Nikola's Abrupt CEO Transition, Carl Icahn Led Icahn Enterprises Cuts Dividend Payout, FDA Rejects Mesoblast's Cell Therapy For Kids: Today's Top Stories

Wall Street Journal

UAW Demands Significant Wage Increases For Factory Workers At GM, Ford, And Stellantis

  • The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is reportedly pressing the Detroit car companies to give its factory workers a 40% pay hike in the next labor contract.
  • The union conveyed this demand to the automakers this week, along with a list of other items it plans to push for at the bargaining table.
  • The UAW is negotiating new four-year labor agreements for around 150,000 hourly workers at General Motors Company GMFord Motor Company F, and Stellantis N.V. STLA.

PE Firm KKR Advances Towards $1.65B Deal for Simon & Schuster, AI Threats to Publishing Industry Loom Large

  • The private equity firm KKR & Co Inc KKR is in talks to snap Simon & Schuster for $1.65 billion.
  • The sale would cap a yearslong effort by Paramount Global PARA to sell the publisher after a federal judge quashed a previous deal with Penguin Random House in 2022.
  • The new deal comes amid declining print book sales and new threats from generative AI technology.



Binance's Decision To Accept SHIB, COMP, And THETA As Collateral Assets Signals Growing Acceptance Of Meme Coins

  • Cryptocurrency exchange Binance (BNB/USD) announced the approval of Shiba Inu (SHIB/USD), Compound (COMP/USD), and Theta (THETA/USD) as collateral assets.
  • This move is part of Binance's ongoing efforts to expand its Flexible Loan and VIP Loan services.
  • The addition of these cryptocurrencies, along with the inclusion of 22 cryptocurrencies as collateral assets, is expected to provide users with more flexibility and options in their cryptocurrency lending and borrowing activities.

Apple Celebrates Record-Breaking Quarter In India, Defying Drop In Global iPhone Sales

  • Apple Inc AAPL had an exhilarating June quarter, setting a new record in India thanks to the brisk sales of iPhones and the opening of its first two stores in the country.
  • Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, announced this development during a call discussing the April-June quarter, mentioning the company's record-breaking, double-digit iPhone sales in India.

Mesoblast Shares Tumble As FDA Strikes Out Cell Therapy Application For Children, Requires Additional Trial

  • The FDA issued a complete response letter to Mesoblast Limited's MESO resubmission for remestemcel-L for pediatric steroid-refractory acute graft versus host disease (SR-aGVHD).
  • The agency said it requires more data, and Mesoblast will conduct a targeted, controlled study in the highest-risk adults with the greatest mortality. 
  • Mesoblast has generated pilot data through its emergency IND program in adults showing a survival benefit with remestemcel-L in this target population. 

Tupperware Pens Debt Restructuring Deal To Boost Financial Position

  • Tupperware Brands Corp TUP announced a debt restructuring deal with lenders to restructure its existing debt obligations.
  • With this move, the company aims to improve its financial position by amending some credit obligations and expanding the maturity of certain debt facilities.
  • The agreement includes a reduction and reallocation of around $150 million of cash interest and fees, with an extension of the stated maturity of about $348 million of principal and reallocated interest and fees to FY27 with PIK interest.

Airbus Delivers 65 Airplanes To 36 Customers In July

  • Airbus SE EADSY EADSF delivered 65 airplanes to 36 customers in July, with gross orders totaling 60.
  • The company's year-to-date deliveries totaled 381 airplanes to 76 customers.
  • Airbus registered 1,101 net orders in the year's first seven months of 2023, after 39 cancellations. Gross Orders totaled 1,140. So far this year, the largest orders were from India-based airlines Indigo and Air India. 



India's Licensing Mandate Disrupts Laptop and Tablet Imports from Apple, Samsung, and HP

  • Several major technology companies, including Apple Inc AAPLSamsung Electronics Co SSNLF, and HP Inc HPQ, have halted new imports of laptops and tablets to India following a surprising ban on inbound shipments without a license. 
  • Laptop makers were expecting some government measures to reduce reliance on imports and promote local production, but the sudden imposition of licensing requirements has disrupted the industry.

Google Help Workers Accuse Alphabet of Labor Law Violations, Seek Joint Employer Designation

  • Google parent Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL is facing charges for illegally terminating contract employment for most Google Help workers attempting to unionize. 
  • The Alphabet Workers Union filed a complaint with the U.S. labor board for alleged violation of federal labor law.
  • They deemed Alphabet a joint employer, requiring it to bargain collectively with the workers. However, Alphabet has indicated it will refuse to negotiate with them, leading to potential legal battles.



