WEEK IN RE­VIEW

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - BUSINESS -

Mon­day Sem­pra swoops in

San Diego-based Sem­pra En­ergy signed an agreement to buy the bank­rupt En­ergy Fu­ture Hold­ings and its Dal­las-based util­ity On­cor as an eleven­th­hour agreement swept aside an­other bid­der, Berk­shire Hath­away En­ergy, a sub­sidiary of War­ren Buf­fett’s Berk­shire Hath­away.

Strik­ers de­nounce cuts

Union work­ers at Wy­manGor­don went on strike to protest pro­posed pay and ben­e­fit cuts at the aerospace and en­ergy man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in north­west Hous­ton.

Big judg­ment in talc case

A Los An­ge­les jury or­dered John­son & John­son to pay a record $417 mil­lion to a hos­pi­tal­ized woman who claimed in a law­suit that the talc in the com­pany’s iconic baby pow­der causes ovar­ian cancer when ap­plied reg­u­larly for fem­i­nine hy­giene.

Ex-GE CEO a fi­nal­ist

Former Gen­eral Elec­tric CEO Jef­frey Im­melt is among the fi­nal­ists be­ing con­sid­ered to run ride-hail­ing com­pany Uber, but there’s no clear con­sen­sus among its board about a fron­trun­ner, two peo­ple briefed on the search said.

Tues­day Bail­ing on U.S. shale

Aus­tralian min­ing con­glom­er­ate BHP Bil­li­ton Corp. said it is get­ting out of U.S. shale. It is look­ing to sell more than 800,000 acres in the Per­mian Basin, Ea­gle Ford and other oil fields, and an­a­lysts said the acreage could be worth up to $10 bil­lion.

Ro­bots as spies Some widely used in­dus­trial and con­sumer ro­bots are dan-

ger­ously easy to hack and could be turned into bug­ging de­vices or weapons, re­searchers for cy­ber­se­cu­rity com­pany IOAc­tive said.

Wed­nes­day NRG signs big lease

NRG En­ergy will move its down­town of­fices into more than 18 floors of One Shell Plaza as part of the city’s largest sub­lease deal since the oil slump be­gan. The move will be­gin in the spring and put all of NRG’s down­town em­ploy­ees un­der one roof, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of ad­min­is­tra­tion Jen­nifer Wal­lace said.

Lift for coal, nu­clear power

The En­ergy De­part­ment is­sued a long-an­tic­i­pated re­port that stresses the need to pro­tect the “re­silience” of the na­tion’s power grid by valu­ing de­pend­able re­sources such as coal and nu­clear more in power mar­kets.

Google, Wal­mart team up

Google and Wal­mart are test­ing the no­tion that an en­emy’s en­emy is a friend. They said Google would start of­fer­ing Wal­mart prod­ucts to peo­ple who shop on Google Ex­press, the com­pany’s on­line shop­ping mall. It’s the first time the world’s big­gest re­tailer has made its prod­ucts avail­able on­line in the U.S. out­side its own web­site.

Car safety sys­tems pay off

Safety sys­tems to pre­vent cars from drift­ing into an­other lane or that warn driv­ers of ve­hi­cles in their blind spots are be­gin­ning to live up to their po­ten­tial to re­duce crashes sig­nif­i­cantly, ac­cord­ing to two stud­ies.

#big­birth­day

The hash­tag cel­e­brated its 10th birth­day. An av­er­age of 125 mil­lion hash­tags are shared daily around the world on Twitter, the com­pany said.

Thurs­day Whole Foods price cuts

Amazon said it planned to use its deep pock­ets to make big changes at Whole Foods, say­ing it will cut prices on ba­nanas, eggs, salmon, beef and more when it com­pletes its $13.7 bil­lion takeover on Mon­day. Among other Whole Foods items get­ting dis­counts Mon­day: av­o­ca­dos, tilapia, baby kale, ap­ples and ro­tis­serie chicken — all or­ganic, Amazon said. The com­pany also said cer­tain Whole Foods prod­ucts will be avail­able through Amazon.com, Ama­zonFresh, Prime Pantry and Prime Now.

Bears Ears’ fu­ture un­clear

The fu­ture of Bears Ears Na­tional Mon­u­ment, a sprawl­ing re­gion of red-rock canyons, was left in ques­tion when In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke sent rec­om­men­da­tions for 27 na­tional mon­u­ments un­der fed­eral re­view to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, but did not make the rec­om­men­da­tions pub­lic.

More Kmarts to close

Sears Hold­ings Corp. said that it would close 28 ad­di­tional Kmart stores na­tion­wide as the re­tailer con­tin­ues to strug­gle with de­clin­ing sales.

Fri­day De­fense of reg­u­la­tion

Fed­eral Re­serve Chair Janet Yellen de­liv­ered a broad re­but­tal to Repub­li­can crit­i­cism that fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tion is im­ped­ing eco­nomic growth. Yellen said changes since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, which be­gan a decade ago, have sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved the re­silience of the fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

Pri­son term in VW case

A Volk­swa­gen en­gi­neer who had a key role in the com­pany’s diesel emis­sions scan­dal was sen­tenced to more than three years in pri­son and a $200,000 fine, a steeper pun­ish­ment than prose­cu­tors re­quested.

Karen War­ren / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

Af­ter weeks of ne­go­ti­a­tions, 271 Ma­chin­ist mem­bers em­ployed by Wy­manGor­don in Hous­ton be­gan a strike call­ing for a fair and eq­ui­table con­tract from the com­pany.

Hous­ton Chron­i­cle file

NRG En­ergy is con­sol­i­dat­ing its down­town work­ers at the 50-story One Shell Plaza, once Texas’ tallest build­ing.

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