Business Highlights: Book merger off; Iger back at Disney – mySA

NEW YORK (AP) — Simon & Schuster’s corporate parent has officially ended the agreement for Penguin Random House to purchase the publisher, a proposed merger a federal judge already had blocked early this month. Paramount Global also announced Monday that it still plans to sell Simon & Schuster, a nearly century-old company where authors include Stephen King, Colleen Hoover and Bob Woodward. Penguin Random House, which had planned to appeal the decision, issued a statement Monday saying it would have been “the best home” for Simon & Schuster. “However, we have to accept Paramount’s decision not to move forward,” the publisher’s statement reads.

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Iger back on top in a Disney plot twist that few saw coming

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — Bob Iger, the enterprising entertainment executive who brought Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel under the Disney marquee and challenged the streaming dominance of Netflix, will replace his handpicked successor, CEO Bob Chapek, whose two-year tenure has been marked by clashes, missteps and a weakening financial performance. The stunning development comes two weeks after Disney’s quarterly financial performance fell well short of Wall Street expectations on both profit and revenue, a rarity, sending shares tumbling 12%. Shares of The Walt Disney Co. are down 40% this year. The company’s stock jumped almost 9% before the opening bell Monday, with the appointment of Iger effective immediately.

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Carriers feeling cheery about on-time holiday deliveries

The nation’s major shipping companies are in good shape to get shoppers’ packages delivered on time this holiday season. Carriers like the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx are expected to have excess capacity after struggling under a crush of holiday packages in 2020 and 2021. There are several factors at play: Consumers have gotten an early start, done more shopping in stores and moderated spending because of inflationary pressures, thus reducing shipping volume and spreading out shipments over a longer period. An extra shipping day between Thanksgiving and Christmas helps, too.

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Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account after online poll

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elon Musk has reinstated Donald Trump’s account on Twitter, reversing a ban that has kept the former president off the social media site since a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was poised to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. Musk made the announcement after holding a poll that asked Twitter users to click “yes” or “no” on whether Trump’s account should be reinstated. It is not clear whether Trump would actually return to Twitter. Trump has said in the past that he would not rejoin even if his account was restored. He has been relying on his own, much smaller social media site, Truth Social.

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US: 2 Estonians arrested in $575M cryptocurrency fraud

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. authorities say police in Estonia have arrested two men accused in a half-billion-dollar cryptocurrency fraud. An indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday charged 37-year-old Estonian citizens Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors say they tricked hundreds of thousands of people into buying contracts for a cryptocurrency mining service called HashFlare and investing in a virtual currency bank called Polybius Bank, which in reality operated as pyramid schemes. The men are accused of using shell companies to launder the $575 million and to purchase real estate and luxury cars. The two are in custody in Estonia pending extradition to the U.S.

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Supreme Court takes Jack Daniel’s case against dog toy maker

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it will hear a dispute over a dog toy that got whiskey maker Jack Daniel’s barking mad. Jack Daniel’s had asked the justices to hear its case against the manufacturer of the plastic Bad Spaniels toy. The toy mimics the Jack Daniel’s bottle and label but is a parody. While the original bottle has the words “Old No. 7 brand” and “Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey,” the parody proclaims: “The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet.” A number of major companies from the makers of Campbell Soup to outdoor brand Patagonia and jeans maker Levi Strauss had urged the justices to take what they said was an important case for trademark law.

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New York issues first licenses for legal pot dispensaries

NEW YORK (AP) — New York has issued the state’s first 36 cannabis dispensary licenses, taking a monumental step in establishing a legal and lucrative marketplace for recreational marijuana. The licenses approved Monday by the state’s Cannabis Control Board were the first of 175 the state plans to issue, despite a court ruling earlier this month that prevents it from issuing licenses in some parts of the state. The first legal dispensaries, selected from a pool of more than 900 applicants, are expected to be ready by the end of the year, joining an already robust marijuana economy fueled by illicit dispensaries, some of which have been shut down by authorities.

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$3B canals, housing proposed for ex-airport in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Two Philadelphia developers want to build a $3 billion housing, office and retail project on the site of a historic former airport in Atlantic City. But the proposal by Tower Investments and Post Brothers unveiled on Monday faces competition from a previously announced, auto-centric project endorsed by Atlantic City’s mayor, who says developer DEEM Enterprises is about to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding the project “imminently.” The state of New Jersey has the final say on what, if anything, will be built on the site of the former Bader Field, which used to house an air facility that was the first in the world to be called an “airport.”

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Feds offer $1B to keep California’s last nuclear plant open

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has announced preliminary approval to spend up to $1.1 billion to help keep California’s last operating nuclear power plant running. The Energy Department said Monday it was creating a path forward for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant to remain open, with the final terms to be negotiated and finalized. The plant, which is scheduled to close by 2025, was chosen in the first round of funding for a new civil nuclear credit program, intended to bail out financially distressed owners or operators of nuclear power reactors. The Palisades plant in Michigan also applied for funding to restart operations and was turned down.

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The S&P 500 fell 15.40 points, or 0.4%, to 3,949.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45.41 points, or 0.1%, to 33,700.28. The Nasdaq fell 121.55 points, or 1.1%, to 11,024.51. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 10.59 points, or 0.6%, to 1,839.14.

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