How Guns Are Sold – The New York Times

Firearms advocates are calling today for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and regulate the firearms industry as with tobacco, alleging that gun manufacturers use misleading advertising practices.

The petition, which DealBook is the first to file, is the latest attack aimed at the marketing tactics of an industry that has been largely shielded from liability for damages to its products due to federal laws. Calls to action by the Federal Trade Commission include Brady, Giffords Law Center, March for Our Lives and the FACT Alliance.

The petitioners argue that marketing firearms reinforces the illusion of safety. They argue that Americans have been “falsely led to believe that owning a gun is a safe way to protect their homes and families.” The CDC reported 45,222 deaths from gun-related injuries in 2020 (an earlier version of this item missed the year, due to an editorial error). The petitioners say the FTC has “already given the gun industry a free pass.”

Advocates have asked the FTC to investigate the arms industry beforebeginning in 1996. The FTC can choose to address or ignore this latest petition, which comes as the Biden administration has expressed support for greater transparency in the operations of arms manufacturers, and nationwide lawsuits have begun to break through barriers Industry before litigation.

  • In February, families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting settled a $73 million lawsuit against Remington that alleges the gunmaker’s aggressive marketing violated Connecticut law by promoting firearms to troubled men like the perpetrator of the massacre. The settlement opens up internal company documents for scrutiny, potentially providing rare insight into how gun makers like Remington have developed their marketing messages. President Biden described it as a step in “holding arms manufacturers to account for the manufacture of weapons of war and the irresponsible marketing of these firearms.”

  • Last year, a New Jersey judge ruled in favor of the state attorney general in a lawsuit against Smith & Wesson over its advertising practices, requiring the company to release internal documents. The ruling was recently overturned, leaving the state’s lawsuit intact but the documents’ release is uncertain. Smith & Wesson said in a filing that the lawsuit sought to “suppress and punish legal discourse regarding gun ownership in order to advance an anti-Second Amendment agenda.”

The FTC’s enforcement of the federal consumer protection law could look at these state precedents, such as the Connecticut consumer law that allowed Sandy Hook families to sue. “If a company violates consumer protection laws with false advertising, it is not a protected activity,” said David Pucino of the Giffords Law Center. “They are breaking the law.”

Shell will take a hit of up to $5 billion by withdrawing from Russia. The British oil giant described this morning the scale of the write-off resulting from its exit from joint ventures with Gazprom and other activities in Russia. It’s big, but higher energy prices are expected to boost Shell’s net profit this year, as analysts expect it to generate more than $30 billion in 2022.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen talks about cryptocurrency. Today, in her first address focused on digital asset regulation, she will call for “a coherent and comprehensive policy framework that promotes responsible innovation for digital assets and appropriately assesses and mitigates risks that they may pose,” in support of President Biden’s recent executive order on cryptography.

Central bankers support higher interest rates. This was stated in the minutes of the March meeting of the Federal Reserve “Many” Officials would have preferred an interest rate increase greater than the quarter-point increase they had settled on, but held off due to concerns about the impact of the war in Ukraine. Markets are now expecting the Fed to make a half-point increase in May and possibly June.

Corporate bankruptcy filings are at their lowest in more than a decade. Only 87 US companies filed for bankruptcy in the first quarter, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the lowest first-quarter total in at least 13 years. Businesses have benefited from pandemic stimulus programs and cheap financing, but higher interest rates may put balance sheets under greater pressure in the coming quarters.

Fanatics raise $1.5 billion in new money. The tour, which values ​​the fast-growing sports goods company at $27 billion, included investments from several leagues, such as the NFL and MLB, as well as player associations and team owners.

Twitter investors seem convinced that Elon Musk can improve the social media company. The company’s stock is up 30 percent since news broke that Musk had bought a large stake in Twitter and would join its board. This added about $9 billion to the company’s market value. But when Musk becomes an administrator at Twitter, he may also incur some costs.

What will happen to insurance premiums on Twitter? Most public companies have policies that protect directors and officers from personal liability, known as D&O insurance. Musk’s previous legal controversies include a settlement with the SEC over a market-influencing tweet about Tesla (which Musk is trying to overturn) and a libel suit by a British cave explorer, which Musk called a “moving boy” in a tweet (which Musk won). In buying his Twitter stake, Musk appears to have made the required disclosures of late and may have initially used the wrong kind of model. “I would be very concerned if the insurance company asked me to underwrite and file,” Peter Taffae, managing partner of insurance broker D&O Executive Perils, told DealBook.

