The daily business briefing: February 19, 2020

Harold Maass
A SpaceX craft
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

1.

SpaceX announces deal to send 4 space tourists into orbit by 2022

SpaceX on Tuesday announced a deal with a company called Space Adventures to fly up to four private citizens into orbit in late 2021 or early 2022. Space Adventures has helped seven space tourists visit the International Space Station. They made the trip in Russian spacecraft. Under the new deal, the four passengers will travel in a version of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. They are expected to take two or three trips around the Earth at up to three times the 250-mile-high path of the space station. SpaceX has been working on and testing the Dragon spacecraft for years. It also will be used to shuttle astronauts to the space station. A cargo version of the spacecraft already is in use. [CNBC, The Verge]

2.

Campaign adviser says Bloomberg will sell media company if elected president

Mike Bloomberg will sell his financial media business if he wins the presidency this November, an adviser to his campaign, Tim O'Brien, said Tuesday. Bloomberg, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and the former Republican mayor of New York, founded Bloomberg L.P. in 1981; the company has estimated annual revenue of roughly $10 billion, and could be worth $40 billion, CNBC reports. The official said Bloomberg L.P. would be put into a blind trust for "eventual sale." O'Brien said Bloomberg would be "180 degrees away from where Donald Trump is on these issues" and avoid "blurring the line between public service and personal profiteering." Trump's critics have accused him of profiting when foreign dignitaries book rooms at his Washington hotel and other properties. [CNN, NBC News]

3.

Franklin Resources to buy rival Legg Mason

Franklin Resources said Tuesday it is buying rival investment manager Legg Mason for $4.5 billion. Franklin said it would pay $50 a share, in cash. The price amounts to a 23 percent premium over the stock's price before the Presidents' Day weekend. Shares of both companies gained Tuesday after the announcement, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 declined. The deal comes as the industry adjusts to investor demands for lower fees. "This is a landmark acquisition for our organization that unlocks substantial value and growth opportunities driven by greater scale, diversity, and balance across investment strategies, distribution channels, and geographies," said Greg Johnson, the executive board chairman at Franklin Resources. [The Associated Press]

4.

Markets boosted by China's 2nd straight day of declining infections

U.S. stock index futures made modest gains early Wednesday as markets remained focused on the threat of economic fallout from China's coronavirus outbreak. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were up by 0.2 percent or more several hours before the start of trading. Markets around the world got a modest lift from rising hopes that the spread of the disease was slowing after China reported a decline in the number of new infections for the second straight day. Beijing's hints of stimulus to help airlines and other companies affected by the outbreak also lifted sentiment. The Dow fell by nearly 0.6 percent on Tuesday after Apple's warning that its quarterly revenue would be hurt by slowed production and reduced demand in China due to disruption from the outbreak. [CNBC, Reuters]

5.

HSBC announces plan to cut 15 percent of global workforce

British bank HSBC on Tuesday announced that it would cut 35,000 jobs and $100 billion in investments as it shifts focus to growing markets in Asia and away from places like the U.S. and Europe that are not paying off. "We are taking decisive action today to address those underperforming parts of the business, to redistribute capital to the growth opportunity, to simplify our business — and in so doing reduce the cost base of HSBC," interim CEO Noel Quinn said in a statement. "But it's for a purpose, and that purpose is to grow." HSBC, the world's seventh-largest bank, said the cuts amount to nearly 15 percent of its 235,000-employee global workforce and would occur over three years through layoffs and attrition. [NPR]