Musk sells Tesla stock to just in case Twitter backers bail; Disney streaming service edges out Netflix

Musk sells $7B in stock ahead of Twitter fight

NEW YORK — Elon Musk has sold nearly $7 billion worth of shares in Tesla as the billionaire gets his finances in order ahead of his court battle with Twitter.

Musk disclosed in regulatory filings that he unloaded about 8 million shares of the electric carmaker in recent days.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close and some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday.

Musk is by far the largest individual shareholder in both Tesla and Twitter.

He countersued Twitter last week, accusing the company of fraud over his aborted $44 billion acquisition. He claimed that Twitter held back critical information and misled his team about the size of its user base.

Musk offered to buy Twitter earlier this year, then tried to back out of the deal claiming the social platform was infested with a larger numbers of “spam bots” and fake accounts than Twitter had disclosed.

Musk said in the spring that he planned no major sales Tesla shares after lining up financing to acquire Twitter, but analyst Dan Ives said Wednesday that “the situation has dramatically changed.”

Disney+ now has 221M subscribers, tops Netflix

NEW YORK — The Walt Disney Co. said Aug. 10 that it added 14.4 million subscribers to its Disney+ streaming service in the April-June fiscal quarter, putting it just ahead of Netflix in the streaming wars with about 221 million total streaming subscriptions.

Disney also reported revenue of $21.5 billion in the three months, up 26 percent from the same time last year. Earnings per share came to $1.09 when excluding certain items. Analysts polled by FactSet projected adjusted earnings of 97 cents per share on revenue of $20.99 billion for the quarter, according to FactSet Research.

Disney said Wednesday it added 14.4 million subscribers to Disney+ in the April-June fiscal quarter.

Netflix ended June with 220.7 million subscribers after losing nearly 1 million subscribers.

Disney also announced a new monthly rate structure that includes advertising-supported options for its streaming service. Starting Dec. 8 in the U.S., Disney+ with commercials will cost $7.99. The ad-free version will climb 38 percent, or $3, to $10.99.

Honda sees declining profits on chip crunch

TOKYO —  Honda’s fiscal first quarter profit fell 33 percent to the U.S. equivalent of $1.1 billion from last year as a global computer chip shortage, a pandemic-related lockdown in China and the rising costs of raw materials hurt the Japanese automaker.

Quarterly sales slipped 7 percent to $28 billion, the company said Aug. 10.

Honda kept its profit forecast for the full fiscal year through March 2023 unchanged at $5.3 billion.

The semiconductor shortage has hurt all the world’s automakers, including Honda, despite strong demand, and the manufacturers have been scrambling to secure alternative suppliers.

Honda, which makes the Accord sedan, Odyssey minivan and Civic compact, sold about 815,000 vehicles last quarter, down from 998,000 vehicles the same period a year earlier. Auto sales dropped in almost all regions around the world, including Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

“I ask for the understanding from all those who are still waiting for their vehicles and vow that our whole company is doing its utmost to make the deliveries even a day sooner,” finance chief Kohei Takeuchi said.

Toshiba boosts profit on devices, car demand

TOKYO — Toshiba reported a 44 percent improvement in profit in the last quarter as the Japanese technology giant revamps its brand image and seeks to reassure investors about its management.

Quarterly sales rose 2 percent.

Toshiba has promised to boost annual sales by forging ahead with clean energy, infrastructure projects, data services, devices and storage businesses. The company said Aug. 10 that demand for electronic devices and storage and digital solutions, including from the automotive sector, was healthy.

In March, investors rejected a company-backed reform proposal to split Toshiba into two businesses. An earlier plan that also was scrapped called for a three-way split.

Judge: Walgreens culpable for SF opioid crisis

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ruled that Walgreens can be held responsible for contributing to San Francisco’s opioid crisis for over-dispensing opioids for years without proper oversight and failing to identify and report suspicious orders as required by law.

City attorney David Chiu said the pharmacy chain failed to track opioid prescriptions, prevented pharmacists from properly vetting prescriptions and missed red flags about over-prescribing doctors.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ruled that for 15 years, Walgreens dispensed hundreds of thousands of pills, eventually contributing to the city’s hospitals being overwhelmed with opioid patients. Walgreens said it would appeal the ruling, which it said was not supported by “the facts and the law.”