DiCaprio joins Netflix, McDonald's to use new chicken, and good news from Costco.
DiCaprio Signs Up With Netflix
Netflix Wednesday announced that actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company will produce a series of documentaries for the streaming video service. Appian Way has signed a deal with Netflix for non-fiction projects, in which DiCaprio and Netflix will attempt to develop and acquire documentaries and docu-series “with partial focus on environmental and conservation themes.” DiCaprio and Netflix have worked together in the past on last year’s documentary “Virunga”, which received an Oscar nomination. Netflix has already signed a movie production deal with Adam Sandler.
Bringing the Lumber to Lumber Liquidators
Three federal agencies will investigate hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. following Sunday’s report on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes’’ which reported that some of the wood flooring products had dangerous levels of formaldehyde in the wood finish. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Trade Commission to test formaldehyde levels in the company’s laminated flooring materials imported from China. The company did not issue an immediate statement following Nelson’s announcement.
McDonald’s Announces New Chicken Regulations
After years of concern over antibiotics in chicken products, McDonald’s announced Wednesday it would stop buying chicken raised with antibiotics and within two years would only offer chicken raised without the medical advancement. Since the 1940s, animals in the United States have been regularly fed antibiotics to keep them from developing diseases. But doctors say overexposure to antibiotics can lead them no longer being effective in humans. McDonalds said it is working with its domestic chicken supplier, Tyson Foods, Inc., to provide only chickens not exposed to the medical treatments. Scientists say antibiotics kill weaker bacteria in living beings but that stronger diseased cells can survives and multiply. Frequent exposure to antibiotics can lead to the development of super bugs that are immune to the treatments.
Mandarin Suffers a Breach
KrebsOnSecurity Wednesday reported that the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group suffered a security breach tat exposed customers’ credit card data. The breach was discovered when a pattern emerged from customers complaining about fraudulent charges. The hotel group told Krebs it is coordinating with credit card agencies and "forensic specialists" to protect its customers. Krebs, a security news site, said its banking industry sources said the breach “almost certainly impacted most if not all Mandarin hotels in the United States”.
Good News From Costco
Thanks in part to a tax benefit related to last months’ special cash dividend, Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit Thursday. Costco, which is the third largest U.S. retailer, said net income rose to $598 million, or $1.35 per share, for the second quarter that ended Feb. 15. That’s well above last year’s $463 million. Total revenue including membership fees rose 4.4 percent in the quarter to 27.45 billion. Sales rose 4.3 percent to $26.87 billion. The quarterly results included a tax benefit of $57 million in connection with the special cash from last quarter.
AbbVie Buying Cancer Drug Maker
AbbVie announced Thursday it will buy cancer drug manufacturer Pharmacyclics for $21 billion in an attempt to boost its oncology drugs business. Pharmacyclics makes the powerful cancer drug Imbruvica, which has performed well in clinical tests, and sales of the drug are expected to reach $1 billion this year alone. AbbVie will pay $261.25 per share in cash and stock, with 58 percent in cash and 42 percent in AbbVie common stock. AbbVie said it expects to fund the transaction through a combination of existing cash, new debt and stock.