The daily business briefing: June 27, 2017
The EU hits Google with a record $2.7 billion antitrust fine, jury selection starts in Shkreli's securities fraud trial, and more
European antitrust regulators fine Google a record $2.7 billion
The European Commission fined Google $2.7 billion on Tuesday after ruling that the company abused its power by steering search results to promote its comparison shopping service. The fine is the biggest ever imposed by the EU's antitrust regulators. The ruling also required Google to stop the practices within 90 days, or it could face further penalties of 5 percent of its parent company Alphabet's average daily worldwide earnings, about $14 million a day. Google indicated it might appeal, saying it presented results to help users shop "quickly and easily." "We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today," the search giant said. "We will review the commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case."
Shkreli's securities fraud trial gets underway
Jury selection began Monday in the securities fraud trial of Martin Shkreli, the widely reviled 34-year-old former pharmaceutical company leader also known as "pharma bro." Shkreli gained national notoriety as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals by hiking the price for a life-saving drug for AIDS patients by 5,000 percent. Prosecutors say that before that he swindled through his hedge fund. Federal agents arrested him in December 2015. The Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of committing a "series of frauds" from October 2009 to March 2014. In interviews, potential jurors told Judge Kiyo Matsumoto they thought Shkreli was "evil" and "a snake." "I have total disdain for the man," one juror said.
Amtrak hires former Delta chief as CEO
Amtrak named former Delta Airlines leader Richard Anderson as its new CEO on Monday. Anderson will be in charge of the subsidized rail carrier's effort to renovate its busiest hubs following years of delays on the busy Northeast Corridor. Anderson, who retired as Delta's CEO in May 2016 after leading its growth into the world's biggest airline by market value, will jump in as co-CEO with Wick Moorman, who recruited him, in July right after Amtrak starts a major upgrade at Penn Station in New York City. That $30 million to $40 million project was sped up after recent derailments and other problems blamed on aging infrastructure.
California to add Roundup's main ingredient to list of cancerous chemicals
California regulators on Monday announced that starting July 7 they would add the main ingredient in Monsanto's popular Roundup weed killer to the state's list of potentially cancerous chemicals. In a year, the listing could require warning labels, although it is not yet clear whether Roundup would get such labeling. Monsanto has filed an appeal after losing a court battle to block the labeling. The company says Roundup does not cause cancer, and putting warning labels on the product would hurt sales. State health regulators still haven't decided whether they believe the levels of the ingredient, glyphosate, are high enough to pose a health risk.
Nintendo to release mini SNES Classic in September
Nintendo announced Monday that it will release a miniature version of its Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition this fall. The system, first launched in 1991, will come with two controllers and 21 games, including classics like Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, and F-ZERO, along with a previously unreleased sequel to Star Fox, Star Fox 2. This release comes on the heels of last year's mini NES Classic Edition, which was so popular that Nintendo struggled to meet demand. The SNES Classic, which Engadget reports is small enough to fit "in the palm of your hand," will be available Sept. 29 for $79.99.