U.S. markets close in 1 hour 36 minutes

Barcelona denies report it hired PR company to damage reputation of Lionel Messi, other players

Barcelona denied a report the club hired a firm to protect president Josep Bartomeu's reputation and damage Lionel Messi's. (REUTERS/Albert Gea)

FC Barcelona is denying a report that it hired a PR company to protect club president Josep Maria Bartomeu’s reputation and damage that of others, including soccer star Lionel Messi.

Barcelona hired the company “13 Ventures” to run accounts on Facebook and Twitter that would protect Bartomeu’s reputation and damage that of former coaches and players, according to a report by SER Catalunya radio show “Què t’hi jugues” (H/T Marca).

Report: Barcelona hires PR company to criticize players

The posts criticized Messi for his delay in signing with Barcelona and attacked defender Gerard Pique for his business interests, including work with the Davis Cup, per the report. The content has also criticized club legends Pep Guardiola, Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol, plus potential club presidents Victor Font, Joan Laporta and Agusti Benedito. 

The show shared an example of those posts on Twitter.

The accounts were started in 2017, per the report, and Los Cules confirmed that Barcelona hire the company for approximately one million euros ($1.08 million).

Barcelona denies contracting company

Barcelona released a statement Monday morning denying the accusation, and said that 13 Ventures is a “service provider” to the club. But the PR company has “no relationship with the accounts mentioned and, if any relationship were to come to light, the Club would immediately end their contractual agreement and bring about any necessary legal action to defend their interests.”

It confirmed it has hired services to monitor social media to analyze responses, both positive and negative, to the club as it attempts to “preserve its reputation as well those of people related to the Club (sponsors, players, board members, members, supporters' club members...).”

Barcelona also asked for an immediate correction to the report. Via the statement:

The Club demands an immediate rectification of the information published and reserves the right to exercise legal action against those who continue to implicate the Club in such practices. 

More from Yahoo Sports:

  • Billionaire Steven Cohen Picks up These 2 Stocks on the Dip
    Business
    TipRanks

    Billionaire Steven Cohen Picks up These 2 Stocks on the Dip

    The Point72 Chairman and CEO has earned a reputation as one of the most successful stock pickers, with his firm relying on a core hedge fund strategy that features stock market investments. Less frequently, Point72, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, will make plays based on macro trends, placing global wagers on several asset classes at the same time. With Cohen earning an estimated $1.3 billion in 2019 after the firm's main hedge fund posted a 14.9% gain, it's no wonder market watchers follow his moves religiously.

  • Trump’s personal stake in the malaria-drug maker Sanofi could be as small as $99
    News
    MarketWatch

    Trump’s personal stake in the malaria-drug maker Sanofi could be as small as $99

    As President Donald Trump has persistently discussed the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, critics have wondered about his motivation, given the drug's far-from-certain performance on the global stage as a treatment for coronavirus, and the Food and Drug Administration's refusal so far to approve it as a treatment for COVID-19. The New York Times says Trump has a “small personal stake” in Sanofi, the French drug manufacturer that produces the drug. The report doesn't say how small, but it notes that his three family trusts have investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund whose largest holding is Sanofi.

  • Is the Dow staging a genuine coronavirus rebound? —  Here’s what experts think as the stock market attempts to shake the bearish grip of the pandemic
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Is the Dow staging a genuine coronavirus rebound? — Here’s what experts think as the stock market attempts to shake the bearish grip of the pandemic

    We are finally seeing US COVID-19 new case numbers responding to social distancing—certainly in New York state but also elsewhere,” wrote analysts at BofA Global Research in a note. On top of that, central banks and governments across the globe are throwing out what amounts to trillions of dollars to help staunch the economic damage resulting from efforts to mitigate infections and treat those sickened by the illness derived from the novel strain of coronavirus. Those factors have given a major boost to equities and momentarily deflated some of the rabid appetite for assets considered havens like 10-year Treasury notes (BX:TMUBMUSD10Y) The 10-year yields about 0.78%, compared with 0.587% on ...

  • Greed overtakes fear in the stock market, but don’t be lured into this short-lived rally
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Greed overtakes fear in the stock market, but don’t be lured into this short-lived rally

    The best way to analyze the stock market is through multiple time frames. Let's examine with the help of two charts. Please click here for an annotated chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) which tracks the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) Please click here for an annotated chart of S&P 500 ETF (SPY) which does the same for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) Note the following: • The first chart gives a long-term perspective.

  • Business
    TheStreet.com

    Cash Is King? Jim Cramer on Market Rally, Coronavirus

    The market rally is still going strong, with the major indices surging at the open. Stocks jumped Tuesday following the S&P 500's highest close since March 13 on continued optimism that major economies across the globe were seeing signs the coronavirus pandemic could be slowing. Indications that the rate of the death toll from the coronavirus and new infections may be hitting their peak boosted U.S. equities on Monday.

