A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:12 a.m.
HUMANA: Aetna has launched an auction to sell about $1 billion worth of Medicare Advantage assets as it seeks antitrust approval for its planned $37 billion acquisition of Humana. The Hartford insurer will accept bids as soon as next week, according to Reuters, which cited sources it didn’t identify. Wall Street has been less concerned about Aetna making it past antitrust regulators; on Thursday, Leerink Partners analyst Ana Gupte said she believed there was an 80% chance of Aetna closing on its acquisition (Reuters).
UPS is installing another 300 lockers nationwide to make it easier for people to pick up packages. “UPS Access Point” lockers are usually outside of convenience stores and accessible 24 hours a day. The lockers, which began a staggered rollout last month, will initially be in Washington, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia (Seattle Times). AMAZON has had a similar locker program since 2011, where customers can select any location as their delivery address, and retrieve orders by entering a unique pick-up code on the Locker touch screen (Wikipedia).
KFC: In Corpus Christi, Texas, two KFC employees were hospitalized with second-degree burns after a fryer malfunctioned and hot oil spilled out and burned them from the waist up (KRIS). French news media company STP Productions is working on a story about KFC to be aired in September. Reporter Clementine Mazoyer and a cameraman recently visited founder Harland Sanders’ first restaurant at Corbin, Ky., then traveled to Kingston, N.Y., to interview franchise owner Darlene Pfeiffer, who says she personally new Sanders (Kingston Times).
HAIER: China’s largest home appliances maker will continue to be the company where different cultures thrive and innovate, an approach it will use at its newly bought GE Appliances business. Instead of sending employees to manage acquired foreign firms, Chairman Zhang Ruimin said Haier relies on local staff and focuses on how to effectively motivate them. Over the past decade, Haier has downsized by eliminating more than 10,000 middle-level manager jobs, aiming to transform itself into an incubator of innovators. “So far, we have 3,000 small teams that are working on innovative projects, and about 200 of them have raised funds from venture capital firms,” Zhang told the 2016 Tianjin Summer Davos meeting last week. Haier completed its $5.6 billion purchase of GE last month (China Post).
TEXAS ROADHOUSE is building one of its next Bubba’s 33 chicken and burger restaurants at the Midland Park Mall in Texas. The Louisville company had seven of the restaurants at the end of last year and plans as many as five more this year (Reporter-Telegram and Nation’s Restaurant News).