The daily business briefing: October 21, 2016

British American Tobacco proposes Reynolds American takeover, regulators tie 11th U.S. death to Takata airbag inflators, and more

A deployed airbag in a Chrysler
(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

1. British American Tobacco makes Reynolds American takeover offer

British American Tobacco announced Friday that it was offering $47 billion to buy the 58 percent of U.S. tobacco company Reynolds American it doesn't already own. The bid valued Reynolds shares at $56.50, representing a 20 percent premium on the stock's Thursday closing price. The offer of $20 billion in cash and $27 billion in BAT shares sent Reynolds shares soaring. They were up by 18 percent in pre-market trading on Friday. A deal would bring together such cigarette brands as Camel, Newport, Kent, and Pall Mall in what would be the world's biggest listed tobacco company.

USA Today MarketWatch

2. Regulators confirm 11th U.S. death from faulty Takata airbag inflators

Federal safety regulators on Thursday confirmed that the death of a 50-year-old woman in a Sept. 30 crash in California was linked to a ruptured Takata Corp. airbag inflator. The fatality in Riverside County was the 11th in the U.S. attributed to the Takata inflators, which have led more than a dozen automakers to recall a total of nearly 100 million vehicles worldwide. The woman's 2001 Honda Civic, first recalled in 2008, was never repaired.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up


3. Microsoft gets big boost from cloud computing sales

Microsoft shares rose to an all-time high ahead of the opening bell on Friday after the software giant reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations thanks to a surge in revenue from cloud computing services. Sales of Microsoft's Azure service more than doubled, helping the company's overall revenue grow after sliding in the five straight previous quarters. Microsoft shares jumped up by 6 percent before the start of trading on Friday.

The Verge The Wall Street Journal

4. Theresa May promises close post-Brexit cooperation with E.U.

Theresa May said Thursday at her first European Union summit as British prime minister that her country would continue to "work closely" with the 28-member trading bloc even after the U.K. exits the E.U., and that she expected her country to participate in E.U. decision making after Brexit. Earlier, French President Francois Hollande warned May that negotiations on the U.K.'s departure and new status would be contentious if she pushed for a "hard Brexit" that would give the U.K. full control over its own budget, law-making, and immigration.

BBC News

5. MetLife fires Snoopy

MetLife said Thursday that it was launching a new global brand platform, and for the first time in more than three decades Peanuts cartoon beagle Snoopy won't be in the giant U.S. insurer's ads. "We brought in Snoopy over 30 years ago to make our company more friendly and approachable during a time when insurance companies were seen as cold and distant," said Esther Lee, MetLife's global chief marketing officer. "Snoopy helped drive our business and served an important role at the time."

USA Today

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.