The daily business briefing: December 13, 2016

Lockheed Martin stock sinks after Trump criticism, Asahi to buy five Anheuser-Busch InBev brands, and more

A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet
(Image credit: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Trump criticism of F-35 jet hurts Lockheed Martin shares

Lockheed Martin shares dropped by 2.5 percent on Monday after President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the cost of the F-35 stealth jets built by the aerospace giant had gotten "out of control." Trump added: "Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th." Jeff Babione, general manager of the company's F-35 program, said the company had "invested hundreds of millions of dollars" to reduce the aircraft's cost, and that Lockheed Martin welcomes "the opportunity to address any questions the president-elect has about the program." Last week Trump vowed to scrap a Boeing contract to build two new Air Force Ones, also due to the price tag.

USA Today

2. Asahi to pay $7.8 billion for five Anheuser-Busch InBev beer brands

Asahi Group Holdings has agreed to buy five Eastern European beer brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev for $7.8 billion in the biggest acquisition ever by a Japanese brewer. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday. The brands include popular Czech beer Pilsner Urquell, as well as Tyskie and Lech from Poland, Dreher from Hungary, and Ursus from Romania. Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to sell the brands in order to boost its chances of getting approval from regulators for its $100 billion takeover of SABMiller, which it completed in October. Asahi also has bought SABMiller's Italian brand Peroni and the Dutch beer Grolsch. Asahi shares dropped by as much as 6.4 percent on the news of the Tuesday deal.

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Reuters BBC

3. Trump taps Goldman Sachs executive as top economic adviser

President-elect Donald Trump on Monday officially nominated Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn to be his top economic adviser as head of the National Economic Council. Trump said Cohn would "help craft economic policies that will grow wages for our workers, stop the exodus of jobs overseas, and create many great new opportunities for Americans who have been struggling." Critics noted that Cohn is the third current or former executive from the elite investment bank named to a leading role in the Trump administration, suggesting Trump was falling short of his campaign promise to reduce Wall Street's influence and "drain the swamp" in Washington.


4. Trump postpones announcement on handling business conflicts

President-elect Donald Trump is postponing until next month a scheduled announcement on how he plans to handle his business empire while president. Trump had said he would hold a news conference on Dec. 15 to reveal his plans as he faced mounting pressure to divest in order to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. Trump tweeted Monday night that he would hand over control of his business empire to his adult sons, Don and Eric, and that they would do "no new deals" during his presidency. He did not indicate that he would sell his stake in his global real estate and branding businesses. Trump has assets worth about $3.6 billion and $630 million in debt held in more than 500 companies, with ties to businesses and governments in 20 countries.


5. Redstones call off study of merger between CBS and Viacom

Shari Redstone and her father, Sumner Redstone, on Monday put a halt to explorations of a possible merger between CBS and Viacom. The family strongly advocated the proposal three months ago, but said in a letter to both company boards that after reviewing the matter and discussing it with both companies' leaders they "concluded that this is not the right time" for a merger. The Redstones control 80 percent of the voting stock in CBS and Viacom through their private theater chain National Amusements.

The New York Times

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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.