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Williams to head New York Fed bank

John Williams, currently head of the Federal Reserve's regional bank in San Francisco, has been selected to be the next president of the Fed's New York regional bank, considered the most influential position among the central bank's 12 regional banks.

The selection was made by the eligible members of the New York Fed's board of directors and approved by the Fed's board in Washington. Even before the official announcement Tuesday, the choice had generated controversy. Opponents said the search process had failed to come up with a candidate who would diversify the top ranks of the Fed system, which is heavily dominated by white males.

Williams, 55, has spent most of his working life in the Fed system, becoming president of the San Francisco Fed in 2011, succeeding Janet Yellen.

He will take over for William Dudley, who announced last year he planned to step down this summer.

 

Southwest CEO says no talks with Buffett

If Warren Buffett is interested in buying Southwest Airlines, he's not telling the airline's CEO directly.

Southwest Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said Tuesday he hadn't talked to Buffett since the Berkshire Hathaway CEO sparked speculation with a comment that he wouldn't rule out owning an entire airline.

Berkshire Hathaway already owns 8.1 percent of Southwest, making it the Dallas airline's second-biggest shareholder behind Primecap Management Co. Berkshire Hathaway also holds major stakes in American, Delta and United airlines.

Buffett's company is sitting on about $116 billion in cash, and he has said the company could make one or two "huge" acquisitions.

Kelly said Southwest talks regularly to all its shareholders including Berkshire Hathaway, "but obviously I can't speak for them or what their interest might be."

 

Toys R Us cards keep store credit

Toys R Us is liquidating and shutting down its websites, but its unused and unexpired Toys R Us and Babies R Us gift cards still have value — for a while.

Through 10:59 p.m., CST, Thursday, Bed Bath & Beyond announced it will offer store credit on Toys R Us gift cards with balances of at least $20.

Shoppers will receive a Bed Bath & Beyond e-gift card, but the exchange value won't be exact. Prices can vary and shoppers can check how much they'll receive on the Bed Bath & Beyond website before agreeing to the swap.

According to the website, the company will reimburse shoppers for about 65 percent of the value of the cards. For example, a $100 Toys R Us card would be worth $64.20 in store credit at Bed Bath & Beyond. The exchange program is run by a company called CardCash, which allows customers to convert gift cards from more than 200 retailers into Bed Bath & Beyond e-gift cards.

Toys R Us and Babies R Us gift cards will be accepted at those physical stores until April 21.

Toys R Us said last month it's preparing to close 735 U.S. stores, including both its Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in Chattanooga.

 

Disney makes offer to buy Sky News

The Walt Disney Co. offered to buy Sky News on Tuesday — but not because the British news channel is core to Disney's business.

Instead, the offer is meant to help Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox buy full control of Sky News' parent company, the broadcaster Sky, a deal that has languished amid concern in Britain that Murdoch could assume too much control over the country's media.

Disney has a stake in the outcome of that transaction. It agreed late last year to buy the bulk of Fox's assets — including Murdoch's international broadcasting operations, of which Sky is a part — for $52.4 billion. And it is competing against Comcast, the U.S. cable giant that plans to make its own bid for control of Sky.

Since unveiling the 21st Century Fox bid in 2016 for the 61 percent of Sky that it did not already own, Murdoch has faced sharp questions over whether he would oversee too much of the media in Britain.

Britain's competition regulator, known as the CMA, provisionally rejected Fox's bid earlier this year as "not in the public interest." Disney, which has a comparatively smaller presence in British media, carries no such historical baggage.

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