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WBZ radio personalities caught up in iHeartMedia layoffs

Globe Staff


WBZ radio personalities caught up in iHeartMedia layoffs

The media company iHeartMedia — which owns WBZ and several other Boston-area radio stations — announced another round of restructuring Tuesday, leading to the dismissal of several well-known local personalities. Radio Insights reports that WBZ Newsradio cut ties with political commentator Jon Keller, longtime morning news anchor Deb Lawler, talk show host Bradley Jay, and sports anchor Tom Cuddy. Keller, however, will continue his “Keller at Large” segment on WBZ-TV, which is owned by CBS. The iHeartMedia cuts follow its bankruptcy filing in 2018. In a statement, the Texas-based radio giant said the new structure will allow the company to take advantage of its “unique scale” and “the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence.” — NIKOLAS DECOSTA-KLIPA, BOSTON.COM



Citigroup female employees make 27 percent less than men

Citigroup Inc. has narrowed the pay gap between men and women in its global workforce in the last year, the company said. Female employees now make 27 percent less than men do, an improvement from 29 percent a year ago, according to a memo to employees from Sara Wechter, the bank’s head of human resources. The company also found that, among its US employees, people of color now earn 6 percent less than their white colleagues, an improvement from 7 percent a year ago. “We have much more work to do,” Wechter said in the memo. “Our work to address both measures is continuous and the pace of change is likely to vary from year to year.” While many of its major competitors have offered “adjusted” pay gap analyses in response to shareholders and UK regulators, Citigroup is one of the few major US companies to offer such a blunt disclosure, which measures median total compensation. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Hong Kong tourism crashes amid months of protests

Visitor numbers to Hong Kong fell by nearly 40 percent in the second half of last year amid clashes between police and anti-government protesters. The Hong Kong Tourism Board on Wednesday said the numbers of those visiting the Asian financial hub started to drop off in July as protests against proposed legislation allowing extradition to China gathered pace. For the last six months of 2019, visitor numbers fell by 39 percent against the same period a year before. Overall, arrivals were off by 14 percent for the entire year. The protests have lost momentum amid mass arrests by police and since major opposition wins in district council elections in November. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



UnitedHealth income rose in fourth quarter

UnitedHealth’s fourth-quarter net income surged 16 percent, and investors shrugged off a rare revenue miss to make the nation’s largest health insurer higher one of the biggest gainers in Wednesday trading. Growing Medicare Advantage coverage and fat profits from UnitedHealth’s Optum business, which strays beyond the company’s health insurance core, contributed to better-than-expected earnings in the quarter. Revenue grew 4 percent to $60.9 billion, just shy of analyst projections for $60.96 billion, according to FactSet.


Germany’s economy saw little growth in the fourth quarter of 2019

Germany’s economy made a slight recovery in the fourth quarter, ending a year in which manufacturing took a battering and the country was dragged to the brink of a recession. The statistics office estimates that output registered a small increase in the final three months of 2019, a year that saw growth of just 0.6 percent. That’s the slowest in six years, amid trade tensions and a broader slowdown in demand that added to fundamental structural challenges the country is battling. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Nissan recalling almost 346,000 vehicles to replace air bag inflators

Nissan is recalling nearly 346,000 vehicles worldwide to replace dangerous Takata air bag inflators that can explode and hurl shrapnel. The Nissan front passenger inflators are among 10 million from 14 different automakers that Takata is recalling. It’s the last recall that the bankrupt Takata agreed to in a 2015 settlement with US safety regulators. The Nissan recall covers certain 2001 through 2003 Maximas, 2002 through 2006 Sentras, 2002 through 2004 Pathfinders, and 2007 through 2011 Versas. Also included are 2001 through 2004 Infiniti I30 and I35s, 2002 through 2003 QX4s, 2003 through 2008 FX35 and FX45s and 2006 through 2010 M35 and M45s. Owners will be notified and dealers will replace the inflators starting around Feb. 10, at no cost to owners. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Target stock falls after a disappointing holiday season

Target Corp. tumbled more than 6 percent after slashing its quarterly sales outlook following a holiday season that missed its own expectations, delivering a warning sign for the entire retail sector that tougher times lie ahead. Comparable sales rose just 1.4 percent in the November-December period, far less than last year’s 5.7 percent growth. The cheap-chic retailer said the sluggish growth was most pronounced in toys and electronics, which account for a higher portion of the company’s business during the holidays and suffered from a lack of must-have items. Slower digital sales growth and a calendar shift with fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas also contributed to the softness. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Goldman Sachs’ profit plunges 24 percent

Goldman Sachs said its fourth-quarter profits dropped by 24 percent from a year earlier, as the bank had to set aside money to cover its looming settlement with US authorities over its role in a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund scandal. The investment bank said Wednesday that it earned a profit of $1.72 billion in the quarter, or $4.69 a share, down from a profit of $2.32 billion, or $6.11 per share, a year earlier. The results missed analysts’ expectations for earnings of $5.47 a share. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



France wants streaming services to invest 25 percent of revenue in local productions

France is finalizing a bill to force video-on-demand services from Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Walt Disney Co., and others to invest at least 25 percent of their revenue derived in the country to fund local productions. The French legislation falls under a European Union directive requiring such companies to ensure that at least 30 percent of their catalogs are comprised of European-made content. The French Culture Ministry, which shared a presentation made Tuesday in Paris with Bloomberg, didn’t comment on how France is planning to measure sales of the platforms in France. Netflix now has 6.7 million subscribers in the country. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


GM gives full-time jobs to more than 1,350 temporary workers

More than 1,350 temporary workers at 14 General Motors facilities in the United States will get full-time positions before the end of March, the company says. The workers will start at $21 to $24 per hour depending on their seniority and will get improved health care benefits at a low cost, dental and vision benefits, company 401(k) contributions, and annual profit-sharing checks. Eventually they’ll reach the top wage for a full-time production worker of $32.32 per hour. The manufacturing plants and other sites are in Michigan, Indiana, New York, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, and Kentucky, GM said Wednesday in a statement.



British holdout gets its first McDonald’s

The county of Rutland, England’s smallest by some measures, has for years had varied gastronomic options: pub food, Indian cuisine, tapas, and even a restaurant with a Michelin star. But it was the only English county not to have a McDonald’s — until now. The local council on Tuesday approved an application by McDonald’s for a new restaurant in the county, a decision that many in the area viewed as a surrender of England’s last fortress to fast-food’s signature golden arches, despite a promise by the company that the outlet would provide at least 65 jobs. Among residents’ objections to the McDonald’s, which is planned near the town of Oakham, were worries over litter, noise, obesity, and crime. — NEW YORK TIMES