Tesla has faced high insurance premiums in the past because of Musk. After Musk settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said in a regulatory filing that insurers demand “disproportionately high premiums” for D&O insurance. Instead, Musk briefly insured the company. Tesla paid him $3 million for three months before he signed a new policy with “offshore carriers.”

Twitter has its own problems. Last year, the company reached an $800 million settlement with shareholders in a lawsuit that claimed Twitter had inflated its user numbers. “Twitter had its own D&O challenges even before Musk added,” said Priya Cherian Hoskins, partner at Woodruff Sawyer. “Adding Musk to the board may be great for investors, but the insurance companies’ accounts are different.”


– President Biden in statements to trade union workers conference. Days ago, workers at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island voted to form a union, the first in the United States for the e-commerce giant. (The White House later said the president was only expressing public support for the unions.) Meanwhile, the success of Amazon’s crowd-funded independent union campaign has traditional trade unions Rethink their tactics.


Many public companies in the United States are nearing the deadline for submitting their annual proxy statements, which among other things detail how much their CEOs are paid in the previous year. And while the average worker’s wages went up, many CEOs got much bigger increases.

This week, the Wall Street Journal published the numbers of companies reporting so far, finding that the average S&P 500 CEO earned an 11 percent increase last year, to levels nearly 190 times what the average worker earned. In a year of pandemic turmoil, when many people’s salary inflation was lagging behind, CEOs’ pay packages are likely to come under scrutiny, especially from those who want to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Here are a few of the biggest 2021 CEO compensation packages to date, which includes the value of stock-based pay that may not be realized if performance targets are not met:

  • Joseph Bay And the Scott Nuttallco-CEOs of KKR

    Pay: 560 million dollars (bye) and 523 million dollars (Nottall)

    Notable achievement: Receipt from the founders of the company

    Stock performance: 84 percent increase

    Profits: 133 percent increase

  • David Zaslav CEO of Discovery

    Pay: 247 million dollars

    Notable achievement: Merger deal struck with WarnerMedia

    Stock performance: down 22 percent

    Profits: down 17 percent

  • David Baszuki Roblox CEO

    Pay: $233 million

    Notable achievement: Owned by Roblox in general

    Stock performance: 130 percent increase (compared to March direct listing reference price)

    Earnings: a loss of $492 million versus a loss of $253 million in the previous year

Russia and Ukraine war

  • What could a Russian coal ban mean for Europe? (The New York Times)

  • Russia’s two richest men, Vladimir Potanin and Leonid Mikhelson, and Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, have been targeted in the latest round of international sanctions. The United States also accused a Russian government figure of “systematically” violating sanctions. (Bloomberg, New York Times)

  • Facial recognition is going to war (NYT)

  • For the latest developments, see The Times live blog and updated maps.

deals

  • Berkshire Hathaway bought a stake in HP worth more than $4.2 billion, which led to an increase in shares of the tech equipment company. (Reuters)

  • A bidding war is brewing on Italian infrastructure company Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton family, and Blackstone and Spanish billionaire Florentino Perez are also reported to be considering offers. (Bloomberg)

  • Canada has approved Equinor’s $12 billion offshore oil project in Newfoundland’s Bay of Nord, angering some environmental groups. (Bloomberg)

Policy

  • The Supreme Court has reinstated Trump-era environmental regulations that limit states’ role in implementing the Clean Water Act. (The New York Times)

  • Can the Fed shrink its balance sheet without causing chaos in the market? (Foot)

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating how Amazon disclosed some details of its business practices. (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Oil executives faced questions from lawmakers about price gouging at a House hearing. (The New York Times)

  • What you need to know about the French presidential election (NYT)

The best of the rest

  • “How many billionaires, anyway?” (New York Times Magazine)

  • At least 50 economic drivers have been killed in their jobs since 2017 (The New York Times)

  • How LinkedIn’s ‘downtime’ feature can help with caregiving. (WaPo)

  • Meta is said to be working on in-app codes that some employees have dubbed “Zuck Bucks”. (Foot)

  • Type “a teddy bear playing the trumpet underwater,” and you’ll draw it by DALL-E, an AI-powered image generation tool powered by Microsoft. (The New York Times)

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