The daily business briefing: March 7, 2023

Meta reportedly plans a second round of layoffs, JetBlue expects DOJ to sue to block Spirit merger, and more

Illustration of Meta logo and Facebook logo
(Image credit: Chesnot/Getty Images)

1. Report: Meta plans more layoffs

Meta plans to cut thousands more jobs as soon as this week in its second round of layoffs, Bloomberg reported late Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. Meta cut 13 percent of its staff, or 11,000 people, in November to increase efficiency. It was the first-ever major layoffs for Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram and is the world's biggest social-media company. Meta shares rose 1.7 percent in pre-market trading Tuesday. The stock has gained 54 percent this year. The November layoffs came as a surprise, but analysts and workers braced for more cuts after CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared 2023 Meta's "year of efficiency." The company is adjusting to falling advertising revenue. A Meta spokesperson declined to comment to Bloomberg.


2. JetBlue expects DOJ to sue this week to block Spirit merger

JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes said Monday that the company expects the Justice Department to sue this week in an attempt to block the carrier's proposed $3.8 billion takeover of Spirit Airlines. The airlines argue that the merger will increase competition among the nation's biggest carriers, and reduce ticket prices. The Justice Department is expected to argue in a lawsuit that the merger would drive fares higher and give travelers fewer options, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the case. Bloomberg's sources said the Department of Transportation also will try to disrupt the deal by preventing Spirit from transferring its airline operating certificate, arguing that would go against the public interest.

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3. Newsom: California won't do business with Walgreens over abortion-pill policy

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted on Monday that his state would not do business with Walgreens because the massive pharmacy chain has said it wouldn't distribute abortion pills in some Republican-controlled states. Newsom, a Democrat with an increasingly high national profile, said California wouldn't conduct business with "any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women's lives at risk." Walgreens released a statement clarifying its position. The company last week said it wouldn't dispense the abortion pill mifepristone in 20 states, including some where abortion remains legal. On Monday, Walgreens said it would provide the medication anywhere it was legal.


4. Stock futures edge higher after Monday's mixed trading

U.S. stock futures rose slightly early Tuesday after struggling for footing Monday at the start of a week of key economic data. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.3 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 gained about 0.1 percent on Monday, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped, closing down 0.1 percent. On Tuesday and Wednesday, investors will be closely watching congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for hints on where the U.S. economy and interest rates are heading. Consumer credit data coming out Tuesday is expected to show consumers are continuing to borrow more.


5. Toblerone changing logo as it falls afoul of 'Swissness' law

Toblerone is being stripped of its iconic Matterhorn mountain logo because it because it is falling short of the standards of Switzerland's "Swissness" law, which requires minimum levels of local ingredients and production for items marketed using Swiss national symbols or labels. The chocolate bar-maker's American owner, Mondelez International, is moving some production of the popular triangular treats from Switzerland to Slovakia. To be labeled as Swiss, the chocolate must use 100 percent Swiss-sourced milk, and 80 percent of its other ingredients, other than cacao, must be from Switzerland, too. After the move, Toblerone will no longer qualify.

The Washington Post

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