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
BACK TO ITS ROOTS ExxonMobil (XOM) will turn its focus on oil production, bucking the trend of the other supermajors, which are all shifting operations more towards natural gas. That’s not because Exxon has any inherent preference for either hydrocarbon, CEO Rex Tillerson said during the company’s annual strategy presentation to analysts. “There is no bias for us one way or the other. Our bias is to make money,” he said. [Wall Street Journal]
BLOCKBUSTED? A federal bankruptcy judge will rule today whether to keep the struggling video chain alive, or to put an end to its long, dragged-out decline. Liquidating Blockbuster (BLOAQ) would shut down its remaining 5,000 stores and put some 20,000 employees out of a job. [Wall Street Journal]
WALGREENS’ CATALYST DEAL The drug store chain sold its prescription benefits management unit to Catalyst Health Solutions for $525 million. Walgreens’ (WAG) sale should increase Catalyst’s prescription benefits customers to 18 million, up from 7 million and more than double the company’s covered prescriptions to 165 million. [New York Times]
SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN Procter & Gamble’s spray freshener Febreeze has joined an elite group of products to earn the company over $1 billion in annual sales. While Febreeze may seem like a surprising product to thrive during the recession, a P&G (PG) rep suggests that people are more willing to splurge on home-care products, since they are spending more time there. [Wall Street Journal]
SOFTWARE WILL SAVE US says HP’s (HPQ) CEO Leo Apotheker, who plans to take on competitors Oracle (ORCL) and IBM (IBM) in the software market. HP admits that there’s a gap between the kind of cloud services it offers and the kind the customers need. To fill it, HP will buy companies with expertise in the area. [Bloomberg]
MAYBE TOO HANDS ON? A shareholder advisory group for HP is saying that perhaps Apotheker played too big of a role in remaking the company’s brand. When former CEO Mark Hurd left HP earlier this year, so did several members of his board. Now, HP’s advisory group called Institutional Shareholder Services says that Apotheker’s involvement in hiring new board members “raises red flags.” [Wall Street Journal]