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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek 4/24/2017

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

21 min
disney’s galactic gambit

The first thing you notice when you meet Joe Rohde is his left earlobe—the one that stretches down to his jawline because it’s carrying 12 hoops. He’s collected them in journeys to Africa, South America, and the Himalayas, and it’s gotten to the point where locals now give him unsolicited earrings, either because they like his style or want to test the limits of what Rohde refers to as his National Geographic ear. “It’s happened with Tibetan people on a trail, Thai hill people, Masai warriors,” says Rohde, a veteran executive in Walt Disney Co.’s Imagineering division, which designs theme parks. “They just hand me stuff.” He shrugs. The hoops jingle when Rohde moves, which he’s doing a lot on this chilly morning in March. He points with both index fingers…

3 min

Ups “This is already a victory for the ages. We have defied the odds.” • Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff, after falling just short of the votes required to win a special election in a traditionally Republican-held House seat in Georgia. The documentary filmmaker heads for a runoff on June 20. • Vietnam unveiled plans to privatize Sabeco, the country’s largest brewer. With Saigon Beer and 333, the company has roughly half the country’s beer market. • China’s economy grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter, as production at steel plants and gadget factories accelerated. China’s data, however, has been so steady, some economists question whether authorities are fudging the numbers. • PetSmart agreed to buy Chewy for $3.4 billion, a record for an e-commerce company. After just six years in business, Chewy garnered $900…

6 min
downsizing google’s dream

The first of 10,000 volunteers will soon walk into labs at Stanford and Duke to subject themselves to two days of tests. Each will provide a blood sample for DNA sequencing and a stool sample for a gut bacteria scan, get a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram, and take a psychological assessment. Participants will be asked if they’re willing to share electronic health records and insurance claims. They may also be asked to share records of phone, text, and social media activity. All will go home with a special wristwatch meant to track their heart rate, sweat, and number of steps for the next four years. The study—called Baseline, as in a starting point—opened on April 19. It marks the first serious public test for Verily Life Sciences LLC, formerly Google…

1 min
the showbiz issue

There’s no business like...well, you know. What makes show business unique? Where else can you spend $500 million or more on an Avatar-themed fantasyscape (“Disney’s Galactic Gambit,” page 56)? And in what other realm can four funnymen make a mockumentary about a fake band-and then, when they want residuals, get told that their cult classic was basically worthless (“This Lawsuit Goes to 11,” page 72)? The industry rewards changelings and power duos (“You Talkin’ to Us?,” page 68), airborne giants (“Just Another Manic Sunday,” page 78), and whiz kids (“Abe Burns, Celebrity Techsplainer,” page 82), Perhaps there’s no business like show business because the label can be slapped on anything fun-something you’ll find plenty of in the following 33 pages.…

5 min
the shifting politics of taxing carbon

Last July, Tommy Wells, director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment, received the final copy of a report that had been in the works for more than a year. Its subject: how to make Washington the first major city in the U.S. to adopt a carbon tax. The 51-page document laid out a framework for instituting a levy that prices emissions of greenhouse gases roughly in line with the cost of their environmental damage, then giving the revenue—projected at about $200 million a year—back to taxpayers. The report was never released, however, not even to the city council. Bloomberg obtained a copy through a public records request. The department, Wells said in a statement, “does not have an interest in promoting or implementing a carbon tax.” D.C.’s…

5 min
whole foods market’s identity crisis

With the organic grocery chain he built at a crossroads and an activist investor threatening to force its sale, John Mackey was in a Manhattan bookstore on April 13 proselytizing about the benefits of a vegan diet. The eccentric, 63-year-old Whole Foods Market Inc. chief executive officer told a small crowd that he was compelled to write his new book, The Whole Foods Diet, because the prescription he lays out—consume mostly plants while avoiding meat and processed food—will help fight chronic ailments such as diabetes and obesity. “It’s almost an ethical issue,” Mackey said at a Barnes & Noble store in the Tribeca neighborhood. “I have to say what I know.” While Mackey lays out a cure for America’s health woes, investors are questioning whether he can fix what’s ailing Whole…