Posts tagged with "CNBC"

Dominion brings $1.3 billion defamation suit against ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell

January 11, 2021

Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems—which serves 28 U.S. states nationwide—has brought a $1.3 billion defamation suit against the conservative lawyer Sidney Powel, alleging that her false and outlandish claims about fraud in the 2020 election “caused unprecedented harm,” CNBC reports.

The suit is the first in an expected flurry of high-priced litigation against prominent conspiracy theorists and right-wing media organizations that have spread baseless falsehoods about President Donald Trump’s defeat in last November’s election.

It comes as the nation continues to reckon with the aftermath of Wednesday’s deadly insurrection by a mob of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol.

The supplier of voting machines brought the suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The company warned last month that it would bring defamation suits against those trumpeting conspiracy theories about its voting machines, including Fox News and major media personalities.

Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment  from CNBC. The attorney, a former member of Trump’s legal team, has falsely claimed among other things that Dominion was somehow created by the deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to rig the 2020 contest. Chavez died in 2013.

“As a result of the defamatory falsehoods peddled by Powell—in concert with likeminded allies and media outlets who were determined to promote a false preconceived narrative—Dominion’s founder, Dominion’s employees, Georgia’s governor, and Georgia’s secretary of state have been harassed and have received death threats, and Dominion has suffered enormous harm,” Dominion attorney Thomas Clare said in the 124-page lawsuit.

The suit says the company issued Powell a letter formally warning her to stop lying about the company, and cited a tweet that she posted shortly afterward refusing to do so.

“Powell doubled down, tweeting to her 1.2 million Twitter followers that she heard that ‘#Dominion’ had written to her and that, although she had not even seen Dominion’s letter yet, she was ‘retracting nothing’ because ‘[w]e have #evidence’ and ‘They are #fraud masters!’,” the company said.

Dominion asked the court to award it at least $651,735,000 in compensatory damages and the same amount in punitive damages, in addition to paying for the expenses it incurred filing the litigation. The suit lists Defending the Republic, a company Powell has used for fundraising purposes, as a defendant alongside Powell.

Powell, L. Lin Wood and Brannon Castleberry are the directors of Defending the Republic.

Powell and Wood, another conspiracy theorist lawyer, held a joint “Stop the Steal” rally in Georgia in December in which they spread conspiracy theories about the election. Wood frequently tweeted conspiracy theories about Chief Justice John Roberts and the election until he was banned from the platform this week.

Powell, a former federal prosecutor, and Wood, had filed lawsuits in district courts in Georgia and Michigan seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election. All of the lawsuits have been dismissed.

“Powell and Wood filed their election lawsuits—which never had a chance of reversing the results of the election—with the obvious and cynical purpose of creating court documents they could post on their fundraising websites and tout as ‘evidence’ during their media campaign,” the Dominion lawsuit says.

It also accuses the attorneys of seeking “to raise funds and their public profiles, and to ingratiate themselves to Donald Trump for additional benefits and opportunities that they expected to receive as a result of their association with him.”

Wood did not immediately return a request for comment from CNBC.

Other lawsuits are expected shortly.

Research contact: @CNBC

Sweetgreen will pilot a drive-in restaurant as part of suburban push

December 17, 2020

These are the “salad days” for the restaurant chain Sweetgreen, which has been been offering contact-free delivery and pickup at its 91 restaurants throughout the pandemic, CNBC reports..

Now, Chief Concept Officer Nic Jammet says that the business pivot that the company has taken since the virus took hold in the USA earlier this year has accelerated its decision to pilot test a new type of eatery—slated to open next winter in Highlands Ranch, Colorado next winter. At the test site, customers will be encouraged to order on-site using dedicated parking spaces with intercom boxes connected to the chain’s app; and to pick up their food from drive-thru lanes.

As Sweettgreen expands from urban settings into suburban America, it joins the flood of restaurant companies that have unveiled new designs inspired by the coronavirus pandemic. Fast-food chains like Yum Brands’ Taco Bell and Restaurant Brands International’s Burger King have focused their new designs on making delivery and digital orders even more convenient.

But the fast-casual segment, which includes Sweetgreen and Chipotle Mexican Grill, has been influenced by the success of drive-thru lanes. Drive-thru orders grew by 24% across the restaurant industry in October, according to the NPD Group.

Like Sweetgreen, Shake Shack will open its first ever drive-thru lane in 2021, says CNBC. And Chipotle, which has been building its “Chipotlanes” for several years, is planning to add even more drive-thru lanes as same-store sales at those restaurants outpace the rest of its footprint.

Already, says Jammet, “A lot of our customers [… already are adopting this] behavior of using the Sweetgreen app to order ahead and come in ahead to pick it up.”

