Free N95 Masks to Be Made Available at Pharmacies, White House Says

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration on Wednesday announced plans to make 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. The move comes as President Biden has stepped up the federal government’s response to a nationwide surge in Covid-19 cases triggered by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Some scientists and … Read more

Unilever Walks Away From Glaxo Consumer-Healthcare Deal

Unilever UL 8.55% PLC said it wouldn’t increase its $68 billion offer for GlaxoSmithKline GSK -1.96% PLC’s consumer-healthcare business, effectively walking away from a potential deal that would have added a raft of drugstore staples to its portfolio. The announcement Wednesday from the maker of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap came after … Read more

EU Companies Face Fallout From Decision Against Google

European businesses face uncertainty over the use of a popular analytics tool from Google after a regulator found it breached privacy laws, the latest salvo by the European Union against big U.S. tech companies. The ruling from Austria’s data-protection regulator, published last week, could upend business practices for companies across Europe as regulators in the … Read more

UnitedHealth Logged Steady Revenue Growth to Close 2021

UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH 1.46% on Wednesday posted year-over-year earnings growth for the last three months of 2021, helped by higher revenue from premiums. The healthcare and health-insurance giant based in Minnetonka, Minn., the first industry heavyweight to report year-end results, showed little sign of serious impact from costs tied to soaring levels of Covid-19 … Read more

Freight Operators Plan to Deploy Thousands of Remote-Operated Forklifts

Two big freight operators are betting on technology that allows workers to operate forklifts remotely as the distribution sector confronts persistent labor shortages. Trucking company ArcBest Corp. and logistics provider NFI Industries Inc. led a $42 million investment to back startup Phantom Auto Inc.’s remote vehicle operation software and plan to deploy thousands of remote-enabled … Read more

Apple Says Senate’s Big-Tech Legislation Would Weaken Its User-Privacy Push

Apple Inc. AAPL -1.89% is warning that Senate legislation aimed at reining in large tech companies would weaken a privacy-protection tool that it rolled out last year and has already stung Facebook, Snapchat and other online-ad businesses reliant on user data to target messages. The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to debate a bipartisan bill, … Read more

Airlines Cancel Some Flights Citing Launch of AT&T, Verizon 5G Signals

Several international airlines canceled some U.S.-bound flights after American wireless operators and aviation officials were unable to fully resolve a monthslong standoff over the launch of new 5G signals. Nonetheless, a handful of international airlines said Tuesday they plan to suspend some U.S. flights starting Wednesday, citing operational concerns stemming from the Federal Aviation Administration’s … Read more

Microsoft to Buy Activision Blizzard in All-Cash Deal Valued at $68.7 Billion

Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion, using its largest acquisition by far to grab a videogame heavyweight that has been roiled by claims of workplace misconduct. The deal, if completed, would sharply expand Microsoft’s already sizable videogame operation, adding a stable of popular game franchises … Read more

In Battle for Workers, the Humble 401(k) Gets Richer in 2022

Facebook’s parent and consulting firm KPMG U.S. are among a growing number of companies putting more money into employees’ 401(k) retirement accounts, employing another lever to attract and retain staff amid high turnover and competition for talent. About 16% of large and midsize employers plan to raise their 401(k) contributions or reinstate a previously suspended … Read more