Whole Foods agrees to $500K settlement
Whole Foods says it has agreed to pay New York City $500,000 to settle allegations it overcharged customers for prepackaged food. The city's Department of Consumer Affairs says the settlement also requires Whole Foods Market Inc. to conduct quarterly audits to ensure products are accurately weighed and labeled. The city said in June it tested 80 different types of prepackaged food and found mislabeled weights on every one. It said the overcharging included $4.85 for a package of chicken tenders and $14.84 for coconut shrimp. A spokesman for Whole Foods said the Austin, Texas, grocery chain already has third-party audits to ensure pricing accuracy. He said the New York initially asked for $1.5 million, but the company agreed to a $500,000 settlement to "put this issue behind us."
Leadership turnover at mining giant
James R. Moffett, the executive chairman and co-founder of the mining company Freeport-McMoRan, is stepping down as plunging commodity prices led to mass layoffs across the entire industry. The company is one of the world's biggest producers of gold and copper, both of which have tumbled in value this year. Copper has plunged more than 26 percent as signs of a significant slowdown in China grow clearer. Activist investor Carl Icahn also revealed a large stake in the company recently. Icahn had pushed for cost cuts and came to an agreement with the company that put his affiliates on the board. Moffett, who helped form the company in 1969, will resign as chair and leave the board of directors Thursday. Gerald J. Ford, the company's lead independent director, will become nonexecutive chairman and Richard C. Adkerson continues as president and CEO.
Valeant CEO taking medical leave
Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO J. Michael Pearson, 56, is taking a medical leave of absence after he was hospitalized with pneumonia last week. Valeant says three executives will take over for Pearson in his absence. A representative for Valeant said Monday that Pearson has a "severe case of pneumonia and is receiving treatment in the hospital." The company declined to offer details on his condition or the expected length of his absence. Valeant has recently come under scrutiny for its drug pricing policies, as well as its relationship with the mail-order pharmacy Philidor.
No high-speed Internet hurts job search
A lack of high-speed Internet access at home can significantly hinder the search for a job in a labor market in which online resources are becoming more important, according to the Pew Research Center. New poll results found that 52 percent of Americans said that people without broadband service are at a major disadvantage in finding out about jobs or gaining new career skills, Pew said. It was a greater hindrance than accessing government services, getting health information or keeping up with the news, according to results of a survey of 2,001 adults released last week. A third of U.S. adults said they do not subscribe to broadband service at home, Pew said. Cost is the main factor, but some people said they were satisfied with online access from their smartphones.
Pep Boys battle continues with new bid
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn raised his offer for Pep Boys to $18.50 a share in cash, or more than $1 billion, escalating a bidding war with Bridgestone Corp. for the car-parts chain. In announcing the proposal, Icahn Enterprises said it would be willing to pay an even higher price, so long as Pep Boys doesn't increase the termination fee in its deal with Bridgestone. The automotive retailer agreed to a sweetened, $17- a-share takeover offer from Bridgestone last week, following an earlier bid from Icahn. The takeover battle for Pep Boys underscores the confidence Icahn and Bridgestone have in the U.S. auto-parts retailing industry, which has benefited from an aging vehicle fleet on American roads.