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TALKING POINTS

Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy

Costumes: Giovanna Buzzi / 2016 Cirque du Soleil

ENTERTAINMENT

Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy

Cirque du Soleil has filed for bankruptcy protection after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close shows around the world, bringing one of the best-known brands in live performance to its knees. The Montreal-based company, controlled by private equity giant TPG Capital, requested court protection through the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada. Entertainment companies that depend on large crowds were among the first business casualties of the virus. Cirque du Soleil laid off 4,679 employees — about 95 percent of its workforce — on March 19 after shutting down 44 productions to comply with government orders around the world. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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ECONOMY

Powell warns that an improved economy depends on containing virus

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stressed the importance of keeping the coronavirus contagion contained as the US economy bounces back from its deepest contraction in decades. “We have entered an important new phase and have done so sooner than expected,” Powell said in remarks prepared for testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “While this bounceback in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges — notably, the need to keep the virus in check.” The Fed and Treasury have worked together to launch nine emergency lending programs aimed at providing backstop credit to everything from municipalities to medium-sized businesses. Those actions helped lower borrowing costs and keep the financial system liquid in a time of stress. The Fed chair struck an optimistic note on what he is seeing as economic activity resumes. Hiring is picking up, he noted, and spending is increasing, though 20 million Americans have lost their jobs. “The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success incontaining the virus,” he said. “A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.” As he has in recent appearances, Powell also warned against pulling back on any form of stimulus too soon. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

COSMETICS

CVS to sell makeup for men

Men’s makeup is going mainstream in America. CVS, the country’s largest drugstore chain, is making the biggest bet on the category in the United States yet, by adding a cosmetics line from Stryx, a brand launched last year, to 2,000 stores (about a quarter of its total). About one third of US men under 45 said they would consider trying makeup, according to a survey by Morning Consult in September. Even though Stryx is pitching a product traditionally made for women, its presentation is stereotypical male. The packaging is black, grey, and dark blue. The concealer tool is pitched as sleek and discreet and could be easily be mistaken for a black pen, clip included.
— BLOOMBERG NEWS

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MEDIA

Magazines face a new threat: doctor’s offices without them

As doctors and dentists reopen their offices, patients have noticed something missing: the magazines. Medical providers have removed periodicals from waiting rooms as a precaution during the coronavirus. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommended that its 136,700 members get rid of all their publications during COVID-19. And it’s not just doctor’s offices: United and Delta removed in-flight magazines from seat-back pockets as part of new cleaning procedures For years, print media has faced an existential threat from the Internet. Now, publications are grappling with a new challenge — fears that you can get the coronavirus by touching them. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ENERGY

BP to sell chemicals business

BP agreed to sell its chemicals business to Ineos Group Holdings, taking a big step toward strengthening its finances while also furthering its transitioning away from being a traditional oil company. The transaction means BP hits its target of selling $15 billion of assets ahead of schedule, as the oil industry faces immense financial pressure from the coronavirus crisis. The company recently made its biggest write-off in a decade and said it would lay off 10,000 staff by the end of this year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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INTERNET

Pinterest hires outside lawyers to investigate workplace culture

Pinterest Inc. has hired a team of outside lawyers to investigate the company’s workplace culture following public complaints from former employees who say they faced racial discrimination. The investigation will be led by Danielle Conley of the Washington-based law firm WilmerHale, according to an e-mail chief executive Ben Silbermann sent to employees Monday. Conley, who will report to a special committee of Pinterest board members, helps lead her firm’s anti-discrimination practice and was previously the associate deputy attorney general at the US Department of Justice during President Barack Obama’s administration. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

‘Shop Small’ to give small businesses a boost

American Express will offer US cardmembers as much as $50 to encourage them to spend more at small businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. All cardholders will receive a $5 credit when they spend $10 or more at a small US business, with the option to receive the credit as many as 10 times. American Express has committed more than $200 million to the promotion, part of its largest-ever global campaign to “Shop Small.” — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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INTERNATIONAL

Germany’s fractured oversight system made Wirecard debacle possible

Wirecard’s collapse has laid bare significant cracks in Germany’s financial oversight, increasing pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government after one of the country’s biggest corporate failures. Even with ample warning, German authorities failed to catch accounting issues at the digital-payments company. Slow decision-making, insufficient oversight, and fragmented responsibilities created cracks that allowed Wirecard’s problems to go undetected by officials. Germany is one of relatively few countries to split accounting enforcement between a private-sector watchdog and its markets regulator, while the investigation of money laundering at non-financial companies is handled by regional authorities. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

COSMETICS

Coty to buy stake in Kim Kardashian West’s beauty business

Coty Inc. agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in Kim Kardashian West’s beauty business for $200 million to develop skin, hair, and nail products under the reality TV star’s brand. Coty said Monday it expects the acquisition to be complete in the third quarter, and all the products will be sold through luxury beauty retailers as well as online. The partnership comes just months after Coty closed a $600 million deal with Kim Kardashian’s sister, Kylie Jenner. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

British pubs to reopen this weekend after months-long lockdown

Brits will open their wallets and spend about 210 million pounds ($259 million) in pubs this coming weekend as they try to eat and drink their way to rescuing the beleaguered industry. Pubs will reopen on Saturday for the first time since lockdown in March and spending will be more than 70 percent higher than an average weekend as customers celebrate by knocking back about two pints of lager or glasses of wine more than they normally would, the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates. Still, the extra spending won’t be enough to help pubs recover profitability. Capacity limits and fixed costs means profitability will be less than half of what it was before the pandemic roiled the business, the report says. Reopening costs could send that figure even lower. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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