Must Read Money Stories for Monday, March 21

by March 21, 2016


Bid For Bankrupt Newspapers. Freedom Communications Inc. — the bankrupt publisher of California’s Orange County Register and the Press-Enterprise — says it would accept Digital First Media’s $51.8 million takeover offer, Reuters reported on Sunday. That sum is lower than the $56 million that Tribune Publishing Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times, bid. However, the U.S. Department of Justice threw a wrench in those plans when late last week it filed a lawsuit trying to block the deal. The DOJ says the Tribune offer, should it go through, would stymie competition because it’d give the company vast control of all newspaper sales in Orange County and Riverside where the two papers are located.

Paint Companies Unite. Two of the biggest players in the paint industry have agreed to unite in a cash deal estimated at nearly $9 billion, Reuters reported. Sherwin-Williams Co. reached the agreement to buy rival Valspar Corp. as a means to expand brand portfolio and operations overseas, the companies said on Sunday. The union, expected to save the companies $280 million annually within two years, is set to close by the end of the first quarter in 2017. Both firms expect the deal to pass muster with antitrust regulators without divesting any assets.

Divide Over Movie Streaming. Hollywood remains divided over the Screening Room, a tech startup many suspect might disrupt the movie-making business, according to the New York Times on Sunday. Screening Room, which made a big splash in Variety earlier this month, wants to offer consumers the ability to rent movies from their living rooms the same day the films hit theaters via a device valued at $150. But first, the startup needs movie studios to embrace the idea.

GMO Fight Heating Up. The food industry is reeling over a proposed legislation’s stalling in the U.S. Senate last week that would’ve thrown a wet blanket over Vermont’s trailblazing new law that will require GMO labels beginning July 1, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Vermont itself is a small piece of the equation, but the law is certain to have ripple effects on the industry’s supply chain far beyond that state’s borders. To that end, General Mills, for example, said on Friday it intends to put GMO labels on all its packaged-food products nationwide — a far simpler move than devising a Vermont-specific distribution network.