After A Terrible 2019, Blizzard Is Going All-In At BlizzCon

The plan was always to wait for BlizzCon. In November of 2018, after a PR blow-up surrounding the ill-advised announcement of the mobile game Diablo Immortal, Blizzard’s staff knew that they just needed to make it through the next year without incident. If they could, they’d be able to win fans back with a suite…

The plan was always to wait for BlizzCon. In November of 2018, after a PR blow-up surrounding the ill-advised announcement of the mobile game Diablo Immortal, Blizzard’s staff knew that they just needed to make it through the next year without incident. If they could, they’d be able to win fans back with a suite of killer announcements. Rumors of upcoming layoffs were making employees anxious, and the suits over at the Activision end of the company had been exerting their influence more. But there was still hope that the company’s annual convention near the end of 2019 could bring great things.Then 2019 actually happened, culminating in an international debacle that saw Democrats and Republicans unite to condemn a video game company—possibly a historical first. On October 6, Hearthstone pro player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai called for Hong Kong’s sovereignty from China on a Blizzard stream, saying, “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age.” Blizzard suspended Ng Wai for a year, stripped his prize money, and cut ties with the casters involved, triggering widespread outrage. Fans and critics questioned whether Blizzard’s massive financial interests in China—which is responsible for a large chunk of Hearthstone’s revenue, according to people who have worked there—led the company to punish a player for expressing free speech. Blizzard later walked back the punishment, but that wasn’t enough to quell the anger.With BlizzCon starting this Friday in Anaheim, California, it’s fair to wonder how people will react. Since last year, Blizzard has been planning to go all-in on this BlizzCon, with announcements prepared for the company’s two huge upcoming games—code-name Fenris (Diablo IV), and code-name Calypso (Overwatch 2, or whatever it winds up being called)—as well as other expansions, remasters, and surprises. Now, there’s a sense of foreboding hanging over the event. Will there be massive protests at the Anaheim Convention Center? Will Twitch streams be full of spammed messages about the liberation of Hong Kong? Will fan Q&As be dominated by questions about Blizzard’s financial dependence on an authoritarian government? Will the announcements of highly anticipated games help Blizzard’s reputation recover?When asked about plans and concerns surrounding this year’s BlizzCon, a Blizzard spokesperson sent over the following statement:BlizzCon has always been a place where we celebrate the passion and diversity of the Blizzard community, where we encourage and support the many creative and thoughtful ways attendees share and reflect their views and interests—and this year will be no different. We welcome open, constructive, and civil discussion of different perspectives at the show, and we do still plan to have fan Q&A at certain panels as we normally do. The safety and security of our attendees is and has always been a top priority, and every year we iterate with new measures to bring our event even more up-to-date while doing everything we can to create a comfortable environment for everyone. Eve
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Kind, Maker Of Snack Bars, To Lay Off 15% Of Its Employees By Year-End

Daniel Lubetzky, founder of Kind Healthy SnacksMark Lennihan / ASSOCIATED PRESSKind Healthy Snacks, the maker of chocolate-drizzled snack bars, announced on an internal call to employees on Monday, October 28, that it would be laying off 90 employees by the end of this year.The call, led by Kind’s billionaire founder Daniel Lubetzky and its CEO…

Daniel Lubetzky, founder of Kind Healthy SnacksMark Lennihan / ASSOCIATED PRESSKind Healthy Snacks, the maker of chocolate-drizzled snack bars, announced on an internal call to employees on Monday, October 28, that it would be laying off 90 employees by the end of this year.The call, led by Kind’s billionaire founder Daniel Lubetzky and its CEO Mike Barkley, took place at 10 a.m. ET on Monday morning. With 600 employees in its staff, the layoffs will impact 15% of its workforce.The layoffs will affect “approximately 90 team members across our field marketing, field sales and account management teams,” said a spokesperson for Kind, after Forbes reached out for comment.The company has been expanding in other ways. On October 14, Kind announced it had a
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85 percent of WeWork’s white-collar employees don’t think Adam Neumann’s $1.7 billion exit package is fair

WeWork employees are upset with the state of affairs at the coworking company, which has gone from one of the most promising public stock offerings of 2019 to near implosion in a matter of months. Nearly half of WeWork’s white-collar workers think they’re going to be laid off, according to a survey of 200 WeWork…

