Biden Asked OPEC+ To Delay Output Decision, Elon Musk Faces Federal Probe Over Twitter Deal, Netflix Ad-Supported Plan: Top Stories Friday, Oct. 14

Reuters

Twitter Says Elon Musk Under Federal Probe Over $44B Twitter Deal, In Court Filing

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk is reportedly under investigation by federal authorities over his bid to purchase Twitter Inc TWTR.
  • Twitter said in a court filing released Thursday that Musk’s attorneys claimed “investigative privilege” while refusing to hand over material sought by the social media company.
  • The lawyers had reportedly provided a “privilege log” to Twitter in September, which identified documents to be withheld.

Novartis Fails To Prevent Generic Competition For Its Blockbuster Multiple Sclerosis Drug

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Novartis AG’s NVS effort to block the launch of generic versions of its multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya.
  • Novartis had asked the justices to suspend a lower court’s ruling that lifted a ban on generic versions of Gilenya.

Stellantis Unit Agrees To Pay $5.6M In California Emissions Probe

  • The state of California said a unit of Stellantis NV STLA, FCA U.S. will pay $5.6 million to resolve a violation of air quality regulations in California.
  • The California Air Resources Board said there were 30,600 vehicles involved in the settlement, including 2012 – 2018 model Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango.
  • The vehicles involved were fitted with 5.7L gasoline engines that purportedly did not comply with emission standards.

Airbus and Qatar Airways Legal Battle Over A350 Intensifies

  • Airbus SE and Qatar Airways clashed in court in a dispute over damage to A350 jetliners.
  • Qatar Airways is suing Airbus over damage to the painted surface and anti-lightning system on A350 jets, saying safety could be at risk from a design defect.
  • The two companies must provide documents about their claims as the dispute is headed toward a London aerospace trial in mid-2023 if no settlement is reached.

Wall Street Journal

Bitcoin Broker NYDIG Lays Off 110 Employees To ‘Trim Expenses’

  • Bitcoin (BTC/USD) trading platform NYDIG laid off about a third of its employees on Sep. 22, numbered around 110.
  • The company executives told the laid-off employees that it decided to cut down on expenses and focus on more businesses.
  • NYDIG CEO Robert Gutmann and President Yan Zhao stepped down from their roles on Oct. 3, replaced by Tejas Shah and Nate Conrad, respectively.

3 M’s Lawsuit Hit-Earplug Unit Earns Faster Review For Bankruptcy Ruling

  • Judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago granted 3M Co’s MMM bankrupt subsidiary, Aearo Technologies, a quicker-than-normal process for the review of the bankruptcy-court ruling.
  • The nod puts more than 230,000 lawsuits accusing the company of harming U.S. soldiers on a faster track to resolution.

Bankruptcy Judge Ruled In Support Of $375M Creditor Lawsuit Against Morgan Stanley

  • Morgan Stanley MS creditors can move forward with a lawsuit over dividends paid before the grocery chain Tops Friendly Markets filed for chapter 11.
  • The creditors filed the claims in 2020 against Morgan Stanley Investment Management and other former owners of Tops, alleging the private equity owners paid themselves $375 million in dividends while leaving Tops insolvent.
  • Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain highlighted how the bankruptcy code allows private equity owners to “loot privately-held companies to the detriment of their non-insider creditors with effective impunity.”

Bloomberg

American-JetBlue Alliance Antitrust Case Gains Steam As Court Seeks More Documents

  • The Justice Department sued American Airlines Group, Inc AAL and JetBlue Airways Corp JBLU in 2021, terming their alliance as a “merger” that increased fares with reduced choice for passengers.
  • Senior airline executives from competitors testified that the alliance made it harder for them to compete in Boston and New York.
  • The U.S. District Judge sought metrics illustrating changes within the two carriers’ fleets and routes serving New York City and Boston before and since their Northeast Alliance.

Bull Market In Chinese Stocks Like Alibaba Is Round The Corner, Hedge Funds Say

  • Top Chinese macro hedge fund Shanghai Banxia Investment Management Center said the nation’s stocks rout had run its course, predicting a bull market is around the corner. It rebuilt net-long positions in the mainland-traded A-share market to 40%.
  • Shanghai Yunhan Asset Management Co, another macro fund, started buying stocks oil, shipping, and medical equipment sectors. President Zhang Wenchao said that a weak economic recovery is inevitable, even in a worst-case scenario.

