Apple announced that it will acquire Next Issue Media LLC and its digital magazine-subscription service Texture. Texture is commonly regarded as the “Netflix of magazines” as it provides users access to over 200 magazines with a monthly and annual subscription model. Some of the bundled magazines include People, Time, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and Rolling Stone for $9.99 per month, or $119.88 per year. The subscription gives unlimited access and is cheaper than paying for each magazine individually. Texture also allows users to import full issues of magazines and to read them in its original format. Apple will be acquiring Next Issue Media LLC in its entirely for an undisclosed amount, and the deal is excepted to close soon.
On Friday, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment report for February 2018. It surpassed and surprised analyst estimates by adding 313,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the fifth consecutive month, the lowest rate in 17 years. Analyst had expected that the US had added about 200,000 jobs and that the pool of potential workers has been depleting. These new figures suggest otherwise, and the last time the US experienced large gains with low unemployment was during the economic boom of the 1990s. The US has added over 500,000 new jobs since the start of 2018, and the labor force participation rate has increased as well—its best one month gain in over 8 years. On top of topping estimates, wage growth was rather modest as it grew 2.6% compared with a year earlier. This addition of new jobs and modest wage growth defused fears about inflation and the Federal Reserve raising interest rates more aggressively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 350 points from open to close on Friday trading.
JC Penney announced on Monday that it is planning on cutting 360 jobs from its stores and corporate headquarters. These are additional cuts on top of the 5,000 layoffs it had last year, and after it closed down 140 stores in 2017. This comes after the retail giant missed analyst forecast following a lackluster opening to 2018. Sales have been dropping for not just JC Penney, but other traditional retailers too. L Brands, like Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret dropped 14%. Nordstrom, which has a deal in place to go private, dropped 6%. And Footlocker stock tanked 7% on Friday. Many companies have been struggling with the changing habits of consumers, and many won’t be able to survive this shift, as we are currently seeing today.
Following the Harvey Weinstein allegations, the company began to see a backlash in its business operations. Many business partners cut ties with the studio, and new business opportunities were cut off. Fearing the end of the studio, executives sought a buyer that would keep the doors open and protect their employees. A group of investors, led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, the former head of the US Small Business Administration, saw this as an opportunity to start a movie studio that was headed by women. However, Sunday night a letter from the Board of Directors of the Weinstein Company stated that the buyers were unwilling to provide interim financing while the deal was being finalized. As a result, the company is on track to filing for bankruptcy. The deal hit its major snag a few weeks ago when New York’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, filed a suit against the company and Weinstein.
If you are a Citigroup card holder, you may be entitled to roughly $190. On Friday, Citi reported with its annual filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has failed to lower interest rates for some credit card holders and $335 million will be reissued. This bank is one of the largest credit card issuers in the US and apprehended the issue after an internal review. The issue is stemmed from their methodology to lower interest rates in return for good behavior by its customers. Credit card issuers are required to semi-annually review accounts to determine interest rate increase or decrease based on payment. If a card holder has been late for two consecutive payments, then the issuer can increase the interest rate. On the other hand, if a card holder has made timely, minimum payments for six months, then the holder is eligible for an interest rate reduction. This eligibility criterion was established by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009, also known as the CARD Act. The bank recently discovered a weakness in its detection for eligible accounts and decided to examine accounts since the CARD Act went into effect in 2011. After investigation, it had revealed that half of the impacted accounts received reductions, and the other half did not. It is estimated about 1.75 million (10%) accounts were overcharged.