Research contact: @CNBC

LeBron James’, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sports nutrition company sells to fitness platform Openfit

December 3, 2020

Los Angeles-based Ladder, a nutritional supplements company found by basketball icon LeBron James and weight lifter and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been sold to technology fitness platform, Openfit, the companies told CNBC.

Openfit CEO Jon Congdon said the Santa Monica-based tech company purchased Ladder—buying shares from investors, including investment firm Main Street Advisors. Terms of the deal were not made available.

In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Congdon said James and Schwarzenegger would stay on as minority shareholders and help with future promotional content.

“We looking to grow the brand,” said Congdon, adding that the company would integrate Ladder’s nutritional supplements in its own subscription offerings.

Openfit is a mobile application that monetizes private training and exercise classes through subscriptions. The packages range from roughly $40 for three months to $100 per year. The company says it has approximately 130,000 subscribers.

Congdon said the company is “profitable”  but didn’t divulge exact revenue. He said, “those numbers could be available in the not-so-distant future.”

Asked if that meant that Openfit is seeking an IPO, Congdon, the co-founder of the fitness company Beachbody (parent company of P90X in-home exercises), told CNBC that he couldn’t comment. He didn’t deny the notion, either, adding “all possibilities are open for us, and we’re considering all possibilities.”

With the acquisition of Ladder, which is on pace for $4 million in sales for 2020,  it will pair nutritional supplements with its “live and on-demand fitness programs, personalized nutrition plans and virtual access” to certified trainers.

“We looking at 300% too 400% growth at minimum next year and even more than that in the coming years,” Congdon said. “We’re hoping that they are a huge part of our revenue base moving forward.”

James and Schwarzenegger founded Ladder 2018, aiming to create nutritional products for athletes to combat cramping while in action. The idea stemmed from James’ severe cramping in Game One of the National Basketball Association’s Finals series in 2014.

“After pushing my body to its limits season after season, I needed a different level of supplements that I could trust to complement my workouts and aid in the recovery process,” said James in a statement. “With Ladder, we achieved that. We were able to work with experts to create an incredible line of certified, high caliber supplements for all athletes, but we always recognized that is just one part of the process.

“Now with the reach and resources of the Openfit platform, we’re excited about bringing this all together and creating a new level of training and nutrition that fits everyone’s individual needs,” James said.

“It’s in the right hands,” added Schwarzenegger in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, December 1. “It’s the right move to make.”

The former governor of California added he would be involved with future content creation and use his resources to solicit top trainers for Openfit’s platform.

“I will do everything for them to be successful, and I think LeBron will do everything for them to be successful,” Schwarzenegger said. “We’re all partners. We’re going to do this together; that’s our mission.”

Research contact: @CNBC

FreshDirect CEO says customers only will see benefits after Dutch grocer buys majority stake

November 25, 2020

FreshDirect’s online grocery customers have nothing to fear, now that the company has been acquired by the Dutch owner of Stop & Shop and Food Lion, the grocery delivery service’s CEO David McInerney said on Tuesday, November 24.

The Dutch-Belgian grocery retail company Ahold Delhaize and New York City-based Centerbridge Partners, a private equity firm, are involved in the transaction. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Ahold Delhaize will acquire the majority stake and Centerbridge Partners will have a minority investment of 20%.

“Hopefully the only differences that customers see are the benefits,” McInerney said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The Dutch grocer already has a foothold in U.S. grocery e-commerce through Peapod, which was the first company to deliver groceries in the country. But FreshDirect’s specialty is fresh food, which represents about 60% of its total sales, and it has a higher market share than Peapod in the New York tri-state area.

McInerney said that he appreciated how Ahold Delhaize plans to preserve the e-commerce company’s brand. FreshDirect will keep its name and will still independently operate in its New York City facility.

“I think combining the knowledge of both companies, we can make it even more competitive and compelling,” Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller said.

Stockpiling during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic made online grocery sales soar, and the trend seems to be sticking. Muller said that the pandemic accelerated Ahold Delhaize’s e-commerce business by several years.

“Being that we’re on top of our game right now … strong double digit-growth, we were naturally attractive, given where the world is in terms of adoption of online food,” McInerey told CNBC’s Becky Quick.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Research contact: @CNBC

Benvenuto! A picturesque hilltop village in Italy will pay you more than $50,000 to live and work there

October 26, 2020

The Italian village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is hoping to attract new younger residents by offering them grants totaling as much as €44,000 ($52,022), CNBC reports.

The picturesque, hilltop village in the Abruzzo region, southeast Italy shared details of the project on the local council’s website this month.

Santo Stefano currently only boasts 115 residents—41 of whom are over the age of 65. Indeed, just 13 people living in the village are under 20 years old.

The local council says, therefore, that it is “essential” to do something to ensure “a sustainable and lasting development of the territory,” according to a translation of the announcement.

