Business briefing

The daily business briefing: February 7, 2022

Spotify's CEO says the company won't cancel Joe Rogan, Peloton shares jump on reports of Amazon, Nike takeover interest, and more

1

Spotify CEO says company won't cancel Joe Rogan

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek responded to intensifying criticism of popular podcast host Joe Rogan's anti-vaccine comments and use of racial slurs, saying the streaming service would not drop Rogan's show. "While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more," Ek said in a message to employees released Sunday. But, he said, "canceling voices is a slippery slope." Rogan apologized Saturday after a compilation video showed him repeatedly using the N-word. Spotify has a lot riding on The Joe Rogan Experience. The company reportedly paid $100 million to exclusively host the show, a centerpiece of its effort to expand beyond music.

2

Peloton shares surge on reports of Amazon, Nike takeover interest

Peloton shares jumped by 27 percent in pre-market trading after reports that Nike and Amazon are interested in taking over the fitness company. Peloton did well early in the coronavirus pandemic as people were forced to exercise and work from home, but its stock has fallen more than 80 percent from the high it reached a year ago as easing of COVID-19 restrictions fueled concerns about growth. Activist investor Blackwells Capital last month called for exploring a sale and firing co-founder and CEO John Foley and pursue a sale. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Amazon was talking to advisers about a possible deal. Financial Times reported on Nike's interest.

3

Ottawa's mayor declares state of emergency over anti-vaccine-mandate protests

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency Sunday over the so-called Freedom Convoy by hundreds of anti-vaccine-mandate protesters using large trucks to paralyze the Canadian capital's downtown. "[This] reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government," Watson said in a statement. Ottawa police officials have called the siege, which includes blaring horns and nightly fireworks, part of a "nationwide insurrection." Authorities have noted that the protesters include far-right extremists, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he won't be intimidated by a "fringe minority."

4

Stock futures slightly lower ahead of more earnings

U.S. stock futures edged lower early Monday ahead of another batch of quarterly earnings reports from major companies. Futures tied to the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 0.2 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Futures for the Nasdaq were down by 0.1 percent. The S&P and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed higher on Friday to close their best week since December with a boost from some strong earnings reports and a better-than-expected January jobs report. The Dow fell slightly but still gained 1.1 percent on the week. Stocks have been volatile in early 2022, especially tech stocks, as investors brace for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to fight high inflation.

5

Toshiba says it plans to split into 2 companies, not 3

Toshiba said Monday that it had revised its restructuring plan and wants to break into two parts, not three. The Japanese conglomerate said it would spin off its device business, which makes semiconductors that have been in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic, into a separate entity. The company initially said it would split into three companies — one for devices, another for energy and infrastructure, and a third to manage its Kioxia flash memory chip assets. The company revised the plan hoping to appease angry shareholders, but foreign hedge funds, many opposed to any split and preferring to take the company private, are expected to push back against the new plan, too.

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