The daily business briefing: January 9, 2017
Fiat Chrysler announces plan to create 2,000 U.S. jobs, McDonald's agrees to sell a majority stake in China business, and more
Fiat Chrysler announces plan to create 2,000 jobs in U.S.
Fiat Chrysler said Sunday that it would spend $1 billion to modernize two plants in Warren, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, in an expansion that will create 2,000 jobs. The automaker said the investment would allow it to bring back the Wagoneer SUV and produce pickup trucks currently manufactured in Mexico. The announcement followed President-elect Donald Trump's criticism of Ford, General Motors, and Toyota for expanding production in Mexico. Trump has threatened to impose big border taxes on cars produced in Mexico for sale in the U.S.
McDonald's agrees to sell majority stake in China business
McDonald's said Monday that it was selling an 80 percent stake in its China and Hong Kong business to the state-backed conglomerate CITIC Ltd and Carlyle Group for up to $2.1 billion. The deal will help the U.S. fast-food chain expand quickly in the world's No. 2 economy — especially in fast-growing smaller cities — without having to make huge investments to open new restaurants. The move is part of an industry trend, with big restaurant chains adopting a so-called asset-light structure by holding onto their brands while selling off stores. This allows them to continue collecting a portion of sales without the liabilities that come with large workforces and far-flung real-estate holdings.
Trump son-in-law Kushner distances himself from business ties
Jared Kushner, President-elect Donald Trump's son-in-law, is distancing himself from his New York real estate business in the clearest sign yet that he plans to take a job in the incoming Trump administration. Kushner is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, and already serves informally as a close adviser. In order to take a formal position in the White House, he will have to argue successfully that a federal anti-nepotism law preventing officials from appointing relatives does not apply in his case, in addition to eliminating any appearance of conflicts of interest. Kushner has been "consulting with the Office of Government Ethics regarding the steps he would take," his lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said, and would "resign from his position at Kushner Companies and divest substantial assets in accordance with federal guidelines."
The Limited shuts down its last stores
Clothing retailer The Limited shut down its last 130 stores on Sunday. "We're sad to say that all The Limited stores nationwide have officially closed their doors. But this isn't goodbye," said the company's website, which will continue to offer the brand's online shopping until all inventory is sold. Once a popular and growing clothing chain, The Limited has seen its fortunes decline since its 1990s heyday. The closure was blamed on "significant debt obligations" and The Limited's failure to find a buyer that could keep the stores afloat.
Google's Waymo spinoff shows off its latest self-driving car system
Google on Sunday unveiled its updated self-driving system in a Chrysler Pacifica minivan at the Detroit auto show. John Krafcik, head of Google's Waymo self-driving car startup, said Waymo had made the technology more reliable with a new array of sensors, better radar, and laser-based LIDAR sensors. Krafcik also said the company had reduced the cost of the LIDAR units by about 90 percent to $7,500. Waymo plans to deploy the Pacificas on public roads for the first time later this month in Mountain View, California, and Phoenix, Arizona.