According to CNBC, the village is offering new residents a maximum grant of €8,000 (US$9,455) a year for three years, paid monthly—plus another one-off maximum payment of €20,000 (US$26,273), for new residents to start a business.

The council will provide residents in the scheme with a property, on which they will only pay “nominal” rent. It also specified that those applying for the scheme needed to between 18 and 40 years old.

They can be Italian residents from outside the area but need to be moving from a place with no fewer than 2,000 people. Applicants also can be EU citizens or non-EU citizens—with a long-term residence permit issued for an indefinite period.

Applicants have to transfer their residence to Santo Stefano for a minimum of five years and open a business in the village. However, the business must be in areas identified as a priority by the council — a tourist, sports, or culture guide; a cleaner; a generic maintenance technician; a drugstore manager, or a vendor of local food.

Applications to the initiative must be submitted by November 15.

Research contact: @CNBC

In nine states nationwide, the wealthy are looking at a tax increase

September 28, 2020

Legislators in nine states—among them, New York, California, Massachusetts, and Maryland—have renewed their efforts to hike taxes on high earners. The states are facing multibillion-dollar revenue shortfalls, due to the costs of the coronavirus pandemic; as well as lost revenue from shuttered businesses.

Indeed, Democratic lawmakers are arguing that the wealthy—who have largely have escaped the economic hardships of the pandemic—should pay more of the costs and help those who have suffered most, reports CNBC.

However, Republicans and some Democratic governors say tax hikes at the state level will only cause the wealthy to move to lower-tax states, such as Florida and Texas.

After New Jersey passed its “millionaire’s tax” last September— under which state residents who earn more than $1million per year will face higher income taxes, while 800,000 lower-income families will get a tax rebate—legislators in other states renewed similar efforts with greater vigor.

Along with New York, lawmakers in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Vermont have proposed various forms of tax increases on high earners, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Those states account for more than one-third of the U.S. population, and nearly half of the nation’s millionaires, according to population data and wealth surveys.

Research contact: @CNBC

Cuomo rips into CDC as Trump’s political tool; says New York won’t follow new virus guidance

August 27, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on August 26 that his state won’t be following the CDC’s new guidance on coronavirus testing—and urged others to do the same, reports CNBC.

The federal agency has quietly revised its guidance on coronavirus testing to say that people who are asymptomatic, but have been exposed to an infected person, might not need to be screened.

Previously, the Centers for Disease Control had recommended testing for anyone with a “recent known or suspected exposure” to the virus—even if they did not have symptoms. Indeed, the CDC’s previous guidance cited “the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission” as a reason why people without symptoms who were exposed to the virus be “quickly identified and tested.”

Numerous studies have shown that people who don’t have symptoms can still carry and spread the virus — even a few days before symptoms appear or if they never develop symptoms.

Shame on the people at the CDC,” Cuomo said, calling the change in guidance “indefensible.” 

The new guidance, published on Monday, August 24, advises that people without symptoms who were in close contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes “do not necessarily need a test.” The guidance still recommends testing for vulnerable people; if they have come within 6 feet of someone with a confirmed infection for at least 15 minutes.

“We’re not going to follow the CDC guidance. I consider it political propaganda. I would caution private companies against following the CDC guidance. I think it is wholly indefensible on its face. I think it is inherently self-contradictory. It is the exact opposite of what the CDC has been saying,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters. “So either the CDC is schizophrenic or they are admitting error in their first position or this is just political dictations.”

Cuomo also criticized the CDC for failing to alert Americans to the threat of the coronavirus earlier, before it arrived in the U.S.A. and began to spread rapidly in parts of the country, including the New York tristate region.

“They either lied to the American people or they’re incompetent, because they didn’t track the virus in China. And they didn’t track the virus leaving China and going to Europe,” Cuomo said. “The CDC either totally missed it, or they were ordered not to speak about it. This just evidences, once again, political control over what’s supposed to be a public health organization.”

Cuomo went on to allege that the testing recommendations were changed “because they don’t want publicity that there is a COVID problem.”

“Because the president’s politics are COVID isn’t the problem, we’re past COVID,” Cuomo said. “It’s all about the economy, and the economy is doing great. We’re going to focus on the economy. And that’s his reelection strategy. So he’s using the CDC as a campaign rhetorical device.”

Research contact: @CNBC

‘The doctor is in’: Walgreens to bring Village MD into 700 pharmacy locations

July 9, 2020

It’s a primary care center, a drugstore, and a pharmacy—all under one roof, Forbes reports.

The convergence of sectors within healthcare continued on July 8 with the announcement that Walgreens, the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, will open full-service doctor’s offices in up to 700 locations within the next five years in a deal that gives Walgreens a $1 billion equity stake in Chicago-based VillageMD.

