The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.
By Shelley DuBois, reporter
JOBS UPDATE Apple (APPL) will be financially fine during the time when COO Tim Cook temporarily takes the reins for ailing CEO Steve Jobs. But at some point, Apple’s secretive campaign to protect the status of Steve Jobs’ health will have to come to and end and the company will need to replace its iconic leader. [Fortune]
G.E. RISES IN THE EAST after a power partnership with a national Chinese aviation company. G.E.
has agreed to share some of its most advanced aviation technology with the Chinese company, which is on track to build an aircraft that could compete with Boeing’s (BA) new Dreamliner. One of the risks for G.E is that the Chinese may learn to copy its technology on the cheap, ultimately outcompeting G.E. products on the market. [New York Times]
CUTTING THE CABLE BACK HOME Regulators are about to green light Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal from G.E. The FCC needs to finalize tweaks made to the conditions of the deal, but the Justice Department has finished its review. Conditions include airing more children’s shows and guaranteeing that NBC news remains independent, among others. Regulators could be ready to give the final stamp of approval as early as today. [Wall Street Journal]
POOR BLOCKBUSTER continues its downward spiral. The company asked creditors for even more cash, between $200 and $250 million to be exact, to help it after court protection ends. Blockbuster (BLOAQ), which filed Chapter 11 in September, may have to close up to 1,000 more stores. The company missed its Friday deadline to announce its reorganization plan and has been looking for a new CEO since last year. The creditors asked to lend Blockbuster money may instead decide to sell. [Wall Street Journal]
WAL-MART ONE STEP CLOSER TO AFRICA Shareholders of African grocery chain Massmart approved the sale of a 51% stake in the company to Wal-Mart (WMT). The deal supports Wal-Mart’s expansion strategy, which should help the company compensate for declining U.S. sales growth. [BBC]
THE STARBUCKS ‘BIG GULP?’ Starbucks (SBUX) announced the release of a new size for iced drinks, called the “Trenta.” The Trenta will provide 30 ounces worth of coffee or Tazo tea beverages to customers, and will be sold mostly in Southern and Southwestern states. [CNNMoney]