Business

Business
10:25 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Justice Sues To Block US Airways-American Airlines Merger

A US Airways plane rests near two American Airlines jets at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport last year. The combined carrier would be named American Airlines.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 1:33 pm

A merger of American Airlines and US Airways would violate U.S. antitrust law, the Justice Department, six state attorneys general and the District of Columbia allege in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg reports that Justice alleges the merger would lead to "less competition in the industry and higher prices for consumers." The wire service explains:

Read more
Business
5:51 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Texans Call For Boycott Of Retailers That Fought Wage Bill

In Texas, back-to-school shoppers are being urged to boycott Macy's and Kroger stores for their efforts to quash a wage fairness bill. In this file photo, a man shops at a Sears store in Fort Worth.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 12:56 pm

A group is calling on back-to-school shoppers to boycott Macy's and Kroger stores in Texas this weekend, in retaliation for the national retailers' efforts to quash a bill that would have strengthened the state's wage discrimination law.

Read more
Business
8:57 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Dell Vote Delayed Again: New Deal Includes Higher Offer, Voting Changes

Dell

A Dell Special Committee has reached a deal with founder Michael Dell. It raises his bid to buy the company by 10 cents per share but also changes some of the voting rules.

Instead of counting votes not cast as “no” votes, only votes that are submitted will be counted. This gives Michael Dell a better chance of getting his deal passed.

Read more
Business
7:16 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Alamo Drafthouse, Threadgill's & 27 More Texas Businesses Sued Over ADA Compliance

Members of ADAPT of Texas in front of the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz today

ADAPT of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project held a press conference today announcing the filing of 29 lawsuits against establishments across Texas, including Austin mainstays like the Alamo Drafthouse and Threadgill's. The complaint ? Not complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA, signed into law by Pres. George H.W. Bush in 1990, promises protection against discrimination based on disability. According to ADAPT, the defendant establishments are in violation of the act due to their inaccessible locations.

Read more
Real estate
8:02 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Report: Austin Apartment Rents at All Time High

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashley_brown/4256127642/

Apartment prices are at a record high in the Austin-area, averaging $1.15 per square foot, according to a report by Austin Investor Interests.

More people are moving to Austin and there hasn’t been a lot of new apartments constructed, although that is changing. But many of the new apartments being constructed are centrally located and aren't cheap.

“A lot of these units average a much higher price, $1.39 a square foot, with at least a third of these units being in the 78704 zip code or in the Central Business District, which averages $1.70 up to $2.50 a square foot," said Robin Davis with Austin Investor Interest. "These new units will raise average rents fairly significantly, but rents are also rising on average 5 percent anyway without these units."

Read more
real estate
7:03 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Five Reasons Why Austin Home Sales Dipped in June

flickr.com/bcostin/

Home sales in the Austin area fell from May to June. The drop was unexpected because of the strength of the housing market in Central Texas and because June is a prime time to buy homes.

The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University analyzed MLS listings and found there were 3,085 sales of single-family homes, townhomes and condos in June. That's down from 3,157 sales in May.

Read more
Business
8:30 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Dell Decision Day: Today's Vote on Buyout Delayed (Update)

Dell employs about 14,000 people in Central Texas.
flickr.com/philschatz/

Update: Dell is delaying a vote on founder Michael Dell’s offer to buy the company and make it private. The vote was scheduled to happen this morning – but is being pushed back – likely because major shareholders don’t support the deal.

Reports say the vote has been rescheduled for later this month.

Original Story (6:14 a.m.): It is decision day for Dell shareholders.

They are scheduled to meet this morning and vote on whether to accept a buyout offer from company founder Michael Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake Management that values the computer maker at $24.4 billion.

Read more
Formula 1
7:33 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Is Driving on Austin's F1 Track Worth $55,000?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxherder/8258420452/

If you ever wanted to ride an Formula 1 track in your own car, the Circuit of the Americas is now selling the opportunity. A full-day private track rental goes for $55,000. Group rates are available at $2,500 per person.

"Response has been strong with more than 250 people expressing interest within the first few days of offering the experience online," Circuit Executive Vice President Bruce Knox said in a press release. 

For a sport that caters to people who commute by helicopter and drop $10,000 on bottle service, it's probably not shocking to see a $55,000 price tag attached to a single day of entertainment. But how does it stack up against the competition? We poked around and found out. 

Read more
Business
11:32 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Austin Sets Export Record: $9 Billion

Samsung Austin Semiconductor is a major player in the city's leading export category: computer and electronic products.
Samsung

Exporting everything from semiconductors to barbecue sauce, the Austin metropolitan area set a new $9 billion record for exports in 2012.

The total was an increase of 4.1 percent, or $350 million, according to an announcement yesterday by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA). The announcement says the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area was the 35th largest U.S. export for 2012. 

Read more
Technology
5:50 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Tech-Savvy Cities May Be 'Smart,' But Are They Wise?

Cable cars move commuters over a complex of shantytowns in Rio de Janeiro, one of many cities taking part in the smart city boom around the world.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 3:52 pm

This summer, NPR's Cities Project has been looking at how cities around the world are solving problems using new technologies. And though there's great promise in many of these "smart" city programs, New York University's Anthony Townsend remains skeptical.

Townsend, whose book Smart Cities is due out in October, tells NPR's David Greene about the causes, benefits and potential dangers of the smart city boom.


Interview Highlights

On what caused the smart city boom

Read more
Business
4:03 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Credit Unions To Congress: Don't Tax Us

Credit unions could lose tax-exempt status if federal lawmakers decide to repeal a law that has given unions tax-free status since 1934.
flickr.com/myfuturedotcom

Credit unions around the country want their members to memorize one phrase right now: Don’t tax my credit union.

The credit unions have enjoyed tax-exempt status since the 1930s, but lawmakers could push them to pay with new federal regulations.

Read more
Business
4:29 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Smaller Texas Banks Stand to Gain from Ban on Debit Surcharge

A prohibition on surcharges on debit cards issued by smaller banks takes effect in September.
U.S. Navy/LaTunya Howard

This year the Texas Legislature passed HB 3068, banning the surcharge placed on debit cards. The bill was championed by The Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT), an organization that provides resources to the state’s smaller, community banks.

IBAT Executive Vice President Stephen Scurrlock says the law will have a positive impact on Texas’ small businesses – and that by scuttling the additional cost of using a card not affiliated with a giant bank, payment by debit card will no longer discriminate against community banks. 

Read more
economy
6:52 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Austin-Area Home Sales Jump 29%, Setting New Record for May

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunchesandbits/4714938136/

More homes sold in the Austin-area last month than in any May on record, according to a report by the Austin Board of Realtors. Their analysis of MLS Listings shows 2,991 homes were sold in May, an increase of 29 percent over the same month last year.

The increased demand sent the median home price up by eight percent to $231,500. The average home is sitting on the market for just 44 days, which is 19 days less than May last year, according to the report.

Read more
Business
10:06 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Austin Slow to Warm to Mobile Pay Apps like Isis, Square

While mobile payment apps make transactions easier for retailers, some Austin business are still waiting for the payment platform to take off.
flickr.com/joeybones

The idea is great: Walk into your local coffee shop, order your usual, and pay with the tap of a finger. No credit cards, no cash, no wallet.

That’s the concept behind mobile payment apps like Isis and Square. Customers download an app to their phones, program their credit card, and pay by giving the cashier their name. Their card is charged instantly.

Read more
Food
7:45 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

You Can Soon Legally Sell These Foods From Your Home

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zigazou76/5846249822/

Time to crack open your recipe books, food entrepreneurs. A bill signed into law by Governor Perry overhauls regulation of so-called “cottage food businesses” to allow people to sell more products directly to consumers from more places: not just from their homes, but also at farmers markets, festivals, fairs and other events. The law takes effect September 1. 

There are a few qualifications to the law, along with a list of banned foods, so here's an easy to digest breakdown of House Bill 910.

Read more
Business
4:49 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Whole Foods Reviews Its Language Policy

Whole Foods is Feeling The Heat
flicker.com/wallyg

Austin-based Whole Foods Market says it will revisit its policy on speaking foreign languages after two Albuquerque employees claimed they were suspended for speaking Spanish to each other while on the job.

Whole Foods said, in a bilingual statement on the company's website, that the two were not suspended for speaking Spanish. Instead, the company claims they were actually disciplined for "rude behavior."  The company says the two erroneously believed that they had been told not to speak Spanish by a manager, and became upset.

Read more
Business
5:54 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Dell Says No to Icahn's Buyout Bid

A board committee wants the company to take the offer from its founder, Michael Dell.
courtesy Dell Inc.

One of the largest employers in Central Texas is rejecting a buyout offer from billionaire Carl Icahn.

A special committee of Dell’s board says it would rather investors accept a $24 billion buyout offer from company founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. That plan would take the company private.

Icahn’s plan would have kept Dell as a publicly traded company.

Business
1:36 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

No Smoking Outside Starbucks Shops Starting Saturday

Don't sit down here and have a smoke with your coffee, Starbucks says.
Mark Memmott NPR

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 12:17 pm

Starbucks is moving its smoking ban outdoors.

Starting Saturday, according to signs posted in its more than 7,000 shops across the U.S. and Canada, "the no-smoking policy ... will include outdoor areas."

"Smoking will be restricted within 25 feet of the store and within outdoor seating areas," the notices read.

Read more
Business
5:15 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

City of Austin Gets High Marks for Tax Incentive Disclosure

A watchdog group says Austin is exemplary at letting the public know how business tax subsidies are performing.
KUT News

You know those property tax breaks that Austin uses to lure companies like Apple and Visa to town? A Washington, D.C., group says the city is doing a pretty good job of letting us know how those deals pan out.

The nonprofit research center Good Jobs First gave Austin’s program 100 out of 100 for disclosing annual activity online and for providing third-party audits of each company receiving taxpayer incentives. 

Read more
Business
4:48 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Crunch Time Tonight for Tech Startups

Local entrepreneurs will be making pitches for funding at a TechCrunch event.
Huma Munir, KUT News

The tech news website TechCrunch is in Austin hosting a competition looking for the next big ideas.

At Pitch-Off, startups and individuals make minute-long pitches to a panel of judges. It’s already made stops in Chicago, Seattle, Toronto and Boston.

Read more

Pages