  • Business
    TheStreet.com

    The Average 401(k) Balance by Age

    Average 401(k) Balance by Age Here are the average 401(k) balance by age range as of the second quarter of 2019, according to data released by Fidelity Investments. Ages 20-29 The average 401(k) balance was $11,800 The median 401(k) balance was $4,300 The average contribution rate was 7% of compensation Ages 30-39 The average 401(k) balance was $42,400 The median 401(k) balance was $16,500 The average contribution rate was 7.8% of compensation Ages 40-49 The average 401(k) balance was $102,700 The median 401(k) balance was $36,000 The average contribution rate was 8.5% of compensation Ages 50-59 The average 401(k) balance was $174,100 The median 401(k) balance was $60,900 The average contrib...

  • ‘The worst is behind us’ — the most attractive risk-reward in years means it is time to buy stocks, Morgan Stanley says
    Business
    MarketWatch

    ‘The worst is behind us’ — the most attractive risk-reward in years means it is time to buy stocks, Morgan Stanley says

    The worst may be very much ahead when it comes to the virus but Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. equity strategist Mike Wilson says that for stocks and investors the worst was behind us. Wilson said Sunday bear markets end with recessions and that stocks had reached a good entry point for investors. “With the forced liquidation of assets in the past month largely behind us, unprecedented and unbridled monetary and fiscal intervention led by the U.S. and the most attractive valuation we have seen since 2011, we stick to our recent view that the worst is behind us for this cyclical bear market that began two years ago, not last month,” Wilson said in a note.

  • Why Airlines Don't Want to Refund Your Flight Tickets
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Why Airlines Don't Want to Refund Your Flight Tickets

    The world's airlines might have to repay $35 billion in customer cash during the next three months, according to industry body IATA; the largest of these companies each held close to $5 billion in customer advance payments at the end of December, corporate filings show. What happens to this customer money is a hugely important question that could determine whether businesses will remain solvent or will need a government bailout. Tour operator Tui AG, for example, secured a 1.8 billion-euro ($1.9 billion) rescue loan from the German government last month, even though it had taken in about 2.9 billion euros of advance payments from customers — it had spent much of this cash.

  • Business
    TheStreet.com

    The Average Doctor Salary by State and Specialty

    A career as a physician, whether you're a primary care doctor or a specialist, is a noble calling. Doctors adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, which stems from Greek medical history, and calls for physicians to swear to uphold the highest ethical standards in the service of medicine. It depends on what skills a good doctor brings to the table.

  • Exxon reduces Capex by 30%
    Business
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Exxon reduces Capex by 30%

    ExxonMobil announced on Tuesday that the oil giant will reduce its capital spending by 30%. Edward Jones Senior Equity Analyst Jennifer Rowland shares the details.

  • Bankers to small businesses: Don't do these things if you want to qualify for SBA loan relief program (PPP)
    Business
    American City Business Journals

    Bankers to small businesses: Don't do these things if you want to qualify for SBA loan relief program (PPP)

    A borrower can ask the SBA to forgive the loan and the interest if workers are not laid off. While community banks account for the majority of the 1,900 lenders that have processed PPP applications, interest from big banks customers are setting new records. Steve Jones, chief executive officer of Dogwood State Bank, one of North Carolina's newest community banks, said the bank has processed about 300 applications since Friday totaling about $80 million for an average of about $267,000 per borrower.

  • Business
    U.S.News & World Report

    10 Cheap Dividend Aristocrats to Buy on the Dip

    Investing in a company that pays you no matter how the market performs sounds like exactly what investors need right now, and recent market volatility means that many dividend aristocrats are cheaper than they've been in years. Here are 10 cheap dividend aristocrats to buy -- each one is well-positioned to survive a recession while paying you a healthy dividend. If you're looking for defensive stocks to protect your portfolio, why not turn to the defense industry?

  • Coronavirus crisis will leave 3 lasting scars, even if the economy recovers in fourth quarter, Pimco warns
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Coronavirus crisis will leave 3 lasting scars, even if the economy recovers in fourth quarter, Pimco warns

    The U.S. economy is in the midst of one of the deepest, most painful recessions the country has ever seen, but, as long as the pieces fall into place, it could also prove to be one of the shortest, according to a blog post from Joachim Fels, global economic adviser at Pimco. “Unlike previous recessions, usually caused by the interplay of economic and financial imbalances, interest rate hikes, or oil price spikes, the trigger of the present crisis is an exogenous shock,” he wrote. “We are seeing the first-ever recession by government decree — a necessary, temporary, partial shutdown of the economy aimed at preventing an even larger humanitarian crisis.”

  • Business
    Barrons.com

    Coronavirus Drug Trials Could Move Gilead Stock Dramatically

    The whole world is watching (GILD) waiting for data on the first large studies of the biotech company's experimental antiviral drug remdesivir in Covid-19 patients. “Though the potential commercial opportunity for remdesivir affects our [discounted cash flow] by only $2/sh, we think that this readout will likely lead to a bigger stock move (10-15%) due to broad investor focus on the shares,” wrote Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Alethia Young in a Tuesday note. In a note on Tuesday, Baird analyst Brian Skorney wrote that he expects data from two Chinese trials of remdesivir by the middle of this month, if not earlier.

