Facebook, Apollo Global Management, Chevron: Stocks That Defined the Week
By Francesca Fontana
Washington is turning up the heat on Silicon Valley. In a
combative House hearing Thursday, the leaders of Facebook, Twitter
Inc., Alphabet Inc. and its Google unit were accused of running
platforms that sow political discord and spread Covid-19
misinformation and lacking accountability. The hearing built
momentum for revisions of Section 230, the law shielding platforms
from liability for users' content. Facebook shares fell 1.2%
Thursday, Twitter shares lost 1.4% and Alphabet shares ended
Apollo Global Management Inc.
The Leon Black era at Apollo is officially over. The billionaire
is stepping down as its chairman amid a governance overhaul kicked
off by revelations of his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey
Epstein. The firm previously said Mr. Black would stay in the
chairman's seat while relinquishing his role as chief executive.
Mr. Black cited his and his wife's health issues in announcing his
decision Monday. An independent review previously revealed that Mr.
Black paid Epstein a total of $158 million for tax- and
estate-planning services, far more than was previously known.
Apollo also said Monday that co-founder Marc Rowan has formally
assumed the title of CEO, a transition the firm said in January
would take place before July 31. Apollo shares rose 4.5%
Microsoft is close to a deal that could boost its videogame
business and social-network presence. As of Thursday, Microsoft is
in advanced talks to acquire messaging platform Discord Inc. for
$10 billion or more as the software giant seeks to deepen its
consumer offerings. Originally favored by gamers, Discord offers
voice, text and video chatting. The platform's popularity has
surged since the pandemic took hold as people stay home and connect
online. Microsoft has been looking to reach more consumers; it held
talks last summer to buy the popular video-sharing app TikTok amid
a high-profile geopolitical standoff prompted by the Trump
administration before abandoning the effort. Microsoft shares
gained 1.8% Friday.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Warren Buffett wants to build emergency power plants in Texas
after February's devastating blackouts. His conglomerate Berkshire
Hathaway is pitching Texas lawmakers on a $8.3 billion plan to
build 10 large natural-gas plants that would operate only during
times of extreme need, and not otherwise compete in the state's
power market. The Texas Legislature would need to approve changes
to its laws to allow for a new regulated utility to provide
emergency backup power. Meanwhile, some rival power generators such
as NRG Energy Inc. expressed opposition and anger to the proposed
idea. Berkshire Hathaway shares added 2.4% Friday.
Darden Restaurants Inc.
Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse are serving up higher pay.
Starting Monday, hourly restaurant workers at both dining chains
will earn at least $10 an hour in wages and tips combined, with
further increases to $12 an hour to be phased in through 2023. The
raise makes Darden Restaurants, the brands' parent company, the
latest business to institute a wage floor higher than the federally
mandated minimum. The company said that, on average, its hourly
restaurant workers already earned more than $17 an hour in combined
wages and tips. Darden also said it would give those workers a
bonus to reward their work during the pandemic, setting aside $17
million for the one-time payments. Darden shares gained 8.2%
Intel's new chief executive wants to reboot the semiconductor
giant. The broad plan mixes increased outsourcing with a commitment
to spend $20 billion on new factories that could help address a
chip shortage. CEO Pat Gelsinger said Tuesday that Intel would rely
more heavily on third-party chip-making partners, including for
some of its most cutting-edge processors, starting in 2023. But Mr.
Gelsinger said Intel wasn't abandoning its historic roots of being
both a designer and manufacturer of chips and would retain most
production in-house. The company is also renewing efforts to make
chips for others and targeting customers such as Apple Inc. and
chip rival Qualcomm Inc., he said. Intel shares fell 2.3%
The fallout from the Suez Canal blockage is spreading through
the oil and gas industry. The cost of renting tankers is rising and
shippers are starting to plot alternative routes for supplies of
oil and gas, after a giant vessel became stuck on one of the
world's busiest shipping arteries. The 120-mile Suez Canal, which
connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean, is a vital route for
tankers carrying oil and natural gas, and Chevron and Royal Dutch
Shell PLC were among the companies with chartered vessels stuck.
The blockage comes as global supply lines grapple with the
pandemic's continuing effects, a global shortage of computer chips
and adverse weather. Chevron shares added 0.4% Thursday.
Write to Francesca Fontana at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 26, 2021 19:11 ET (23:11 GMT)
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