By Francesca Fontana
A new British invasion is generating a princely sum for some American entertainment companies. About 17.1 million people tuned in on March 7 to watch Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle on the ViacomCBS-owned CBS network, which paid a licensing fee between $7 million and $9 million. Ms. Winfrey is also working with Prince Harry on a special about mental health for Apple TV+. ViacomCBS shares rose 13% Monday.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc.
The late stages of the pandemic will test the stamina of Dick’s Sporting Goods. The retailer said on Tuesday that it expects sales to ease this year after last year’s growth, fueled by strong demand for at-home fitness equipment during lockdown. Like other retailers, Dick’s strengthened its e-commerce operation last year to continue to reach shoppers adjusting to new work and lifestyle patterns. Now, the company faces the challenge of maintaining momentum and building on last year’s gains. Other retail chains like Walmart Inc. have also said they believe growth will slow. Dick’s shares lost 6.3% Tuesday.
Online trading mobs drove up GameStop’s value. Now, the retailer faces pressure to turn itself around. GameStop said Monday that its board formed a committee dedicated to transforming the videogame company that will be led by Chewy Inc. co-founder Ryan Cohen. Last year, Mr. Cohen bought a large stake in GameStop and started pushing the company to revamp its business model. The company has struggled in recent years, facing competition from Amazon.com Inc. and other large online retailers. Consumer and developer habits changed as well, as many favor downloading or streaming games from home rather than buying physical games at stores. GameStop shares soared 41% Monday.
General Electric Co.
The lights are going out at GE Capital. General Electric on Wednesday agreed to combine GE Capital Aviation Services, the jet-leasing unit of the once-sprawling lender, with rival AerCap Holdings NV in a deal worth more than $30 billion. Chief Executive Larry Culp said the deal will simplify the industrial giant, which will essentially return to being a manufacturer of power turbines, jet engines, wind turbines and hospital equipment. Mr. Culp will use the proceeds to shed debts that have hung over GE since the 2008 financial crisis. The remainder of GE Capital, a legacy insurance business and a small equipment-leasing operation, will be folded into the company’s corporate operations. GE shares fell 5.4% Wednesday.
Stitch Fix Inc.
Stitch Fix is all tangled up because of problems at the post office. The online fashion retailer on Monday reported underwhelming results for the holiday quarter that the company largely attributed to shipping delays. Stitch Fix ships boxes of clothes to customers who can keep what they want and return the rest, and the U.S. Postal Service is its main carrier. The USPS has struggled to manage surging package volumes during the pandemic as consumers became more reliant on online shopping. During the holidays, FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. also limited the number of packages they accepted, compounding ongoing staffing shortages and putting additional strain on USPS. Stitch Fix shares fell 28% Tuesday.
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.
The curtain is opening again at movie theaters across the U.S. AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain, has reopened many of its cinemas in recent weeks after a winter surge of coronavirus cases prompted closures at the end of 2020. The company said roughly 527 out of its 589 domestic theaters were open as of March 5, and it expects new films and vaccine distribution to bring better results this year. AMC on Wednesday reported an annual loss of $4.59 billion for 2020, but the company has been able to avoid bankruptcy thanks to new money from investors. AMC shares added 4.4% Thursday.
Amazon.com won’t sell books framing LGBTQ+ identities as mental illnesses. The company stated its policy on Thursday in a letter to several Republican senators explaining its decision to remove a book from its platforms. Last month, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana and Josh Hawley of Missouri wrote to Amazon asking why a three-year-old book about transgender issues by a conservative scholar was no longer…