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Uber’s Food Delivery Business Nearly Matches Ride-Sharing

Uber’s fourth-quarter revenue was down 16 percent from the previous year. The Uber Eats delivery operation nearly out-earned the rides business in the fourth quarter, the company said. Mark Abramson for The New York Times While Uber’s ride-hailing business remains slow because of travel restrictions related to the pandemic, the company said on Wednesday that its food delivery business was booming. Uber said its overall revenue in the fourth quarter of last year was $3.2 billion, a 16 percent decline from the previous year. Its losses for the quarter, $968 million, were a 12 percent improvement. Ride hailing declined precipitously during the early days of the pandemic. Although there has been some recovery, Uber is still not back where it was at the beginning of 2019. But food delivery has been a bright spot. Delivery orders were up 128 percent, while bookings for rides were down 47 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019, the company said. Uber Eats, the company’s delivery arm, brought in $1.35 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter and nearly out-earned the rides business, which brought in $1.47 billion. The question for Wall Street is whether Uber Eats is growing faster than competitors like Grubhub and DoorDash, which reports its earnings later this month. “The focus is on growth,” said Tom White, a senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson. “Who is gaining market share?” Uber sold off several of its unprofitable business ventures over the last year, including its autonomous vehicle development group and its bike and scooter rental business. It doubled down on delivery, acquiring Postmates, a competing food delivery company, and Drizly, an alcohol delivery service. “While 2020 certainly tested our resilience, it also dramatically accelerated our capabilities in local commerce, with our delivery business more than doubling over the year,” Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Jeep pulls Springsteen Super Bowl ad after news of his drunken-driving charge. Bruce Springsteen in 2017. His Super Bowl ad for Jeep was his first appearance in a commercial. After spending years courting Bruce Springsteen to appear in his first commercial, Jeep took down the ad on Wednesday after news broke that the rock legend had been charged with drunken driving in November. The two-minute spot, which featured Mr. Springsteen in the rural middle of the country, urging unity from a white Jeep, was made last month and aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Time for the broadcast, the biggest television event of the year, cost most advertisers $5.5 million for 30 seconds. The charges against Mr. Springsteen, which included reckless driving and driving while intoxicated in New Jersey on Nov. 14, became public on Wednesday. His first virtual court appearance will likely occur toward the end of February. Jeep removed the Super Bowl ad, which was made by a creative team chosen by Mr. Springsteen, from its Twitter feed and YouTube page. The commercial was the second-most-watched game-day spot on YouTube on Sunday night, behind Amazon’s ad and ahead of commercials by Cadillac and Uber Eats, according to the platform. In a statement, Jeep said, “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate. But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established.” “Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever,” the company said. “As is the message that drinking and driving can never be condoned.”

U.S. trade panel allows Korean company to produce batteries for Volkswagen and Ford. Jim Farley, the chief executive of Ford, with an F-150 pickup truck. Ford hopes to sell an all-electric version of the truck by mid-2022. A Korean company can move forward with plans to produce batteries for electric vehicles for Ford Motor and Volkswagen, a U.S. trade panel ruled on Wednesday. But the decision imposes other limits on the company, SK Innovation, which has been embroiled in an intellectual property dispute with another Korean battery maker. The U.S. International Trade Commission issued the decision in response to a complaint by LG Energy Solution, which had accused SK Innovation of stealing trade secrets. The dispute took on larger significance for the auto industry because SK had deals in place to supply batteries to Volkswagen, for cars it will make next year in Chattanooga, Tenn., and to Ford, for an electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck. Ford welcomed the decision, saying it “supports our plans to bring the all-electric Ford F-150 to market in mid-2022.” LG had asserted that SK used stolen trade secrets to develop lithium-ion battery cells and packs for automobiles. It asked the commission to bar SK from importing the technology. The commission concluded SK was using misappropriated intellectual property and ruled that the company should be barred from importing batteries, cells, or battery packs that use the disputed technology for 10 years. But it created an exception for the batteries SK plans to make at a plant in Georgia for Volkswagen for two years and Ford for four years. “SKI’s total disregard of our warnings and intellectual property rights gave us no choice but to file this case, and we are grateful to the International Trade Commission for protecting our innovations and significant economic investments in the United States,” Jong Hyun Kim, chief executive of LG Energy Solution, said in a statement. SK has planned to invest $2.6 billion to build that factory in Commerce, Ga., and eventually hire as many as 2,600 workers. The first phase of the factory is nearing completion. The trade commission’s decision is not final. President Biden can choose to override it, a step that former President Barack Obama used in a dispute involving a smartphone dispute between Apple and Samsung. In a statement, SK said it had “serious concerns about the commercial and operational implications of this decision” on the future of the plant it is building in Georgia. The company said it would confer with Ford and Volkswagen and seek to discuss the ruling with the Biden administration. “We also believe that the I.T.C. ruling could have a serious adverse impact on President Biden’s policies to combat climate change and expand the electrification of the U.S. auto fleet in coming years,” SK said.

Fox News enters the late-night fray with an 11 p.m. show for Greg Gutfeld. Greg Gutfeld in 2007. The network describes “The Greg Gutfeld Show” as “a comedic hour featuring parodies on current events and signature monologues.” Robert Stolarik for The New York Times Fox News is shifting its 11 p.m. time slot to a new format for the network: late night. “The Greg Gutfeld Show,” which the network describes as “a comedic hour featuring parodies on current events and signature monologues,” will begin airing on weeknights later this year, expanding from its current weekly slot on Saturday evenings. The libertarian anchor Mr. Gutfeld will also continue in his current role as a co-host of “The Five,” the network said on Wednesday. In recent weeks, Fox News has changed the format of some of its most-viewed hours to right-wing talk, replacing previous programs that were focused on news reporting. Mr. Gutfeld’s program will bump “Fox News @ Night,” a daily newscast led by the anchor Shannon Bream, to midnight. Last month, the network switched its 7 p.m. hour, which previously featured a newscast hosted by the anchor Martha MacCallum, to an opinion-focused show called “Fox News Primetime.” The new 7 p.m. program has featured a revolving group of pro-Trump hosts, including Maria Bartiromo and Brian Kilmeade. Ms. MacCallum now broadcasts her news report at 3 p.m. Mr. Gutfeld started his career in magazines, editing Men’s Health, Stuff and Maxim UK. He hosted an overnight chat show on Fox News, “Red Eye,” from 2007 to 2015, which attracted a wide variety of guests including the writer Christopher Hitchens and some stars of New York’s gossip blog scene. Read from source….