Comcast will create an investment group, home prices rise slightly, and the NCAA speaks out about Indiana's new religious freedom law. Here are some of the top news stories of the day for March 31, 2015.
Cablevision Offers $1 to Daily News
Reuters reports that U.S. cable TV operator Cablevision Systems is going to make an offer of $1 to buy the New York Daily News. The offer comes in the wake of the report last month that New York media and real estate magnate Mortimer Zuckerman was considering selling the newspaper. The newspaper has suffered from declining readership and advertising revenue for many years. Cablevision’s offer will take into account the newspaper’s reported 430 million annual loss and 4150 million investment in a printing press. Cablevision declined to comment on the story. Cablevision already owns the suburban New York newspaper Newsday.
UnitedHealth to Buy Catamaran
UnitedHealth Group has agreed to buy Catamaran Corp in a deal worth approximately $12.8 billion in cash. UnitedHealth is looking for a boost in the completion with pharmacy benefit companies such as Express Scripts Holdings. The deal with Catamaran will give UnitedHealth’s pharmacy benefits unit a larger scale to negotiate favorable prices in the pharmacy benefits market. Catamaran was formed in 2012 when SXC Health Solutions merged with PBM Catalyst Health Solutions.
Comcast Moving Into Investing
Comcast Tuesday said it will form a new strategic company to invest in and operate “growth-oriented companies” in the United States and globally. Comcast vice chairman and CFO Michael J. Angelakis will serve as the company’s chief executive and will be a financing partner, adding at least $40 million to the venture. Comcast will commit $4 billion. The remaining capital will come from senior management members into the new company.
NCAA Blasts Indiana Law
The NCAA is on the eve of its biggest event of the year as Indianapolis will host the basketball tournament’s Final Four starting on Saturday. But the collegiate organization has issued a statement Tuesday decrying the state of Indiana’s recent “religious freedom” law, saying it goes against what higher education tries to accomplish. The NCAA headquarters are also in Indianapolis. On CNBC’s “Squawk Box’’ TV program, NCAA President Mark Emmert said “this is an issue of extraordinary importance to all of us. It is important to us because we are an employer here in this state. But most importantly, it strikes at the core values of inclusion and diversity.” Despite calls for the NCAA to move its tournament this weekend, the law does not go into effect until July, and Emmert said the tournament will go on as planned.
Home Prices Rise
There was some seasonal weakness in the market, but S&P/Case-Shiller Index reports that home prices continued to rise in January. The residential real estate values increased 4.6 percent year-over-year in 20 cities, up slightly from the pace set in December. Denver and Miami led the higher prices over the last 12 months, with prices going up 8.4 and 8.3 percent in those cities, respectively. Both the 10- and 20-city home price indices were essentially flat month-to-month, and home prices in San Francisco fell 1 percent between December and January. "Despite price gains, the housing market faces some difficulties,’’ said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Home prices are rising roughly twice as fast as wages, putting pressure on potential homebuyers and heightening the risk that any uptick in interest rates could be a major setback."
AIG Head Steps Down
Robert “Steve” Miller, chairman of American International Group, will step down in July after leading the company for five years, the Wall Street Journal reported. The insurance company’s directors have not yet decided on a replacement, the newspaper reports. According to sources, the company plans to promote a current board member to the position. Miller joined AIG in 2009 and became chairman in July of 2010, after previously serving as the chief executive of auto-parts maker Delphi Corp.