Telecom: Judge slaps down AT&T’s Trump bias claim
A federal judge this week blocked AT&T’s effort to force the Justice Department “to reveal whether President Trump inappropriately interfered” with the government’s decision to halt the telecom giant’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner, said Brian Fung in The Washington Post. AT&T has contended that the merger was “singled out” by the government “for special scrutiny” because Time Warner owns CNN, a frequent target of Trump’s ire. The ruling said that AT&T did not sufficiently show that it was treated differently from other companies.
Retail: Gap CEO out after failed revival
Gap president and CEO Jeff Kirwan is stepping down after failing “to revive the fading brand,” said Charisse Jones in USA Today. Kirwan was handpicked by the fashion retailer’s parent company to improve results after the “onetime teen favorite” began to fall behind “in the race to woo a fickle shopping public that increasingly favors fast-fashion chains like Zara and H&M.” The company announced in September that it would shutter 200 poorly performing stores from Gap and sister chain Banana Republic.
Retail: Walmart’s digital sales stumble
Walmart’s online sales have “hit a speed bump,” said Michael Corkery in The New York Times. The world’s biggest physical retailer has invested heavily in e-commerce in a bid to compete with archrival Amazon. Yet the company’s fourth quarter digital results, which include the holiday shopping season, revealed just 23 percent growth—less than half the rate achieved in each of the three previous quarters. The company blamed the slowdown on “operational challenges” at the company’s fulfillment centers. Despite the digital difficulties, Walmart’s overall sales for the quarter grew 4.1 percent, to $136.3 billion.
Tech: Qualcomm’s NXP bid seeks to thwart takeover
Qualcomm has “pumped new life” into its bid for NXP Semiconductors in an effort to fend off its own unwanted suitor, said Ben Dummett and Ted Greenwald in The Wall Street Journal. The San Diego–based chipmaker this week upped its offer for NXP to $44 billion, hoping to thwart a hostile takeover by rival Broadcom. It’s the “latest twist in months of maneuvering” between Broadcom and Qualcomm, the two semiconductor manufacturers jostling for market advantage. Broadcom has said that it would trim its offer price for Qualcomm or even walk away from its hostile takeover bid if Qualcomm raised its price for NXP.