Business

2024 M&A Outlook After a Rough Year for Deal Makers
Business

2024 M&A Outlook After a Rough Year for Deal Makers

For deal makers, 2024 is a year to look forward to, if only because 2023 wasn’t necessarily one to celebrate.Despite some notable transactions, the year presented challenges to the bankers and lawyers who advise corporate clients on big takeovers and initial public offerings.Global M.&A. fell to a 10-year low. About 53,529 deals worth a combined $2.9 trillion were announced, down 17 percent annually by volume, according to data from L.S.E.G.The busiest sectors included energy — led by Exxon Mobil’s takeover of Pioneer Natural Resources and Chevron’s acquisition of Hess — and health care, which was topped by Pfizer’s purchase of the cancer drug maker Seagen.The story was worse for I.P.O.s, which tumbled 25 percent year-on-year to a combined $109.8 billion in proceeds, a 14-year low. Tha...
Under Argentina’s New President, Fuel Is Up 60%, and Diaper Prices Have Doubled
Business

Under Argentina’s New President, Fuel Is Up 60%, and Diaper Prices Have Doubled

Over the past two weeks, the owner of a hip wine bar in Buenos Aires saw the price of beef soar 73 percent, while the zucchini he puts in salads rose 140 percent. An Uber driver paid 60 percent more to fill her tank. And a father said he spent twice as much on diapers for his toddler than he did last month.In Argentina, a country synonymous with galloping inflation, people are used to paying more for just about everything. But under the country’s new president, life is quickly becoming even more painful.When Javier Milei was elected president on Nov. 19, the country was already suffering under the world’s third-highest rate of inflation, with prices up 160 percent from a year before.But since Mr. Milei took office on Dec. 10 and quickly devalued the Argentine currency, prices have soared a...
Inside the News Industry’s Uneasy Negotiations With OpenAI
Business

Inside the News Industry’s Uneasy Negotiations With OpenAI

For months, some of the biggest players in the U.S. media industry have been in confidential talks with OpenAI on a tricky issue: the price and terms of licensing their content to the artificial intelligence company.The curtain on those negotiations was pulled back this week when The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement, alleging that the companies used its content without permission to build artificial intelligence products.The Times said that before suing, it had been talking with the companies for months about a deal. And it was not alone. Other news organizations — including Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper company; News Corp, the owner of The Wall Street Journal; and IAC, the digital colossus behind The Daily Beast and the magazine publisher Dotdash M...
Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline
Business

Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline

Despite lingering inflation, Americans increased their spending this holiday season, early data shows. That comes as a big relief for retailers that had spent much of the year fearing the economy would soon weaken and consumer spending would fall.Retail sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 increased 3.1 percent from a year earlier, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. The numbers, released Tuesday, are not adjusted for inflation.Spending increased across many categories, with restaurants experiencing one of the largest jumps, 7.8 percent. Apparel increased 2.4 percent, and groceries also had gains.The holiday sales figures, driven by a healthy labor market and wage gains, suggest that the economy remains stron...
Downturn or Not? At Year’s End, Wall St. Is Split on What’s Ahead.
Business

Downturn or Not? At Year’s End, Wall St. Is Split on What’s Ahead.

Twelve months ago, Tom Lee bet that 2023 was going to turn out just fine.While many of his peers on Wall Street were sounding the alarm over an impending economic downturn, Mr. Lee, a stock market strategist who spent more than a decade running J.P. Morgan’s equity research before setting up his own firm, forecast in December 2022 that falling inflation and economic resilience would buck the broadly bearish mood.Mr. Lee was right. Despite political brinkmanship over the nation’s debt ceiling, a banking crisis in March, fears over the cost of funding the government’s fiscal deficit, a continuing war in Ukraine and fresh conflict in Israel, the core of Mr. Lee’s prediction came to fruition in 2023. Inflation has fallen, unemployment remains low, and the S&P 500 has risen 24 percent.Most ...
Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy
Business

Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy

The attacks on crucial shipping traffic in the Red Sea straits by a determined band of militants in Yemen — a spillover from the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza — are injecting a new dose of instability into a world economy already struggling with mounting geopolitical tensions.The risk of escalating conflict in the Middle East is the latest in a string of unpredictable crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, that have landed like swipes of a bear claw on the global economy, smacking it off course and leaving scars.As if that weren’t enough, more volatility lies ahead in the form of a wave of national elections whose repercussions could be deep and long. More than two billion people in roughly 50 countries, including India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, the United Stat...
Raymond Dirks, Whose Tipster Case Redefined Insider Trading, Dies at 89
Business

Raymond Dirks, Whose Tipster Case Redefined Insider Trading, Dies at 89

Raymond L. Dirks, a maverick Wall Street analyst who was accused of insider trading by securities regulators but then vindicated by the U.S. Supreme Court as a whistle-blower in a major fraud, died on Dec. 9 in Manhattan. He was 89.His death was confirmed by his brother, Lee. He died in a nursing home, where he had lived since being diagnosed with dementia in 2018.Mr. Dirks, whom Bloomberg News once called “arguably Wall Street’s most famous securities analyst,” figured in exposing one of the largest corporate frauds in American history.He was a 39-year-old senior vice president of Delafield Childs, a research-oriented New York brokerage firm, when, in 1973, he received a tip from a former executive of Equity Funding Corporation of America that the firm had sold bogus policies to reinsuran...
U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up
Business

U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up

The Biden administration is quietly signaling new support for seizing more than $300 billion in Russian central bank assets stashed in Western nations, and has begun urgent discussions with allies about using the funds to aid Ukraine’s war effort at a moment when financial support is waning, according to senior American and European officials.Until recently, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen had argued that without action by Congress, seizing the funds was “not something that is legally permissible in the United States.” There has also been concern among some top American officials that nations around the world would hesitate to keep their funds at the New York Federal Reserve, or in dollars, if the United States established a precedent for seizing the money.But the administration, in coo...
Cubicles Reappear in Offices as Employees Return
Business

Cubicles Reappear in Offices as Employees Return

Among office designers and architects, cubicles are rarely mentioned. The once-ubiquitous fixture, so popular in the 1980s and ’90s, has become vilified as a sign of the dehumanization of the work force. Design experts today say cubicles are a “hard no.”And yet cubicles, like scrunchies, are back, spurred by demand from employers and employees alike.“I frankly thought the cube market was dying,” said Brian Silverberg, who sells refurbished and used office furniture with his brother, Mark, in their store, the Furniture X-Change in North Brunswick, N.J. “We have sold more cubes in the last three years than in the five years before,” he said, adding that 2024 would be “bigger than this year.”Covid-19 was an amplifier of a trend that preceded the pandemic. But as workers returned to the office...
Prices for Some Goods Are Actually Falling This Holiday Season
Business

Prices for Some Goods Are Actually Falling This Holiday Season

American shoppers, burned by more than two years of rapid inflation, are getting some welcome relief this holiday season: Prices on many products are falling.Toys are almost 3 percent cheaper this Christmas than last, government data shows. Sports equipment is down nearly 2 percent. Bigger-ticket items are also showing price declines: Washing machines cost 12 percent less than a year ago, for example. And eggs, whose meteoric rise in prices last winter became a prime example of the country’s inflation problem, are down 22 percent over the past year.Consumer prices, in the aggregate, are still rising, though not nearly as quickly as a year ago. Most groceries still cost more than they did a year ago. So do most services, such as restaurant meals, haircuts and trips to the dentist. And housi...