Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
AT&T – AT&T’s $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner was approved by a federal judge, handing a defeat to the Justice Department’s effort to derail the deal. The decision is expected to prompt more consolidation in media, and perhaps spark a bidding war between NBCUniversal and CNBC parent Comcast and Walt Disney for assets being sold by 21st Century Fox.
H&R Block – H&R Block earned an adjusted $5.43 per share for its first quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $5.27 a share. The tax preparation firm also saw revenue beat forecasts, and it raised its quarterly dividend by 4 percent to 25 cents per share. However, the stock is coming under pressure after issuing weaker-than-expected full-year revenue guidance and saying that profit margins could be as many as 500 basis points lower for the current fiscal year.
Target – The retailer increased its quarterly dividend to 64 cents per share from 62 cents, an increase of 3.2 percent.
Amazon.com, Starbucks – These and other Seattle-based large companies will no longer be assessed a tax on large companies after the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 to repeal a tax it had passed just a month ago.
WPP Group – The ad giant’s chairman, Roberto Quarta, told the annual shareholder meeting that the search for a new CEO is “well advanced” and moving ahead rapidly. He also said the board’s actions following the probe into former CEO Martin Sorrell’s behavior was “robust” from both a governance and legal perspective.
Guess – Guess co-founder Paul Marciano has stepped down as the apparel maker’s executive chairman, following an investigation into allegations of improper behavior. Guess said the investigation could not corroborate many of the accusations but did find that Marciano had exercised poor judgment on various occasions. He’ll be replaced as chairman by his brother, Maurice Marciano.
Toyota Motor – Toyota will invest $1 billion in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab. Grab said that the investment by Toyota is the largest ever by an auto company in the ride-hailing sector.
Qualcomm – Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon told Reuters that the chip maker will not abandon its data center business. Bloomberg had reported last month that Qualcomm was exploring whether to sell or shut down the division, but Amon said the company will keep operating it after making some staff reductions.
Johnson & Johnson – Johnson & Johnson accepted a $2.1 billion offer for its LifeScan unit, which makes products to monitor blood glucose. The buyer is private equity firm Platinum Equity.
Oxford Industries – Oxford reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.28 per share, beating forecasts by 6 cents a share. The maker of apparel brands such as Tommy Bahama saw its revenue miss forecasts, however, and gave a weaker-than-expected current-quarter earnings outlook.
Hershey – The chocolate maker’s stock was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse, which said a shift to online purchasing by shoppers reduces the number of impulse purchases of Hershey products. Credit Suisse had downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “outperform” in February.