A news summary, focused on big employers; updated 2:29 p.m.
HUMANA: Connecticut insurance regulators can’t require Aetna to maintain its headquarters in the state should the Hartford insurer’s $37 billion purchase of Humana go through as planned (Journal Enquirer). Last month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini refused to rule out the possibility Aetna might abandon its historic Hartford corporate home, saying only that the deal’s terms required the company establish a presence in Kentucky. “The rest of all of our real estate is under review,” he told the annual shareholders meeting. Aetna has 6,000 employees in Connecticut. The merger, expected to close this year if it passes regulatory review, would double its workforce to 110,000; Humana has about 12,500 in Louisville. In San Antonio, meanwhile, Humana plans to hire 140 seasonal and permanent telephone salespeople, adding to the 1,050 already working there (Express-News).
AMAZON is reportedly launching a full-fledged music streaming subscription service for $9.99 a month, placing it in a head-on collision with established rivals Apple and Spotify and their 30-million song catalogs. Amazon already offers a limited music stream for its $99-a-year Prime shipping members. A full service would continue its drive to be a one-stop retailer for all goods (Reuters).
BROWN-FORMAN: Teenage binge drinking has sunk to the lowest level since a prominent survey began in 1991, newly released results show — positive news for an alcoholic beverages industry where Brown-Forman is a major player. The survey, conducted every two years by the Centers for Disease Control, analyzed more than 150,000 U.S. secondary students; it’s one of three sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services (Spirits Business). The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey also covers smoking, fighting, technology use while driving, and other risky behavior (CDC).
GE Appliances launched its FirstBuild micro-factory at the University of Louisville two years ago so engineers could prototype ideas with state-of-the-art machinery and a community of helpers; an explainer (The Atlantic). GE sold the residential “white goods” business and 6,000-employee Appliance Park to Haier last week for $5.6 billion; the 20-employee FirstBuild was included.
FORD: Retired CEO Alan Mulally, credited with saving the Dearborn, Mich., automaker, will be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame next month. Mulally, a Boeing executive before Ford, mortgaged everything — including the iconic Blue Oval logo — for a complete product portfolio overhaul to avoid a government bailout as bankruptcy loomed. General Motors and Chrysler went through bankruptcy. Mulally, 70, retired in 2014 and was succeeded as CEO by Mark Fields. Other hall of fame inductees will include auto safety advocate Ralph Nader, 82 (Detroit News). About Ford in Louisville.
PIZZA HUT: In Corpus Christi, Texas, three men stole a money bag from a Pizza Hut employee yesterday morning in a crime police say may be connected to others like it (KRIS).
TEXAS ROADHOUSE: A pet yellow-naped Amazon bird named Emmett has been safely returned to his New Hampshire family after he was stolen Thursday night from their car in a Texas Roadhouse parking lot in Dewitt — and the finder turned down the $10,000 reward the family had offered (WSYR).
In other news, the Louisville Metro Council passed a critical ordinance granting Google Fiber a franchise for public right-of-way access to start installing hyper-fast Internet and data delivery service; Thursday’s passage had been expected (Business First). The service would provide speeds up to 100 times faster than conventional broadband, a huge economic recruiting tool that would elevate Louisville to the top ranks of high-tech cities.
Google Fiber’s website says the service is already in Atlanta, Kansas City, Nashville and Utah’s Provo — blue push pins on the following map. Louisville and other potential cities are identified with gray dots, and upcoming cities with purple: