Take-Two will buy Zynga, in a union of two top game makers.

Adding Zynga’s stable of app developers is meant to help Take-Two roll out more smartphone versions of its popular video game titles.


Zynga’s offices in San Francisco. Take-Two’s deal values the mobile game maker at about $12.7 billion.Credit…Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The video game publisher Take-Two Interactive agreed on Monday to buy Zynga, a mobile game maker, for more than $11 billion, in a deal that unites the makers of “Grand Theft Auto” and “Farmville.”

With the deal, Take-Two — known for producing games for traditional platforms like the Sony PlayStation console and personal computers — is acquiring a specialist in mobile and social gaming, with Zynga’s best-known titles including “Words With Friends” and other apps.

Adding Zynga’s stable of app developers is meant to help Take-Two roll out more smartphone versions of its popular titles. Zynga will also help Take-Two expand its revenue from so-called recurrent consumer spending, in which players pay for new content and upgrades within games.

“This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity,” Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Under the terms of the deal, Take-Two will pay $3.50 in cash and $6.36 worth of newly issued stock for each Zynga share. That amounts to $9.86 a share, up 64 percent from where Zynga closed on Friday. Including the assumption of debt, the deal values Zynga at about $12.7 billion.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has criticized Jerome H. Powell’s tenure as chair of the Federal Reserve and has said she will not support his renomination.Credit…Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, asked the Federal Reserve in a letter sent Monday to release more information about a series of financial trades that several top officials made in 2020, when the Fed was actively propping up markets.

The Fed has become embroiled in a scandal over the transactions, which came in the months around its no-holds-barred market rescue at the outset of the pandemic, raising the possibility that policymakers could have financially benefited from the information they held and the decisions they were making. Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, has acknowledged that the trades were a problem and acted quickly to overhaul the central bank’s ethics rules.

But that has not stemmed the fallout. Mr. Powell, who was nominated for a second term as chair by President Biden, will almost surely face questions about the Fed’s ethics dilemma at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee. Ms. Warren, who sits on that committee, is pushing for more details about Fed trading activity and new ethics rules, according to a new letter she sent to Mr. Powell. Ms. Warren, who has previously requested that the Fed turn over information and documents surrounding the trades, is asking the Fed to “release all available information about the trades” by Jan. 17.

Ms. Warren noted in her letter that the central bank has failed to fully respond to her previous requests for information.

Ms. Warren, who has criticized Mr. Powell’s tenure as chair, has said she will not support his renomination.

Scrutiny of the 2020 trades has intensified after The New York Times reported last week that Richard H. Clarida, the Fed’s vice chair, failed to initially disclose the full extent of his trading in his original financial disclosure. Mr. Clarida amended his disclosures in late December, and the document showed that he had moved out of a stock fund as the markets were plunging during the pandemic. Three days later, he moved back into the same fund, just before Mr. Powell announced that the central bank stood ready to rescue markets.

Ethics experts said the new information called into question the central bank’s original explanation that Mr. Clarida’s transaction was a preplanned rebalancing away from bonds and toward stocks and that more information was needed to understand the trades.

The new information and corrected disclosure “raises suspicions that the Fed may be failing to disclose the full scope of the scandal to the public,” Ms. Warren wrote. “I therefore ask that you respond in full to my request by January 17, 2022.”

Mr. Clarida updated his disclosures after noticing “inadvertent errors,” a Fed representative said last week, and the Fed’s ethics officer said that the newly noted trades were “in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest.” Still, they have drawn scrutiny because the rapid move out of and back into a stock fund at a time of market tumult looked less like a rebalancing toward stocks and more like a possible response to market conditions.

“This revelation is just the latest evidence of a deep-rooted ethics failure at the Fed and the urgent need for a comprehensive information release about officials’ trading activity,” Ms. Warren wrote.

The flight monitors at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston last week. The airlines continued to cancel flights into the weekend.Credit…Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Airlines canceled thousands more flights in recent days as the industry tried to move past its holiday hangover.

Bad weather and coronavirus outbreaks among workers continued to disrupt schedules across the United States, but airlines have also called off many recent flights, in advance, so they can correct course at a traditionally slow time for travel without surprising customers with last-minute cancellations.

About 5,000 flights were canceled from Friday through Sunday, according to FlightAware, a data tracking service, with the daily number of cuts declining steadily over that period. Southwest Airlines suspended over 1,000 flights, more than any other carrier. SkyWest Airlines, which operates flights for several major carriers, and United Airlines each canceled more than 500 flights.

The turmoil began before Christmas, caused by bad weather in the West and staff shortages because of virus outbreaks among employees. Snowfall in the Northeast continued to wreak havoc at major airport hubs across the country into the first weekend of this month.

“Given the ongoing surge in Covid cases and related sick calls, we’ve been working with each of our major partners to proactively reduce our January schedules,” SkyWest said in a statement. The airline operates flights for United, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines and said the pullback is intended to “ensure we’re able to adequately staff our remaining flying as we work to recover in the coming weeks.”

