• Taxpayers May Be Funding Billionaires' Biggest Apartment Deals

    Published: Mon, Nov 9, 2015

    Who do billionaires turn to when they want to buy apartment complexes? The U.S. taxpayer. Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group and Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group LP are in talks with Freddie Mac to finance two transactions totaling more than $10 billion, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. Those discussions come after the government-owned mortgage giant already agreed to back Lone Star Funds’ $7.6 billion deal to buy Home Properties Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc.’s $2.5 billion takeover of Associated Estates Realty Corp.

  • Facebook won't let you type this

    Published: Fri, Nov 6, 2015

    Try mentioning the social media website Tsu.co on Facebook or Instagram -- or even in a private conversation on Facebook Messenger. It won't work. Facebook (FB, Tech30) is blocking any link to Tsu.co on every platform it owns, including Messenger and Instagram. It even went back and deleted more than 1 million Facebook posts that ever mentioned Tsu.co, making pictures, videos and comments disappear in an instant. You can type the name "Tsu," but you'll be blocked if you write "Tsu.co" or post any link from the site.

  • The Future Of Netflix Doesn't Include Live Sports Or Evening News

    Published: Thu, Nov 5, 2015

    Netflix has plans to bring us even more original movies and TV shows, but don't expect to be able to catch live sports anytime soon -- and definitely not the evening news, The Huffington Post reports. "You don't want to invest in things that are dying," Reed Hastings, the co-founder and CEO of Netflix, said of live news programs at The New York Times' DealBook Conference in New York on Tuesday, prompting scattered snickering from the audience. 

  • 5 companies grab 70% of your online dollars

    Published: Thu, Nov 5, 2015

    The Internet was supposed to democratize and open up information, commerce and communication. But so far, the spoils are going to a relative few, USA TODAY reports. Now that social media giant Facebook (FB) has reported its quarterly profit, investors can see how lucrative Internet business has become for the industry's winners. 

  • $750/pill pharma company under investigation by Senate for price gouging

    Published: Thu, Nov 5, 2015

    Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, just got a letter from the US Senate. And it’s not a nice letter (PDF). It was sent by US Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), leaders of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, who are concerned by recent drug pricing practices. In addition to Shkreli, the senators sent letters to the heads of three other pharmaceutical companies, namely Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin, Inc., and Rodelis Therapeutics. Recent actions within the pharmaceutical industry “have looked like little more than price gouging,” Sen. McCaskill noted in a press release. The release made particular note of Turing’s recent move to increase the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750.

  • Production grows at WPX Energy, but losses mount

    BY ROBERT EVATT, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Nov 4, 2015

    Although WPX Energy reported record liquids production for their third quarter, losses at the Tulsa-based company continue to grow. WPX reported third-quarter revenue of $537 million, compared to $747 million in the third quarter of 2014. The company also reported a net loss of $234 million, or a loss of 93 cents per share, compared to net income of $62 million, or 30 cents per share, in the previous year. Losses have continued to mount, as the second-quarter loss was $30 million, and the first quarter had net income of $67 million. The company noted that significantly lower commodity costs decreased revenue by $159 million in the third quarter.

  • Magellan Midstream Partners posts solid gains, stock soars

    BY SAMUEL HARDIMAN, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Nov 4, 2015

    Magellan Midstream Partners attributed its third-quarter success to high gasoline demand that drove volume through the company’s pipelines, as well as some issues at refineries that forced more product into Magellan pipes. The company posted earnings per share of $0.86 in the third quarter, which a sizable increase from the $0.68 a share guidance the company offered in August. Magellan’s stock rose on the good earnings news, up to $69.14 at the end of the day from $66.94 at the market’s opening.

  • Revenue drops sharply at ONEOK Partners, but profits outpace 2014

    BY ROBERT EVATT, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Nov 3, 2015

    Revenue declined sharply year-over-year during ONEOK Partners' third quarter, but that didn't stop the company from boosting its profits. The Tulsa-based natural gas company reported third quarter revenue of $1.5 billion, down from $2.8 billion during the third quarter of 2014. However, net income rose to $226.9 million for the quarter, or 45 cents per share, up from $167.2 million, or 32 cents per share, the same time last year.

  • Christmas 'buycott' to back Christian friendly businesses

    Published: Tue, Nov 3, 2015

    With 70 percent of "faith consumers" eager to shop at Christian friendly stores, a new pre-Christmas campaign has opened to steer them to the right businesses and encourage others firms through a "buycott" to be more welcoming. Called #AddUsIn, the effort from the influential group Faith Driven Consumer, is taking a page from the nation's LGBT lobby, the Human Rights Campaign, to reward, not boycott, firms that welcome Christians through their policies. Organizers told Secrets that it wants companies that herald their "rainbow of diversity," typically focused on minorities, to also include Christians and their values. For example, if a company hosts a gay pride day, then they should also allow Bible studies.

  • Police creating ‘safe exchange zones’ to keep Craigslist deals from going bad

    Published: Tue, Nov 3, 2015

    The rise of Craigslist, and the easy online sale of unwanted computers or concert tickets, has been accompanied by a dark side — the tense moments when strangers must meet to complete the deal. The stories are plentiful: a string of armed robberies in Prince George’s County in June of people selling phones; a college student slain in Missouri in May after agreeing to sell a car on Craigslist; a job seeker in Ohio killed and buried by a farmer. But a new idea is emerging with local police departments around the country to combat the problem: A “safe exchange zone,” clearly marked in the parking lot of a well-lit police station, or even in the lobby of the police station, for people to meet and sell their goods with less fear of a quick or violent rip-off.

