A quick review of the week’s corporate happenings:

  • Disney has taken over full control of Hulu, which was launched in 2008 with four principals.  Hulu has become a full-fledged competitor to Netflix and figures centrally in Disney’s streaming plans for the future.  Comcast, Hulu’s last minority stake-holder, agreed to Disney’s purchase of the one-third stake as early as 2024 with a base price of $9 billion.  In launching its direct-to-consumer streaming, Disney+, the company will utilize its own content for families and children and use the Hulu service for adult content.
  • When McDonald’s put breakfast items on sale all day in 2015, it saw sales rise prominently.  But same store sales have now cooled as competitors have improved their breakfast offerings.  The company has now determined that it would let franchisees decide which breakfast items to serve all day, as wait times have grown and customer traffic has declined.  “There are more and more people offering breakfast,” explained CEO Steve Easterbrook.  And making Egg McMuffins and hash browns all day alongside Big Macs and McFlurry shakes complicates the production process, causing wait times for food to be longer. Beginning this fall, franchisees can focus on offering the breakfast items that are most popular in their areas, after the morning breakfast hours have passed.  “This refresh follows a series of tests to improve kitchen execution and the overall experience for the customer,” a company spokesman said.
  • General Motors is beefing up its driverless car unit, Cruise, with $1.2 billion in additional financing, bringing the total value of the division to $19 billion.  The funding round was supplied by T Rowe Price Associates as well as SoftBank Group, Honda Motor Company and GM, Cruise’s majority owner.  GM set up Cruise as a separate legal entity last year to allow outside investors to bet on the emerging technology separate from the automaker’s core manufacturing operations.  SoftBank and Honda each committed $2 billion to Cruise last year, reflecting the general belief that the company was among the leaders in pursuing self-driving technology.
  • Generation Z workers are entering the workforce, and they are reporting more anxiety than any other group of workers.  Fifty-four percent of workers under the age of 21 said they felt anxious or nervous due to stress in the preceding month, according to a recent survey of 3,458 adults 18 and over.  Close behind are the millennials with 40% reporting anxiety; the national average is 34 percent.  It’s said that this group of workers are more willing to talk about and ask for help with emotional issues.  That being the case, it’s causing some perplexing workplace behaviors, such as ghosting the boss.  Employers are faced with trying new ways to help anxious hires stay calm and clearheaded, as well as remain willing to speak up at work.

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