The Daily Star (Lebanon)

Disney offers concession­s to EU over $71B Fox deal


BRUSSELS: Walt Disney has offered concession­s in an attempt to allay EU antitrust concerns over its $71.3 billion bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.’s entertainm­ent assets, the European Commission said on Monday. Disney submitted its proposal on Friday, according to a filing on the EU competitio­n enforcer’s website which however did not provide details. The Commission extended its deadline for reviewing the deal to Nov. 11 from Oct. 19. It is now expected to seek feedback from customers and rivals before deciding whether to accept the concession­s or demand more. Disney secured approval from the U.S. Justice Department for the deal in June on condition after agreeing to sell Fox’s 22 regional sports networks. The deal would expand Disney’s unrivalled portfolio of some of the world’s most popular characters, uniting Mickey Mouse, Luke Skywalker and Marvel superheroe­s with Fox’s X-Men, “Avatar” and “The Simpsons” franchises. Disney owns ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel Studios and “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm, plus an array of theme parks. –

Sears files for Chapter 11 amid plunging sales, debt

NEW YORK: Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses. The question now is whether a smaller version of the company that once towered over the American retail landscape can remain viable or whether the iconic brand will be forced out of business. Sears, which started as a mail order catalog in the 1880s, has been on a slow march toward extinction as it lagged far behind its peers and incurred huge losses over the years. “This is a company that in the 1950s stood like a colossus over the American retail landscape,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultanc­y. “Hopefully, a smaller new Sears will be healthier.”–

Bank of America Q3 profits rise 32 percent

NEW YORK: Bank of America said Monday that its third-quarter profits rose by 32 percent from a year ago, as higher interest rates allowed BofA to charge more for loans, and lower corporate tax rates helped it save hundreds of millions on taxes. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based banking giant said it earned a profit of $7.17 billion, or 66 cents a share. That’s up from $5.42 billion, or 46 cents a share, a year earlier. The results beat the forecast of Wall Street analysts, who were looking for BofA to earn 62 cents a share. Like other big banks that have reported so far this quarter, Bank of America’s quarterly results were driven by higher interest rates and lower taxes. BofA’s net interest income rose 6 percent from a year earlier to $11.9 billion. –

U.S. retail sales barely rise, consumer spending strong

WASHINGTON: U.S. retail sales barely rose in September as a rebound in motor vehicle purchases was offset by the biggest drop in spending at restaurant­s and bars in nearly two years. But other details of the report from the Commerce Department Monday were upbeat and suggested that consumer spending ended the third quarter with strong momentum, which should provide a boost to economic growth despite anticipate­d drags from weak exports and a struggling housing market. “The net result still appears to be a fairly strong quarter for consumer spending growth,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, New York. Retail sales edged up 0.1 percent last month after a similar gain in August. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing 0.6 percent in September. Retail sales in September rose 4.7 percent from a year ago. –

Italian Cabinet to approve budget Tuesday

ROME: Italy’s Cabinet was due to meet later Monday but the approval of the 2019 budget, which envisages a jump in the deficit that has upset financial markets and drawn criticism from the European Commission, slipped to Tuesday. The government, backed by the right-wing League and the anti-establishm­ent 5-Star Movement, has already issued the financial framework for the budget, raising the target for next year’s deficit to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product. That is comfortabl­y below the EU’s 3 percent ceiling, but up sharply from a targeted 1.8 percent this year, flouting EU rules which call on highly-debt countries like Italy to narrow the deficit steadily towards a balanced budget. –

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