With shareholders’ approval, Yahoo clears last hurdle to sell Web properties to Verizon

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Yahoo shareholders approve Verizon sale

Yahoo shareholders approved the $4.48 billion sale of the company’s main Web properties to Verizon Communications on Thursday, clearing the last major hurdle for a deal announced almost a year ago.

Yahoo said in a statement that it expects to hand over its Web assets to Verizon on Tuesday, June 13. The transaction has been delayed by revelations of massive privacy breaches and a reduction in the price from $4.8 billion.

Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer agreed to the sale last year after a four-year turnaround effort failed to stem a slide in advertising revenue. Verizon plans to use Yahoo’s Web audience to push deeper into content and expand beyond its central business of connecting people to the Internet, cable channels and their smartphones. Yahoo will become part of a new Verizon unit called Oath. The division will also incorporate businesses Verizon added when it bought AOL in 2015.

Yahoo, to be renamed Altaba, will keep its most valuable assets: stakes in China’s Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan worth more than $40 billion.

— Bloomberg News

INSURANCE INDUSTRY

Berkshire units settle over workers’ comp

Two insurance units of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway have each agreed to lower rates and provide more disclosures to settle claims that they overcharged California small-business owners for workers’ compensation coverage.

The settlement announced Thursday by the state’s Department of Insurance resolves charges that Applied Underwriters and California Insurance steered prospective customers to unapproved or costly policies using “illegal side agreements” that exposed policyholders to greater risks.

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California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones halted the Berkshire units’ sale of unapproved “EquityComp” policies last June after finding that one policy subjected Shasta Linen Supply, a Sacramento employer of 63 people, to hundreds of thousands of dollars of extra costs.

Vermont and Wisconsin regulators enacted bans of similar products in those states.

Thursday’s settlement allows the resumption of EquityComp sales in California, provided that companies can absorb their risks, Jones said in a statement.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

Buoyed by higher stock prices, Americans’ household net worth rose 1.4 percent to $94.8 trillion in the first three months of this year, a trend that could support future spending. The Federal Reserve said Thursday that U.S. stock and mutual fund portfolios jumped $1.3 trillion in value in the January-to-March quarter. Home values rose by $499 billion. Total household wealth includes checking and savings accounts, and subtracts mortgages and other debt.

JPMorgan Chase’s chief operating officer, Matt Zames, once viewed as a potential successor to chief executive Jamie Dimon, has decided to leave after 13 years at the bank. “Matt has worked tirelessly across many disciplines to help make us a better company,” Dimon, 61, said in a memo to staffers. Zames was named co-chief operating officer in July 2012 in the wake of JPMorgan’s London Whale trading debacle. Dimon didn’t say why Zames, 46, is leaving or if he will be replaced. His duties are being split among other top executives, the memo said.

A new coal mine that President Trump mentioned in announcing plans to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord has officially opened in southwest Pennsylvania. The Acosta Mine will supply coal used in making steel and is expected to generate up to 100 full-time jobs. Corsa Coal said it decided in August to open the mine after a steel industry boom drove up prices for metallurgical coal. Pennsylvania awarded a $3 million grant for the project.

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Honda plans to have highly automated personal cars on the road by 2025, the automaker said. Honda said its system will use computers and cameras, radar, and laser sensors to handle almost all driving situations except bad weather or some unusual occurrences. Then a human driver would take control. The company also repeated its pledge to have highly automated freeway driving by 2020.

— From news reports

Coming today

10 a.m.: Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for April.

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