WeWork exit packages include $17m payment to co-CEOs, FT reports

WeWork would have to pay about $17 million to its co-chief executives Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham if they are fired or leave the company for multiple reasons, the Financial Times reported, citing documents and people briefed on the matter. Minson and Gunningham would receive $8.3 million each under exit packages they negotiated. Chief legal officer Jennifer Berrent would get $1.5 million under the same conditions and would not have to repay $12 million of retention bonuses if she is terminated or leaves. Exit-package terms were sent to shareholders ahead of a $3 billion tender offer for shares by Softbank. The documents note that WeWork may continue experiencing a “significant amount” of senior management turnover. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



The French just aren’t quaffing champagne the way they once did

As President Trump targets champagne in an escalating trade tussle with Europe, corks are popping less often in France, an additional headache for champagne producers facing the double threat of US tariffs and the United Kingdom’s planned exit from the European Union. Even as overseas markets continued growing, a decadelong slide in domestic demand for champagne worsened in 2018, with sales in France falling by 6.5 million bottles. The slump appears to have continued this year. Producer Laurent-Perrier said this month that its champagne sales fell 0.6 percent in the first half of the year. Global brands like LVMH’s Dom Perignon and Pernod Ricard SA’s Perrier-Jouet have ridden a wave of demand over the past decade, but domestic drinkers remain key to France’s industry. About 147 million champagne bottles were shipped in France last year, three times as many as the combined US-UK total. In France, cheaper alternatives are gaining traction. Supermarket sales volume fell 3.5 percent in 2018, while foreign bubbly such as Spanish Cava and Italian Prosecco jumped 58 percent, according to data from Symphony IRI. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


China expands drug-buying plan to cut costs

China is expanding its generic drug-procurement program to include 33 more drugs, pitting domestic and international drug makers in a price war that could see China dominate. Less than three months after China went nationwide with a pilot bulk-buying program for 25 medicines, the government on Sunday announced a second batch. Makers of generic and brand-name versions of the newly added drugs are required to submit bids by mid-January. The government has set a price ceiling and will allow more than four companies to supply as much as 80 percent of national demand for a given drug for a maximum period of three years. The first round of the bulk-purchasing program, which combined procurement of 25 drugs in 11 cities in late 2018, yielded savings of 5.8 billion yuan ($829 million), the government said. Foreign pharmaceutical giants have seen sales of their off-patent drugs tumble as Chinese drug makers willing to sell generics at much lower prices took over the market. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



US urged to honor one-China policy amid talks

A senior Chinese diplomat said China will honor its phase-one trade commitments, but suggested the United States live up to its on issues such as Taiwan. China refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognize Taiwan, which it claims. On state television CGTN Saturday, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, also called talk of a new cold war “very irresponsible.” Beijing and Washington are working on final details of an interim trade deal. “We will always implement what we promised. There is no problem with that,” Cui said. “The US has made commitments to the one-China policy. I just hope they will honor their commitment.” Earlier this year the Trump administration informally told Congress it supports selling F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, drawing a warning from China. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Solar panels at Springfield casino go online in Jan.

MGM has installed thousands of solar panels at its resort casino in Springfield. The company said this month that the more than 3,000-panel solar canopy atop a parking garage will generate more than 1,600 megawatt hours of electricity when it goes online in January — enough to power nearly 10 percent of the 2 million-square-foot casino, hotel, and entertainment complex. The panels are expected to reduce the resort’s annual carbon footprint by about 410 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The casino’s energy strategy also includes low-water fixtures, cisterns that harvest rainwater for irrigation, LED lighting, and electric vehicle charging stations. — ASSOCIATED PRESS