Morning Agenda: Barclays Charged with Fraud – New York Times

The defendants are scheduled to appear in court on July 3.

Grocery Wars

Conglomerates were supposed to be dying off, and corporate America was supposed to have fallen in love with small and nimble companies.

But Amazon has been building up its enormous range of interests, from cloud computing to books and toothpaste. And then it added a bricks and mortar grocery business to the pile.

Conglomerates haven’t disappeared: They’re just dressed up with Silicon Valley flair, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes.

These new empires — Amazon, Google, Facebook — may be inefficient just like the conglomerates that came before them. If any of the major parts in the machinery stall, the entire enterprise could come under pressure. Shareholders could start calling for a breakup, as in the case of General Electric.

But has Silicon Valley cracked the code? Has Amazon’s scale and ability to subsidize its entry into new businesses made it anticompetitive and impervious to this natural cycle?

Even as Amazon shows its heft, Blue Apron, a meal delivery service, has persisted, hoping to raise as much as $586.5 million.

Blue Apron is betting that its podcast-loving customers will continue to love fresh ingredients, convenient home delivery and cooking at home. But in a world where Amazon is buying Whole Foods, Blue Apron will have to work hard to convince investors that it offers something different and that it can be profitable.

Move Over, Bitcoin

We all know its name, and its price has more than doubled since the start of the year. But Bitcoin may not be the top virtual currency for long.

Ether, the digital currency that lives on a network called Ethereum, has risen 4,500 percent since the beginning of the year.

As Bitcoin has been tainted by its association with online drug sales and ransom demands, Ether has been backed by big corporate names like JPMorgan Chase and Microsoft.

And so virtual currency fanatics are awaiting “the flippening,” which could see Ethereum, backed by its network’s computing capabilities, overtake the price of Bitcoin, which has made more inroads into mainstream commerce.

Coming Up

• British regulators will report to the government on whether 21st Century Fox should be allowed to buy the rest of Sky, the British satellite giant. The regulators will be evaluating, among other things, whether the executives are “fit and proper” to retain broadcasting licenses in Britain.

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