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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:
Walgreens and Rite Aid will sell 865 stores to rival retailer Fred’s for $950 million, potentially removing the final roadblock thwarting a tie up between the nation’s largest and third-largest drugstore chains. Wall Street certainly saw it that way, sending shares of all three companies higher in early trading Tuesday. Walgreens is working to close its $9.4 billion purchase of Rite Aid early next year. It said Tuesday that it’s selling the Rite Aid stores in response to concerns raised by federal anti-trust regulators. The deal still needs to be approved by the Federal Trade Commission. Read more
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Disney and Aeropostale are among six retailers that have agreed to stop using on-call scheduling, a system worker advocates have said means too much unpredictability for employees. The change in scheduling was made following an inquiry by nine attorneys general. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday about 50,000 workers nationwide will benefit. On-call scheduling requires employees to call before a scheduled shift to find out if they have to work that day. Worker advocates say it can leave employees scrambling for child care, unable to hold second jobs and with uncertain paychecks. Read more
BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel already knew that her campaign for a fourth term as Germany’s leader will be her most difficult yet. The deadly truck attack on a Christmas market may have made it tougher — and is already polarizing opinion. A nationalist party that has assailed Merkel’s acceptance of migrants leapt on events in Berlin well before authorities even concluded that the incident was an attack, with a prominent member proclaiming the 12 victims to be “Merkel’s dead.” Monday’s attack also threatened to rekindle tensions between Merkel and Bavarian conservative allies, who have sniped at her migrant policies and demanded a cap on the number of newcomers that Germany will accept, and whose supporters are an important source of votes. Read more
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission is investigating whether Facebook gave misleading information about its takeover of mobile messaging service WhatsApp. The EU’s executive body on Tuesday gave Facebook until Jan. 31 to answer a “statement of objections” about merger information the social media giant gave the Commission two years ago. The Commission, the EU’s merger and anti-trust watchdog, is concerned that Facebook can match its users’ accounts with WhatsApp user accounts. Read more
WASHINGTON (AP) — Throughout the presidential campaign, the Bush family and many of its Republican allies turned their backs on Donald Trump. Now, they’re finding common cause with Trump over his pick to lead the State Department: Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has long orbited their same political, philanthropic and business worlds. Former President George W. Bush, who has largely avoided politics since leaving office in 2009, heaped praise on Tillerson in a recent phone call to Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee lawmaker who will oversee the secretary of state confirmation hearings. Jeb Bush, Tillerson’s preferred candidate in the 2016 race, called the Exxon executive a “good man and accomplished leader.” Read more