Business Highlights: Musk’s Twitter exit poll, FTX founder
Elon Musk Twitter poll ends with users seeking his departure
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Millions of Twitter users asked Elon Musk to step down as head of Twitter in a poll the billionaire created and promised to abide by. But by Monday afternoon there was no word from Musk on whether he’ll step aside or who a new leader might be. Twitter has grown more chaotic and confusing under Musk’s leadership with rapidly vacillating policies that are withdrawn or altered. Many of the votes for Musk to step down likely came from Tesla investors, who have grown tired of the 24/7 Twitter chaos, which they say has distracted the eccentric CEO from the electric car company, his main source of wealth.
FTX founder agrees to extradition to US, attorney says
NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Bankman-Fried may be ready to come to the U.S. to face criminal charges related to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX following a chaotic court appearance in the Bahamas. A lawyer for Bankman-Fried was quoted as saying Monday that the disgraced FTX founder has agreed to be extradited to the United States. A court hearing was stopped earlier in the day when his attorneys said it was premature for him to stand before the court. Jerone Roberts, a local defense attorney for Bankman-Fried, told The New York Times that lawyers will prepare the necessary documents for extradition. It was not immediately clear when extradition could occur.
EU accuses Meta of antitrust breaches with classified ads
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has accused Facebook parent Meta of breaching the bloc’s antitrust rules by distorting competition in the online classified ads business. The bloc’s executive commission said Monday that it “takes issue” with the tech company tying its online classified ad business, Facebook Marketplace, to Facebook. The European Commission says that means Facebook users automatically have access to Marketplace “whether they want it or not.” The commission, the 27-nation bloc’s top antitrust enforcer, said Meta also imposes unfair trading conditions on competing online classified ad companies that advertise their services on Facebook or Instagram. Companies that breach EU antitrust rules can be hit with fines worth up to 10% of their annual global revenue.
Christmas tree demand remains high despite inflation
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Americans are cutting back on spending in some areas this holiday season. But they’re not scrimping on Christmas trees. Retailers from Home Depot and Lowes to mom and pop operations raised their prices — but people are still buying them. The National Christmas Tree Association projects that nearly 21 million live Christmas trees will be sold by the time consumers wrap up purchases over the days leading up to Christmas Day.
Fortnite maker to pay $520M for privacy, e-commerce abuses
WASHINGTON (AP) — The maker of the popular Fortnite video game will pay $520 million in penalties and refunds to settle complaints revolving around children’s privacy and its payment methods that tricked players into making unintended purchases. The Federal Trade Commission reached the settlements to resolve two cases against Epic Games Inc., which has parlayed Fortnite’s success in the past five years to become a video game powerhouse. The settlement consists of $245 million in customer refunds and a $275 million fine for collecting personal information on Fortnite players under the age of 13 without parental consent. It’s the biggest penalty ever imposed for breaking an FTC rule.
Wall Street loses more ground, extending a losing streak
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed lower on Wall Street as investors brace for higher interest rates from central banks to fight inflation. The S&P 500 lost 0.9% Monday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 1.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5%. Major indexes are coming off two weeks of losses. Facebook’s parent company sank after the European Union accused the company of breaching antitrust rules by distorting competition in online classified ads. Treasury yields moved higher and crude oil prices rose. Investors are awaiting several key economic reports this week on the housing market and consumer spending.
Not just for kids: Toymakers aim more products at grown-ups
NEW YORK (AP) — Long before the pandemic, many adults turned to toys from Legos to collectible items to tap into their inner childhood for comfort. But all the stresses from the health crisis, which forced many people to isolate for months, accelerated the trend, Industry experts and toy makers from Mattel’s American Girl and Build-a-Bear see the behavior as long-lasting and are creating new products, services and websites aimed for the adult audience. Starting early this year, Mattel’s American Girl Cafe added more more adult fare like beet and goat cheese salads and cocktails like apple spritzes and Bloody Mary’s. Last year, Build-a-Bear launched a site called Bear Cave aimed at the 18-year-old and older.
Third air bag death confirmed, owners urged to get repairs
DETROIT (AP) — Stellantis and U.S. safety regulators have confirmed that an exploding Takata air bag inflator has killed another driver. The company and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reiterated warnings to owners of 274,000 older Dodge and Chrysler vehicles to stop driving them until faulty inflators are replaced. Stellantis announced two deaths in November caused by the air bags and said it suspected an inflator caused another. The company formerly known as Fiat Chrysler confirmed the third death early Monday. Stellantis is urging people to stop driving Dodge Magnum wagons, Dodge Challenger and Charger muscle cars and Chrysler 300 sedans from the 2005 through 2010 model years. Since 2009, the exploding air bags have killed at least 33 people worldwide.
The S&P 500 dropped 34.70 points, or 0.9%, to 3,817.66. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 162.92 points, or 0.5%, to 32,757.54. The Nasdaq tumbled 159.38 points, or 1.5%, to 10,546.03. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 24.84 points, or 1.4%, to 1,738.58.