Connecticut officials have received official assurances that CVS Health Corp. will keep Aetna Inc. in Hartford for at least the next decade.
The pledge is included in a commitment letter CVS delivered Wednesday to the Connecticut Insurance Department.
CVS had said in January that it had no plans to move Aetna, reversing last year’s announcement by the insurance giant that it would move its headquarters to another state. Hartford has been Aetna’s home since 1853.
CVS announced last December that it was buying Aetna.
Wednesday’s commitment letter also promises employee levels at Aetna will remain at approximately 5,291 for at least the next four years. CVS also will continue to honor civic contributions of the Aetna Foundation and a promised $50 million payment to the city of Hartford over five years.
Amazon to Cut Bonuses, Stock Benefits as it Raises Wages
Amazon made a big splash this week with its $15 an hour minimum wage announcement, but lost in the fine print: Existing warehouse workers will no longer receive stock in the company or collect bonuses.
The online giant says next month it will end bonuses, which paid workers extra based on their attendance and warehouse productivity, as it boosts its minimum wage.
Amazon will also phase out its restricted stock unit program, which gave shares to workers if they stayed with Amazon for a certain amount of years. Amazon says it will replace it with a program next year that will allow workers to buy stock, but didn’t provide details.
Amazon.com Inc. says “compensation will be more immediate and predictable” with the changes.
The company said its other benefits, such as 401(k) retirement accounts and health insurance, were not changed.
US Mortgage Rates Edge Lower; 30-Year Rate at 4.71%
Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged slightly lower this week, taking a pause after five straight weeks of increases.
Costs for would-be homebuyers have been climbing, and the key 30-year rate has been running at its highest levels in more than seven years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages ticked down to 4.71 percent this week from 4.72 percent last week. The average benchmark rate has risen from 3.85 percent a year ago.
The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans slipped to 4.15 percent this week from 4.16 percent last week.
The Federal Reserve signaled its confidence in the economy last week by raising a key interest rate for a third time this year, forecasting another rate hike before year’s end.
Barnes & Noble Reviewing Offers to Sell Company
The board of Barnes and Noble says it is reviewing the company’s future after several parties expressed interest in buying it.
The company said Wednesday that its board appointed a special committee to review the offers.
One of the interested parties is its founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, who is credited with turning Barnes & Noble into a superstore.
The bookseller has long been struggling with increasing competition from Amazon and has been reducing staff over the last year.
According to FactSet, Riggio owns 19 percent of the company and is its largest shareholder. He says he will vote in favor of any transaction recommended by the committee.
The New York-based company also says it’s adopting a shareholder rights plan after noticing an unidentified party rapidly accumulating its stock.
Ahead of 3-Way split, DowDuPont Unveils New DuPont Logo
Ahead of next year’s spinoff, the division that will retain the DuPont name has a new look.
News outlets report temporary holding company DowDuPont unveiled DuPont’s new logo Wednesday.
While retaining its predecessor’s oval shape, it ditches the red ribbon around the company name, now bolder. Now gone is the space between “Du” and “Pont,” a legacy holdover still used by some of the namesake family.
The company’s statement says the new design recognizes the company’s heritage “while conveying our focus on a customer-led innovation strategy.”
The specialty products division will become the new DuPont company in June. It will remain based in Delaware, along with agriculture spinoff Corteva Agriscience.
The Michigan-based materials science division will keep the Dow name after it spins off in April.
Company Behind Jim Beam announces Leadership Transition
The executive who guided classic American whiskeys Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark through the transition of being acquired by a Japanese company four years ago has announced he’ll step down as CEO of spirits company Beam Suntory next spring.
Chicago-based Beam Suntory said Thursday that its top executive, Matt Shattock, will hand over CEO duties to Albert Baladi next April.
Baladi currently serves as Beam Suntory’s chief operating officer and president of North American operations.
During Shattock’s tenure, the company’s annual sales more than doubled to $4.3 billion.
Beam Suntory’s key brands include Kentucky bourbons Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.
Beam Suntory says Shattock will remain a member of its board as nonexecutive chairman and a board member of beverage company Suntory Holdings, the Japanese-based parent company of Beam Suntory.
Judge’s Ruling May Remove Roadblock to Oil Refinery
A North Dakota judge has finalized his recent conclusion that state regulators don’t have a say in the site of an $800 million oil refinery being developed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park, potentially removing a roadblock to the project.
Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward in a nonbinding recommendation last month said the Davis Refinery being developed by Meridian Energy Group won’t have a large enough capacity to fall under jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission.
The Environmental Law and Policy Center and Dakota Resource Council dispute that. They say the project’s Health Department permit is for a facility big enough to warrant review.
Ward says that doesn’t matter, because the company CEO has sworn in an affidavit that the refinery will have a smaller capacity than listed in the permit.
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