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Talking Points

UConn, URI, and General Dynamics team on undersea vehicle research

The Virginia, a nuclear-powered attack submarine, was rolled out of General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn.
The Virginia, a nuclear-powered attack submarine, was rolled out of General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn.General Dynamics Corp./Bloomberg News/File

Two public universities have partnered with a Navy contractor to research undersea vehicle technology and train people to work in the field. The University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, and submarine manufacturer General Dynamics Electric Boat established the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology at UConn’s Avery Point campus in Groton, Conn., this month. The universities received a $1.3 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to prepare students to work in shipbuilding. Hundreds of small companies work on Navy projects in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and dozens of faculty members at the universities do research for the Navy. Electric Boat has facilities in both states. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center and Naval War College are also in Rhode Island. URI professor Arun Shukla, codirector of the institute, said it will help bring everyone’s expertise together. ‘‘This could be like the Silicon Valley for underwater activities,’’ he said. The institute is creating seminar courses for students at both campuses, which will start in the spring. Kurt Hesch, chief operating officer at Electric Boat, said the universities’ ‘‘intellectual horsepower and the state-of-the-art research facilities’’ will help the industry deploy new undersea capabilities faster.

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CURRENCY

Bitcoin surges past $9,000 as euphoria reaches a fever pitch

Bitcoin surged past $9,000 for the first time, less than a week after topping $8,000 and taking its year-to-date rise to more than 850 percent. The price of the largest cryptocurrency by market value is soaring as it gains greater mainstream attention despite warnings of an asset bubble. Bitcoin has climbed more than 40 percent in two weeks. The number of accounts at Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading bitcoin and rival ethereum, has almost tripled to 13 million in the past year, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Bitcoin climbed as high as a record $9,518 on Sunday in New York before paring the gains. Hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz said last week that bitcoin would end the year at $10,000. A day later, Fundstrat’s head of research, Thomas Lee, doubled his price target to $11,500 by mid-2018. In a move toward mainstream investing, CME Group plans to start offering futures contracts for bitcoin that could begin trading in December. Bitcoin’s surge is forcing Wall Street banks to balance clients’ interest in speculating on the cryptocurrency with executives’ skepticism about its future. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been one of bitcoin’s most prominent detractors. But his finance chief, Marianne Lake, has struck a more measured tone. The firm is “open minded” about properly regulated digital currencies, she said last month.

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BLOOMBERG NEWS

PRIVACY

Schumer seeks scrutiny of home DNA test policies

Senator Charles Schumer wants the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize how companies that offer at-home DNA testing kits are handling the genetic data. The Senate Democratic leader said Sunday that he’s not trying to stop the testing or impede research, but wants to make sure privacy policies are clear, transparent, and fair to consumers. Various companies offer test kits as ways to learn more about one’s health, heritage, or family. Many say they have strict rules about sharing any personal information and don’t provide genetic data without scrubbing identities, getting users’ consent, or receiving a court order. One company, MyHeritage, said Sunday that it has never sold or licensed DNA data to any third party without the user’s explicit, informed consent and never provides users’ personal information to any third party.

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MEDIA

Time Inc. is being sold to Meredith for $1.8b, with backing from Koch Industries

Meredith Corp. said Sunday that it’s buying Time Inc. for $1.8 billion, a deal that joins two giant magazine companies. Meredith’s portfolio includes Better Homes & Gardens, allrecipes, and Shape; Time owns Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune, and others. Meredith will pay $18.50 per share in cash for Time’s nearly 100 million outstanding shares. It is using $3.55 billion in financing commitments from a variety of lenders and a $650 million preferred equity from Koch Equity Development, an investment arm of Koch Industries, to finance the deal and pay down debt. Prior to the announcement, Meredith had just $28 million in cash on hand. Combined, the companies posted $4.8 billion in revenue last year. Meredith expects to save up to $500 million in the first two years of operation and plans to ‘‘aggressively pay down’’ debt by 2020. Koch Equity will not have a seat on the board nor influence editorial operations, the company said.

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