United Airlines Close To Finalizing Triple-Digit Order For Widebody Jets

  • United Airlines Holdings Inc UAL is likely closing in on orders for more than 100 widebody jets as it considers offers for Boeing Co’s BA 787 Dreamliner and Airbus SE’s EADSY A350.
  • When finalized, the deal would be one of the largest ever purchases made for long-range aircraft.
  • United CEO Scott Kirby recently told pilots in a training session about the triple-digit order.

Benzinga

Saudi Arabia Says Team Biden Asked OPEC+ To Delay Output Decision By A Month, But It Would’ve Had ‘Negative Consequences’

  • Saudi Arabia has hinted that the Biden Administration had suggested delaying the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) to reduce its production output by a month, which it believed “would have had negative economic consequences.”
  • “The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ... clarified through its continuous consultation with the U.S. Administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences,” Saudi Arabia said.

Elon Musk Says Starlink, SpaceX Faced’ Relentless Jamming, Cyberwar,’ Courtesy Russia

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk, who also heads SpaceX, said Thursday that Starlink faced “relentless jamming.”
  • Musk’s comments came on Twitter in response to a user who asked Musk about Russian media claims that the country used the Tirada-2S satellite communications electronic jamming system against Starlink.

Once Favored By Late Shinzo Abe, Japan Culls Development On Repurposed COVID-19 Treatment

  • Fujifilm Holdings Corp FUJIY FUJIF has discontinued the development of its anti-influenza drug, Avigan (favipiravir), for use as a therapeutic drug against COVID-19.
  • In 2021, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical began a phase 3 clinical trial in Japan with a target enrollment of 316 subjects. However, enrollment was terminated at 84 subjects.
  • The company said that subsequent analysis of data from 84 people enrolled in the trial showed no significant results.

Shell Joins Forces With Singapore Renewables Firm For Battery Storage Project In Australia

  • AMPYR Australia Pty Ltd and Shell Plc’s SHEL subsidiary Shell Energy Australia have signed a joint development agreement for a proposed battery energy storage system (BESS) in Australia.
  • The proposed 500-megawatt battery project will be built in Wellington (the Wellington BESS), Central West New South Wales.
  • The construction is expected to begin in mid-2023, subject to all relevant approvals and financing.

Kroger, Albertsons Finally Seal The Rumored Merger Deal: See Highlights

  • Putting all rumors at rest, Kroger Co KR and Albertsons Companies Inc ACI have agreed to merge to establish a national footprint.
  • Kroger will acquire Albertsons for $34.10 per share, implying a total enterprise value of approximately $24.6 billion, including approximately $4.7 billion of Albertsons’ net debt.

French Food Company Danone To Dismiss Russian Dairy Business; Incur €1B Loss

  • French food company Danone SA (OTC: GPDNF) has decided to initiate a process to transfer the effective control of its Essential Dairy and Plant-based business in Russia.
  • The transaction could result in a write-off of up to €1 billion.
  • The company decided as it felt the best option to ensure long-term local business continuity for its employees, consumers, and partners.

UnitedHealth Q3 Beat Street, Raises FY22 Profit Guidance

  • UnitedHealth Group Inc UNH has reported Q3 FY22 sales of $80.89 billion, up 12% Y/Y, beating the consensus of $80.50 billion.
  • The company said Q3 growth was driven by continued expansion in the number of people served throughout UnitedHealthcare and in the value-based care initiatives at Optum Health.
  • Adjusted EPS of $5.79 increased 28% Y/Y, surpassing the consensus of $5.42.

Here’s How Much Netflix’s Ad-Supported Plan Costs And How It Compares To Rivals

  • The battle for consumers’ money for streaming platforms continues to heat up, and several ad-supported lower-priced plans could increase the market dynamics even more.
  • Here’s a look at how the prices of several top streaming platforms stack up and when consumers can pay for a cheaper Netflix Inc NFLX and Disney+ plan.
  • The launch of a highly anticipated ad-supported plan from Netflix has a release date and price.
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