Media: Redstone wins Viacom battle
The struggle for control of media giant Viacom has “ended in victory for Sumner Redstone and his family,” said Meg James in the Los Angeles Times. As part of a deal unanimously approved by the company’s board last week, CEO Philippe Dauman will resign with $72 mil lion in severance. Five new Redstonebacked directors will take seats on the board, putting Viacom firmly in the hands of majority owner Redstone and his daughter, Shari. The settlement should end the nasty legal fight between the Redstones and Dauman and his allies, who claimed Shari, 62, was manipulating her 93-year-old father and making a grab for his $40 bil lion media empire. “Now comes the hard part” for Viacom, said Emily Steel in The New York Times. After a bruising public power struggle in which Dauman and others challenged Redstone’s mental capacity, Shari and interim CEO Thomas E. Dooley must try to turn around a struggling media empire that encompasses MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon as well as Paramount Pictures. Plagued by weak ratings, a decline in advertising sales across several of its TV networks, and fierce competition from digital upstarts like Netflix and Amazon, Viacom’s share price has plunged nearly 50 percent over the past two years.
Health care: Mylan accused of EpiPen price gouging
“EpiPen maker Mylan has become the new bogeyman of the pharmaceutical industry,” said Ariana Eunjung Cha in The Washington Post. Lawmakers in Congress called this week for an investigation into the pharmaceuticals firm amid public outcry over steep price hikes for its emergency auto-injector, which is used to treat severe allergic reactions. The price of the device has increased 450 percent since 2004, shooting up by $100 in recent months “for no obvious reason,” and EpiPens now cost more than $600 each. The dosage in a single pen costs only about $1; Mylan’s proprietary pen injector “makes up the bulk of the cost.”
Retail: Macy’s to close 100 stores
Macy’s will shutter 100 department stores—about 15 percent of its U.S. properties—by early next year, said Matt Egan in CNN.com. The retailer’s decision comes after six straight quarterly declines in sales and is the latest in a wave of closures “amid the rise and success of Amazon and other online shopping options.” Walmart announced plans in January to shut down 269 stores this year. Sports Authority is shutting all 450 of its stores after filing for bankruptcy. “It’s a grim picture for retail store workers,” with some 44,000 retail layoffs announced so far this year.
Online: Gawker Media gets a new owner
Gawker Media founder Nick Denton is “getting out of the news business,” said Roger Yu in USA Today. Spanish-language media firm Univision Communications will pay Denton roughly $400,000 over the next two years to abide by a non-compete pact after it bought his company’s assets for $135 mil lion in a bankruptcy auction last week. Gawker and its founder were forced into bankruptcy after former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan successfully sued the media company for publishing a leaked sex tape of him and a friend’s wife. Gawker.com has been shut down, but the company’s remaining six blogs, including Deadspin and Jezebel, will be folded into Univision’s Fusion Media division.
Housing: New home sales boom
Rocketing sales of newly built homes are “a sign of solid momentum in the U.S. housing market,” said Eric Morath in The Wall Street Journal. Purchases of new single-family homes increased 12.4 per cent in July from the month before to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000, the highest level since October 2007, said the U.S. Department of Commerce. The housing market is “a bright spot in the economy,” fueled by historically low mortgage rates and steady job growth.