Business briefing

The daily business briefing: February 9, 2017

Judge rejects proposed Anthem-Cigna merger, Twitter shares plummet, and more

1

Judge rejects Anthem-Cigna merger

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected Anthem's $54 billion bid to buy rival health insurer Cigna Corp. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the merger would result in reduced competition and higher costs for consumers. Cigna and Anthem are among just four insurers that sell coverage to companies with 5,000 employees in several states. Last month, another judge blocked Aetna's $34 billion bid to buy rival Humana. The insurers say they need to consolidate so they can negotiate better prices with hospitals, doctors, and drug companies. The American Medical Association applauded the latest ruling as a win for consumers in their "David vs. Goliath battle" against mega insurers.

2

Twitter shares plummet after disappointing quarterly report

Twitter shares plunged by as much as 10 percent in pre-market trading Thursday after the social media company reported its worst quarterly results since going public in 2013. Twitter reported fourth-quarter revenue of $717 million. Analysts had expected $740 million. The company's adjusted profits did beat sharply lowered estimates, but Twitter also lowered its guidance for the first quarter to $75 million from $95 million, far below Wall Street expectations of $191 million. Twitter executives said the company has worked hard to "bring people back to Twitter" with real-time features. Its user base grew by 4 percent to 319 million, but executives said revenue growth lagged behind audience growth.

3

Intel chief pledges $7 billion Arizona factory investment

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich pledged at an Oval Office meeting with President Trump that the semiconductor maker would invest $7 billion to complete an Arizona chip factory. Krzanich was the latest in a series of U.S. corporate leaders to tout investments in creating U.S. jobs after talking with Trump, who has made boosting employment an early priority of his presidency. Trump has threatened to impose border taxes to punish companies that produce goods outside the country for sale in the U.S. Intel's new factory is already under construction. It is expected to be completed within four years and create about 3,000 company jobs.

4

Trump slams Nordstrom for dropping Ivanka Trump brand

President Trump on Wednesday criticized the Nordstrom department store chain for dropping his daughter Ivanka Trump's clothing line. "My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom," the president tweeted. "She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!" Nordstrom shares briefly dropped but quickly recovered. Nordstrom said it dropped the brand due to poor sales. A social media campaign called Grab Your Wallet has called for boycotts of stores that carry Trump family products. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls on Wednesday told employees to stop displaying Ivanka Trump merchandise separately, and discard the brand's signs.

5

House of Commons approves Brexit bill

The lower house of the U.K.'s Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to authorize starting the official process of leaving the European Union. The House of Commons approved the measure 494 to 122, leaving it unaltered after three days of debate. The bill goes next to the unelected House of Lords, which is expected to vote in early March. Once both houses of Parliament have approved, Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger Brexit by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which spells out the rules for exiting the trading bloc.

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