Business briefing

The daily business briefing: July 12, 2022

Twitter calls Musk effort to scrap deal "wrongful," HRA Pharma asks FDA to approve birth-control pill sales over the counter, and more

1

Twitter calls Musk move to end purchase deal 'invalid and wrongful'

Twitter on Monday called Tesla CEO Elon Musk's effort to call off his $44 billion deal to buy the social-media giant "invalid and wrongful." Musk accuses Twitter of failing to deliver adequate information on what percentage of its accounts are fake, but Twitter says it has provided ample data. "Twitter has breached none of its obligations under the agreement, and Twitter has not suffered and is not likely to suffer a company material adverse effect," Twitter's lawyers wrote in a regulatory filing Monday. An attorney for Musk declined to comment to The Wall Street Journal. Legal experts have said that they expect an expensive court battle if Musk doesn't go through with the deal.

2

HRA Pharma asks FDA to approve birth control pill for over-the-counter use

A Paris-based pharmaceutical company, HRA Pharma, on Monday asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize its birth control pill for over-the-counter purchase, multiple outlets have reported. It's the first such request the FDA has ever received. The company said the timing of its application is unrelated to the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade. The pill — known as Opill — has not been sold in the U.S. for over a decade, according to The Washington Post. The company's request "sets up a high-stakes decision for health regulators amid legal and political battles over women's reproductive health," The Associated Press reported.

3

Home-sale cancelations surge

Home-sale cancelations surged in June to the highest rate since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as rising mortgage rates and high inflation prompted more potential homebuyers to get cold feet. Just under 15 percent of sale agreements under contract on existing homes were canceled in June, according to a new report by Redfin. That is the highest rate since a brief pause in sales in early 2020. Cancelations were 11 percent a year ago. The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage was about 3 percent at the start of 2022. It briefly jumped to 6 percent and now stands around 5.75 percent, according to Mortgage News Daily.

4

Stock futures drop as earnings season gets underway

U.S. stock futures slid early on Tuesday as earnings season gets underway. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 0.8 percent at 6 a.m. ET. The Nasdaq was down 0.7 percent overnight. The Dow fell 0.5 percent on Monday. The S&P 500 dropped 1.2 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged nearly 2.3 percent, signaling continuing volatility as the second half of the year kicks off. Shares in apparel retailer Gap dropped more than 3 percent in after-hours trading on the news that CEO and President Sonia Syngal is stepping down. Investors will be watching earnings reports for signs of the impact of high inflation and rising interest rates on big companies.

5

Frontier tells Spirit its latest takeover offer is its last

Frontier on Monday declined to further raise its takeover bid for fellow budget carrier Spirit Airlines, signaling a possible end to its bidding war with JetBlue Airways. Spirit signed a cash-and-stock deal with Frontier in February, but JetBlue made an all-cash offer in April that launched a series of back-and-forth efforts to sweeten the offers to win over Spirit. Frontier Chief Executive Barry Biffle said in a letter to Spirit that last month's revised merger agreement is its "last, best, and final offer." The bidding war has forced several delays in Spirit's shareholder vote on its deal with Frontier, and Frontier asked for one more delay to give it time to win over investors. JetBlue's $3.7 billion cash deal is the higher bid.

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