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Jun 13, 2022

The Weekly Scan June 13, 2022

By Stash Team

Find out what’s happening in the world of business this week

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Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of June 13, 2022.

Spirited away. Spirit Airlines postponed its shareholder meeting until June 30 after JetBlue made yet another pitch in its effort to lure Spirit away from a potential merger with Frontier. JetBlue increased the breakup fee to $350 million, which it would pay to Spirit should the deal fall through due to regulation. Spirit was set to hold a vote on June 10 about its proposed merger with Frontier, which has been in the works since February 2022. But JetBlue has been pushing shareholders to vote against the merger. JetBlue’s latest offer comes after Frontier said that it would pay a $250 million fee if the deal collapses from regulatory pressure. 

  • The takeaway: No matter which company Spirit merges with, the new airline would become the fifth largest in the country. JetBlue’s CEO, Robin Hayes, said that he thought Spirit’s choice to push the meeting was a positive sign that Spirit might engage with JetBlue over the deal. Spirit is still in the middle of merger discussions with Frontier, and the board of directors reportedly hasn’t decided if JetBlue’s proposal is superior yet. In May, JetBlue launched a “hostile takeover” of Spirit, but the low-cost air carrier has maintained that Frontier would be the better partner. 

CNBC

Putting the plus in super plus. Your period is costing more, thanks to inflation. As of May 28, the average price for menstrual pads increased 8.3% year-over-year, while the average price for tampons rose 9.8%. Overall, personal care items, such as shampoo and shaving cream, experienced the biggest price increase since August 2012. The raw materials in menstrual products are costing manufacturers more, and those companies are passing the costs onto shoppers. Plastic resins and materials costs increased 9.5% year-over-year, and cotton futures went up 40% in the past year. Supply chain issues, higher transportation costs, and other factors have also contributed to rising prices. Menstrual products are a necessity for people who get their periods, so they can’t avoid the added expense. Plus, most states charge taxes on those products, and federal assistance programs don’t cover them. 

  • The takeaway: Inflation has been steadily climbing during the pandemic. One way inflation is measured is with something called the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which shows the percentage change in prices paid by urban consumers on goods and services. The CPI is produced by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In May, the CPI rose 8.6% from the previous year, the highest level in 40 years. The CPI increased 1% between April and May, surpassing predictions. 

Bloomberg

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Sale-ing into summer. Target is slashing prices, and canceling orders from suppliers, especially for home goods and clothing. The retailer reportedly has too much inventory on its hands as consumers shift their spending. People are reportedly spending less on making changes to their homes, and more on dining out and traveling, as they return to pre-pandemic activities and habits. Additionally, people are spending more on essentials as inflation forces them to spend less frivolously. While consumer spending was expected to change this year, it’s happening more quickly than expected. 

  • The takeaway: Target’s latest decision comes after the retailer delivered a somewhat disappointing earnings report in May, as supply-chain issues cut into profits. Target reported that its profits fell 52% in the first quarter of 2022, and the company’s share price decreased 25% in response. Target’s share price had its worst performance since 1987, as did Walmart’s. Other retailers, including Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Walmart, said that they had high inventories during their latest earnings reports. 

NBC News

Smart TVs get smarter. Microsoft announced that it will launch an Xbox TV app at the end of June. People will be able to access Xbox games on Samsung smart TVs in 27 countries when the app drops, even if they don’t have an Xbox console. While Microsoft is working with Samsung TVs first, the company plans to expand the partnership to other TV brands. As long as users have a bluetooth-enabled Xbox controller, they can play Xbox games by logging into the Samsung Gaming Hub, then an existing Microsoft account. Gamers who already have a Game Pass Ultimate membership through Xbox will be able to play more than 100 cloud-enabled games on their Samsung TVs. But non-subscribers will be able to play Fortnite for free. 

  • The takeaway: This launch could be a sign that Microsoft is looking for  revenue streams from gaming beyond console sales. One way Microsoft is doing that is through content and services. Earlier this year, software giant Microsoft announced plans to buy gaming company Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, moving further into the world of gaming. The acquisition, which regulators must first approve, would give Microsoft ownership of Activision Blizzard’s catalog of games, which includes Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft. In recent years, under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has been expanding its gaming business, acquiring Mojang for $2.5 billon and ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. 

TechCrunch 

Other stories we’re following:

Lurking on Venmo. Entrepreneurs who use payment apps like Venmo, PayPal, EBay, and Airbnb will soon have more scrutiny on any income they earn on those platforms.  Those companies will now be required to send 1099-K forms to people who earn over $600 a year through their services and report the income to r the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

 Here’s what we covered last week in the Scan: 

  • OPEC said that it will up its oil production by 648,000 barrels a day in July and August, a sharper increase than expected.
  • Meta’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, announced that she will step down from the position, but will remain on the company’s board of directors.
  • Ford said it will spend $3.7 billion to increase output at three car factories in the Midwest. 
  • The Department of Education announced it will cancel $5.8 billion in student loan debt held by 560,000 people who attended Corinthian Colleges.

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