Talking Points

TALKING POINTS

FDA approves first prescription drug made from marijuana

PHARMACEUTICALS

FDA approves first prescription drug made from marijuana

US health regulators on Monday approved the first prescription drug made from marijuana, a milestone that could spur more research into a drug that remains illegal under federal law, despite growing legalization for recreational and medical use. The Food and Drug Administration approved the medication, called Epidiolex, to treat two rare forms of epilepsy that begin in childhood. But it’s not quite medical marijuana. The strawberry-flavored syrup is a purified form of a chemical ingredient found in the cannabis plant — but not the one that gets users high. It’s not yet clear why the ingredient, called cannabidiol, or CBD, reduces seizures in some people with epilepsy. British drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals studied the drug in more than 500 children and adults with hard-to-treat seizures, overcoming numerous legal hurdles that have long stymied research into cannabis. FDA officials said the drug reduced seizures when combined with older epilepsy drugs. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

RIDE HAILING

Uber appears to have overcome regulatory problems in London

Uber Technologies said its moves to protect passengers and drivers have appeased London’s transport regulator, reducing one of the hurdles threatening to continue a ban on the car service in its biggest market outside the United States. Transport for London’s position has ‘‘moved to one of effective neutrality,’’ Uber lawyer Thomas de la Mare said Monday at the start of the highly anticipated hearing in the UK capital. Judge Emma Arbuthnot said she may make a ruling Tuesday in the case, which stems from TfL’s decision in September that Uber wasn’t ‘‘fit and proper’’ to operate and its refusal to extend Uber’s permit. The transport agency had 25 concerns, most of which involved safety and regulatory issues. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents about 12,000 traditional black-cab drivers, and the GMB trade union are opposing the car service’s appeal on grounds that it has worked to avoid regulations that cover other forms of transport and doesn’t offer job security. Uber is allowed to operate during the appeal process. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TELECOMMUNCATIONS

AT&T buying
digital advertising company

AT&T said Monday that it is buying the digital advertising company AppNexus, in an effort to hasten the growth of its new media empire. AppNexus gives the telecom giant control over one of the world’s largest Internet advertising exchanges, which marketers use to buy ad space from online publishers. It could help AT&T challenge Google and Facebook — the two giants of online advertising — by bolstering its ability to analyze customer behavior and advertise against content produced by Time Warner, now renamed WarnerMedia. AT&T didn’t disclose the terms of the AppNexus deal, which came days after AT&T completed its landmark merger with Time Warner. AppNexus sought a valuation of $2 billion when it filed confidentially for an IPO in 2016. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. — WASHINGTON POST

RETAIL

Party City wants to pick up some
of the toy market after the demise of Toys ‘R’ Us

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The demise of Toys “R’’ Us has left billions of dollars in sales up for grabs, and Party City hopes to benefit. It plans to operate 50 pop-up toy stores from September through the holiday shopping season, possibly in former locations of the defunct chain, executives said in an interview. The assortment will include top brands from Hasbro Inc. and Mattel Inc. and plenty of Santa suits and stockings for Christmas. Party City is also adding more toys to its website as part of a push into the category. If the pop-up pilot goes well, the company will likely expand the format next year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

SOCIAL MEDIA

Instagram estimated
to be worth
more than $100b

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Facebook Inc.’s Instagram is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion, if it were a stand-alone company, marking a 100-fold return for the app, purchased in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. The photo-sharing platform, which reached 1 billion monthly active users earlier this month, will likely help nudge Instagram revenue past $10 billion over the next 12 months, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral wrote in a report Monday. Instagram is attracting new users faster than Facebook’s main site and is on track to exceed 2 billion users within the next five years, Waral said. While the social network already has surpassed that milestone, Instagram’s audience is younger than that of its parent, making it more attractive to advertisers. And unlike Facebook, Instagram is still growing in the United States. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MERGERS

Xerox CEO has no interest in reviving talks with Fujifilm

Xerox Corp.’s chief executive, John Visentin, blasted his Fujifilm Holdings Corp. counterpart’s efforts to revive merger talks and warned he doesn’t plan to renew the companies’ Asia joint venture in 2021. Visentin, recently elevated to CEO after shareholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason won a court order blocking the companies’ $6.1 billion merger deal, said in a letter to Fujifilm chairman Shigetaka Komori on Monday that a lawsuit by Fujifilm was “nothing more than a desperate, misguided negotiating ploy to save a takeover” that has already been blocked by a judge because of the “surreptitious actions of your team.” Visentin said Fujifilm’s own accounting problems had made its deal with Xerox impossible to complete. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

WORKPLACE

More than
400 executives
and high-profile employees outed by #MeToo Movement

At least 414 high-profile executives and employees have been outed by the #MeToo Movement in 18 months, according to data collected by a New York crisis consulting firm. The study looked at national news articles that singled out people for committing sexual harassment or other similar misdeeds, said Davia Temin, whose firm, Temin & Co., did the research. Individuals with at least seven separate national mentions were included. That included celebrities like Bill Cosby and Louis CK, but the vast majority were corporate executives and business leaders like Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who resigned late last week after revelations of an affair with an employee. Among the 414 people accused, 190 were fired or left their jobs. Another 122 have been put on leave, suspended, or are facing investigations since December 2016. For about 69 people, there were no repercussions. In recent months, the rate of accusations has been slowing but the percentage of people being fired has increased, Temin said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

REAL ESTATE

Sales of new homes up 6.7%
in May

Sales of new US homes jumped 6.7 percent in May, with purchases in the South accounting for all of the monthly gains. The Commerce Department said Monday that new homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 689,000, up from 646,000 in April. The South reported monthly growth of 17.9 percent, while sales were flat in the Midwest and fell in the Northeast and West. For the first five months of this year, sales of new homes rose 8.8 percent as a solid job market and shortage of existing homes on the market boosted demand. In a sign that buyers were eagerly seeking out properties among a diminished inventory, there was a 17.4 percent surge last month in the sale of homes before construction begins. — ASSOCIATED PRESS