Morning Brief: Top Stories Dominating Financial Media on Thursday, April 14


Nexo CEO Predicts Bitcoin Will Hit $100K Within A Year, Although Sees Short-Term Headwinds

  • CEO Antoni Trenchev of crypto lending firm Nexo expects Bitcoin to hit $100,000 within a year.
  • Nexo had just launched a “crypto-backed” payment card in collaboration with Mastercard Inc MA.
  • Bitcoin’s price will have to more than double for the prophecy to come true.

Russian Ransomware Group Credentials Leaked In Supposed Revenge Act

  • A security researcher saw a prolific Russian ransomware group Conti born in 2020, amass 350 members who collectively made $2.7 billion in cryptocurrency.
  • The group’s post expressing their siding with Russia probably led to a leak of its details about the size, leadership, business operations, and ransomware source code.
  • Conti had precise management, finance, human resource functions, and a classic organizational hierarchy.


Benettons-Blackstone Buyout Deal Values Atlantia At 24.4% Premium

  • Italy’s Benetton family and Blackstone Inc BX have proposed a buyout offer for Atlantia ATASF that values the airport and motorway operator at €58 billion ($63 billion) and intends to take it private, reports Reuters.
  • The bid also marks the beginning of a new era for Atlantia, which is selling its domestic motorway company to end a political conflict sparked by a catastrophic bridge collapse in 2018.
  • The sale will cut Atlantia’s end-2021 debt of €38.6 billion and will bring €8 billion into its coffers.

Toyota To Launch SUV Of Revamped Crown Sedan

  • Toyota Motor Corp TM looks to launch a sport utility vehicle version of its Crown sedan for Japan, China, and North America.
  • The SUV, likely to come in a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full-electric models, looks to bring the 67-year-old Crown more with market trends.
  • Toyota will also roll out a fully remodeled sedan version of the Crown this summer.
  • Toyota will manufacture both the SUV and the sedan at factories in Toyota City, Japan.

Australia’s Rio Tinto Quits State Mining Lobby Over Climate Rift: Reuters

  • Australia’s Rio Tinto plc RIO confirmed its exit from the state mining lobby group after raising concerns that its policy on expanding coal mines did not align with the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Global corporations have been attempting to appease authorities and shareholders by striving for higher emission cuts to comply with the Paris agreement.
  • “After careful consideration, Rio Tinto will not renew its membership with the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) for the 2022-2023 financial year,” the report cited Kellie Parker, Rio Tinto’s Australia CEO.


Starbucks Plans Better Benefits For Some Workers In Bid To Discourage Unionization

  • Starbucks Corporation SBUX is going all out to ward off store workers from unionizing, according to a Wall Street Journal report from Wednesday. This comes in the wake of concerted efforts by store workers to unionize — seeking to negotiate better wages, benefits and working conditions.
  • Starbuck CEO Howard Schultz, who assumed the role on an interim basis in early April, is contemplating an expanded employee benefits package that would help to hire and retain baristas. The CEO reportedly communicated the move to the company’s U.S. store leaders in an online forum.


JPMorgan Reshuffles China Leadership To Tackle Slowing Growth

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co’s JPM top executive at its securities business in China is stepping aside and is being replaced by his deputy.
  • According to an internal memo, Houston Huang will hand over the role of CEO of JPMorgan Securities (China) Co. to Lu Fang, a former official at China’s securities regulator, confirming a Bloomberg News report.
  • The memo said that Huang would remain head of mainland China investment banking to dedicate more time to important clients in the region. A spokesperson confirmed the content of the memo.

Financial Times

Panasonic To Introduce Bigger EV Battery To Diversify Business From Tesla

  • In an effort to diversify its business from Tesla Inc TSLA Panasonic Holdings PCRFY will roll out a bigger electric vehicle battery as the company works to focus direction after a period of aggressive streamlining.
  • Yuki Kusumi, Panasonic’s CEO, said that the company would invest ¥600 billion ($4.8 billion) over the next three years, with two-thirds earmarked for EV batteries, supply chain software, and air conditioners.
  • The company plans to introduce two production lines for the battery, which has a fivefold energy capacity compared with the current ones.


BREAKING: Elon Musk Offers To Buy 100% Of Twitter

  • Tesla Inc. TSLA CEO Elon Musk has offered to buy all the shares in Twitter Inc. TWTR — that he already doesn’t own — at $54.20 per share, an amendment to a 13D filing made with the SEC on Thursday morning shows.
  • This would represent a 54% premium over the social media company’s stock’s closing price on January 28, the day before Musk began investing in Twitter and 38% premium over April 1 closing price — the day before Musk’s stake in Twitter was disclosed.

Ford Said To Be Eyeing A Steep Price Hike For Mustang Mach-E EVs In China

  • Ford Motor Co F is set to announce a steep price hike for its electric compact crossover Mustang Mach-E in China, CnEVpost reported on Thursday, citing a social media post on Weibo.
  • Ford could hike the prices from between $1,120 to up to $3,530 and is likely to announce the changes on April 30.
  • The legacy automaker launched the Mach-E in China in April last year at a ticket price of $42,400 to $59,184.

Mercedes EV Beats Tesla To Clock 621.37 Miles In A Single Charge

  • German automaker Mercedes-Benz Group DMLRY said on Thursday its electric concept car has clocked over 621.4 miles on a single charge, leaving behind global electric vehicle leader Tesla Inc TSLA in a hotly-contested race to offer longer range.
  • What Happened: Mercedes said its Vision EQXX research car was driven from Germany to the French Riviera under everyday traffic as well as in cold and rainy conditions and at regular road speeds on a single battery charge.
  • “The battery’s state of charge on arrival was around 15%, amounting to a remaining range of around 140 kilometers (87 miles), and the average consumption was a record-breaking low of 8.7 kWh per 100 kilometers,” Mercedes said.

Why Russian Oligarchs Can’t Evade Sanctions Through Bitcoin

  • Russian oligarchs estimated to have $800B in offshore funds - National Economic Bureau
  • Free float of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether is such that holdings can’t be dumped without crashing the price.
  • Exchanges and services like Mixers can’t be utilized by the oligarchs with ease.

Jack Dorsey Leaves A ‘Question Mark’ On Robinhood’s Shiba Inu Listing

  • Twitter Inc TWTR founder Jack Dorsey was among those who reacted to Robinhood Markets Inc’s HOOD listing of Dogecoin DOGE/USD rival Shiba Inu SHIB/USD on its platform.
  • The Block Inc SQ CEO responded to the tweet from Robinhood about the announcement with a question mark.

Dogecoin Bull Gokhshtein Sees Shiba Inu Shooting Up A Whopping 3200% From Here

  • David Gokhshtein, CEO of crypto media firm Gokhshtein Media and PAC Protocol PAC/USD , has a price target of $0.001 for meme coin Shiba Inu SHIB/USD.
  • In a tweet on Wednesday, Gokhshtein said he personally believes that SHIB can touch $0.001 – a 3200% increase from its current price.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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