WeWork employees are upset with the state of affairs at the coworking company, which has gone from one of the most promising public stock offerings of 2019 to near implosion in a matter of months.
Nearly half of WeWork’s white-collar workers think they’re going to be laid off, according to a survey of 200 WeWork employees Recode conducted through the anonymous workplace-discussion app Blind. That’s higher than reported estimates of impending layoffs, which pegged layoffs at about a third of tech and general staff alike. WeWork employs around 14,000 people, including about 1,500 tech workers. The Wall Street Journal reported that WeWork was delaying layoffs until it could afford severance, but presumably thanks to a bailout last week by Japanese tech investor SoftBank, layoffs will happen soon.
Blind users tend to skew more toward software engineers and other white-collar workers and thus are more likely to represent WeWork’s tech workforce than people who help with WeWork’s daily on-site operations. Cuts to these positions will make WeWork’s in
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Tiger Woods Ties Sam Snead’s Career Wins Record in Japan

on golfWoods got his 82nd tournament victory at the Zozo Championship.Tiger Woods celebrated winning the Zozo Championship by three strokes on Monday, tying him with Sam Snead for career PGA Tour victories. “This is big,” Woods said.Credit…Chung Sung-Jun/Getty ImagesOct. 27, 2019Updated 9:42 p.m. ETTiger Woods was 6 years old the first time he crossed paths…

on golfWoods got his 82nd tournament victory at the Zozo Championship.Tiger Woods celebrated winning the Zozo Championship by three strokes on Monday, tying him with Sam Snead for career PGA Tour victories. “This is big,” Woods said.Credit…Chung Sung-Jun/Getty ImagesOct. 27, 2019Updated 9:42 p.m. ETTiger Woods was 6 years old the first time he crossed paths with Sam Snead, who played a two-hole exhibition in Southern California with Woods and said afterward, “If the kid doesn’t burn out, he’ll be the greatest golfer the world has ever seen.”Thirty-seven years later, Woods again found himself in Snead’s company. At the inaugural Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan, Woods chased down Snead, completing a wire-to-wire win on Monday for his 82nd tour victory to pull even with Snead, the PGA Tour’s career titles leader. It was Woods’s 359th start, which means that he has won roughly one-quarter of the tour events that he has played.The site of Woods’s latest milestone was itself a nod to his eminence. Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club was the first Japanese course to host a PGA Tour event as the United States-based circuit continues to spread into far-flung territories seeded by Woods’s renown.Woods’s worldwide reach was borne out in the huge crowds — at times 20 fans or more deep — that turned out to catch a glimpse of him. His global influence was also evident in the form of his main challenger, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, whose golf journey was inspired by Woods.After Woods won his first Masters, in 1997, Matsuyama, who was 5 at the time, said he repeatedly replayed the video of Woods’s 12-stroke victory. Matsuyama offered that anecdote in 2016, after he won the tournament in the Bahamas hosted by Woods, who finished 14 strokes behind in his return to competition after a back injury had sidelined him for roughly 15 months.Matsuyama started the final round in second and that’s where he finished. Denied the opportunity to go head-to-head with Woods in the final grouping — to save time, the players weren’t re-paired bef
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Blackstone’s credit push; the most powerful bankers at BoA; layoffs hit buzzy cannabis companies

Hi, readers.I’ll lay off WeWork this week, although the story has no signs of going away anytime soon. Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising nugget from this past week was that Adam Neumann invited the heads of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq to the Hamptons while the two exchanges were fighting over his listing and…

Hi, readers.I’ll lay off WeWork this week, although the story has no signs of going away anytime soon. Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising nugget from this past week was that Adam Neumann invited the heads of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq to the Hamptons while the two exchanges were fighting over his listing and then requested they ban meat and disposable plastics. The ban had nothing to do with WeWork, of course; it was just that Neumann is personally anti-meat and anti-plastic.Meanwhile, a lot of WeWork employees were mad about Neumann’s $1.7 billion golden parachute.In other big Wall Street news this week, Citi executive Jane Fraser was promoted to president and head of the consumer bank. The move lays the groundwork for her to succeed Mike Corbat as CEO and become the first female CEO of a top US bank.Women in senior leadership positions are rare, particularly in the financial sector, Business Insider’s Sherin Shibu reports. While banks are under pressure to add more women to senior ranks, this was undermined earlier this year, when Rep. Al Green, the Texas Democrat, asked the CEOs of the seven biggest US banks whether they believed their successor would be a woman or a person of color. Not one CEO raised his hand. Which is part an unfortunate bigger picture: Just 25 CEOs in the Fortune 500 are women.Other banks, including JPMorgan, have made steps to elevate women in recent months, with CEO Jamie Dimon putting Jennifer Piepszak and Marianne Lake into roles that could lead to them replacing him.This is the last time you’ll be getting Wall Street Insider from me for a while as I’ll be on maternity leave until March. While I’m out, you’ll be hearing from my fabulous deputy, Meredith, who will keep you up to date on all the best finance stories of the week. (I promise you won’t miss me at all!)I’m planning on spending the rest of the weekend taking my son to the zoo and the Museum of Natural History in our last few days as a family of three. If you have any tips about how to handle a toddler and a newborn, I’d love any help.Have a great weekend, everyone!—OliviaInside WeWork’s all-hands meeting, where the new chairman from SoftBank addressed employee concerns about worthless stock options and Kanye West’s ‘Flashing Lights’ playedWeWork held an all-staff meeting on Wednesday to talk about SoftBank’s takeover and the embattled office company’s future.WeWork Chairman Marcelo Claure, who came from SoftBank, answered questions about employees’ stock options and cofounder Adam Neumann’s future at the company.Claure said he had no specific numbers on layoffs, but is committed to “fast” and “transparent”
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Economic Preview: Why the U.S. economy’s bumpy ride is about to get bumpier

