Retailers, mail carriers brace for another holiday surge
The string of Black Friday deals are long over and gifts under the Christmas tree may be unwrapped, but the holiday shopping season is still far from over for U.S. retailers and mail carriers. UPS said Tuesday that it’s now gearing up for a record-breaking “National Returns Day” on Jan. 5, when it expects consumers to mail 1.3 million packages of return items to online retailers—a chunk of the total 5.8 million packages anticipated throughout the first full week of 2017, according to USA Today. Retail sales on Monday, meanwhile, were expected to dethrone so-called Super Saturday—the final Saturday before Christmas—as the second-busiest shopping day of the year, largely because the traditionally busy Saturday fell on Christmas Eve this year.
Chinese investors charged with U.S. hacking
Three Chinese traders have been indicted by U.S. prosecutors for allegedly profiting $4 million from corporate merger and acquisition data they illegally obtained by hacking into the computer systems of two prominent law firms, according to indictment paperwork that was unsealed Tuesday. Law firms have been notoriously vulnerable to cyberattacks, given the trove of sensitive information sitting in their often poorly secured computer systems, The Wall Street Journal reports. The three traders in this instance—one of whom may be extradited to the U.S. after being arrested in Hong Kong on Sunday—allegedly used lawyers’ privileged information to buy shares in companies such as Altera Corp. ahead of major acquisition announcements and then sell at a profit after the fact.
Green light for Abbott, St. Jude Medical deal
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission gave its antitrust approval Tuesday for healthcare company Abbott Laboratories to forge ahead with its proposed $25 billion acquisition of medical device maker St. Jude Medical Inc., according to Reuters. Both companies suggested divesting some of the devices back in October as a means for resolving antitrust concerns in the U.S. and Europe, where antitrust regulators had already approved the deal last month. The deal could help boost Abbott’s competitive edge at a time when hospitals are cutting their suppliers and as St. Jude faces shareholder pressure following allegations of defective devices over the summer.
Buyer of Rite Aid stores adopts “poison pill”
A week after announcing its proposed $950 million-purchase of 865 Rite Aid stores, regional pharmacy company Fred’s Inc. has adopted a so-called poison pill to protect its shareholders. This follows an activist investor’s purchase of a 25 percent stake in the company, according to The Wall Street Journal. Alden Global Capital had recently been quietly accumulating Fred’s holdings ahead of Rite-Aid Corp.’s announcement last week of its plans to sell the locations to the regional pharmacy firm in order to thwart antitrust concerns of its $9.4 billion-proposed merger with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.. Fred’s would subsequently more than double in size.