Business Briefs – August 1, 2016

Tesla’s Deal for SolarCity Could Speed Sustainable Energy

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla said Monday it will buy solar panel maker SolarCity Corp. in an all-stock deal worth $2.6 billion.

The deal must still be approved by the government and shareholders at both companies.

The company said Monday that a tie-up with SolarCity would create a one-stop shop for cleaner energy. But some have questioned the wisdom of the deal, which combines two money-losing companies that already have a lot on their plates.

Unions Seek Ouster of Southwest CEO After IT Breakdown

DALLAS (AP) – Two major unions at Southwest Airlines are demanding that the carrier replace its CEO because of the technology outage that caused the airline to cancel or delay thousands of flights in July.

Technology experts are questioning whether Southwest fell short in designing and testing its computer systems.

A top Southwest executive told The Associated Press on Monday that the July 20 outage will cost the airline “into the tens of millions” of dollars — a huge increase in the original estimate of between $5 million and $10 million.

Survey: U.S. Factories Expanded For 5th Straight Month in July

WASHINGTON (AP) – American factories expanded for a fifth straight month in July, another sign that U.S. manufacturers are recovering from damage caused by a strong dollar. But a measure of factory employment fell.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its manufacturing index last month read 52.6 — down from 53.2 in June, but anything higher than 50 signals growth.

U.S. Construction Spending Drops 0.6 Percent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. construction spending fell for a third straight month in June with spending on nonresidential construction dropping by the largest amount in six months.

Construction spending fell 0.6 percent in June following declines of 0.1 percent in May and 2.9 percent in April, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

Nonresidential construction declined 1.3 percent, the biggest setback since December, while residential activity was unchanged in June. Spending on government projects fell 0.6 percent, the fourth straight decline, with both federal and state and local construction activity down.

Verizon to Buy Fleetmatics For About $2.4 Billion

NEW YORK (AP) – Verizon said Monday that it plans to pay about $2.4 billion to buy Fleetmatics, which makes software used by cable companies, energy providers and others to manage their fleets of vehicles.

Verizon will pay $60 for each share of Fleetmatics, a nearly 40 percent premium of the stock’s closing price of $42.96 Friday.

Fleetmatics, based in Dublin, said it has more than 37,000 customers that use its software to track the location of vehicles driven by workers. Verizon, which provides cellphone and internet service, said the deal will boost its workforce management business.

Virgin Galactic Gets Space Tourism Rocket Operating License

MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) – Virgin Galactic says it has received an operating license for its space tourism rocket from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Virgin Galactic says the operating license will ultimately permit commercial operations. The company said Monday the licensing process involved a review of the system’s design, safety analysis and flight trajectory analysis.

Virgin Galatic’s first spaceship broke apart in 2014 during its fourth rocket-powered test flight when the co-pilot prematurely unlocked a key system. The second version of the company’s SpaceShipTwo was unveiled in February.

Interpol Arrests Nigerian Accused Of $60 Million Cybercrime

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – A Nigerian accused of scamming $60 million from companies around the world through fraudulent emails has been arrested after months of investigation, Interpol and Nigeria’s anti-fraud agency said Monday.

The ringleader of a global scamming network, identified only as 40-year-old Mike, was arrested along with a 38-year-old accomplice in Port Harcourt in June. He is on administrative bail, which implies officers do not yet have enough evidence to charge him.

The man is accused of leading a network that compromised email accounts of small and medium-sized businesses around the world. The statement didn’t name any targets.