooning €3 trillion debt and a deficit that has grown to more than 5 percent of economic output, and immediately prompted a warning on Monday from the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency over France’s sovereign debt rating.“Uncertainty hangs over France’s future government architecture,” said the agency, which had already downgraded France’s debt…

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Seeing Workplace Misery, They Offer Company

“Making It Work” is a series is about small-business owners striving to endure hard times.When Karen Schiro, a real estate agent in Fairfax Station, Va., realized last year that she was suffering from burnout, she reached out to a burnout coach, Ellyn Schinke, based in Tacoma, Wash. “I knew that I was burned out and I just didn’t know how to fix it,” she said.Over six months of weekly video calls, Ms. Schiro, 45, learned how to pare down her overloaded to-do lists. Making changes like adding a line to her email signature saying that she does not respond to…

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Biden Administration Rule Would Increase Authority to Block Foreign Deals

The Biden administration is seeking to broaden its powers significantly to block foreign investments by making it harder to buy land near military bases, a move that could make it harder for Chinese companies to build factories in the United States.The Treasury Department proposed a new rule on Monday that would add more than 50 military installations across 30 states to a list of locations it has deemed sensitive to national security. If enacted, the rule would bolster a 2018 law that gave the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States the ability to block foreign land purchases if…

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Boeing Struck a Deal With the Justice Department. What Comes Next?

Boeing’s announcement on Sunday that it had agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge as part of a deal with the Justice Department was the culmination of a yearslong crisis involving the company’s 737 Max plane.The agreement may help Boeing put to rest a federal case stemming from two fatal crashes of the 737 Max in 2018 and 2019. But the deal is not the final word on that saga and may have little impact on other problems, including questions about the company’s production quality that were brought to light when a panel blew out of a Max…

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Multibillion-Dollar Fraud Trial Against Archegos Founder Nears Its End

The collapse of Archegos Capital Management in spring 2021, which caused billions in losses for a handful of Wall Street banks, was the result of “lies and manipulation” by Bill Hwang, the firm’s founder, a federal prosecutor told a jury in Manhattan on Monday.During closing arguments, Andrew Thomas, the prosecutor, said that Mr. Hwang had defrauded the banks and other traders in the market by artificially inflating stock prices to pump up the size of Archegos.Barry Berke, a lawyer for Mr. Hwang, said the government was criminalizing his client’s high-risk trading only because it caused losses for the banks that…

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A Wall Street Law Firm Wants to Define Consequences of Anti-Israel Protests

For as long as students at colleges across the United States have protested the war in Gaza, they’ve drawn the fury of some of the financial world’s mightiest figures — investors, lawyers and bankers — who have flexed their financial power over universities, toppling school leaders in the process.It didn’t stop the students. The protests intensified this year until campuses emptied out for the summer.Now, a prominent Wall Street law firm is taking a more direct approach with protesters. Sullivan & Cromwell, a 145-year-old firm that has counted Goldman Sachs and Amazon among its clients, says that, for job applicants,…

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U.S. Creates High-Tech Global Supply Chains to Blunt Risks Tied to China

If the Biden administration had its way, far more electronic chips would be made in factories in, say, Texas or Arizona.They would then be shipped to partner countries, like Costa Rica or Vietnam or Kenya, for final assembly and sent out into the world to run everything from refrigerators to supercomputers.Those places may not be the first that come to mind when people think of semiconductors. But administration officials are trying to transform the world’s chip supply chain and are negotiating intensely to do so.The core elements of the plan include getting foreign companies to invest in chip-making in the…

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