AG asks for Mass. students’ loans to be forgiven
Attorney General Maura Healey has formally asked the federal Department of Education to forgive around $30 million in loans to Massachusetts students who attended a defunct for-profit “career institute,” her office said Tuesday. The former American Career Institute
admitted in a June consent judgment that it illegally tricked thousands of Massachusetts residents into signing up for pricy but ultimately worthless classes by lying about its graduates’ success rates, forging students’ signatures on enrollment agreements, and falsifying grade and attendance records. The June settlement called for the firm to pay $25 million in penalties, fees, and restitution, but ACI is insolvent and unable to pay. Healey hopes the federal government will at least forgive the outstanding debts of 4,400 former students.
— DAN ADAMS
Consumer confidence remains positive
Consumer confidence was little changed in July as Americans remained positive about the job market and the business environment, the New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday. The group’s confidence index eased to 97.3 from a revised 97.4 in June, which was the highest since January; the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 96. Consumer sentiment has stabilized despite growing uncertainty over global development and the US elections. That bodes well for household spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy. Consumers were a little more optimistic about jobs, and some 14 percent said more jobs will be available in six months, up from 13.9 percent in June. The share of Americans who see their incomes increasing in the next six months fell to 16.6 percent from 18.2 percent. — BLOOMBERG NEWS
‘Strike force’ to take aim at robocalls
AT&T said this week it’s forming a ‘‘strike force’’ to beat back robocalls that interrupt your dinner and trick you into talking to prerecorded messages, in response to mounting complaints by consumers and public officials. These robocalls are illegal under federal law if you haven’t opted in to receive them. Yet thousands of Americans a year are being hit with automated calls and texts against their will, officials say, sometimes simply because they've switched to a phone number that’s already on some marketer’s list. The strike force on robocalls won’t just involve AT&T, but also potentially other wireless carriers, cellphone manufacturers, and software developers. Its objective? To come up with ways to make sure marketers and other robo-callers can’t get around regulations and blacklists aimed at blocking those calls. As part of the effort, AT&T said in a blog post that the strike force plans to craft a ‘‘Do Not Originate’’ list — which sounds a lot like a ‘‘Do Not Call’’ list that simply contains a list of numbers known to generate robocalls. AT&T also vowed to embrace newer caller ID standards that could also help cut down on phone spam. — THE WASHINGTON POST
McDonald’s promises to improve image of its offerings
McDonald’s is again looking for ways to win back customers, less than a year after launching a widely touted all-day breakfast menu that makes Egg McMuffins available around the clock. The world’s biggest burger chain said sales rose a disappointing 1.8 percent at established US locations for the three months ended June 30. During the company’s earnings call Tuesday, CEO Steve Easterbrook, who is fighting to reverse three years of declining customer visits to US outlets, promised ‘‘even more news’’ soon related to McDonald’s push to improve the image of its food. The company said the sales bump in the most recent quarter reflected a 3 percent price increase and people ordering items that tend to cost more. For the quarter, McDonald’s earned $1.09 billion, or $1.25 per share, including a 20-cent negative impact from restructuring charges. Analysts expected $1.39 per share, not including one-time items. Total sales were $6.27 billion, in line with Wall Street forecasts, according to FactSet. — ASSOCIATED PRESS
Chinese conglomerate to buy Vizio for $2b
LeEco Global Ltd. agreed to acquire Vizio Inc. for $2 billion as the Chinese technology conglomerate expands further in the United States. LeEco, affiliated with publicly traded Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp., will acquire all Vizio’s hardware and software operations, technology and intellectual property, according to a company statement Tuesday. Vizio, a maker of inexpensive flat-screen TVs, will continue to operate at its Irvine, Calif., headquarters, according to the statement. LeEco’s billionaire chairman and founder, Jia Yueting, has sprawling ambitions for his company, positioning it as the Netflix, Apple, and Tesla of China. In addition to the online video business, LeEco has made inroads into smartphones, TVs, virtual reality headsets, and electric vehicles. — BLOOMBERG NEWS
Delivery company sues Globe
A delivery company has sued The Boston Globe, saying the newspaper violated a contract by allowing another firm to distribute papers in its territory. In a complaint filed last week in Suffolk County Superior Court, Stoneham-based Wellington News and Media said it has had an agreement since 2001 to be the exclusive distributor of the Globe in 16 Boston and Cambridge ZIP codes. Wellington, in turn, hired Publishers Circulation Fulfillment Inc., or PCF, as a subcontractor to deliver the papers. Wellington alleged that several years ago, the Globe began funneling new subscribers to PCF directly, bypassing Wellington and costing the firm business. Globe executives declined to comment.
Verizon says 2nd-quarter results hurt by strike
Verizon Communications said Tuesday that a strike by 40,000 employees hurt its results in the second quarter, and the company’s revenue fell short of analysts’ projections. Verizon said its net income after paying dividends on preferred stock fell to $702 million, or 17 cents per share. Excluding one-time costs related to the strike by 40,000 workers, charges related to the early redemption of debt, and other items, Verizon said it earned 94 cents per share. Its revenue fell 5 percent to $30.53 billion. Analysts expected Verizon to report earnings of 93 cents per share on $31.12 billion in revenue, according to Zacks Investment Research. The earnings report came a day after the New York company said it has agreed to buy Yahoo’s internet business for $4.83 billion. It will combine Yahoo with AOL, which it bought last year for $4.4 billion. — ASSOCIATED PRESS