The daily business briefing: December 4, 2023

Alaska Air agrees to buy Hawaiian Airlines, Spotify says it's laying off 1,500 workers, and more

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines flight lands in Los Angeles
(Image credit: AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images)

1. Alaska Air to buy Hawaiian Airlines

Alaska Airlines announced Sunday that it has reached a $1 billion deal to buy Hawaiian Airlines. The deal will combine two longtime rivals and cement Alaska Air's position as the nation's fifth-largest carrier, if it wins approval from antitrust authorities. Regulators have challenged other airline mergers in recent years. This deal, however, involves two airlines that are too small to threaten the four biggest domestic carriers, which handle 80% of the domestic market, The Wall Street Journal reported. If the acquisition goes through, the brands will remain separate but with expanded reach, connecting Hawaii with three times as many continental U.S. destinations. The Wall Street Journal

2. Spotify to lay off 1,500

Spotify said Monday it will lay off about 1,500 workers, or 17% of its workforce, in its third round of layoffs this year. The music streaming platform has struggled to make steady profits since investing heavily in expansion. It bought podcast studio Gimlet for $230 million in 2019, and The Ringer for $200 million the following year. "Despite our efforts to reduce costs this past year, our cost structure for where we need to be is still too big," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said. Spotify is the biggest streaming platform, but licensing deals for music have kept costs high. The New York Times

3. Hillary Clinton says insurance reform needed for climate victims

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday at the COP28 climate change conference that insurance reform could help protect people vulnerable to climate shocks. In the United States, some insurers have cut back in areas prone to wildfires and hurricanes. "Insurance companies are pulling out of so many places," Clinton said during a panel discussion on women and climate resiliency. "They're not insuring homes. They're not insuring businesses." She said that without new forms of insurance like so-called parametric insurance, which offers payments once disasters hit pre-determined extreme levels, people everywhere "are going to be left out with no backup, no insurance." Reuters

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4. Stock futures slip after S&P 500 hits 2023 high

U.S. stock futures fell early Monday following the latest in a string of strong weeks for Wall Street. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively, at 7 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 0.5%. The S&P 500 closed at its highest level of the year on Friday after its fifth straight week of gains. It is now up nearly 20% this year. The Dow also extended its winning streak to five weeks. It has gained 9.4% this year. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has surged 37% higher in 2023. The recent rally followed signs of cooling inflation that have boosted hopes that the Federal Reserve will be able to stop raising interest rates, and possibly even lower them next year. CNBC

5. Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' concert film debuts at No. 1

Beyoncé's "Renaissance" movie led the domestic weekend box office, grossing $22 million in its debut. The film knocked "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes" to No. 2, with $14.5 million in ticket sales in its third week. Industry analysts said the "Renaissance" debut met expectations and marked a strong performance for the normally slow post-Thanksgiving weekend. "Renaissance" was the second recent concert movie to debut at No. 1, after "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour," which opened with $92.8 million, the biggest debut ever for a concert movie. "Renaissance" posted the fifth-best domestic debut weekend ever for a concert movie. Deadline

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