Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 10, 2023

Iger tells Disney employees to return to offices 4 days a week, Virgin Orbit's first commercial space mission from U.K. fails, and more

1

Iger tells Disney employees to work at least 4 days a week in the office

Disney CEO Bob Iger has told the entertainment giant's hybrid employees in an internal memo that they will have to work in an office at least four days a week starting March 1, Yahoo Finance reported Monday. The memo said the preferred in-person schedule would be Monday through Thursday. Iger said recent meetings with Disney teams reminded him of the value of in-person collaboration. "Creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney," Iger wrote. "And in a creative business like ours, nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe, and create with peers that comes from being physically together, nor the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from leaders and mentors."

2

Virgin Orbit's first commercial space launch from U.K. ends in failure

Virgin Orbit's first attempt to launch satellites from British soil failed Monday night after an unspecified problem prevented its rocket, called LauncherOne, from putting its payload of nine satellites into orbit. Unlike other private space companies, Virgin Orbit uses a rocket strapped to a modified 747 jet and deployed at 35,000 feet, a low-cost way to launch small satellites. In Monday's mission, the first and second states of the rocket separated as planned, but something went wrong before the rocket's upper stage could release the satellites. LauncherOne "suffered an anomaly, which will prevent us from making orbit on this mission," Virgin Orbit's Chris Relf, director of systems engineering and verification, said during a webcast of the mission.

3

Bed, Bath & Beyond shares jump 35 percent on acquisition speculation

Shares of Bed, Bath & Beyond rocketed up 35 percent to $1.77 on Monday as investors bet that the battered home goods retailer could be a target for acquisition. Traders exchanged two-thirds of the company's $157 million worth of shares, according to Refinitiv data. The frenzy, which echoed "meme stock" trading stocks like GameStop in 2020, was fueled by speculation in retail stock forums, including Reddit, about a possible merger deal. Bed, Bath & Beyond shares lost nearly half their value at the end of last week after the company warned it might have to seek bankruptcy protection to keep from going under.

4

Stock futures struggle ahead of Fed comments

U.S. stock futures edged lower early Tuesday as investors continued to worry about higher interest rates ahead of comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.4 percent at 7 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were down 0.3 percent. Wall Street started the week with gains early Monday after a Friday rally, but closed mixed after hawkish Fed comments. Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic said interest rates should be raised over 5 percent and stay that high for a "long time," CNBC reported. Powell is scheduled to speak at 9 a.m. ET.

5

SEC fines ex-McDonald's CEO for misleading investors before his firing

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday fined former McDonald's CEO Stephen Easterbrook $400,000 for misleading investors by failing to disclose improper relationships in the workplace that cost him his job. The fast-food giant fired Easterbrook in 2019 for a consensual sexual relationship with an employee. Easterbrook agreed to the federal regulator's penalty and a five-year ban from serving on the board or as an officer of any public company, but admitted no wrongdoing. Gurbir Grewal, the SEC's director of enforcement, said in a statement that Easterbrook breached his "fundamental duties to shareholders ... by allegedly concealing the extent of his misconduct during the company's internal investigation."

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