An epic payday, a golden anniversary and spectacular box office opening weekend top our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
It’s Marvel-ous: “Avengers” Sets Record for Biggest Sequel Debut
“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” scored an estimated $187.7 million in its domestic opening weekend, a record for a sequel, and the second-best domestic opening weekend ever, falling short of the $207.4 million record set in 2012 by “The Avengers.” Competition from the NBA and HHL playoffs, the Kentucky Derby and the so-called “Fight of the Century between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao were the film’s key competition. The romantic fantasy “Age of Adeline” came in second with $6.3 million, while “Furious 7,” finally dethroned after four consecutive weeks, earned $6.1 million. Rounding out the top five at the box office were “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” with $5.6 million and the animated film, “Home” with $3.3 million.
German Train Drivers Have One-Track Mind: STRIKE
The GDL, a union representing German train drivers, has called members out on a five-day strike to begin Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. Passenger train drivers will walk off the job at 2 a.m. Tuesday and will not return until 9 a.m. on May 10. Freight train drivers will begin their walkout on Monday afternoon. This would be the longest walkout yet in the long-running dispute between the union and railway operator Deutsche Bahn. GDL wants a 5 percent pay increase and shorter working hours. It is demanding to negotiate also for other train stuff, including conductors, who are traditionally represented by a larger rival union, the AP states.
New Look, Lower Price to Give Chevy Volt a Boost?
Chevrolet is cutting the price of its extended-range electric car, the Volt, by $1,175. The 2016 Volt will start at $33,995, including $825 in delivery charges. Federal and local tax credits could take the price down further. In comparison with the original Volt, the new model is capable of being driven 50 miles on electricity alone, a 31 percent better performance. Interest in plug-in cars is low at a time of lower gas prices, but Chevrolet is encouraged by the Volt because it brings non-Chevy owners into showrooms, USA TODAY reports. Nearly seven-in-ten of Volt buyers traded in a non-GM vehicle.
China’s Fosun Makes Near-$2 Billion Offer to U.S. Insurer Ironshore
China-based Fosun International Ltd, an investment company controlled by billionaire Guo Guangchang, is offering to buy the 80 percent it does not won in U.S. insurer Ironshore Inc for nearly $1.8 billion, Reuters reports. Foson, in a bid to expand its global insurance network, bought a 20 percent stake in the casualty and property insurer for $464 million in August 2014. Ironshore had total assets of $6.7 billion at the end of last December.
Warren Buffett Marks Half a Century with Berkshire Hathaway
In a weekend event he called “Woodstock for Capitalist,” Warren Buffett and company celebrated his 50th anniversary running the conglomerate. The billionaire and “Oracle of Omaha” expressed optimism the company would thrive even after he is gone, Reuters reports. Buffett and his second-in-command, Charlie Munger, fielded five hours of questions from shareholders, analysts and journalists at the company’s annual meeting. Berkshire holds more than 80 companies and owns more than $115 billion of stocks. Of his eventual successor, he remarked only that he would not want someone without any operational experience.”
Payday of the Century for Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight
Five-years-in the-hyping, the Mayweather-Pacquuiao bout is estimated to bring in $400 million in PPV revenues for HBO/Showtime. That’s bigger than the GDP of 29 countries. It would have been higher had there not been piracy issues with Periscope and Meekat, through which users streamed the fight for free. High demand for the fight delayed it 45 minutes.