Talking Points

TALKING POINTS

Tesla under further scrutiny after Musk remarks

TECHNOLOGY

Tesla under further scrutiny after Musk remarks

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is intensifying its scrutiny of Tesla Inc.’s public statements after Elon Musk’s provocative tweet Tuesday about taking the electric-car company private, according to two people familiar with the matter. SEC enforcement attorneys in the San Francisco office were already gathering information about Tesla’s pronouncements on manufacturing goals and sales targets, according to the people who asked not to be named because the review is private. Now, the office is also examining whether Musk’s tweet about having funding to buy out the company was meant to be factual, according to one of the people. The SEC inquiry is preliminary and won’t necessarily lead to anything more formal. Tesla stock fell to $352.45 Thursday amid mounting doubts about Musk’s ability to buy out shareholders at $420, as he’d suggested Tuesday. Musk has offered no evidence to back up the assertion, and there have been no announcements that anyone is backing the plan. The SEC scrutiny adds to pressure on Musk, who has a history of setting sales targets that bulls consider to be aggressive and critics contend are unrealistic. The question for regulators is whether any of his statements or the company’s run afoul of federal securities laws. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ENERGY

Danish firm buys US wind power assets

Danish offshore wind developer Orsted is betting that on-shore wind projects will help round out the company’s US portfolio. The company, whose North American operations are based in Boston, has reached a deal to buy Lincoln Clean Energy in a deal valued at $580 million. Orsted’s Bay State Wind project lost in a recent round of bidding for electricity contracts in Massachusetts, but that clearly did not stop the company from looking for other ways to expand. LCE has offices in Chicago and Austin and was the largest non-utility wind developer in the country ast year. The firm already has installed wind and solar projects that generate more than 500 megawatts, and has another 300 megawatts worth of projects under construction, primarily in Texas. — JON CHESTO

HIGHER EDUCATION

BU taps
first female business school dean

Susan Fournier , an international brand marketing expert, has been named the new dean of the Questrom School of Business, the first female to head the Boston University school. Fournier has had a long career in both academia and business, working in market research or consulting for companies such as IBM, Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A, and Polaroid Corporation. She began at BU as a marketing and management professor in 2005, and has also taught at Harvard Business School and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. She has also authored two books and numerous book chapters, case studies on branding, and research papers. Fournier said Questrom hasn’t had a dean with a strong academic background, rather than an industry professional such as a CEO, in some 30 years. She hopes to bolster the school brand by hiring experienced faculty and introducing innovative new programs. Fournier succeeds Kenneth Freeman, who was dean for eight years.
— ALLISON HAGAN

TECHNOLOGY

Few innovations but big price tag mark new
Samsung phone

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Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 9, will be faster and will last longer without a recharge. But while earth-shattering new features are in short supply, it will carry an earth-shattering price tag: $1,000. The minor improvements reflect a smartphone industry that has largely pushed the limits on hardware. The new phone will have automatic photo editing and a stylus that serves as a remote control. But the highlights will be a bigger battery, a faster processor, and improved cellular speeds. The starting price of $1,000 is on par with Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone X. The Note 9 will have double the storage, at 128 gigabytes, of typical high-end phones, and Samsung will sell a 512-gigabyte version for power users for $1,250. The Note 9 camera will use artificial intelligence to detect what’s in a scene — food or flowers, for example — to automatically tweak images to make them pop. It’s much like applying filters with an app, except that the phone will do this itself, much the way Google’s Pixel phones already do. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ENVIRONMENT

Court rules against Trump administration
on pesticide use

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A federal appeals court ruled the Trump administration endangered public health by keeping the top-selling pesticide chlorpyrifos on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that even tiny levels of exposure can harm babies’ brains. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days. A coalition of farmworkers and environmental groups sued last year after then-EPA chief Scott Pruitt reversed an Obama-era effort to ban chlorpyrifos, which is widely sprayed on citrus fruits, apples, and other crops. In a split decision, the court said EPA violated federal law by ignoring the conclusions of agency scientists that chlorpyrifos is harmful. The pesticide is sold by Dow Agro Sciences and others. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ENERGY

Refinery near national park draws fire

The company planning an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota is asking state regulators to dismiss a complaint filed by environmental groups. Meridian Energy Group said its Davis Refinery will be too small to come under the purview of the state Public Service Commission. At just three miles from the park, environmental groups and others fear pollution from the refinery will mar the scenery and erode air quality. The park is the state’s top tourist attraction. Meridian maintains the Davis Refinery will have modern technology and will be ‘‘the cleanest refinery on the planet.’’ The Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Dakota Resource Council maintains Meridian needs a permit because the refinery’s capacity will be 55,000 barrels per day — above the threshold of 50,000 barrels in state law that triggers a PSC review. Meridian says that figure is old and the plant will be below the 50,000-barrel threshold. The PSC has not yet decided whether to open a formal case. The project faces several other legal challenges from environmentalists and still needs other permits. —ASSOCIATED PRESS

WALL STREET

Ex-Goldman employee accused bank of retaliation

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was sued by former managing director Christopher Rollins, who claims the bank engaged in an “unlawful campaign of retaliation” after he blew the whistle on its concealment of anti-money-laundering compliance failures. Goldman executives sought to work with a “notorious European businessman” who had a history of legal problems and then steered transactions linked to the financier past the company’s anti-money-laundering controls, according to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court. Rollins was discharged after a foreign affiliate of the firm alleged he allowed trades by a client that it had refused to serve because of compliance concerns, according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records. Rollins is alleged to have done so without getting approval from the bank’s compliance department or senior management, according to records. Rollins says in the lawsuit that while he met the financier socially, he never sought his business and Goldman Sachs sought to falsely blame him for the firm’s dealings with the man. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ALCOHOL

Kentucky distillery trying to stave whiskey waste

The collapse of a Kentucky distillery’s warehouse last month has crews still cleaning up and trying to salvage roughly 18,000 barrels of aging bourbon. News outlets reported recently that the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown has been working one barrel at a time to save the bourbon. Part of the warehouse fell in June and the rest collapsed in July. A video by Barton safety director Bob Mahanna says the effort involves a crane grabbing barrels and an inspector examining each one. If a barrel cannot be repaired the whiskey is drained and held until it can be returned to a barrel. Barton spokeswoman Amy Preske says they haven’t determined why the warehouse collapsed. The distillery hasn’t said how much bourbon will be recovered or what they’ll do with it. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ECONOMY

Turkey acts to control economic fallout from sanctions

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Turkeys’s policy makers are curbing economic growth ambitions to reduce borrowing, in response to a rout of the country’s currency over the past week. The government reduced its target to less than 4 percent, down from 5.5 percent originally, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak’s office said. The Turkish lira had dropped to record lows after US sanctions over the country’s continued detention of an American pastor, sparking fears of a wider hit to the economy. A lower growth target goes to the heart of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dispute with the International Monetary Fund and others warning that Turkey’s economy may have overheated. Erdogan rejects the notion that slower growth is the answer. He’s a fierce opponent of higher interest rates, and backed a wave of fiscal stimulus in the run-up to his re-election in June. — BLOOMBERG NEWS