Business Highlights


$47 billion offer to create world’s biggest tobacco company

LONDON (AP) — British American Tobacco has offered to buy out Reynolds American Inc. for $47 billion in an attempt to gain a strong presence in the U.S., a lucrative market where sales of electronic cigarettes are booming as traditional smoking fades.

The takeover would create the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company and combine BAT’s presence in developing countries, where anti-smoking campaigns are not as strong as in the U.S. and Europe, with Reynolds’ almost exclusive focus on the U.S.


US internet repeatedly disrupted by cyberattacks on key firm

LONDON (AP) — Cyberattacks on a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted the availability of popular websites across the United States Friday, according to analysts and company officials. The White House described the disruption as malicious.

Dyn Inc. said its server infrastructure was hit by distributed denial-of-service attacks, which work by overwhelming targeted machines with junk data traffic. The attack had knock-on effects for users trying to access popular websites from across America and Europe, including Twitter, Netflix and Sony’s PlayStation Network.


Japan overwork deaths among young show lessons unlearned

TOKYO (AP) — Despite efforts over the past two decades to cut back on overwork, “karoshi” or death from overwork, still causes hundreds of deaths and illnesses every year in Japan.

It affects all sorts of workers, from elite salaried employees to technicians and manual labourers. In Japan’s corporate world, company interests tend to come first and employees are ill-placed to resist pressure to take on too much work.

The Labor Standards Law sets a 40-hour workweek but a loophole for voluntary ceilings on overtime makes the law toothless, experts say.


US stocks close mostly lower; eke out gain for the week

The major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly lower Friday, capping a day spent wavering between small gains and losses.

Phone companies were the biggest drag on the market following reports that AT&T was considering a deal to acquire the media conglomerate Time Warner. Health care and energy stocks also took some losses, while consumer staples and technology companies held on to slight gains.

Investors continued to focus on corporate America, reviewing earnings from General Electric, McDonald’s and other big companies. Earnings from banks and other financial companies have been mostly better than anticipated, which has helped boost that sector.


McDonald’s sales rise 1.3 per cent at US stores

NEW YORK (AP) — The launch of all-day breakfast helped McDonald’s record higher sales at established U.S. locations for a fifth straight quarter, but the boost from that is shrinking and the company is hoping new menu items and recipe tweaks will keep customers coming back.

McDonald’s said sales rose 1.3 per cent at established U.S. locations in the third quarter, matching what Wall Street analysts expected. That’s down from the 1.8 per cent rise the world’s biggest burger chain reported in the previous quarter.

Worldwide, sales grew 3.5 per cent at established locations, far exceeding the 1.3 per cent growth analysts were expecting, according to FactSet.


Let’s toast: Jim Beam strike ends with promise to expand

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jim Beam ended a nearly weeklong strike at two bourbon distilleries in Kentucky on Friday, toasting a labour settlement that answers the workers’ key demand with a commitment to hire more full-time staff.

Union members picketing since last Saturday approved the company’s latest contract offer on a 204-19 vote and will resume producing whiskey Monday, said United Food and Commercial Workers union official Tommy Ballard.


Canada walks out as EU trade talks founder

BRUSSELS (AP) — Canada walked out of talks Friday meant to save a massive trade deal with the European Union, unable to break a deadlock with a small Belgian region that has been defying multinational efforts to have the pact signed next week.

Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said it had been impossible to overcome the differences with Wallonia, a French-speaking region of barely 3.5 million people.

Despite the stunning setback, European officials refused to accept that the pact, which had been agreed on provisionally two years ago, could not be saved. The impasse, however, raises troubling questions about the 28-nation EU’s ability to negotiate major international agreements.


NY enacts restrictions on Airbnb, with fines of up to $7,500

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state enacted one of the nation’s toughest restrictions on Airbnb on Friday with a new law authorizing fines of up to $7,500 for many short-term rentals.

The measure signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo applies to rentals of fewer than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present.

Supporters of the measure say many property owners use sites like Airbnb to offer residential apartments as short-term rentals to visitors, hurting existing hotels while taking residential units off the already expensive housing market in New York City.


Bombardier to cut 7,500 jobs globally over the next 2 years

MONTREAL (AP) — Bombardier will cut 7,500 jobs around the world over the next two years as it tries to turn around its business.

The airplane and train maker said Friday that the reductions are part of a plan to restore it to profitability by 2020.

Its plans to eliminate 7,500 positions — more than 10 per cent of its global workforce — through the end of 2018, are on top of 7,000 positions Bombardier already planned to eliminate by the end of 2017.


Wal-Mart invests $50M in China’s online grocery business

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart is investing $50 million in New Dada, China’s largest online grocery and logistics company, as it moves to strengthen its foothold in the nation’s fiercely competitive food market.

The move, announced late Thursday, is an extension of Wal-Mart’s pact with, China’s no. 2 e-commerce site. New Dada, partly owned by, has more than 25 million registered customers and delivers to more than 300 cities.

China is a key growth market for Wal-Mart.


Tesla may enter ride ride-hailing business next year

DETROIT (AP) — Electric car maker Tesla Motors has plans to get into the ride-hailing and sharing businesses.

The company hinted at the venture earlier this week when it announced that all of its cars would come equipped with hardware needed to drive themselves.

The company says in a disclaimer that use of self-driving Teslas to make money with ride-hailing or sharing will be allowed only on Tesla’s own network. Details will be released next year.

A Tesla spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on the matter.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 16.64 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 18,145.71. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 0.18 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 2,141.16. The Nasdaq composite index gained 15.57 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 5,257.40. In other U.S. energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline added 4 cents to $1.53 a gallon, while heating oil gained a penny to $1.57 a gallon. Natural gas lost 15 cents, or 4.7 per cent, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.