General Motors Calls Out Union Over Contract Demands

  • General Motors Co GM has reportedly raised concerns about approving the United Auto Workers (UAW) contract demands, including a pay rise.
  • The auto giant said conceding to the union's demands would prevent it from making sound business decisions.
  • United Auto Workers' union demands at least a 40% wage increase over the tenure of the four-year contract. The union also seeks an initial 20% increase in pay upon ratification.



Nikola Stock Falls After Q2 Topline Decline, Abrupt CEO Transition

  • Nikola Corp NKLA won shareholder approval to boost the authorized number of shares of common stock.
  • Nikola reported its second-quarter results on August 4, with sales of $15.4 million and an EPS loss of $(0.20) compared to the Street estimates of $15.43 million and an EPS loss of $(0.22).
  • Nikola announced a change in leadership. Michael Lohscheller, President and CEO of Nikola, is stepping down immediately from his roles, citing family health reasons. He will leave the Board of Directors by August 31, 2023, while continuing in an advisory capacity until the end of September.

Carl Icahn Led Icahn Enterprises Reports Lower Q2 Earnings, Cuts Dividend

  • Icahn Enterprises L.P. IEP, the company controlled by activist investor Carl Icahn, reported a second-quarter revenue decline of 27.5% year-on-year to $2.54 billion, missing the consensus of $2.66 billion. 
  • EPS loss of $(0.72) missed the consensus of $0.25.
  • The Board of Directors of the general partner of Icahn Enterprises declared a quarterly distribution of $1.00 per depositary unit, down from the prior quarter of $2.00 per depositary unit.

Shares Of AMC Networks Surge As Q2 Results Show Improved Adjusted EBITDA And Strong Operating Cash Flow

  • AMC NETWORKS INC AMCX reported a second-quarter FY23 revenue decline of 8% year-on-year to $678.63 million, missing the consensus of $717.48 million.
  • Lower advertising, domestic affiliate, and 25/7 Media production services revenues drove the decline.

FuboTV Reports Better Than Expected Q2 Earnings

  • FuboTV Inc FUBO reported second-quarter FY23 sales growth of 41% year-on-year to $312.7 million, beating the consensus of $301.9 million.
  • Adjusted EPS loss of $(0.12) beat the consensus loss of $(0.23).
  • FuboTV sees Q3 North America revenue of $272.5 million-$277.5 million and Rest of the World revenue of $7.2 million-$8.2 million, representing a total of $279.7 million-$285.7 million, below the consensus of $295.75 million.

Amazon's Premarket Power-Up: Why Stock Is On Track To Hit Year's High

  • Amazon Inc AMZN shares spiked higher in premarket trading on Friday after the company reported a solid second-quarter beat.
  • The stock rose 8.99% to $140.50 in premarket trading, according to Benzinga Pro data. If the premarket gains hold good, Amazon could be on track to touch its highest levels since Aug. 18, 2022.
  • The e-commerce giant reported second-quarter net sales of $134.4 billion, up 11% year-over-year, with the North American sales rising 11% and the international segment reporting sales growth of 10%.

Fortinet Shares Fall On Lacklusture Annual Guidance

  • Fortinet Inc FTNT shares are trading lower by around 20% after it reported Q2 FY23 earnings results and provided weak guidance. 
  • Adjusted EPS of $0.38 beat the consensus of $0.34. Sales of $1.29 billion missed the estimate of $1.30 billion.
  • The company revised FY23 guidance to $5.350 billion-$5.450 billion (from $5.425 billion to $5.485 billion earlier) vs consensus of $5.47 billion and adj. EPS of $1.49-$1.53 (from $1.44-$1.48 earlier) vs. $1.46 consensus.

LyondellBasell Posts Q2 Sales Miss, EPS Beat, Expects Weak Demand In Q3

  • LyondellBasell Industries N.V. LYB reported the Q2 FY23 revenues of $10.31 billion, down from $14.84 billion a year ago, which missed the consensus of $10.40 billion.
  • Adjusted EPS stood at $2.44, beating the consensus of $2.29.
  • The company raised the near-term target by around 30% and is now expected to deliver $150 million of net income and recurring annual EBITDA of $200 million by year-end 2023. 

Stryker Stock Gets A Boost From Annual Guidance Hike On Better Than Expected Q2 Earnings: The Details

  • Stryker Corporation SYK reported Q2 sales of $5 billion, up 11.2% Y/Y (+11.9% in constant currency), beating the consensus of $4.83 billion.
  • Adjusted EPS came in at $2.54, which increased 12.9% in the quarter, beating the consensus of $2.38.
  • Stryker predicts 2023 organic net sales growth of 9.5%-10.5%, including slightly positive pricing for the year, up from the previous range of 8%-9%.
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