What a billion dollars buys you this week
There have been a lot of billion dollar deals in the past couple days. Sales, proposed fines, buyouts. If you’ve got a couple billion dollars lying around the house, you had a lot of options. So, on the off-chance you’re a billionaire, here are some of the things you might have been able to buy this week:
A clean river. Los Angeles city officials want to turn Los Angeles River into a scenic urban oasis, and that plan just got a bit more likely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommending approval of that $1 billion proposal. This all still has to be voted on by Congress, but it’s looking like the Los Angeles River might not be a concrete corridor for much longer.
The worst franchise in sports history. That’s what former Microsoft tycoon Steve Ballmer seems like he’ll be able to buy from noted racist-remark-maker Donald Sterling if and when his deal to buy the Los Angeles Clippers goes through. Beating out bids by David Geffen, Grant Hill, and Oprah Winfrey, the deal still requires final approval from the NBA. And though Sports Illustrated named the Clippers the “worst franchise in sports history,” their fortunes appear to be looking up.
A whole bunch of headphones. Beats, the high-end headphone manufacturer and music streaming service owned by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, might seem like an odd fit for Apple, purveyor of shiny gadgets and computers. But Apple disagrees, to the tune of the $3 billion it will spend on Beats. Apple doesn’t have to build a subscription music service itself, and instead just supplants one already in place.
Lots and lots of meat. Or not. When Pilgrim’s Pride offered to buy Hillshire Brands for $5.7 billion, everything seemed alright (or more accurately for the two huge meat companies, kosher). Then food-giant Tyson swept in with an even bigger offer and made everything a bit more complicated. The deal still hasn’t been finalized, but you could consider Hillshire the king of the prom right now.
Forgiveness, or at least freedom from further prosecution. That’s what BNP Paribas, the largest bank in France, might have to pay in order to avoid criminal prosecution. The U.S. Justice Department suspects that BNP Paribas ignored sanctions and did business with countries like Sudan and Iran, but won’t press criminal charges if the bank pays a very large fine. And the actual amount they have to pay might be far less, and BNP Paribas is looking to pay less than $8 billion.
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