Business Briefs – May 1, 2018

Gov’t Argues that AT&T-Time Warner Deal Would Hurt Consumers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government pleaded its case Monday for blocking AT&T from absorbing Time Warner, saying it would hurt consumers as a big antitrust trial crept toward its end and a decision by a federal judge. The $85 billion proposed merger is a “big deal,” Craig Conrath, the lead Justice Department attorney, said on the last day of the trial. Conrath said that by hurting competition in the industry, the deal “would impose substantial harm on consumers.”

U.S. Pending Home Sales Tick Up In March for 2nd Straight Gain

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more Americans signed contracts to buy homes in March, yet higher mortgage rates and a shortage of available houses has lowered contract signings from a year ago. The National Association of Realtors says that its pending home sales index ticked up 0.4 percent last month to 107.6.

Supreme Court to Hear Google Class Action Settlement Case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has agreed to review the settlement of a class action lawsuit involving Google, where the settlement agreement largely directed money to organizations rather than search engine users. The court agreed Monday to take the case. The lawsuit involves Google users who sued, saying Google violated privacy rights by disclosing to websites the search terms users entered to get there.

U.K. Government Suffers Brexit Defeat in House of Lords

LONDON (AP) — The British government is facing pressure over Brexit at home and abroad, including a defeat in Parliament over who gets the final say on an exit deal with the European Union. By 335 votes to 244, the House of Lords backed an amendment to the government’s key Brexit bill to give Parliament decision-making power on the outcome of negotiations with the EU — including the power to call off the divorce.

U.S. Treasury Says Q1 Borrowing Set Record of $488 Billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department says that the government borrowed a record $488 billion in the January-March quarter, but it expects borrowing needs will decline sharply for the current April-June quarter. Treasury announced Monday that actual borrowing in the first quarter exceeded the old record of $483 billion set in the first quarter of 2010, a period when the country was struggling to pull out of a deep recession and prop up the financial system following the 2008 financial crisis.