Tag: Google Fiber

Regs can’t force Aetna to stay in Hartford; good B-F news: teen binge drinking dives; and $10K pet bird stolen from a N.H. Roadhouse lot is home again

aetna-headquarters
Aetna’s headquarters building in Hartford, where it was founded in 1853.

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 logoAMAZON 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.

Alan Mulally
Mulally

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).

Yellow-naped Amazon
What birds look like.

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:

Google Fiber map

Go, Kindred: Home health market in quick expansion; lightning-fast Google Fiber nears a done Louisville deal

A news summary, focused on big employers; updated at 2:01 p.m.

Google Fiber map
Google Fiber cities: Louisville is potential (gray); current (blue); upcoming (purple).

KINDRED: The global home health market will expand rapidly in the next four years, according to newly released research (Home Health Care News).

BROWN-FORMAN: Asia-Pacific Marketing Director Michael McShane recalls the worst time he ever got lost traveling on business: New Orleans. “I was so excited to be in this famous city, that I went out exploring without my hotel key and promptly forgot where I was staying” (Financial Review).

TACO BELL: Employees in Brunswick, Ohio, called police at 3 a.m. Friday to report a drunken driver in a white Ford Taurus in the restaurant’s drive-thru. Police pulled the man over a short time later (Cleveland).

In other news, Louisville now looks like the next city to get super high-speed Internet service from Google Fiber. The Metro Council is set to pass a crucial ordinance Thursday, giving the search giant a franchise to continue to the next stage of installation. Service could become available in the fall. The service would provide speeds up to 100 times faster than conventional broadband (Courier-Journal). On Google Fiber’s website, Louisville is shown as “potential.” The service is already available in Atlanta, Kansas City, Nashville and Provo, Utah.

Meanwhile, AT&T this week started imposing higher rates for customers using large volumes of data — and customers aren’t happy (Courier-Journal, too). Boulevard adds: way to not compete with Google Fiber.

U.S. stocks jumped less than an hour into trading, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other indices all up more than 1%. Big employer shares in Boulevard’s stock portfolio were all higher, too (Google Finance).

Map, top: Google Fiber.

Amazon blows past forecasts; Churchill, not so much; as Ford, UPS disclose cascade of first-quarter earnings

Latest news, with a special focus on big Louisville employers; updated 4:50 p.m.

AMAZON just reported a huge first quarter, and its stock was recently soaring 12% in after-hours trading, to $675 a share (MarketWatch).

CHURCHILL DOWNS just released first-quarter results showing what appears to be a big miss on earnings per share: 16 cents vs. a Wall Street consensus forecast of 48 cents. But the $288 million in revenue was ahead of the consensus $275 million (forecasts). Here’s the press release. The company’s stock was unchanged in late trading.

FORD this morning delivered record first-quarter results amid strong truck sales, with net income more than doubling and operating margins in the core North American unit rivaling those of high-end luxury brands (MarketWatch); shares surged 1.6% to $13.88 in pre-market trading. Separately, Ford supplier Louisville Seating is planning a $13 million expansion in Shepherdsville that could add 170 jobs (Courier-Journal).

UPS beat first-quarter profit forecasts, but whiffed on revenue. (MarketWatch); premarket, shares rose less than 1%, to $106.90. HUMANA: Aetna reported a nearly 4% decline in first-quarter operating earnings as the health insurer lost members in its commercial business; Aetna has agreed to buy Humana for $37 billion, subject to a tough regulatory review (Reuters); Aetna shares were flat at $111.52, premarket.

Gibbs_rt
Gibbs

YUM‘s newly appointed CFO will get additional stock rights worth $500,000, which and will vest in four equal annual installments starting May 20, 2017 (SEC filing). David Gibbs was promoted to the job from CEO of Pizza Hut yesterday. Yum shares closed yesterday at $81.53, essentially flat.

GE: Qingdao-Haier Co. is making written offers to GE employees as the China-based company nears completion of its $5.4 billion purchase of the appliance maker (Business First).

In other news, AT&T is laying ultra-fast Internet fiber lines throughout Norton Commons, the 600-acre Northeast Louisville residential development. Work is expected to be finished by the end of the year, and comes as Google Fiber advances plans to offer the service city-wide (WFPL). And U.S. stock markets were headed for an ugly day; Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were plunging 140 points after the Bank of Japan’s surprise decision to keep monetary policy steady (CNBC).