The daily business briefing: March 29, 2019

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Harold Maass
The Lyft logo is displayed on a Lyft Hub on March 7, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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1.

Lyft to raise $2.3 billion in 1st ride-hailing IPO

Lyft priced its shares at $72 apiece on Thursday, valuing the company at more than $24 billion ahead of the Nasdaq debut of its stock on Friday. The offering is expected to raise about $2.3 billion after the ride-hailing company raised its price range due to strong demand and increased the number of shares sold. Lyft was not the first ride-hailing app, but it is becoming the first to be publicly traded. Its larger rival, Uber, is preparing for its own IPO in the next few months. Uber's offering is expected to be the largest in years. Several other high-profile startups, including digital pin board Pinterest, are getting ready to make the same leap. [The New York Times]

2.

Mortgage rates make biggest 1-week drop in decade

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.06 percent, with an average 0.5 point, from 4.28 percent a week ago, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac. This is the biggest one-week drop in a decade. The rate was 4.4 percent a year ago, and rates hit a seven-year high of 4.94 in November but have fallen since as investors sought safe investments, worrying about the U.S.-China trade war, Brexit, and signs of slowing growth overseas. Deepening concerns about the global economy have been "boosting demand for Treasurys and pushing mortgage rates downward," said Matthew Speakman, a Zillow economic analyst. U.S. stock index futures gained early Friday on renewed hopes of progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China. [The Washington Post, CNBC]

3.

New York sues family behind OxyContin maker

New York on Thursday expanded a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin, to include the billionaire family behind the company, the Sacklers. The lawsuit accuses drug manufacturers of collaborating to deny the risks of opioid addiction and sidestepping a system intended to limit painkiller orders. Like suits filed elsewhere, the New York complaint says Purdue Pharma's aggressive marketing led to overprescription of OxyContin starting in the mid-1990s, contributing to the deadly opioid epidemic. New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said the Sacklers were "the masterminds" behind the nation's crisis. The Sackler family members named in the suit said they "have always acted properly." [The Associated Press]

4.

Wow Air abruptly shuts down

Icelandic budget carrier Wow Air shut down on Thursday, creating "pandemonium" at airports by leaving more than 1,000 passengers stranded on both sides of the Atlantic. Wow Air CEO SkĂșli Mogensen told Icelandic state broadcaster RUV that executives had negotiated through the night in attempt to save the airline, but came up short. "As is normal, people believed we would get the investment," Mogensen said. "We have been very transparent, but it didn't happen." Mogensen said, adding that he was "disappointed not to honor our commitments." Wow Air was founded in 2011 to provide cheap trans-Atlantic fares via Iceland. It was one of several Nordic airlines that helped drive down ticket prices down with no-frills service, only to fall victim itself to tough competition. [CNN]

5.

Liam Neeson offers new apology for racist revenge story

Actor Liam Neeson apologized on Friday for a story he told last month that was widely seen as alarming and bigoted. In February, Neeson told an interviewer that decades earlier, after a friend of his was allegedly raped by a black man, he roamed the streets with a weapon hoping a random black man would start a fight with him so he could kill him. Neeson previously apologized for his comments, saying he is "not racist" and was simply affected by a "primal urge to lash out." On Friday, however, he said he "missed the point and hurt many people" and had "failed to realize" the implications of his "hurtful and divisive comments." He said they "do not reflect" his true feelings. "I profoundly apologize."