What is "hidden city" travel booking? Read about this and more of the morning's top business news stories.
Game Over: “Mockingjay” Soars to Year’s Biggest Opening Day
The third installment in the “Hunger Games” franchise was flying high in its opening weekend. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1” soared to the year’s largest opening day of the year with $55 million on Friday and $130 million for the weekend, another year benchmark. Despite the strong showing, it grossed 20 percent less than its predecessors. The animated film, “Big Hero 6” came in second with $19 million, followed by “Interstellar” with between $15 .1million. Last week’s No. 1 film, “Dumb and Dumber To” fell to fourth with $13.8 million. “Gone Girl” returned to the top five with $13.8 million.
Livin’ Aviva Loca
Britain's Aviva is in talks to buy rival insurer Friends Life for $8.8 million, the Associated Press reports. The deal would create the country’s leading insurance, savings and asset management company by number of customers. The companies issued a statement over the weekend announcing that under the agreement, Friends Life shareholders would receive 0.74 Aviva shares for each of their shares. Friends Life says it is willing to recommend the deal to its shareholders, subject to agreement on other terms.
United Airlines, Orbitz Sue Travel Website over “Hidden City” Booking
United Airlines and Orbitz Worldwide are suing travel website Skiplagged.com over its practice of allowing passengers to book “hidden city” destinations by which they could save hundreds of dollars. For example, as the Associated Press reports, a $350 flight from San Diego to Los Angeles would instead be $200 less if the passenger booked a flight from San Diego to Las Vegas with a Los Angeles stopover, at which point the passenger would deplane. United and Orbitz accuse Skiplagged.com founder, Aktarer Zaman of “intentionally and maliciously” interfering with their operations and promoting “prohibited forms of travel,” according to the suit. Orbitz joined in the suit because Skiplagged.com finds the fares and then directs travelers to book them on Orbitz, which has agreed not to book “hidden city” fares, the Associated Press reports.
Socratic Dialogue: Get Me Out of Jail
Former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates spent a third consecutive night in jail Sunday as an investigation continues into suspected corruption, money-laundering and tax fraud. Socrates's lawyer, Joao Araujo, told reporters that after a preliminary hearing Sunday the investigating judge decided he needs to ask Socrates, who was Portugal’s prime minister from 2005-2011, more questions on Monday before ruling on whether he should be released or held pending a trial.
Jacobs Engineering CEO Announces Retirement
Jacobs Engineering CEO Craig Martin will step down Dec. 26 because of health reasons, the Pasadena, CA-based construction services firm announced in a statement Sunday. Former CEO and current board chairman Noel Watson will serve as executive chairman until a replacement is found, the company said in an announcement Sunday. Martin, 65, joined Jacobs in 1994 and became CEO in 2006. The company helps design and build large, complex facilities for oil and gas companies, chemicals companies, governments and a variety of industrial customers. Jacobs' revenue for its most recent fiscal year, which ended in September, rose 7 percent to $12.7 billion, but net income fell 20 percent to $352 million.
Magnus Opus: Carlsen Retains World Chess Crown
Twenty-three-year-old Norwegian Magnus Carlsen retained his world chess champion crown after beating India’s Viswanathan Anand in a contest held over two weeks in the Russian city of Sochi, Financial Times reports. Carlsen defeated Anand last year to take the title. Carlsen already enjoys a fearsome reputation as fighting player and his latest defeat of Anand, himself a five-times world champion, will doubtless cement his reputation as one of the game’s greatest players ever, FT said.