Business Highlights: Google sued; Ticketmaster grilled – mySA

Justice Dept. sues Google over digital advertising dominance

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department and eight states have filed an antitrust suit against Google, seeking to shatter its alleged monopoly on the entire ecosystem of online advertising as a hurtful burden to advertisers, consumers and even the U.S. government. The government alleges that Google’s plan to assert dominance has been to “neutralize or eliminate” rivals through acquisitions and to force advertisers to use its products by making it difficult to use competitors’ products. Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, says the suit “doubles down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow.”


Elon Musk defiantly defends himself in Tesla tweet trial

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk has concluded his testimony in a federal trial over a class-action lawsuit that alleges he misled Tesla shareholders with a tweet about an aborted buyout. The billionaire insisted Tuesday in a San Francisco courtroom that he could have pulled the deal off if had he wanted. It’s unlikely Musk will be summoned back to the witness stand during a trial expected to be turned over to a jury in early February. The trial hinges on whether a pair of tweets by Musk in 2018 damaged Tesla shareholders during a period leading up to his admission that the buyout he had envisioned wasn’t going to happen.


Senators grill Ticketmaster after Taylor Swift fiasco

Senators grilled Ticketmaster Tuesday about its spectacular breakdown last year during a sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets. Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee debated possible action, including making tickets non-transferable to cut down on scalping and requiring more transparency in ticket fees. Some suggested it may also be necessary to split Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation, which merged in 2010. Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket seller, processing 500 million tickets each year. In mid-November, Ticketmaster’s site crashed during a presale event for Swift’s upcoming stadium tour. The Justice Department has also opened an investigation into the breakdown.


Lego to move from Connecticut to Boston starting in 2025

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) — The Lego Group has announced that it will move its North American headquarters from Connecticut to Boston by the end of 2026. Skip Kodak, president of the Lego Group in the Americas, said in a release that the move supports the Denmark-based global toymaker’s growth ambitions. He said Boston is ranked one of the best cities to attract and retain talent. The company has about 740 full-time employees in Enfield, Connecticut. It said all of those employees will have a position at the Boston office and receive relocation help if they want to make the move. The Lego Group said the move will happen in phases starting in mid-2025 and be completed by the end of 2026.


Microsoft, amid layoffs, says quarterly profit declined 12%

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft has reported a 12% drop in profit for the October-December quarter, reflecting the economic uncertainty it says led to its decision to cut 10,000 workers. The company reported quarterly profit of $16.43 billion, or $2.20 per share. Excluding one-time items, the company based in Redmond, Washington, said it earned $2.32 a share, which topped Wall Street expectation for adjusted earnings of $2.29 a share. Microsoft last week blamed macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities for its decision to cut nearly 5% of its global workforce. It’s one of a number of tech companies, including Google, Amazon, Salesforce and Facebook parent Meta, to announce mass layoffs.


Soaring egg prices prompt demands for price-gouging probe

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — With egg prices more than doubling in the past year, calls are coming for an investigation into possible price gouging. That’s even though millions of chickens have been slaughtered to limit the spread of bird flu and farmers have been dealing with the soaring cost of feed, fuel and labor. U.S. Sen. Jack Reed sent a letter Tuesday asking for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. The farmer-led advocacy group Farm Action made a similar request last week. But industry trade groups say prices are largely set by commodity markets and experts say the real culprit is the combination of bird flu, inflation and continued strong demand for eggs.


Treasury takes another ‘extraordinary’ step on debt limit

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says in a letter to congressional leaders that she’s suspending the reinvestment of some federal bonds in a government workers’ savings plan. That would be an additional “extraordinary” measure to buy time for President Joe Biden and Congress to raise the nation’s debt limit. The government bumped up against its legal borrowing capacity last Thursday. This has prompted Treasury to already take accounting steps regarding federal employees’ retirement and health care plans that will enable the government to stay open until roughly June. Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have sharp differences over how to raise the debt ceiling, setting off the risk of a default.


Biden meets with Democratic leaders as debt showdown looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is hosting the Democratic congressional leaders at the White House. The Tuesday afternoon meeting is the first as the Democrats face a new era of divided government in Washington. They are staring down a debt ceiling crisis, the Russian war in Ukraine and their own Democratic Party priorities running up against a new House Republican majority eager for confrontation. Ahead of the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are united in working to raise the debt ceiling, fending off Republican demands for spending cuts. Republicans are happy to leave negotiations to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The White House has not yet invited McCarthy for a meeting, but says it plans to do so soon.


The S&P 500 fell 2.86 points, or 0.1%, to 4,016.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 104.40 points, or 0.3%, to 33,733.96. The Nasdaq composite fell 30.14 points, or 0.3%, to 11,334.27. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 5.16 points, or 0.3%, to 1,885.61.

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