Food: Keurig buys Dr Pepper Snapple for $18.7B
An investment company’s audacious bid to build a food-and-beverage empire took “a surprise turn into soft drinks” this week, said Lisa Wolfson and Eric Pfanner in the Los Angeles Times. JAB Holding, which already owns Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, and coffee chains Stumptown and Peets, used its Keurig Green Mountain coffee business to buy the Dr Pepper Snapple Group for $18.7 billion. The blockbuster deal, which also includes brands such as 7Up, Motts, and A&W, will overnight “vault JAB into competition with the likes of Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo.”
Economy: Yellen concludes notable tenure at the Fed
The Federal Reserve’s first female chair concluded her term this week, as her replacement, Jerome Powell, took the reins of the central bank, said Nick Timiraos in The Wall Street Journal. Janet Yellen has spent the past 14 years at the Fed, the last four at the helm. As chair, she “guided the U.S. economy to its tightest labor market in nearly two decades by resisting calls to raise interest rates more rapidly.” Powell, a moderate Republican who has served on the Fed’s board since 2012, is expected to largely continue Yellen’s policies.
Energy: Exxon Mobil expands shale investment
Exxon Mobil this week announced it will triple oil and gas production in “the nation’s hottest shale field,” said Clifford Krauss in The New York Times. The Permian Basin, which straddles West Texas and New Mexico, is approximately the size of South Dakota and includes “multiple layers of thick shale, easing the costs of exploration, drilling, and production.” The oil company, the nation’s largest, will eventually aim to produce 600,000 barrels per day by 2025. Exxon cited “the recent reduction in the corporate tax rate as one reason for its increased interest in investing more” in the Permian.
Autos: Harley-Davidson closing plant and axing jobs
Declining sales have prompted Harley-Davidson to shutter a major U.S. plant, said Sarah Gray in Fortune.com. The motorcycle company’s Kansas City, Mo., plant will permanently close in 2019, cutting 800 jobs. Another plant in Pennsylvania will pick up some production and jobs, meaning 260 U.S. positions will be eliminated overall. President Trump last year lauded Harley-Davidson as a “great example” of a U.S. job creator, but shortly after, the company began the first of three waves of layoffs. Last year, it shipped 241,000 motorcycles, with projected sales of between 231,000 and 236,000 this year.