The news at a glance
Buyers circling Time Warner Cable; Wind firm fined for bird deaths; Dreamliner faces another setback; Walmart CEO steps down; Apple scores in dispute with Samsung
Media: Buyers circling Time Warner CableTime Warner Cable might soon have new owners, said Shalini Ramachandran, Dana Cimilluca, and Brent Kendall in The Wall Street Journal. Two of its rivals, Comcast and Charter Communications, “appear to be maneuvering for control” of the country’s second-largest cable company. Time Warner is said to have been in talks with Comcast about merging, in order to ward off an unsolicited buyout by Charter. “But Comcast may end up being more foe than ally,” having launched talks with Charter on buying Time Warner together. Sector leader Comcast, with a market value of $130 billion, “could much more easily afford” to buy $38 billion Time Warner than Charter could.
A merger like this would create “one broadband giant to rule them all,” said Sam Gustin in Time.com. Such a behemoth, with 33 million customers, would invite the scrutiny of both the Justice Department’s antitrust division and the Federal Communications Commission. “Comcast already owns NBCUniversal, one of the crown jewels of the media industry,” so getting this marriage approved might be “an uphill battle” in Washington. But it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. “We believe government approval would be possible, but it would be costly, with serious risk,” said Stifel telecom analysts Christopher C. King and David Kaut. “This would be a brawl.”
Energy: Wind firm fined for bird deaths Duke Energy has agreed to pay $1 million in fines after its wind turbines killed 14 golden eagles and dozens of other birds at a Wyoming wind farm, said Emma G. Fitzsimmons in The New York Times. The company pleaded guilty last week to violations of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and will pay the money to several conservation groups. The case is the Justice Department’s “first criminal case against a wind power company for the deaths of protected birds,” which are “often killed when they collide with the wind turbines, meteorological towers, and power facilities associated with wind power projects.”
Airlines: Dreamliner faces another setback Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has a new problem, said David Simpson in CNN.com. The plane manufacturer “has warned airlines to keep some 747-8 and 787 aircraft away from certain storms because of possible icing problems in engines.” While the Dreamliner has been “billed as a super-efficient, high-technology airliner of the future,” it has faced a series of mishaps, including a four-month global grounding after battery fires broke out aboard the planes earlier this year.
Retail: Walmart CEO steps down The world’s largest retailer has a new head honcho, said Renee Dudley and Matt Townsend in Bloomberg.com. Walmart this week named Doug McMillon, the head of its international division, to replace retiring CEO Mike Duke. McMillon will take over the role in February, four years after Duke assumed the role. While McMillon has long been considered “a top candidate to take the CEO job,” his tenure as the international chief was hardly unblemished. Even as the firm “has been accelerating its expansion in China and other emerging markets,” it was also forced to probe “allegations of bribery in Mexico and possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
Tech: Apple scores in dispute with SamsungA federal jury has decided that Samsung must pay $290 million to Apple in a patent dispute over its iPhone and iPad technology, said Scott Martin in USA Today. The verdict is part of “worldwide patent litigation disputes spanning multiple courts,” in which Apple claims Samsung stole its design features for its own devices. The latest legal victory brings Apple’s overall “damage haul against Samsung to $929 million.”