DealBook Briefing: How One Big Gun Seller Chose to End AR-15 Sales

Good Wednesday morning. Dick’s Sporting Goods will stop selling assault-style rifles. The Federal Reserve is walking a monetary tightrope. And is Jared Kushner’s weakness his family business?

One of the U.S.’s biggest gun sellers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, said that it would stop selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, as well as limit sales of any gun to those 21 and older.

In doing so, the retailer is steering directly into the controversy that has embroiled companies that have taken on the American gun lobby.

Dick’s C.E.O., Edward Stack, told the NYT:

What’s next: Mr. Stack wants what he calls “common sense” changes to gun laws, like the steps his company is taking and broader universal background checks.

Why it’s remarkable: Other companies, big and small, continue to sever ties to the National Rifle Association. Delta has been openly dressed down — and potentially punished — by Republicans in Georgia after eliminating discounts for N.R.A. members. (Gun control is certainly a hot topic in the midterm election campaign.)

And then there’s this: FedEx and UPS are feuding over ties to the N.R.A.


Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in New York, and Michael J. de la Merced and Amie Tsang in London.


For months, the former real estate investor’s inability to get a permanent top-secret security clearance has been a lightning rod for criticism. Now his interim credentials have been docked to secret and his West Wing portfolio clipped — and people are asking what happened.

One thing that has come up, per the WaPo, citing unidentified U.S. officials: Officials in China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates have discussed how to manipulate him by taking advantage of his business dealings and complicated finances.

Speaking of the Kushner business: It’s is in talks to buy Vornado out of 666 Fifth Ave., the troubled Manhattan skyscraper that the two own, according to the WSJ. Critics will ask, where would the money come from?

Expect more rate increases this year — but gradual ones, to keep inflation rising toward a goal of 2 percent annual growth. Economists and analysts now expect 4 raises this year.

But the Fed chairman offered a gentle criticism of the government’s current spending course: “We really need to get on a sustainable fiscal path, and the time to be doing that is now.”

How the markets responded: The S. & P. 500 fell 1.3 percent yesterday. Bond yields rose.

Peter Eavis’s take: Mr. Powell took the careful path of “stern but subtle disapproval” of current fiscal policy.

• Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has floated the idea of rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, more than a year after President Trump walked away. (NYT)

• Washington and Beijing are bracing for a new cold war, as President Xi Jinping prepares to stay in power indefinitely.

• Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, said that she hasn’t lied about issues relevant to investigations into Russia’s election interference. And the head of the N.S.A., Adm. Michael Rogers, said that the U.S. hasn’t done enough to deter Russia from future meddling.

• Facebook said that the Trump campaign spent slightly more per ad on its site than Hillary Clinton’s. (Bloomberg)

• Josh Raffel, who was brought to the White House as a spokesman for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, is leaving. (Axios)

• Mick Mulvaney is focused on cutting financial firms’ cost of complying with regulations by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (WSJ)

• Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development secretary, is under scrutiny for spending $31,000 for furniture for his office as the department looks to cut programs for the homeless, elderly and poor. (NYT)

It’s because the British satellite broadcaster Sky — which Comcast and 21st Century Fox are poised to fight over — is a smaller example of what U.S. telecom giants want to become. More from Stu Woo of the WSJ:

It’s also probably because everyone is worried about Netflix.

Critics’ corner: Investors are right to expect a bidding war, according to Chris Hughes of Gadfly.

The deals flyaround

• Geely built up its stake in Daimler through complex derivative trades that allowed it to build up its holdings while limiting risk, unidentified sources said. (Bloomberg)

• Toshiba’s sale of its memory chip business has opened the door to other Japanese companies selling long-cherished businesses. (FT)

• Talks about a merger between Walgreens Boots Alliance and AmerisourceBergen have ended without an agreement, unidentified sources said. (CNBC)

• Toys “R” Us is in talks to sell its Asian business to Fung Group, its local partner, for at least $1 billion, unnamed sources said. And its British arm has filed for administration and will begin winding down.

• Baidu’s streaming service, iQiyi, filed for an I.P.O. (CNBC)

• Grail, the cancer detection start-up backed by Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, is planning an I.P.O. in Hong Kong, according to unnamed sources. (Bloomberg)

• Nomad Health, an online marketplace for health care jobs, has raised $12 million in new financing. (BusinessWire)

Women in finance aren’t coming forward in huge numbers, in part because the movement has made the work environment more difficult to navigate.

