Talking Points

TALKING POINTS

Blue Apron delivers in fourth quarter, even with loss

MEAL KITS

Blue Apron loses customers but financial loss is less than expected

Despite losing a big chunk of customers last year, shares in Blue Apron rose after the company reported slimmer losses than Wall Street had expected. The mail-order meal kit company, which cut its marketing budget to focus on current subscribers and operational improvements, reported a loss of $39.1 million in its fourth quarter. While the company lost about 15 percent of its customer base over the previous year, Blue Apron said the customers it retained spent more money. Blue Apron’s average revenue per customer was $248 in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $246 in the fourth quarter of 2016, and $3 better than the third quarter of 2017. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

LABOR

Union withdraws petition to represent some Yale grad students

A labor union has withdrawn a petition to represent some Yale University graduate students after years of organizing efforts. Yale officials say they were notified by Local 33-UNITE HERE on Monday that the union was withdrawing its petition to the National Labor Relations Board to represent student teachers in eight of the 56 departments in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Local 33 co-president Robin Dawson told the Yale Daily News the union ended the effort because it did not believe the conservative Trump administration and NLRB would be sympathetic to its cause. Yale officials have refused to bargain with the union after the students voted to join the labor group last year. Yale argued the students should have voted as a whole, not by individual departments.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS

REAL ESTATE

Home prices at
all-time high

Home prices jumped to all-time highs in almost two-thirds of US cities in the fourth quarter as buyers battled for a record-low supply of listings. Prices for single-family homes, which climbed 5.3 percent from a year earlier nationally, reached a peak in 64 percent of metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Of the 177 regions in the group’s survey, 15 percent had double-digit price growth, up from 11 percent in the third quarter. Home values have grown steadily as the improving job market drives demand for a scarcity of properties on the market. While prices jumped 48 percent since 2011, incomes have climbed only 15 percent, putting purchases out of reach for many would-be buyers. The most expensive markets were San Jose, Calif., where the median price was $1.27 million, followed by San Francisco, the Irvine, Calif., area, Honolulu, and San Diego. The San Jose area had a 26 percent increase in prices, the biggest of any region, followed by Reno, Nevada, and the Putnam/Dutchess County area, north of New York City. The biggest decline was in Glens Falls, N.Y., where prices dropped almost 12 percent. Cumberland, Maryland, and Elmira, N.Y., followed. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

BEVERAGES

PepsiCo’s snack business makes up for lower
drink sales

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PepsiCo’s snacks are having to pick up more of the slack for its ailing beverages. The company posted sales and earnings that topped analysts’ estimates last quarter, helped by an uptick in volume at its Frito-Lay business in North America. The snack growth helped offset continued declines at the Purchase, N.Y.-based company’s drinks business. PepsiCo’s success with snacks is a sign that Frito Lay is innovating — examples include Organic Doritos and yogurt-based crackers — while simultaneously strengthening its core brands. But it hasn’t been able to pull off the same trick on the beverage side. North America Beverage sales volumes were down 2 percent in the fourth quarter. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

DRUG STORES

Walgreens
to pursue takeover of large drug distributor,
report says

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Shares of AmerisourceBergen soared Tuesday on reports that Walgreens is pursuing a complete takeover of the huge drug distributor. The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. reached out to AmerisourceBergen Corp. about a potential deal several weeks ago. The paper, citing anonymous sources, said no offer is on the table. Walgreens already owns about 26 percent of the company, according to data provider FactSet. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. runs more than 13,200 stores in 11 countries, and is the largest US drugstore chain. Last September, it said it would spend $4.38 billion to buy nearly 2,000 Rite Aid stores and some distribution centers and inventory. Adding the rest of AmerisourceBergen would give the company a tighter grip on its supply chain. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

COPY MACHINES

Xerox shareholder sues over Fujifilm takeover

Xerox Corp.’s third-biggest shareholder sued to block its plan to turn over control to Fujifilm Holding Corp., calling the deal a one-sided transaction that leaves Xerox investors virtually powerless. Darwin Deason asked a judge to block the deal and terminate joint venture agreements between the companies. He claims the agreement is the result of fraud and that directors breached their fiduciary duties. Fuji, Xerox, current Xerox board members, and Ursula M. Burns, Xerox’s former chairman and chief executive officer, are named as defendants in the lawsuit, in which Deason seeks to represent all Xerox shareholders. Deason and Carl Icahn, Xerox’s second-biggest investor, said in a Feb. 12 letter to shareholders that they opposed the deal, agreed to last month, because it “dramatically undervalues” the company. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TOYS

Mattel to launch new card game that’s double Uno

What’s next for Uno? Dos, of course. Mattel is launching the new card game Dos next month in hopes of giving its nearly 50-year-old Uno brand a second life. Dos has similar rules as Uno, except players make two piles of cards and can throw down two cards at a time instead of one. It comes as Mattel tries to turn its business around, mainly by updating classic brands, such as Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars. The toy maker’s revenue fell 11 percent last year, hurt by the bankruptcy filing of Toys R Us and the changing tastes of kids, who are increasingly reaching for a tablet instead of a toy. Uno, however, was a bright spot: The company says Uno sales were up 12 percent in 2017 from the year before. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FAST FOOD

McDonald’s wants to boost its chicken business

McDonald’s Corp., aiming to extend a three-year growth run, is betting that it can attract customers by being more like Chick-fil-A. One of the company’s top priorities is to become a ‘‘credible chicken player’’ in the United States, according to internal McDonald’s documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. The initiative has been dubbed ‘‘Better Chicken,’’ the fast-food giant said in a letter to franchisees, who operate about 90 percent of its US locations. McDonald’s has already taken steps to elevate its chicken sandwiches and nuggets, which were long seen as a serviceable if uninspiring part of the menu. The chain has vowed to stop serving poultry with antibiotics, and it removed artificial preservatives from McNuggets. It also rolled out Southern-style sandwiches and tenders, which are coated in a crispy buttermilk breading that’s similar to what Chick-fil-A offers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS