Business briefing

The daily business briefing: June 20, 2017

U.K. officials file charges against Barclays, stocks hit fresh records as tech rebounds, and more

1

U.K. officials file charges against Barclays

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office said Tuesday that it had charged Barclays and four of the bank's former executives with conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance during a 2008 capital raising from Qatar, making the bank the first to face criminal charges over its actions in the 2008 financial crisis. The case stemmed from the bank's effort to raise money to avoid a bailout. The bank is charged with making undisclosed payments to Qatari investors. The executives charged were former CEO John Varley, former chairman of Middle East investment banking Roger Jenkins, former head of investment banking Richard Boath, and former wealth division head Thomas Kalaris. Barclays said it was "considering its position" and one of its lawyers said the bank would "vigorously defend against these charges."

2

Stocks hit fresh records as tech leaders rebound

U.S. stocks posted strong gains on Monday as rattled technology stocks rebounded, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 to the latest in a string of record highs. The Dow rose by 140 points, hitting both closing and intraday highs. The S&P 500 gained 0.8 percent, as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google-parent Alphabet led a surge by big stocks, all of them closing higher. Amazon opened at an all-time high. "I don't know where the optimism is coming from. That's not to say we should be negative. I just don't see any reason for excessive optimism or pessimism right now," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. S&P 500 futures edged up by another 0.1 percent early Tuesday.

3

Supreme Court rules government can't block offensive trademark names

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the government can't block trademarks it deems offensive, potentially helping the Washington Redskins in their legal battles against critics trying to get the professional football team to change its name and logo. In the case before the court, the justices found that Simon Tam could trademark the Slants as the name of his Asian-American rock band, saying the name choice was protected under the First Amendment's protection of free speech. Although the ruling was interpreted as providing the same protection for the Redskins, the team still faces potential social and business fallout from the battle over its name, which many Native American activists and other critics say is a racial slur.

4

Blue Apron aims to raise $510 million in IPO

Blue Apron said in a regulatory filing on Monday that it planned to raise $510 million in its initial public offering of stock. The meal-kit company said it would sell 30 million Class A shares at $15 to $17 each. The company, founded five years ago by Matt Salzberg, Ilia Papas, and Matt Wadiak, has never turned a profit, and posted a net loss of $54.9 million last year. Its revenue doubled in 2016, however, as Blue Apron invested heavily in logistics and marketing. Despite the losses, Blue Apron is hoping its rapid growth will win over investors. The IPO's timing won't be affected by Amazon's plan to buy Whole Foods, although the online retail giant's $13.7 billion deal to buy the specialty grocer has stolen some of Blue Apron's thunder and sparked speculation about the future of online shopping for home cooks.

5

Officials try to block DraftKings-FanDuel merger

Regulators on Monday moved to block the merger between DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel, saying that combining the fantasy sports companies would hurt competition. The Federal Trade Commission, joined by the attorneys general of California and the District of Columbia, will file a lawsuit asking for a court injunction. DraftKings, which is based in Boston, is the biggest fantasy sports business by revenue, and FanDuel, based in Scotland, is second. The companies said in a joint statement that they would "work together to determine our next steps." "We are disappointed by this decision and continue to believe that a merger is in the best interests of our players, our companies, our employees and the fantasy sports industry," they said.

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