Business & Tech

Talking Points

Nissan names head of China business to be new CEO


National Grid hails massive electricity storage site on Nantucket

Calling it the largest electricity storage battery system in New England, National Grid unveiled on Tuesday a six-megawatt system on Nantucket that cost $81 million to build. As part of the project, a new diesel generator was installed for backup, replacing an old one. The goal is to ensure people and businesses on the island get reliable service during times of peak summer demand and to avoid the need for a third underwater cable to the island. The company has 13,000 customers on Nantucket, but the cost of the project will be borne by ratepayers throughout National Grid’s Massachusetts system, according to a spokesman. The new Tesla battery system could cover roughly half of the island’s electricity demand for up to eight hours. — JON CHESTO


Fidelity’s switch leads to less pricey college savings plans

Fidelity Investments cut fees for the majority of its college savings plans as it launched portfolios that combine active and passive money management. The lower fees on 15 of 22 plans will save investors more than $4 million a year, Fidelity said Tuesday in a statement. The Boston company, which manages $25 billion of the 529 assets sponsored by the states of Arizona, Delaware, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, also said that on Oct. 3 it launched eight college saving portfolios that combine active and index investments. The latest move is part of ongoing fee changes at closely-held Fidelity, which has $2.8 trillion under management. The company has in the past several years joined the asset management price wars with Charles Schwab Corp., Vanguard Group, and BlackRock Inc., all of whom have reduced fees on index mutual funds and ETFs. Fidelity, which built an empire on the prowess of its stock pickers, startled the industry last year by offering several zero-fee index mutual funds. — BLOOMBERG


Hong Kong exchange to UK counterpart: Nevermind

After stunning market watchers with its bid to buy the London stock exchange, the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday dropped its bid. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. said it was ‘‘unable to engage’’ with managers of the London Stock Exchange Group. That followed the London exchange’s public rejection of the surprise offer in mid-September, citing a ‘‘lack of strategic merit.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Startup that aimed to reinvent municipal bonds tells workers it can’t pay them


Neighborly, a startup that once sought to upend the way securities are sold in the $3.8 trillion municipal-bond market, idled its employees after an unsuccessful effort to raise money to stay afloat, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg. Started in 2012, it lists Ashton Kutcher at Sound Ventures, Maven Ventures, and Stanford University among its investors. Neighborly sought to shake up the way state and local government debt is sold so residents would invest in their own communities. To allow for small-scale investments, the company broke with prevailing practice by selling bonds in tiny increments, rather than the typical lots of $5,000 or more aimed at bigger buyers or mutual funds. While cities including Cambridge hired Neighborly, the company failed to gain a foothold and ended up only having a limited impact. — BLOOMBERG


For $20m, Boeing seeks slice of space travel

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Boeing Co. agreed to invest $20 million for a minority stake in Virgin Galactic, a startup that is preparing to fly its customers into space next year. The relationship is designed as a collaboration aimed at shaping the future of human space travel, the companies said in a statement Tuesday. Virgin Galactic also is setting longer-term sights on shuttling airline travelers around the world at high speeds — a mode of transport that will take years to achieve. The deal positions the companies to explore the marketplace for airline travel at hypersonic speeds above the Earth’s atmosphere, trimming trips across the globe to two hours or less. Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. also has announced plans for such flights in the future. — BLOOMBERG


Tariffs, uncertainty pummel small-business confidence

US small-business sentiment fell to near the lowest level of Donald Trump’s presidency, as tariffs and economic uncertainty increasingly weigh on the outlook for owners across the country. The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index declined 1.3 points to 101.8 in September, the third drop in four months, according to data released Tuesday. While the gauge remains elevated by historical standards, it’s the lowest since March and close to January’s 101.2, which was the weakest since Trump’s term began in early 2017. — BLOOMBERG


Newsflash: Daily Mail may buy its British rival

The owner of the Daily Mail newspaper may attempt to buy The Daily Telegraph, according to analysts at broker Liberum Capital Ltd., a deal that would combine two of the UK’s most prominent right-wing and Brexit-backing newspapers. With about $245 million of net cash on its balance sheet after the recent sale of energy-information business Genscape, Daily Mail & General Trust Plc is positioned to pursue its stated preference to focus on acquisitions rather than shareholder returns, Ian Whittaker and Harry Read wrote in a note. The Daily Mail declined to comment. — BLOOMBERG


Toys R Us (and R Target?)

The parent company of Toys R Us is turning to a rival to restart its e-commerce business ahead of the holiday shopping season. Tru Kids Brands is teaming up with discounter Target Corp. to relaunch, according to a joint release. The site, which launched Tuesday, features product reviews and directs browsers to a buy button at to complete the purchase. The moves come as the first two new Toys R Us stores — one in Houston, the other in Paramus, N.J. — will open in November as part of a small comeback of the defunct iconic toy chain. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Fender accused of price distortion


Fender, the historic guitar maker for rock legends Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, deliberately set minimum prices to guarantee profit margins on its iconic instruments, according to the UK’s competition watchdog. From 2013 to 2018, Fender Musical Instruments Europe Ltd. allegedly ran an illegal policy of resale price maintenance, requiring guitars to be sold at or above a minimum figure, restricting customers who shop around from finding a better deal, the Competition and Markets Authority said in a statement on Tuesday. Fender is famous for its Stratocaster electric guitar, used not just by Clapton for his famous opening chords on his hit “Layla” but more recently by guitarists like U2’s The Edge. The Stratocaster gained a measure of immortality when Hendrix set fire to one live on stage at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, before smashing it. — BLOOMBERG