RETAIL

Walmart changing policy

on tobacco purchase age

Walmart said Wednesday that it will raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes at its U.S. stores to 21 amid growing pressure from regulators to cut tobacco sales and use among minors.

The world's largest retailer also said it will also stop selling fruit and dessert flavored e-cigarettes, which critics say can hook teenagers on vaping.

The new rules will take effect in July at all its 5,300 U.S. stores, including its Sam's Club warehouse locations. Previously, Walmart's minimum purchase age was 18, aside from a number of states where the legal age is 21.

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration put Walmart and 14 other retailers on notice for selling tobacco products to kids. Another retailer on the list, drugstore operator Walgreens, said last month that it would increase its minimum age for tobacco sales to 21 in September.

OIL/GAS

Marathon initiates merger

of two of its enterprises

Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp. is merging two of its oil and gas pipeline, transportation and storage operations for $9 billion.

MPLX and Andeavor Logistics are both master limited partnerships majority owned by Marathon, which raised the possibility that it might combine the two late last year.

Andeavor unitholders will receive 1.135 MPLX common units for each Andeavor common unit held. Marathon will receive 1.0328 MPLX common units for each Andeavor common unit held.

The enterprise value of the deal is listed at $14 billion.

ENERGY

Siemens announces spinoff

of power generation unit

German industrial equipment maker Siemens says it will cut some 10,000 jobs in a major restructuring that will involve spinning off its oil, gas and power generation business and creating new areas of growth.

The moves are intended to increase profitability and address the struggling power business.

The company said it would spin off its division that makes power turbines to increase its entrepreneurial freedom, while embarking on a sweeping cost-cutting effort at its remaining operations.

RIDE HAILING

Uber, Lyft drivers protest

low wages for services

Some drivers for ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft turned off their apps Wednesday to protest what they say are declining wages at a time when both companies are raking in billions of dollars from investors.

Demonstrations took place in 10 U.S. cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, as well as some European cities. But they did not seem to cause much disruption.

The protests arrive just ahead of Uber's initial public stock offering Friday. Uber hopes to raise $9 billion, putting the company's valuation in excess of $91 billion.