Briefs: SUVs rule; gun sales soar
Fueled by relatively cheap gas and low interest rates, U.S. drivers bought more cars and trucks in 2015 than ever before. Automakers reported bullish sales data for December with an annual tally that hit 17.5 million, topping a previous record in 2000. The fastest-growing brands were SUV specialists, including Land Rover, Jeep, and Volvo. Shares of Smith & Wesson surged almost 14 percent to a record high after President Obama announced restrictions on gun sales. Sturm Ruger shares climbed almost 9 percent on the news. Obama’s measures will extend background checks and make it more difficult to sell weapons at gun shows and on the Internet. Activist hedge fund Starboard Value called on Yahoo! to make sweeping management changes and spin off its core Internet business. Starboard’s letter also threatened a proxy battle if the Yahoo board fails to make significant changes. Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer has promised to present a detailed reorganization plan later this month. The U.S. Department of Justice sued Volkswagen for as much as $48 billion for allegedly violating U.S. environmental laws. The complaint said VW installed devices to rig emissions tests in some 600,000 vehicles. In addition to the civil action, the Justice Department is considering criminal fraud charges over whether VW misled consumers. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International named as interim CEO Howard Schiller, while current chief Michael Pearson battles severe pneumonia. Schiller, a Valeant director and former Goldman Sachs banker, resigned as CFO last year.
CEO Wisdom “There is no such thing as ‘free’ anything on an airline.” �Ben Baldanza, who was abruptly replaced as CEO of Spirit Airlines on Jan. 5
Nikon unveiled a cubeshaped, high-definition camera, the KeyMission 360, with a lens on opposite sides to create 360-degree video. It will be available in spring for an undisclosed price.