Business

Economics, employment, jobs, real estate, taxes, economic development and incentives, workforce development, IPOs, investment and anything related to business in Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Whataburger
Carlo Nasisse for KUT

Whataburger announced today that it is selling a majority interest in the company to BDT Capital Partners, LLC, a Chicago-based bank.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars, has agreed to pay a $15,000 legal settlement to the creator of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character appropriated by the "alt-right" that is now widely used in racist Internet memes.

Jones signed the settlement on Monday with Matt Furie, the California-based artist who created Pepe some 15 years ago. The lawsuit alleged that Jones used the character without permission as part of a promotional poster also featuring images of himself, President Trump and far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET

New tariffs against Mexico will begin to bite next week, President Trump vowed Tuesday, unless the White House is satisfied that Mexico's government is acting with new alacrity to stop migrants from crossing into the United States.

"This will take effect next week, 5%," Trump said during his visit to London.

Trump said he is open to continuing negotiations with Mexican leaders, including at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday between its foreign minister and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

KUT

The state’s labor regulator on Tuesday approved a controversial new rule on gig economy workers – a rule opponents say will have far-reaching implications for these workers going forward.

 Google has reportedly leased an entire 35-story, 735,000-square-foot building under construction on Cesar Chavez Street in downtown Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you were relieved by last year’s announcement that Amazon’s HQ2 would go elsewhere – along with its potential 50,000 employees over 15 years – know this: Expansion efforts by Amazon, Apple and Google could produce a near-equivalent wave of folks coming to Austin – and sooner than any HQ2.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT'

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating the city of San Antonio for potential First Amendment violations after the City Council voted to prevent Chick-fil-A — a franchise known for opposing same-sex marriage — from opening a location in the city’s airport.

Amazon headquarters building
Robert Scoble/Flickr <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(CC BY 2.0)</a>

Amazon will create 800 new jobs in engineering, research and cloud computing in Austin, the tech giant announced Thursday.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Workers' rights advocates called on the Texas Workforce Commission to abandon a proposed rule that would exempt gig economy contractors from unemployment benefits. They say the rule was crafted by industry lobbyists and could encourage businesses to adopt online-only models to dodge state taxes for worker benefits.

Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

When Amanda Bosky, a graduate student in sociology, goes to an academic conference, she often uses Airbnb to save money. Now the University of Texas at Austin student is worried that she can't anymore.

Women attending DivInc Startup Sistas Happy Hour listen to CEO Preston James.
Juan Figueroa for KUT

Kim Roxie was a student when she first realized there was a problem.

“It was working at a makeup counter while I was in college and coming in contact with so many women who were tired of the way beauty was being done,” she says. “A lot of beige and not enough brown in the cosmetic department.”

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Texans would be able to take home beer directly from local breweries if a bipartisan bill before the Texas Legislature becomes law. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is enjoying a robust economy. The city boasts monthly job numbers that are at or near what economists consider full employment; that is, almost everyone who can work is working. But the tighter job market is putting the squeeze on restaurants.

Courtesy of We Print Houses

An Austin-based company is ushering in 3D technology that makes it easier for builders to print homes.

Residential building company Sunconomy LLC and California-based Forge New last week introduced We Print Houses, a system that can be licensed by contractors and builders to construct homes in only a few months.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Williamson County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an incentive package for Apple to develop 133 acres of ranch land into an office complex.

Apple announced plans last week to invest $1 billion to build a third complex in the Austin area; this would be the first in Williamson County.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Tech giant Apple announced today it plans to invest $1 billion in a new Austin campus. The 133-acre campus off Parmer Lane is about a mile away from Apple's existing campus and would accommodate 5,000 new employees. The new facility is slated to open in 30 to 36 months.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Shareholders of Round Rock-based Dell Technologies voted Tuesday to take the company public after operating for five years as a private company. The closing of the roughly $23 billion move will happen at the end of the month.

Julia Reihs/KUT

Fear not, Texans. You won't be crying in your last, lonely Lone Star any time soon.  

The "National Beer of Texas," has been spared in a dispute between Pabst Brewing, which owns the Lone Star brand, and MillerCoors.

Stores Fighting For Black Friday Sales Aim For Convenience

Nov 23, 2018
Sarah Jasmine Montgomery / KUT

Retailers are offering much of their Black Friday deals online, but shoppers still showed up at malls and stores around the country looking for discounts — and also to take in the scene.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

After more than a year of lists and speculation, Austin's bid to secure Amazon's second headquarters is over. According to NPR, Austin joins a long list of more than 230 cities that competed in the race for an unheard-of prize: the promise of 50,000 jobs from the ecommerce juggernaut.

That prize has now been split in two – between Arlington, Va., and a neighborhood just across the East River from Manhattan. So what’s to come for Austin and the scores of other cities that didn't get a call from Amazon?

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Broadcast Music Inc. will be opening an office in Austin, Gov. Greg Abbott and the music rights management group announced Thursday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It appears the end is near for Amazon’s search for a location for a second headquarters.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the company has changed its initial plans and will select two cities for what would reportedly be – in effect –  two HQ2s. The new plan would mean an even split of the planned 50,000 employees to two locations. The Journal reported the finalists are New York, Dallas and Crystal City, Va. (which is part of the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington).

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Sears will be closing its two oldest Austin stores – in Hancock Center and at Barton Creek Square Mall – as part of a bankruptcy filing announced Monday.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

All Austin businesses with a permit to sell food are now required to divert organic waste from landfills, but some restaurant owners say they didn’t get the message.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Mattress Firm has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will close up to 700 stores, the Houston-based chain announced Friday. About 200 stores are expected to close in the next few days, and decisions about additional store closings will be made soon after.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Expansion and intergenerational wealth building was emphasized by business leaders Thursday at the annual State of Black Business Luncheon.

The event, hosted by the Greater Black Austin Chamber of Commerce, gives black business owners the opportunity to hear from experts about current issues facing them as well as growth opportunities.

KUT

NOTE: “Following the publication of the article previously on this page, it was subsequently reviewed by outside legal counsel. Fairness and accuracy are core to our guiding principles, and to that end, we have removed this story pending further review. We appreciate the work of the independent reporter and independent editor who worked on these stories in good faith. We will seek to provide more information on these matters in the coming days based on the outcome of ongoing reviews.”

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

Facebook has taken down 652 accounts, pages and groups that originated in Iran. The accounts were used for political disinformation and targeted at users in the Middle East, Latin America, the UK and the U.S., according to Facebook.

Lotus Carroll

The San Antonio City Council passed a new paid sick leave ordinance Thursday — but the local rule may well die either in the courts or on the floor of the state Legislature before it goes into effect next year.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When it comes to tariffs, the Texas economy has a lot at stake.

“Texas clearly is the No. 1 exporting state in America, so we really have ostensibly the most to lose,” said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.

Moseley said he's worried about the potential effects of tit-for-tat tariffs from China.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Residents and even city leaders are calling for some internal changes to the Domain Northside after a brochure describing its “quintessential" shopper caused an uproar.

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