A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 9:34 a.m.
AMAZON is seeking tax breaks for a proposed distribution center in Houston that would lower the retailer’s taxes there to 65% for 10 years, starting Jan. 1; Harris County officials meet today to consider whether to call a public meeting on the company’s request. The $136 million facility would create 1,000 jobs and construction would start in the third quarter (Houston Chronicle). Amazon already has at least one center in Houston; it opened in 2014. In the Louisville area, it employs 6,000 at two distribution centers. What it’s like to work in one of the centers.
Presumptive GOP White House nominee Donald Trump has renewed his attack on The Washington Post and owner Jeff Bezos, after the paper called him out for trying multiple times yesterday to quietly link President Obama to this weekend’s devastating attack in Orlando. Trump has revoked the paper’s press access to his campaign, saying Bezos is using the newspaper as his personal mouthpiece to gain tax advantages for Amazon. Bezos bought the paper from its long-time owners, the Grahams, for $250 million in 2013; he owns it separately from Amazon (The Verge). Also, Amazon is getting ready to roll out its second annual Prime Day, a special 24-hour discount extravaganza for Prime members that last year exceeded its Black Friday results. It was held in July last year; the company hasn’t set a date this year yet (Street Insider).
FORD has been much less visible than competitors in forging deals with Silicon Valley partners, raising questions about whether it’s getting left behind in the race for self-driving cars and other innovations. Talks with Google this year went nowhere, while Fiat Chrysler has already forged a relationship with that technology giant. Meanwhile, Ford’s experiments with on-demand shuttles and e-bikes have been overshadowed by General Motors’ Maven car-sharing and Toyota’s alliance with Uber (Hybrid Cars).
GE: We now know what Haier paid GE’s 61-year-old Appliance Park: $125 million, according to Jefferson County Clerk Office records reviewed by Business First. Overall, Haier paid $5.6 billion for the home appliances division in a deal completed last week.
KFC: Some customers are confused and angry — and even angry about that anger — after the fast food restaurant famous for fried chicken launched a $6 limited edition burger with that other white meat: pork. The sandwich of pulled pork, coleslaw and barbecue sauce on a brioche bun is available across KFC restaurants in at least Australia starting today for the next four weeks (Emmanorris Blog and EFTM ). The Ozzie KFC division posted that video at the top of this page and the photo on the left.
News about the sandwich is spreading across Twitter, with many outraged or at least annoyed over the outrage:
Boulevard sees the Australian Mafia-of-one at work: Greg Creed has been leading a KFC makeover since become CEO of corporate parent Yum in January 2015.
TACO BELL: Our foreign news story of the day is about the Mexican chain’s move into Brazil next month in the megalopolis of Sao Paulo, just in time for the summer Olympics: “Taco Bell desembarca no Brasil ainda no segundo semestre” (Clica Piaui). For those who don’t speak Portuguese, Google Translate is your friend. Facing an increasingly saturated U.S. fast-food market, the Yum unit is ramping up overseas openings, expanding to 1,000 locations by 2020 from about 280 now (Bloomberg).
TEXAS ROADHOUSE is hiring in Knoxville and Alcoa, Tenn., at a job fair today (WVLT).
In other news, the newly opened Speed Cinema this weekend will present this year’s Sundance Short Film Festival Tour (Insider Louisville). And on Wall Street, U.S. stocks traded lower again right after the opening bell (Google Finance).
As the headline above makes clear, another foreign-language news story has popped up in our search results. And it’s Tribu magazine again. Our foreign news desk has once more turned to Google to translate; for Spanish speakers, an excerpt:
La procesión contó además varias limusinas que transportaban a los hijos y los nietos del ex boxeador, así como a las personalidades que llevarán su féretro: el actor Will Smith y los excampeones del mundo de los pesos pesados Lennox Lewis y Mike Tyson. Los aficionados arrojaron flores en el coche fúnebre, mientras que pétalos de rosa estaban dispersos a lo largo de la ruta. Los camioneros sonaban sus bocinas en señal de saludo.
Our last Tribu challenge, about l’attrice con l’Oscar Jennifer Lawrence, was in Italian. Smith was a pallbearer at Muhammad Ali’s burial Friday at Cave Hill Cemetery. The Louisville native died June 3 in Phoenix, his primary home; he was 74.
Boulevard reviews the latest media coverage of the Oscar-winning Louisville native in our exclusive Jennifer Lawrence Diary™. Today’s news, rated on a scale of 1-5 stars:
Mama mia! The headline over this morning’s story in Tribu Magazine says it all: “Jennifer Lawrence interpretará a Elizabeth Holmes en uno película” — if you speak Italian, that is. Fortunately, Boulevard’s crack interpreters on our foreign-news desk at Google Translate have the answer.
Turns out, it has nothing to do with Lawrence’s headline-stealing appearance at her bestie’s Tuscany wedding two weeks ago. Instead, the story is her newest Hollywood gig, playing disgraced billionairess entrepreneur and fellow black turtleneck top-wearer Elizabeth Holmes. Or, as Tribu reports:
Según informó The Hollywood Reporter, tras encarnar a una mujer emprendedora en Joy, la ganadora de un Oscar por “El lado bueno de las cosas” interpretaría a la fundadora de la compañía Theranos, la controvertida empresaria de análisis de sangre.