  • Business
    Bloomberg

    How Burning Wood, Once a Viable Power Source, Fell Out of Favor in the U.S.

    The most likely outcome is getting bought, dismantled, and hauled off to some place where producing electricity from burning wood makes  economic sense; the numbers don't work here anymore. The cold, dark facility in Lufkin, Texas, is a biomass plant. Biomass generates only 1% of the electricity in the U.S., and its downfall illustrates just how potent cheap natural gas and tax breaks are when it comes to shaping American electricity markets.

  • Hedge Funds Are Selling Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc (IVR)
    Business
    Insider Monkey

    Hedge Funds Are Selling Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc (IVR)

    Hedge fund activity in Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc (NYSE:IVR) At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 15 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of -21% from the third quarter of 2019. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in IVR over the last 18 quarters. With hedge funds' sentiment swirling, there exists an "upper tier" of key hedge fund managers who were adding to their holdings significantly (or already accumulated large positions).

  • U.S. Slashes 2020 Oil-Output Forecast Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
    Business
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Slashes 2020 Oil-Output Forecast Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting

    The U.S. cut its 2020 oil production forecast by more than 1 million barrels a day, as collapsing crude prices and plummeting demand threaten to shutter production in the country's biggest fields. Production is expected to average 11.76 million barrels a day through December, down from a previous forecast of 12.99 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday. The agency also trimmed its 2021 output expectations by 1.6 million barrels a day to just over 11 million daily barrels.

  • ‘It would be unusual and unprecedented for a bear market to only last 30 days’: Wells Fargo Investment Institute President
    Business
    Yahoo Finance Video

    ‘It would be unusual and unprecedented for a bear market to only last 30 days’: Wells Fargo Investment Institute President

    Darrell Cronk, President of the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, joins Yahoo Finance's Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi to discuss how the markets are faring amid the coronavirus outbreak.

  • 3M, Trump Strike Deal To Import 166.5M Masks From China, Company To Continue To Supply Abroad
    Business
    Benzinga

    3M, Trump Strike Deal To Import 166.5M Masks From China, Company To Continue To Supply Abroad

    President Donald Trump's administration and 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) on Monday reached an agreement to ramp up mask supply in the United States while letting the company continue to sell abroad. As part of the deal, the Minnesota-based veteran mask maker will import 166.5 million masks from its China manufacturing facilities by June. These will supplement the 35 million N95 respirators 3M already manufactures in the U.S. The company will also continue to sell masks in other countries, including Canada and Latin American countries.

  • Three stocks to buy during the coronavirus crash — besides the usual suspects
    News
    MarketWatch

    Three stocks to buy during the coronavirus crash — besides the usual suspects

    DEEP DIVE img src="https://media.zenfs.com/en/marketwatch.com/1e70bda3290ea83e516164b2d9ffcb46" alt="A Marshalls and TJ Maxx store in Chicago. Michael Kagan of ClearBridge Investments believes long-term investors have an excellent opportunity to buy shares of this rapidly growing retailer at low prices while the U.S. economy is shut down."

  • Business
    Financial Times

    Can I cut our mortgage costs by negotiating a lower rate? 

    Interest rates remain very competitively priced with two-year fixed rates available below 1.30 per cent and five year deals from around 1.50 per cent at 65 per cent LTV. p Although there will be rates on offer that can undercut the current deal there will be some crucial elements in deciding whether a remortgage is a sensible option.

  • Updated: As Wells Fargo closes loan window on SBA relief program, 'the fear is palpable'
    Business
    American City Business Journals

    Updated: As Wells Fargo closes loan window on SBA relief program, 'the fear is palpable'

    Update: This story has been updated with comments from U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). The Bay Area's small business community was stunned by Wells Fargo's Sunday announcement that the loan window had closed for its customers wanting to apply for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, a day after it opened. My email box lit up like a Christmas tree.

  • Carnival Shares Get Some Relief After Saudi Fund Buys Stake
    Business
    SmarterAnalyst

    Carnival Shares Get Some Relief After Saudi Fund Buys Stake

    Carnival Corp. s (CCL) shares climbed 21% after Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), on Monday disclosed an 8.2% stake in coronavirus-hit Carnival Corp. PIF made the offering for Carnival's 43.5 million shares worth about $369.3 million on March 26, according to the SEC filing.

  • World
    Financial Times

    ExxonMobil/Chevron: imprisoned by dividends

    Investor days are an early March tradition for US oil supermajors ExxonMobil and Chevron. A month later, after a near-global economic shutdown and conflict between Russia and Saudi Arabia, both companies have been forced into evasive action to preserve their sacrosanct dividends. On Tuesday, ExxonMobil announced it would cut capital expenditure by roughly a third to $23bn.

  • Sprint deal comes with big payout for outgoing T-Mobile CEO
    Business
    American City Business Journals

    Sprint deal comes with big payout for outgoing T-Mobile CEO

    There was no question T-Mobile CEO John Legere would see a big payoff for closing the company's acquisition of Sprint – the question was how big it would be. SEC documents show that Legere was granted more than $50.52 million in stock at $85.13 per share, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents. His stock holdings in the company now total nearly 2.5 million shares.