Metro-East News

Investigation eyes AB-InBev’s distributor incentives

Antitrust regulators are looking into incentives Anheuser-Busch InBev offers its distributors amid the brewing giant’s quest to takeover rival SABMiller in a deal worth $107 billion.

Under the incentives, which were introduced in late 2015, distributors who wished to opt in would receive higher refunds on costs incurred to promote AB products over products made by craft brewers. AB stressed the program was voluntary and never prevented distributors from promoting other brands.

Mega-brewers have tried to eliminate competition from craft breweries, products from which have become increasingly popular in the U.S. and around the world. One strategy AB has used has been to buy craft breweries.

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Having filed for bankruptcy and opting to liquidate all its stores earlier this year, it makes sense Sports Authority would set a date after which it would not accept gift cards.

That date is June 26.

Meanwhile, Wednesday is the last day customers can buy gift cards.

But perhaps the bigger news is the value in gift cards still out there. According to a court filing, it equals an unspent $92.5 million.

That’s a ton of money, and it can go a long way in a store’s waning days when customers can expect deep discounts.

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When Microsoft last week sold off the Nokia brand, it also cut the 1,350 jobs in Finland the brand supported.

Microsoft bought Nokia in 2014, hoping to chip away at a smartphone market dominated by Apple and Google.

But that never happened. In fact, Microsoft’s products only accounted for less than 1 percent of the world’s smartphone business.

Elsewhere in Microsoft, an additional 500 jobs were cut.

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Voters in Hood River County, Oregon voted overwhelmingly to prevent Nestle from opening a water-bottling operation in a small town on the Columbia River.

The change to the county charter preventing the planned operation also bans the transportation of water that’s bottled anywhere else in Hood River County.

But the majority of voters in the small town where Nestle wanted to open the facility —Cascade Locks— voted against barring Nestle’s operation.

“It looks like our voters still want the economic development a water bottling plant would bring,” Cascade Locks city administrator Gordon Zimmerman said.

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