After canceling flights at high rates over the holidays, JetBlue Airways said it would preemptively cut about 1,300 flights in the first half of January. Alaska said in a statement last week that it would slash about one in 10 flights planned for the month to gain “the flexibility and capacity needed to reset.”

As in many other industries, airlines are also contending with workers calling in sick at high rates as the Omicron virus variant spreads at astonishing speed.

“It has been one of the most difficult operational environments we’ve ever faced,” Allison Ausband, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, said in a statement last week apologizing to customers for the disorder.

To deal with staffing shortages, many carriers have started offering extra pay to those who were otherwise not scheduled to work. Southwest, for example, said last week that it was offering double pay for most of the month to employees who picked up extra shifts, incentives available to workers across its operation, including ground staff, flight attendants, customer service employees, flight schedulers and maintenance technicians.

The chaos comes at a frustrating time for the industry, which is preparing for a significant rebound this summer. That recovery rests largely on the hope that the pandemic will be mostly under control by then and that people will be more willing to travel internationally and for work.

Gia Ganesh, the chief of human resources at Florence Healthcare, now also has to focus on the physical health and safety of the employees.Credit…Audra Melton for The New York Times

Just as the Covid-19 crisis made amateur epidemiologists of people trying to go about their daily lives, it also forced human resources professionals, especially those at small and midsize businesses, into a new focus on public health.

As companies weighed when to return to the office, whether to require coronavirus vaccines and what sort of exemptions from those rules to allow, it was often H.R. directors who were asked to lead those efforts. It was no longer sufficient for these professionals to manage the job satisfaction and career development of their colleagues. Suddenly, they were also charged with monitoring their health, safety and views on immunization.

The added dimensions of H.R. jobs are coming into sharper focus now, as more organizations put vaccine mandates into effect. About 17 percent of American employers were requiring vaccinations or negative virus tests for employees returning to the office, according to a Gallagher survey of more than 500 employers conducted between August and October.

Hovering over company conversations about vaccines is the additional consideration of whether to mandate booster shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not updated its definition of “fully vaccinated” but said that being “up to date” on vaccination includes a booster. Some state and local leaders like Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York have indicated that they plan to do so as well.

Then there’s the tug of war over return to office plans, with the pull of executives eager to see workers in person meeting the push of soaring Covid case counts. On top of that has come the challenge of retaining talent when workers are walking off the job, with 4.5 million leaving their roles voluntarily in November. The sources of stress, for some H.R. directors, seem to multiply by the month.

The Golden Globes were presented in a subdued ceremony on Sunday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.Credit…/EPA, via Shutterstock

On television, the pandemic is already over. In reality, it continues to wreak havoc on the entertainment industry.

The Golden Globes, which traditionally kick off the award show season, were not televised on Sunday night because of ethical issues surrounding the group that gives out the awards. The jump in coronavirus cases is also threatening the rest of awards season, which is about more than just self-congratulation.

The undercutting of an effective form of advertising comes at a time when the industry desperately needs it, and it has the movie business reconsidering its fate in a year that was supposed to signal a return of Hollywood’s glamour, Nicole Sperling reports for The New York Times. The Academy Awards remain scheduled for March 27, with nominations on Feb. 8, but there has been no indication what the event will be like.

If the Hollywood hype machine loses steam, it could prove devastating to the box office, which has struggled with each rise in coronavirus cases. The latest Spider-Man movie was a big success, but other big-budget films, like “West Side Story,” flopped. Pixar said last week that its latest film, “Turning Red,” would skip theaters and will debut exclusively on Disney+ in March, free for subscribers.

Movies with midsize budgets are particularly vulnerable, given their reliance on word of mouth and awards to spread awareness. In response, studios are experimenting with slowing theatrical rollouts, accelerating home streaming and holding more virtual screenings to court award voters.

“The movie business is this gigantic rock, and we’re close to seeing that rock crumble,” said Stephen Galloway, the dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. According to a recent study, 49 percent of prepandemic moviegoers are no longer buying tickets. Eight percent say they will never return.


Fed chair confirmation hearing: The Senate Banking Committee will begin to hold confirmation hearings for the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell. Mr. Powell is expected to face questions regarding the outlook on inflation and the Fed’s former permissive culture toward stock trading by policymakers.


Consumer Price Index: The Labor Department is set to publish its latest report on price increases, which is being watched closely by the Federal Reserve as policymakers decide how quickly to pull back on the central bank’s support for the economy.


Fed vice chair confirmation hearing: Lael Brainard, a Fed governor, will also face the Senate Banking Committee for her confirmation hearing.

Delta earnings: The airline is set to publish its financial performance report for the three months ending in December as it faces new staffing challenges posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Delta canceled more than 1,700 flights between Christmas Eve and New Year’s weekend.


Retail sales: The Commerce Department’s report on consumer spending in December will offer economists a snapshot of spending during the last month of the holiday season, as well as a sense of whether the Omicron variant affected retailers.