Theranos surgió como una start up en Silicon Valley en 2003 y llegó a estar valorada en 9.000 millones de dólares cuando escaló en lo más alto de la lista de Forbes en la categoría ‘Mujeres que construyeron su fortuna’. Hasta la semana pasada, cuando solo 12 meses después de encumbrarla la reconocida publicación la eliminaba de su lista de las mujeres más ricas por las dudas sobre sus productos y la caída del valor de la empresa.
Jennifer Lawrence protagonizará el nuevo drama del director de La gran apuesta, Adam McKay. Parece que Lawrence está metida de lleno en películas en las que se pone en la piel de personajes reales.
La causa de Holmes sigue abierta y ejecutivos de la compañía de Holmes admitieron recientemente que sus pruebas no son fiables.
So, for agreeably challenging our foreign-language skills, we’re awarding Tribu tre stelle!
One thing’s clear, the wardrobe department won’t have to spend much to dress Lawrence in Holmes’ signature look.
A news summary, focused on big employers; updated 9:52 a.m.
HUMANA: Aetna sold $13 billion of new bonds yesterday to pay for its $34 billion purchase of Humana, the latest sign of growing confidence anti-trust regulators will OK the deal. Shares of both insurance giants jumped on the news, narrowing the discount at which Humana trades to the original $230 cash-and-stock offer price. That gap, around 17% at yesterday’s close, is the smallest since early April (Wall Street Journal). Humana’s stock surged 5.5% to $187.23; Aetna, up 4% to $120.05. Aetna’s CEO said recently that he expects the deal announced last July will close in the year’s second half. Humana employs about 12,500 workers in Louisville, part of its nationwide workforce of 50,000; that figure would double under the Aetna deal. More about Humana’s history.
GE: Haier Co. is expected to close on its $5.4 billion purchase of the iconic 50-year-old Appliance Park as soon as Monday. That would “sever Louisville’s half-century ties to General Electric,” The Courier Journal says, “and turn over ownership of one of the community’s flagship employers to a major Chinese appliance and consumer electronics maker” (Courier-Journal). The complex employs 6,000 making dishwashers and other home appliances. Still, GE is advertising jobs there starting at $15.51 and hour, or $32,000 a year (company website).
(Here’s how Google translates our GE news summary in simplified Chinese: 海尔股份有限公司有望尽快结束其$5.4十亿收购标志性的50岁的家电园区，截至周一。这将“切断路易斯维尔半个世纪关系到通用电气，”信使杂志说，“和社会各界的旗舰雇主之一的所有权移交给大中国家电和消费电子制造商”（信使报）。复杂的员工6000人。 GE尚广告工作开始出现在$15.51和时间，或每年$32,000.” Our headline should say: Goodbye, GE!)
Watch an inside tour of Appliance Park:
YUM: Retired PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico, who spun off the company’s restaurant division into what is now Yum Brands, died suddenly Wednesday while on vacation with his family in the Cayman Islands. The cause of his death wasn’t immediately known. He was 71 (The Drum). CEO from 1996-2001, Enrico was known for turning Pepsi-Cola into a pop-culture leader with groundbreaking sponsorships with Michael Jackson and Madonna in the “Choice of a New Generation” campaign (The Wall Street Journal and AdAge). Watch one of the Jackson commercials. Yum’s history in Louisville started with KFC founder Harland Sanders.
AMAZON: About 40 bike messengers employed by Amazon contractor Fleetfoot Messenger Service have been laid off, effective today, as the company rethinks the way it makes quick deliveries in its corporate hometown of Seattle. The messengers carried packages and groceries for Amazon Prime Now, a popular one- to two-hour service seen as one of Amazon’s big bets to beat brick-and-mortar retailing (Seattle Times). Geekwire said the number laid off was closer to 60, and quoted one saying: “A lot of people, including myself, are thinking, ‘Why are we going to stick around and bust our ass and put our lives on our line when they don’t give a shit?’ They just cut our jobs. A lot of us just walked out” (GeekWire). Expectations were high for the couriers — with heavier-than-normal loads, fast delivery times, careful tracking, and demands for near-perfect execution (GeekWire, earlier). Elsewhere in Amazonia, the company blows away all competitors in time spent on their mobile websites by a long shot; mobile visitors spent an average 103 minutes on Amazon vs. Target’s 20 minutes and Walmart’s 14 (Business Insider).
BROWN-FORMAN: Billy Walker, who sold the BenRiach Distillery Co. scotch whiskey business to Brown-Forman for $405 million million, has been named entrepreneur of the year in the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards; the deal closed Wednesday (Herald Scotland).
CHURCHILL DOWNS: Hosting a party at the iconic racetrack runs from casual to a formal sit-down meal surrounded by historic racing décor (press release via Insider Louisville).
In other news, U.S. employers added only 38,000 workers in May, a significant slowdown in hiring that could push back a decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates (New York Times). Wall Street wasn’t keen on the report; all major stock indices retreated (Google Finance) and the 11 big employers in Boulevard’s Stock Portfolio all tumbled.
Finally, Louisville native and humanitarian Muhammad Ali has been hospitalized again and is being treated for a respiratory issue in Phoenix, where he lives. Ali, 74, has been battling Parkinson’s disease for years. The Associated Press said last night that his condition may be more serious than in his previous hospital stays (ESPN). His $80 million Muhammad Ali Center opened in downtown Louisville in 2005.
We like to remember him for his stunning Sonny Liston knockout punch after 104 seconds on May 25, 1965:
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