  • Obama Bans Hiring Bias Against Ex-Cons Seeking Federal Jobs

    Published: Tue, Nov 3, 2015

    On Monday, President Obama is announcing a new order to reduce potential discrimination against former convicts in the hiring process for federal government employees. It is a step towards what many criminal justice reformers call "ban the box" - the effort to eliminate requirements that job applicants check a box on their applications if they have a criminal record. While the rule was once seen as a common sense way for employers to screen for criminal backgrounds, it has been increasingly criticized as a hurdle that fosters employment discrimination against former inmates, regardless of the severity of their offense or how long ago it occurred. Banning the box delays when employers learn of an applicant's record.

  • Blue Bell ice cream back on store shelves Monday morning

    BY KYLE HINCHEY and ROBERT EVATT, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Nov 2, 2015

    Ice cream lovers throughout the Tulsa area can rejoice now that Blue Bell has returned to store shelves Monday morning. A Blue Bell truck departed from the company's Broken Arrow plant about 3:30 a.m. and headed for its first destination of the day, Petty's Fine Foods, at 1910 Utica Square. In a matter of minutes, shelves were stocked and the crew was ready to move on to the next store — Reasor's. This is the first time Blue Bell's ice cream has been available locally since its products were removed from stores in April due to a listeria outbreak that killed three people in Kansas.

  • QuikTrip again lands on Forbes' list of the biggest private businesses

    BY ROBERT EVATT, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Oct 30, 2015

    QuikTrip again earned a high spot on Forbes' yearly ranking of the  country's largest private companies . The Tulsa-based convenience store chain generated yearly revenues of $10.96 billion, good enough to place the company at No. 28 on the rankings. That performance marked a slight decline from its No. 27 spot last year with a yearly revenue of $11.45 billion. The report also noted QuikTrip now has 19,800 employees.

  • New Yorkers are no longer required to disclose criminal history on job apps

    Published: Fri, Oct 30, 2015

    New Yorkers applying for jobs will no longer be required to disclose a criminal history, thanks to new legislation. The Fair Chance Act (FCA) amends New York City Civil Rights Law, thus prohibiting most employers from inquiring about criminal history until after a conditional offer for employment has been extended.  Activists say the legislation passed on Tuesday is the most progressive law of its type in the country, and the most far-reaching because New York is the largest city where a policy like this has been enacted.

  • Judge OKs PSO plans for smart meter opt-out program

    BY JACK MONEY, Tulsa World correspondent | Published: Thu, Oct 29, 2015

    Some Oklahomans who don’t want digital smart meters to measure electricity usage at their homes and communicate that data with the power provider using cellular technology could be allowed to opt out of the program — if they are willing to pay to make that choice. A proposal by Public Service Co. of Oklahoma to allow for that option cleared a hurdle this week when an administrative law judge at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission recommended its approval. Next, the judge’s recommendation will be reviewed by the commission’s elected three-person board.

  • Activists allege widespread cruelty at Tyson's chicken factory

    Published: Thu, Oct 29, 2015

    An anti-animal cruelty group says it has secretly recorded Tyson Foods workers punching, throwing and pulling the heads off of live broiler chickens at one of the mega meat producer's plants in Mississippi where up to 2.5 million chickens are slaughtered each week. Vandhana Bala, a lawyer for the group Mercy for Animals, which showed video of the alleged animal cruelty to USA TODAY, said the group filed affidavits in Leake County, Miss. Justice Court on Tuesday alleging misdemeanor animal cruelty by the Springdale, Ark.-headquartered Tyson and six slaughterhouse workers.

  • 39% of L.A. millennials 'chronically stressed' about money, survey finds

    Published: Thu, Oct 29, 2015

    Most Los Angeles millennials are confident about their ability to manage their finances, but that doesn't mean they're not stressing about money. A new survey by Bank of America and USA Today found that L.A. millennials ages 18 to 34 say they have a clear understanding of their financial situation and 44% are prepared for a rainy day, with three months of living expenses saved up. But 75% say they worry about their finances "often" or at least "sometimes," with 39% saying they are "chronically stressed" about money.

  • "Star Wars," zombies hot for Halloween

    BY JOHN STANCAVAGE, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Oct 28, 2015

    As a highly anticipated “Star Wars” movie sequel draws closer, The Force seems to be growing strong in Halloween fans. Costumes featuring characters from the early movies — especially Darth Vader and Yoda — are selling briskly for adults, children and even dogs and cats. On the candy side, there’s also a broad selection of Star Wars-themed munchies to be acquired if you have sufficient galactic credits.

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance to Buy Rite Aid for $17.2 Billion

    Published: Wed, Oct 28, 2015

    Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. agreed to acquire Rite Aid Corp. for $9.42 billion in cash in a transaction to further expand the company’s role in the distribution of medications in the U.S. The transaction would combine the second- and third-largest drugstore chains in the U.S., with a total of about 12,800 locations, helping Walgreens vault past market leader CVS Health Corp. The acquisition will add to Walgreens’ earnings beginning a full year after completion and will produce more than $1 billion in savings from cost overlaps, the companies said Tuesday in a statement. Including debt, the deal is valued at $17.2 billion, they said.

  • Aquafina to say it comes from same source as tap water

    Published: Wed, Oct 28, 2015

    The label on Aquafina water bottles will soon be changed to spell out that the drink comes from the same source as tap water, the brand's owner PepsiCo said Friday.   A group called Corporate Accountability International has been pressuring bottled water sellers to curb what it calls misleading marketing practices.   Aquafina is the single biggest bottled water brand, and its bottles are now labeled "P.W.S." The new labels will spell out "public water source."