Pharma: Purdue bankrupt in deal for opioid claims
Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy this week as part of a deal to end lawsuits brought by 24 states, said Steven Church and Jeremy Hill in Bloomberg.com, while other states still plan to pursue cases against the maker of OxyContin for its role in the opioid epidemic. Purdue “has little debt—the typical bankruptcy culprit—and more than $1 billion in cash, but has been so overwhelmed by lawsuits that it was forced to seek court protection.” New York state, which is not part of the settlement, has charged that in seeking to shield their money, Purdue’s owners, the Sacklers, had made about $1 billion in wire transfers “among themselves and their shell companies.”
Economy: Second rate cut from the Fed
The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter point this week in its second cut since July and the second in a decade, said Jeanna Smialek in The New York Times. Fed chairman Jerome Powell said that the economy remains strong, but “our eyes are open, we’re watching the situation.” This week’s rate reduction, to a range of 1.75 to 2 percent, was widely expected by investors and was not enough to mollify President Trump. Trump has pushed for even lower rates, and continued his assault, tweeting “Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again.”
Oil: Saudis still pursuing $2 trillion IPO
Saudi Aramco is sticking with plans to launch its initial public offering despite recent attacks on its oil facilities, said Marwa Rashad and Tom Arnold in Reuters. The state-owned oil firm, the most profitable company in the world, continued meeting with banks this week about a two-part IPO to sell 2 percent of the company by 2020 at a valuation expected to be near $2 trillion. At least nine banks, “including JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, have been appointed to coordinate the deal,” which is considered “a pillar of an ambitious economic diversification drive by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
Equality: Walmart faces discrimination finding
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Walmart likely discriminated against 178 female employees, said Sarah Nassauer in The Wall Street Journal. Some of the charges date to 2001, when Walmart workers first pursued a class-action suit alleging “the retailer systematically paid 1.6 million female workers less than men and offered fewer promotions.” The Supreme Court threw out the case in 2011, ruling that members of the group had too little in common for a single case. But the EEOC this week sided with dozens of the claims.