The daily business briefing: December 12, 2017
Apple announces it is buying music app Shazam, markets are mixed as the Fed meets, and more
Apple to buy Shazam
Apple is buying music recognition app Shazam, both companies confirmed Monday. Apple did not disclose how much it would pay for Shazam, but the deal reportedly is worth around $400 million. The London-based Shazam started out in 2002 as a phone-based service, allowing people to dial a number, hold their phone to a music source, and get a text identifying the song. Shazam rolled out an ad-supported app version in 2008. The technology is no longer considered cutting edge, but Shazam has endured and built up a trove of user data that analysts say makes the deal worthwhile for Apple. It was not immediately clear whether Apple would keep Shazam, one of the most popular apps for IOS, as a stand-alone app or incorporate it into Apple Music.
Markets mostly flat as Fed policy makers meet
Global stocks were mixed and the dollar was flat after recent gains as the Federal Reserve headed into a two-day policy meeting starting Tuesday. The U.S. central bank is widely expected to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate by a quarter percent, the fifth hike since 2015, after recent hiring gains and other signs the economy is strengthening, supported the Fed's plans to continue unwinding the stimulus efforts it used to help spur the recovery since the 2008 financial crisis. Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat early Tuesday, after both U.S. benchmark indexes rose moderately to close at record highs on Monday.
New Yorker fires correspondent Ryan Lizza over sexual misconduct allegation
The New Yorker announced Monday that it had fired Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza over an allegation of sexual misconduct. "We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza," a spokesperson for the magazine said in a statement. "Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further." Lizza said The New Yorker had made a "terrible mistake" by characterizing "a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate." Douglas Wigdor, an attorney for the accuser, said that his client wants to remain unidentified, but that she denies that Lizza's actions constituted a "'respectful relationship' as he has now tried to characterize it."
Treasury Department analysis backs assertion that tax cuts will spur growth
The Treasury Department on Monday, after an unexplained delay, released a one-page "analysis of growth and revenue estimates" of the Republican tax plan, backing up the Trump administration assertion that, under certain circumstances, the plan will help spur enough economic growth — 2.9 percent annually — to pay for itself over 10 years. Most economists do not expect growth to be that robust, and congressional tax analysts have estimated the plan would add $1 trillion to the federal deficit. The conservative Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the document "makes a mockery of dynamic scoring and analysis," while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it "nothing more than one page of fake math."
Chef Mario Batali on leave after sexual misconduct allegations
Four women accused celebrity chef Mario Batali of inappropriate touching and sexual harassment over two decades, Eater NY reported Monday. One of the women, a chef, said that at a party about 10 years ago she introduced herself to Batali. After wine spilled on her chest, she said, Batali began aggressively rubbing her breasts, saying something like "Let me help you with that." Batali, who has been reprimanded for inappropriate workplace behavior as recently as two months ago, said that he was stepping away from his TV show and the day-to-day operations of his restaurant empire for an unspecified time. Batali apologized, saying that while the accusers' identities had not been revealed, "much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted."