Theme park closures due to coronavirus pandemic cost Disney billions

It cost nearly $5 billion for Disney to close Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and its other theme parks from mid-March to June, the Walt Disney Company revealed on Tuesday.

During an earnings webcast, the company said it posted a loss of nearly $5 billion for the third quarter, which included a $2 billion loss in its parks, products, and experiences segment, USA Today reports. This segment’s revenue dropped 85 percent to $1 billion compared to the same quarter in 2019.

While Shanghai Disneyland reopened in May, followed by Disney World and Disneyland Paris in July, Disneyland in Southern California remains closed. Hong Kong Disneyland reopened in June, but after a surge in coronavirus cases, shut its doors again last month.

Florida has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the United States, and executives said Disney World is seeing more cancelations and lower attendance than expected. “This is obviously a very uncertain time,” CEO Bob Chapek said. “We should be in good shape once consumer confidence returns.”

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Source:: The Week – Business


Judge grants temporary restraining order to pause Hideout ‘land grab’

The town of Hideout wants to annex hundreds of acres from Summit County and Wasatch County, including the land pictured in Summit County on Monday, July 20, 2020.

The town of Hideout wants to annex hundreds of acres from Summit County and Wasatch County, including the land pictured in Summit County on Monday, July 20, 2020. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The town of Hideout’s controversial annexation proposal is officially on hold — for now.

Fourth District Court Judge Jennifer Brown on Tuesday granted Summit County’s motion for a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit seeking to stop the annexation of about 655 acres of land outside Park City for commercial development, which the county alleges was made possible by “bait-and-switch” legislative maneuvering.

The Deseret News last month uncovered how the legislation that allowed Hideout’s annexation without permission from any of the surrounding counties was misrepresented to the bill’s own sponsors.

Now, the Utah Legislature may seek a repeal of the bill in a special session expected later this month. But Hideout could move to annex before that repeal, and that’s why Summit County officials went to court.

Summit County officials, in their lawsuit, argued the county would suffer “irreparable harm” if the annexation process is allowed to continue, accusing Hideout and developers Nate Brockbank and Josh Romney, son of Sen. Mitt Romney, of seeking “nothing less than to overturn decades of careful land use planning and community development with non-contiguous land in Summit County they do not own.”

Hideout scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 12 and decision on Aug. 18 in order to thwart any effort by the Legislature to repeal the law at its anticipated Aug. 20 special session, Summit County’s lawsuit states.

“The court finds that Summit County’s reasoning merits a favorable exercise of the court’s discretion to preserve the status quo pending a final determination of rights of the parties, consistent with sound equitable principles, taking into account all facts and circumstances of the case,” the judge’s order states.

The court scheduled a hearing for Aug. 17 to determine whether the temporary restraining order would be dissolved or continued in the form of a preliminary injunction.

Now, Summit County officials will have a chance to “be in front of a judge to prove the case as it’s been laid out” in the lawsuit, said Summit County Manager Tom Fisher.

“We’re very pleased with the results so far, given what we’ve put in front of the judicial system, but it’s one step in the process that we …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News


Eli Lilly testing whether novel COVID-19 antibody drug can quash outbreaks in nursing homes

Eli Lilly & Co. has started a Phase 3 trial of its experimental antibody-based COVID-19 drug in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, testing whether the drug reduces the infection case at facilities where residents or staff have recently tested positive for the new coronavirus. The study involves Eli Lilly driving specially modified RVs to newly infected nursing homes and injecting its COVID-19 drug, code-named LY-CoV555, in volunteers, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company said its drug may get government approval by the end of 2020.

Eli Lilly is already testing its antibody treatment, developed with Canadian biotech AbCellera Biologics, in hospitals on COVID-19 patents with mild and more severe cases. Researchers essentially cloned antibodies from one of the first U.S. patients to recover from COVID-19, hoping those proteins help the immune system fight the virus or prevent it from taking hold. If Eli Lilly’s drug or another like it proves safe and effective, public health experts say it might serve as a bridge until a vaccine is available.

Nursing homes have been especially susceptible to deadly COVID-19 outbreaks. The new study, conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, seeks to enroll 2,400 test subjects.

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Source:: The Week – Business


Blizzard Employees Share Salaries With Each Other to Protest Wage Disparities

Employees at Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Activision Blizzard Inc., began circulating a spreadsheet on Friday to anonymously share salaries and recent pay increases, the latest example of rising tension in the video game industry over wage disparities and executive compensation.

Blizzard, based in Irvine, California, makes popular games including Diablo and World of Warcraft. In 2019, after an internal survey revealed that more than half of Blizzard workers were unhappy with their compensation, the company told staff it would perform a study to ensure fair pay, according to people familiar with the situation. Blizzard implemented the results of that study last month, which led to an outcry on the company’s internal Slack messaging boards.

One employee then created a spreadsheet and encouraged staff to share their compensation information. The anonymous document, reviewed by Bloomberg News, contains dozens of purported Blizzard salaries and pay bumps. Most of the raises are below 10%, significantly less than Blizzard employees said they expected following the study.

“Our goal has always been to ensure we compensate our employees fairly and competitively,” Activision Blizzard spokeswoman Jessica Taylor said. “We are constantly reviewing compensation philosophies to better recognize the talent of our highest performers and keep us competitive in the industry, all with the aim of rewarding and investing more in top employees.”

This year, Blizzard top performers received a salary increase that was 20% more than in prior years, and more people got promotions, Taylor added. “Our overall salary investment is consistent with prior years,” she also said.

Wage disparity has become a hot-button issue in the $150 billion video game industry as calls for unionization grow. A pro-labor group recently slammed Activision Blizzard for the pay of Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick. His 2019 compensation was worth $40 million at the end of that year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and the package has grown since then as the company’s stock has soared. Last year, the company also paid $15 million in stock awards and sign-on bonus to incoming Chief Financial Officer Dennis Durkin. In the anonymous spreadsheet, one employee listed the CEO’s annual salary, bonus and stock award.

In internal messages reviewed by Bloomberg News, Blizzard employees said they were struggling to make ends meet while watching Activision Blizzard revenue grow year after year. Some producers and engineers at Blizzard can make well over $100,000 a year, but others, such …read more

Source:: Time – Business