The daily business briefing: April 18, 2019

Harold Maass
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Pinterest IPO pricing values it at $12.7 billion

Pinterest on Wednesday priced its shares at $19 ahead of its initial public offering of stock, which starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. The digital pin board company raised $1.6 billion from big investors, valuing the company at $12.7 billion. The IPO pricing suggested strong demand in an encouraging sign for other "unicorns" — startups valued at more than $1 billion — that are readying their own IPOs. Pinterest's debut follows a bumpy start for ride-hailing service Lyft, which spiked on its first trading day only to quickly fall below its IPO price. "Coming out of Lyft, there was a lot of drama and concern around the appetite investors had for these money-losing businesses," said Vincent Ning, director of research at Titan Invest. [The New York Times]


Samsung shares fall after reviewers report problems with folding screen

Samsung shares fell by more than 3 percent on Thursday after several reviewers reported problems with the folding screen of its new cutting-edge smartphone. The phone, called the Galaxy Fold, is due to go on sale April 26 for $1,980. Samsung gave the phones to gadget reviewers ahead of the release, and devices tested by The Verge, Bloomberg, and CNBC all had similar screen glitches. Several screens became disconnected, or flashed on and off. Samsung said in a statement that it would "thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter." The company said some of the reviewers had "removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen." [Quartz, CNBC]


India's Jet Airways suspends flights

Indian carrier Jet Airways announced Wednesday that it was suspending flights after failing to get emergency funding from the nation's banks. "This has been a very difficult decision but without interim funding, the airline is simply unable to conduct flight operations," Jet Airways said in statement. The company, once India's biggest carrier, had struggled to cut costs in recent years as it faced competition from budget airlines such as IndiGo. The collapse was the biggest setback for India's aviation industry since 2012, when billionaire Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines shut down. It was India's second largest carrier for domestic flights. [CNN]


Facebook 'unintentionally uploaded' 1.5 million users' email contacts

Facebook said Wednesday that it possibly "unintentionally uploaded" the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their permission when they signed up for new accounts over the last three years. The social media giant said the contacts were not shared and have been deleted. "We've fixed the underlying issue and are notifying people whose contacts were imported," a Facebook spokesperson said. The incident was the latest in a series of privacy problems at Facebook. The company, which has more than 2 billion users globally, has been criticized in the last 18 months over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and a massive security breach. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded by promising to enhance privacy with such measures as encrypted messaging and tighter data security. [CNBC]


Unilever, Nestle shares rise on strong sales growth

Unilever shares jumped by more than 2 percent early Thursday after the consumer goods company posted stronger than expected first quarter sales growth, thanks partly to rising demand for healthier food offerings. The company, which owns brands such as Ben and Jerry's and Dove, said sales were especially strong in Asia. Rival Nestle also reported sales growth that exceeded analysts' expectations, sending its stock up by 1 percent. On Wall Street, U.S. stock index futures edged down early Thursday ahead of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report and another flurry of corporate earnings reports. American Express shares fell by 2.4 percent in pre-market trading after it reported its first quarter results before the bell. [CNN, MarketWatch]