Every weekday on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal hosts a lively and unexpected exploration of the day’s business and economic news from Wall Street to your wallet.
The Chinese company Alibaba is squaring up to sell its shares to the public here in the U.S. The IPO is expected to be the biggest since Facebook. But what is Alibaba? It’s a lot more (and a lot more profitable) than just a Chinese Amazon. Plus: Crimeans have voted overwhelmingly for the territory to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. This is a big political victory for Russia’s leaders but some estimate that Russia will need to spend $10 billion each year for the next 5 years to build infrastructure, pay pensions and benefits to the 2 million residents. And finally: If you get the entire NCAA bracket right, you can win $1 billion from Quicken Loans. But the odds are hugely against you: 1 in 9 quintillion.
After two years in the making, the proposed Gainful Employment Rule is out. Career colleges (mainly for-profits), whose students graduate with dim job prospects and too much debt, will find their revenue streams cut off . Also: Ghanain oil, Baton Rouge, and a weekly wrap of this week's news.
Turns out Target knew a lot more about its data leak a lot earlier than anyone thought. So why didn’t it say anything back then? And why did it take so long to get the word out? Finally: The announcement by the FTC that it will investigate Herbalife throws a spotlight on one investor, Bill Ackman, who has made a huge bet against the company’s stock.
President Obama asks the Labor department to toughen up rules on overtime pay, especially for jobs like store managers and supervisors. We look at why wages haven’t really increased in the last 20 years, and what tools employers use to keep wages where they are. Also: Starbucks has now, in effect, put a tip jar in your smartphone by adding a tipping feature to its app. So many people and businesses are now soliciting tips that know when to tip is more confusing than ever. And we continue to learn new things about the business of fracking. The latest: fracking in North Dakota produces 27 tons a day of radioactive dirty socks – cloth devices used to filter fracking liquids coming out of the ground. And North Dakota doesn’t want them.
We figure out what comprises the stolen passport business, from point of theft to point of sale, by looking at the players, the costs and the business of dealing in stolen passport papers. Also: Senate Banking Committee leaders came out with plans to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bipartisan plan calls for a private reinsurer to step in, and be on the hook for at least 10 percent of any losses on mortgate debt. And since it’s TV pilot season, we look at the practice of the "pilot pre-nup" -- agreements between stars and studios. They do one episode, and if it’s not picked up, the developer and the star are paid off.
United Fruit has come a long way. The fruit distributor now known as Chiquita Brands is merging with Fyffe’s of Dublin. We look at the banana biz and the fruit biz – both companies are into other fruits, too. Plus: We examine what is wrong with Ukraine’s economy and what it needs to do to repair it and get out from under Russian economic dominance. How much aid does it need. Finally: After a string of deaths, Sigma Alpha Epsilon eliminates all together. This is a survival move by SAE. We look at the frat as an economic entity—because Frats are big business, and have all the trappings, from lobbyists.