The U.S. economy has hit a lot of bumps in the road lately, and it faces more bumps ahead.The U.S. economy has hit a lot of bumps in the road lately and the way forward is unlikely to get any smoother. A barrage of reports on the economy this coming week are expected to show…

The U.S. economy has hit a lot of bumps in the road lately, and it faces more bumps ahead.The U.S. economy has hit a lot of bumps in the road lately and the way forward is unlikely to get any smoother. A barrage of reports on the economy this coming week are expected to show U.S. growth slowed at the end of the summer. The smoldering trade war with China has sapped business investment, undercut American manufacturers and farmers and caused a decline in hiring. See: MarketWatch Economic Calendar The first big clue will come Wednesday. Gross domestic product in the third quarter running from July to September is forecast to fall to about 1.4% from a 2% pace of growth in the spring. GDP is the official scorecard, so to speak, of how well the economy is doing. Historically the U.S. has grown more than 3% a year, but the last time it reached that mark was in 2005. Most economists think the U.S. can grow no faster than about 2%, at least not for any extended time. The other piece of bad news is due Friday when the governments reveals how many new jobs were created in October. Economists predict the U.S. generated fewer than 100,000 new jobs last month, a figure that would be the lowest since May and one of the weakest numbers in seven years. So just how bad is it? Fortunately, not quite as bad as those headline numbers would suggest. Take GDP. Consumer spending soared to unsustainable levels in the spring and fell back as expected to a more measured but still healthy pace in the summer. No surprise there. More ominously, business investment was weak and production tapered off, especially among U.S. manufacturers more sensitive to swings in the global economy and the trade war with China. The good new is, Chinese leaders and the Trump White House have stepped back from the brink and resumed trade negotiations. That could give manufacturers more solid footin
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Cannabis firms just cut hundreds of jobs as the once-hot industry contends with a ‘toxic’ landscape

An employee of Clever Leaves cuts cannabis plants at a greenhouse. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez This story requires our BI Prime membership. To read the full article, simply click here to claim your deal and get access to all exclusive Business Insider PRIME content. Cannabis companies have been hit with a wave of layoffs in recent weeks,…

An employee of Clever Leaves cuts cannabis plants at a greenhouse.
REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

This story requires our BI Prime membership. To read the full article,

simply click here to claim your deal and get access to all exclusive Business Insider PRIME content.

Cannabis companies have been hit with a wave of layoffs in recent weeks, amounting to close to 600 jobs across both startups and public companies.The layoffs come amid a broader downturn in the sector. One index of marijuana stocks lost over 60% of its value since its high in January of last year.On the private side, a tight funding environment has made it difficult for growth-stage cannabis startups to raise capital.Click here for more BI Prime stories, and subscribe to our weekly cannabis newsletter, Cultivated. The once red-hot cannabis industry is coming back down to earth. Over the past few weeks, cannabis companies — ranging from venture-backed startups like Pax to giants like CannTrust — have announced a series of job cuts, amounting to close to 600 laid-off workers in the sector as a whole.There are unique reasons for the job cuts at each company, but industry analysts and experts say the operating environment for cannabis companies has entered a uniquely challenging phase. Headwinds include illnesses linked to vaping, lower-than-expected retail revenues in Canada and states like California, as well as legislative and regulatory hurdles that make accessing capital much more expensive than in other industries.It’s also become much more difficult for companies to raise money, thanks to cratering share prices for public companies and a shortage of investors for private firms.The Marijuana Index, a composite of cannabis and cannabis-related stocks in the US and Canada, has lost over 60% of its value since its high in January of last year. CannTrust has seen its value crater close to 90% since its high in March after the company was found to be illegally growing cannabis after an investigation by Health Canada, the regulatory agency responsible for overseeing legal cannabis.The decline in valuations has also made big cannabis mega-mergers harder to close, with companies like dispensary-operator MedMen pulling out of deals altogether.An analyst at the investment bank Stifel summed it all up as a “toxic” operating environment. “It’s put a cloud over the industry,” Peter Horvath, the CEO of cannabis company Green Growth Brands, told Business Insider in an interview on Thursday. “The market has corrected — but has it corrected far enough? I don’t know.” Business Insider is tracking these job cuts here and will keep updating as we learn more:Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email jberke@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM @jfberke. Encrypted messaging app Signal number available upon request. 

