Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 9, 2022

Keystone Pipeline shuts down over oil leak, FTC sues to block Microsoft's acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard, and more

1

Keystone Pipeline shuts down after oil leak discovered

Canada's TC Energy has shut down the Keystone Pipeline over an oil leak near the Kansas-Nebraska state line. The shutdown of the pipeline, which carries 600,000 barrels of crude daily from Canada to U.S. refineries, sent oil prices surging by as much as five percent before retreating. Federal safety regulators launched an investigation, but the cause of the leak remained unclear late Thursday. More than 14,000 barrels of oil spilled into a Kansas creek, making the accident one of the largest U.S. spills in nearly a decade. This is the third spill of several thousand barrels on the pipeline since it opened in 2010. The pipeline is separate from the Keystone XL project whose permit President Biden revoked on his first day in office.

2

FTC sues to block Microsoft's $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday filed a lawsuit seeking to block software giant Microsoft's $69 billion deal to buy video game maker Activision Blizzard. The FTC said the acquisition would hurt consumers because it would let Microsoft use popular Activision games like "Call of Duty" to lure gamers away from rival companies, reducing competition. The lawsuit, approved in a 3-1 vote by the agency's commissioners, marks what could be a major setback for Microsoft, because its video game unit has piled up $16 billion in annual sales to become the company's most important consumer unit. The case marks a key test of FTC Chair Lina Khan's strategy to contain the power of Big Tech.

3

'New York Times' workers hold 24-hour strike

New York Times employees held a one-day strike on Thursday, citing frustration after months of negotiations over compensation and other issues. More than 1,100 workers from the newsroom and other departments, including advertising and security, pledged to stop work in the walkout. Employees waved protest signs outside the newspaper's Midtown Manhattan offices, chanting, "We make the paper, we make the profits." "This is not a decision we take lightly," the employee union, the New York Times Guild, wrote in a message to Times readers. "We know you count on us all for vital news and information." Meredith Kopit Levien, the chief executive of the Times, said the company was committed to negotiating a contract with "substantial pay increases, market-leading benefits, and flexible working conditions."

4

Stock futures rise ahead of fresh inflation data

U.S. stock futures rose slightly early Friday as investors awaited fresh inflation data ahead of next week's two-day Federal Reserve meeting. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.4 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, on Thursday. The S&P 500's gains snapped a five-day losing streak, its longest since October. The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.1 percent. Investors will look at the November producer price index report being released later Friday for clues about how effective the Fed's aggressive interest rate hikes have been in bringing down the highest inflation in decades.

5

SEC tells companies to disclose cryptocurrency exposure after FTX implosion

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday asked public companies to provide details on their cryptocurrency exposure in the wake of the collapse of crypto-exchange FTX. The SEC said companies might have obligations to disclose possible direct or indirect damage that the cascading bankruptcies of cryptocurrency companies might have done to their businesses, The Wall Street Journal reported. SEC Chair Gary Gensler told a reporter that "the rules are there" and that "law firms know how to advise their clients to comply," according to FXStreet.com. The move came as regulators rushed to assess the fallout from the sudden downfall of FTX last month.

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