Forbes notes that, following a successful trial last year, Walgreens will become the first national pharmacy chain to offer full-service doctor offices co-located at its stores at a large scale—a big step beyond the kiosk-like setups in many Walgreens locations that offer flu shots and some pharmacist consultations.

Rival CVS Health, which owns health insurer Aetna, already has announced plans to expand its HealthHub locations—drugstores that offer more health services and products—by opening 1,500 locations by the end of 2021, according to CNBC.

The Walgreens/VillageMD locations will be staffed by more than 3,600 primary care providers, who will be recruited by VillageMD and also will “uniquely integrate the pharmacist as a critical member of VillageMD’s multi-disciplinary team,” Walgreens said.

The clinics will accept a wide range of health insurance options, offer primary care “across a broad range of physician services,” offer 24/7 care via telehealth and at-home visits—and at least half of the locations will be in medically underserved areas, according to Walgreens.

This rollout follows a trial with five in-store clinics in the Houston area, which produced “very strong results” after opening last November including high patient satisfaction scores, according to Walgreens.

Most of the clinics will be about 3,330 square feet, with some as large as 9,000 square feet.

Research contact: @Forbes

Bono-backed Beautycounter is bringing its clean makeup to the masses at Sephora

June 23, 2020

On August 7, Beautycounter—a beauty brand with a much-hyped “Never List” of 1,800 ingredients that are not used in the production of its clean products—is launching some of its most popular confections at the stores of makeup retail giant Sephora in a bid to bring its clean mission to the masses.

The products will hit Sephora’s website even sooner, on July 7, for a limited time only, CNBC reports.  “It’s an opportunity to really validate the movement for clean,” CEO Gregg Renfrew told the cable news outlet in a phone interview, adding, “We have an army of advocates, and we want more voices to our movement.”

For LVMH-owned Sephora, the partnership advances its commitment to stocking its shelves with more clean beauty products, building on the trend toward using only safe and sustainable personal-care products. Beautycounter’s merchandise will be featured online on Sephora’s “Clean Makeup” page, alongside brands such as Kosas and Supergoop.

“We also know our clients continue to seek high-performing, clean beauty products,” Artemis Patrick, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Sephora, said in a statement.

Beautycounter’s business has been unconventional from the start — in that it eschewed the first-floor makeup counters of traditional department stores in favor of a model more akin to the cosmetics giant Avon.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, it launched as a direct-to-consumer business in 2013, selling through its own website and web of consultants—of which it has more than 60,000 today. It was first founded by Renfrew in 2011.

Many of these consultants are so-called micro-influencers, according to Renfrew, and they tout Beautycounter’s merchandise through their social media accounts with thousands of followers, or over virtual Zoom gatherings. They receive up to 35% commission on their retail volumes, she said. And many of the consultants will actually build out their own teams and sell together, Renfrew added.

According to CNBC, Beautycounter currently has three boutiques—in Denver, in New York City, and a seasonal pop-up in Nantucket— with another set to open in Los Angeles later this year.

Beautycounter has raised $106.9 million to date, according to PitchBook. The privately held company, whose roster of investors includes the U2 frontman Bono and the private-equity firm TPG, was most recently valued at about $400 million.

Research contact: @CNBC

NBA drops Spalding as official basketball supplier after 37 years

May 15, 2020

The NBA has “bounced” Kentucky-based Spalding off its list of suppliers—ending a 37-year relationship with the sporting goods company that produced its custom-made basketballs, the league announced on Wednesday, May 13.

The new contract for the game balls has been awarded to Chicago-based Wilson, starting with the 2021-22 season, the league announced according to a report by CNBC.

“This partnership with Wilson returns us to our roots as we plan for the future,” Salvatore LaRocca, the NBA’s president of Global Partnerships said in a statement.  “We were partners … dating back to when Wilson manufactured the first official NBA basketballs in 1946, and we look forward to growing the game of basketball together.”

The financial terms of the NBA’s partnership with Wilson were not disclosed.

“Our commitment to growing the game of basketball on the global stage is at the heart of Wilson and our new partnership with the NBA,” Kevin Murphy, GM of Wilson basketball division said in a statement. “Our passion for this game and the league runs incredibly deep, as does our history with it. And as we start this new chapter in the game, our focus and energy will be on supporting the league and the players, coaches and fans with the most advanced, high-performance game basketballs possible.”

The end of the NBA’s partnership with Spalding comes as a bit of a surprise in sports circles. The company, which begin making the basketballs exclusively for the NBA starting in 1983, had just advised the league on cleaning equipment once games resume after the COVID-19 stoppage.

After 30 years using leather balls, the company switched to a synthetic version of basketballs in 2006, only to suffer backlash CNBC reports. Spalding eventually sought feedback from players before making another switch.

The company, which produced the world’s first basketball in 1894, became the official backboard of the NBA in 2009.

Wilson is owned by Finland based company Amer Sports.

Research contact: @CNBC