Hexo Corp – 200 layoffs

Employees sort through harvested cannabis plants at Hexo Corp’s facilities in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.
REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Canadian cannabis producer Hexo Corp announced 200 layoffs on Thursday evening, amounting to a quarter of its workers. Chief Marketing Officer Nick Davies and Chief Manufacturing Officer Arno Groll were among those laid off.The company cited the slow rollout of retail stores in Canada, delays in government approval for cannabis derivative products, and early signs of pricing pr
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CannTrust submits remediation plan; temporarily laying off 1/4 workforce – Article – BNN – BNNBloomberg.ca

CannTrust Holdings Inc. has submitted a remediation plan to Health Canada as part of its efforts to regain the regulator’s trust and return to compliance. The embattled cannabis producer says it’s aiming to complete all of the activities detailed within the plan by the end of the first quarter of next year, according to a…

CannTrust Holdings Inc. has submitted a remediation plan to Health Canada as part of its efforts to regain the regulator’s trust and return to compliance.

The embattled cannabis producer says it’s aiming to complete all of the activities detailed within the plan by the end of the first quarter of next year, according to a release late Thursday.

Health Canada suspended the company’s sales and production licences in September after a number of regulatory missteps came to light, starting in July.

The plan includes “an expanded internal training program, a strengthened governance and operations framework, infrastructure enhancements, and prescribed accountabilities and timelines for a variety of specified tasks,” the company said.

“CannTrust is confident that its remediation plan addresses all the compliance issues identified by Health Canada,” Robert Marcovitch, CannTrust’s chairman and interim CEO, said in the release.

The company a
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Tiger Woods shrugs off shaky start to lead in Japan

Tiger Woods shot a 6-under 64 inthe first round of Zozo Championship (Source: USA Today Sports file)Tiger Woods couldn’t have scripted a better scenario for the PGA Tour’s first tournament in Japan despite his shaky start. After a layoff from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee two months ago, Woods shot a 6-under 64 on…

Tiger Woods shot a 6-under 64 inthe first round of Zozo Championship (Source: USA Today Sports file)Tiger Woods couldn’t have scripted a better scenario for the PGA Tour’s first tournament in Japan despite his shaky start.
After a layoff from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee two months ago, Woods shot a 6-under 64 on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Zozo Championship.
Woods was tied with Gary Woodland, with local favorite Hideki Matsuyama a stroke behind. T
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Cannabis Watch: Cannabis producer Hexo shutting down facilities amid steep staff cuts

Cannabis producer Hexo Corp. will shut down several facilities it operates near Niagara Falls, Ontario, as a result of 200 layoffs it announced Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter. Hexo HEXO, -6.32% HEXO, -5.70%  did not respond to phone and email requests for comment. It was not immediately clear what the impact of…

Cannabis producer Hexo Corp. will shut down several facilities it operates near Niagara Falls, Ontario, as a result of 200 layoffs it announced Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter. Hexo

HEXO, -6.32%

HEXO, -5.70%

 did not respond to phone and email requests for comment. It was not immediately clear what the impact of the Ontario facilities’ closure will be on the company’s operations. The Ontario facilities were once operated by Newstrike Brands, which Hexo acquired in the spring. Hexo had 822 employees as of April 30, according to its last quarterly filing. The shutdown and layoffs at Hexo arrive amid a broad downturn in the sector, as cannabis companies in Canada struggle to meet investor expectations and, in some cases, their own — as in Hexo’s case. The dearth of retail weed stores remains an ongoing issue in Canada as the first anniversary of legal, recreational pot rolled by on Oct. 17. Wall Street analysts have also tamped down expectations for the past several weeks, issuing a wave of price target reductions. Hexo stock
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