Here’s what Brande Stellings, who runs advisory services at the women’s advocacy group Catalyst, told Bethany McLean of Vanity Fair:

The misconduct flyaround

• A woman told police that she had a child with Steve Wynn after he raped her. Another reported that she was forced to resign from a job after refusing to have sex with him. (AP)

• NBC Universal defended Ryan Seacrest against sexual harassment allegations and said he would not be removed from Academy Awards coverage on E! (NYT)

• Japanese women who say “Me Too” in Japan still draw criticism rather than sympathy, even from other women. (AP)

• The Weinstein Company’s creditors want to lend the studio $25 million during its upcoming bankruptcy proceedings, unnamed sources said. (Reuters)

• Can prosecutors force American companies to turn over digital data stored outside the United States? The Supreme Court is struggling to apply a 1986 law. (NYT)

• The House passed a bill giving victims and prosecutors more power to sue websites that knowingly aided sex trafficking. Many Silicon Valley companies had opposed the bill, citing potential harm to free speech. (NYT)

• Amazon has paid $1.1 billion for Ring, a maker of internet-connected doorbells and security cameras. (NYT)

• Cameras are getting brains, creating intriguing and eerie possibilities, Farhad Manjoo argues. (NYT)

• Alexa and Siri are forcing household goods giants like Unilever and Nestlé to adapt to a new world of e-commerce. (WSJ)

• Companies and investors are betting that we’ll eventually see air taxi services. (NYT)

• Barack Obama said Google and Facebook needed to remember that they are “a public good as well as a commercial enterprise.” (Recode)

• Bill Gates is skeptical about virtual currencies and initial coin offerings. But the Marshall Islands’ government is planning an I.C.O.

From the WSJ’s profile of Marcus, the Wall Street titan’s consumer lending arm:

• The business literally resides on Main Street (in Salt Lake City).

• Marcus has lent $2.5 billion and gained 350,000 customers since opening in 2016.

• It has quietly acquired a number of businesses, including fintech start-ups like Honest Dollar and G.E.’s former online savings division.

• Lloyd Blankfein reads through customer complaints weekly — but sends the knottiest problems to the firm’s consumer chief, Stephen Scherr.

• Dina Powell, most recently a senior official in the Trump administration, has returned to Goldman as the head of its outreach to government clients. (WSJ)

• Pinterest has hired Francoise Brougher, a veteran of Google and Square, as its first chief operating officer as it marches toward an eventual I.P.O. (Recode)

• SeaWorld’s C.E.O., Joel Manby, has stepped down amid growing losses. (FT)

• Uber’s culture coach for top executives, Frances Frei, has stepped down. (Recode)

• Salvatore Ferragmo’s C.E.O., Eraldo Poletto, is leaving after less than two years. (Bloomberg)

• Mattel’s chief brands officer, Juliana Chugg, is stepping down. (Bloomberg)

• HNA technically owns a stake in Deutsche Bank. The reality is a bit more complicated. (FT)

• With Mr. Xi of China abolishing term limits, any company could be treated like the chairman of Anbang, according to Jamil Anderlini. (FT)

• The online learning company Udacity said that its revenue more than doubled last year, to $70 million, and that it one day hopes to have an I.P.O. (Reuters)

• A former employee at Institutional Shareholder Services said that he leaked details about how its investor clients voted in return for tickets to sporting events and U2 and Jay-Z concerts. (Reuters)

• Francesca Bellettini was considered a strange choice to lead Yves Saint Laurent, but she has propelled it into the exclusive billion-euro club. (NYT)

• Stuttgart, Germany’s car capital, could ban diesel cars in the city as part of an effort to improve air quality. (NYT)

• Raises are back, but what will make them stay? (NYT)

• Craft breweries are giving new fizz to sleepy commercial districts. (NYT)

• Pimco has told Portugal’s public prosector’s office that it will push for compensation if insider trading is proven in the 2015 sale of Novo Banco bonds. (FT)

• Dick Costolo is shutting down Chorus, his social fitness start-up. (Axios)

• Unilever’s C.E.O. expressed regret over the company’s efforts to woo shareholders after Kraft Heinz’s unsolicited takeover approach. (FT)

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