Business Stories of the Week: June 30

by June 30, 2017
Another one bites the (Amazon) dust: Staples announced its plans to sell to a private equity firm this week. “Staples” by Flickr user Mike Mozart CC BY 2.0

Another one bites the (Amazon) dust: Staples announced its plans to sell to a private equity firm this week. (“Staples” by Flickr user Mike Mozart CC BY 2.0)

Staples to sell to private equity firm

That was easy: Office-supply retailer Staples will be purchased by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in retailers, for $6.9 billion, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. The news comes on the heels of four years of declining sales and a sharp drop in stock price from $18 a share to $7 a share over just two years. In its most recent annual report, the retailer was frank about its financial woes, explaining that it is up against competition from online retailers, wholesale club stores, big box stores, and computer and electronic stores.

Ohioans fear losing healthcare jobs

In a state that’s watched its economy falter as coal and steel jobs disappear, the health care industry has been a bright spot for Ohio. In the state’s Jefferson County, which was once home to a booming coal and steel industries, the largest employer is now Trinity Health system and 1 in 4 private sector jobs are in the health care field. But leaders worry that Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act — and, specifically, the rollback of Medicaid funding — could take many of those health care sector jobs away, NPR reported on Monday.

Could China save American manufacturing?

As the current administration focuses on reversing and resisting globalization, issuing executive orders for the executive branch to hire and buy American, economically depressed regions of the U.S. are experiencing an influx of jobs from an unlikely source: China. The Atlantic reports that foreign companies are responsible for 18.5 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the U.S. today. While many Americans often see globalization as a cause for job loss, the jobs gained go overlooked.

Labor Department rethinks Obama’s overtime rule

The Department of Labor got one step closer to dismantling an Obama-era regulation which mandates that workers making less than $47,476 per year be eligible for overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. The rule has been stuck in limbo after 21 states filed suits, saying that it was federal overreach and a burden to both the public and private sector. When President Trump’s took office, his Labor Secretary indicated that they would try to amend that rule, and this week they took the first step towards making that happen, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Long live vinyl

Sony announced Thursday that it would start producing vinyl records in Japan, tapping into a decade-long resurgence of what was an almost extinct product. The company plans to install record-cutting equipment and enlist the help of older engineers who know how to produce quality sound, NPR reported. As the creator of the Walkman and the co-developer of the CD, Sony initially helped to make records obsolete, but as a new generation discovers vinyl, interest and sales have surged again.

Blue Apron’s IPO falls flat

Thwarted by the Amazon/Whole Foods deal, meal-delivery company Blue Apron Holdings Inc.’s IPO price was slashed by more than a third and the company saw a less than 1 percent increase in stock price on its first day of trading, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. The meal-kit delivery company’s IPO was overshadowed by Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, which sent grocery stocks tumbling and forced Blue Apron to tweak its deal pitch.