Bank earnings: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are set to publish their earnings reports for the fourth quarter. Analysts are expecting the banks to post strong profits, driven by investment-banking and strong capital markets.

Anna Lara plays with her children in Huntington, W. Va., last December. Lara lost her job and relied on the child tax credit for help.Credit…Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

This year’s tax filing season is likely to be another challenging one because of pandemic-related tax changes. But the first step for many taxpayers is simple: Check your mail.

The Internal Revenue Service is sending special statements to the millions of Americans who received monthly payments of the expanded child tax credit last year as part of the pandemic relief program. The agency is also sending letters to the people who got the third stimulus payment last year, reports Ann Carrns for The New York Times.

The advance payments of the child tax credit reflected half of a family’s estimated credit. To claim the other half, people must enter information from the I.R.S. statement on their federal tax return to reconcile the amounts. The document, I.R.S. Letter 6419, details the total amount of advance payments paid last year and how the amount was calculated.

A quick refresher:

Congress expanded the child tax credit for the 2021 tax year, providing as much as $3,600 per child, up from $2,000.

Half of the credit was paid in advance, divided into monthly payments delivered from July through December.

The aid went to families with about 61 million children, according to the Treasury Department.

The I.R.S. is also sending a second letter later this month regarding the third round of stimulus checks. The third batch of checks, of $1,400 per person, was sent beginning in March as part of the pandemic relief effort.

Most eligible people have already received the payments. But if you didn’t, or if you got less than the full amount, the letter — known as Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Statement — will help determine if you can claim the money as a “recovery rebate credit” on your 2021 tax return.

Filing season normally starts in mid- to late January, but the I.R.S. hasn’t yet announced when it will begin accepting returns. READ MORE

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Sunday defended the agency’s recommendations for a shorter isolation for many people who test positive for the coronavirus.Credit…Cheriss May for The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention faced fresh blowback on Sunday for its muddled messaging on the agency’s new isolation and quarantine guidance.

The C.D.C.’s new guidelines, released on Dec. 27, say that people infected with the coronavirus can end isolation, in most cases, after five days instead of 10 and do not need a negative result on a virus test to do so. But some experts have said that five days might be too short, and that letting people mingle with others before first testing negative was risky.

On Sunday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the agency’s director, fielded questions about her decision to drop the testing requirement, and maintained that antigen tests are less sensitive to the Omicron variant, which is surging across the United States, than to previous versions of the virus.

“We have ever-evolving science with an ever-evolving variant, and my job is to provide updated guidance in the context of rapidly rising cases,” she told “Fox News Sunday.”

But other experts disagreed with that assessment, saying antigen tests, while flawed, only missed Omicron cases very early in the course of infection.

“I think they are a bedrock of our long-term strategy for managing this virus,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The debate on testing reflects broader disagreement over how best to cope with a virus that seems here to stay. With only about 63 percent of the population fully vaccinated, the virus could seed large outbreaks and overwhelm hospitals for the foreseeable future.

On Thursday, six prominent health experts who advised President Biden’s transition team called for a new strategy to help Americans live with the virus long-term. Among the recommendations: easy access to affordable tests, more aggressive use of vaccine mandates, “comprehensive, digital, real-time” data collection by the C.D.C. and faster development of vaccines and treatments.

The Supreme Court seemed unlikely on Friday to allow a cornerstone of the Biden administration’s plan to fight the virus. While the court may greenlight a vaccine mandate for health care workers at facilities that receive federal funding, it seemed skeptical of the legal basis for a broader mandate that would affect 84 million American workers.

That mandate would compel all companies with 100 or more employees to require either vaccinations or weekly testing and masks.

“The Supreme Court has to recognize that Covid in the workplace is a real health threat,” said Dr. Zeke Emanuel, one of the authors of the proposed pandemic strategy and a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. Vaccine mandates are the best protection against the virus, particularly for frontline workers, he said.

“For the Supreme Court to take that away in the midst of an emergency seems to me to be very wrong,” he added.

Dr. Walensky did not respond to a question about the utility of a vaccine mandate but noted that unvaccinated children and adults are at significantly higher risk from the virus than people who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

In children 4 years old and younger, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, hospitalizations are at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, the C.D.C. reported on Friday.

“The vast majority of children who are in the hospital are unvaccinated,” Dr. Walensky said on Sunday. “And for those children who are not eligible for vaccination, we do know that they are most likely to get sick with Covid if their family members aren’t vaccinated.”

Omicron is milder than previous variants, and even young children seem less likely to need ventilators than those admitted during previous surges, doctors have said.

Dr. Walensky also clarified confusion over the number of children hospitalized with Covid. On Friday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor mistakenly said that 100,000 children with Covid had been admitted to hospitals nationwide. The real number is closer to 3,500, Dr. Walensky said.

“While pediatric hospitalizations are rising, they’re still about 15-fold less than hospitalizations of older age demographics,” she added.

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