Morning Brief: Top Financial Stories Dominating on Thursday, May 12

CNBC

Instacart Confidentially Files For US IPO

  • Grocery delivery platform Instacart said it had filed a draft registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to list its shares.
  • The company was valued at $39 billion in March 2021 but got slashed by 40% to $24 billion as a result of technology stocks’ sell off in 2022.

Reuters

Meta Looks To Cutback In Reality Labs In Its Quest For Metaverse

  • Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Inc FB is preparing cutbacks in its Reality Labs division to refocus on hardware products and the “metaverse,” Reuters reports.
  • Meta was not planning layoffs as part of the changes. The division could not afford to do some projects anymore and postponed others.
  • According to Reuters, Reality Labs lost $10.2 billion in 2021 and another $3 billion in Q1.

Google’s Latest Smart Glasses Keeps In Mind Privacy Concerns

  • Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL showcased a pair of standard-looking glasses at the Google I/O developer conference that displays translations of conversations in real-time with no hint of a camera.
  • A decade ago, the debut of Google Glass which filmed what wearers saw, faced privacy and design criticisms.
  • Google also teased a tablet launch in 2023 and a smartwatch for sale in 2022 to compete with Apple Inc AAPL.

Toyota Launches First Battery Electric Car In Japan

  • Toyota Motor Corp TM has unveiled its first mass-produced battery electric car in Japan, Reuters reported.
  • The car is being made available for only lease, a strategy the automaker said will ease driver concerns about battery life and resale value.
  • Toyota will lease the bZ4X sport utility vehicles (SUV) at the equivalent of $39,000 for the first four years, the report added.

Wall Street Journal

US Army, Airbus Battery Supplier Turns To SPAC Deal For Public Debut

  • Amprius Technologies Inc has agreed to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC)that values the company at about $1.3 billion and would take it public, Wall Street Journal reported.
  • Amprius makes batteries that it says are more powerful than conventional lithium-ion cells because they use energy-dense silicon in the battery’s anode instead of graphite, the traditional material.
  • The company sells them to customers such as Airbus SE EADSY and the U.S. Army to power electric aircraft and drones and says it can also be used for electric cars.

Bloomberg

Russia Imposes Sanctions On German Unit Of Gazprom

  • Russia has cut natural gas supplies to a unit of Gazprom PJSC OGZPY seized by Germany in retaliation for western penalties over the war in Ukraine.
  • German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that Gazprom Germania GmbH and its subsidiaries are no longer receiving all contracted volumes, reports Bloomberg.
  • “In Germany, Gazprom and its subsidiary are affected, which means that some of the subsidiaries are no longer getting any gas from Russia,” Habeck said in a speech to the lower house of parliament in Berlin. “But the market offers other alternatives.” “The situation is that the gas market can compensate for the loss of gas from Russia,” Habeck said.

Google Looks To Tap India’s Cricket Frenzy By Pitting Itself Against Amazon, Disney, Sony

  • Google parent Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL looks to bid for the broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League.
  • Google’s interest in India’s top cricket league intensifies the fight for a sports event that has emerged as the world’s third-largest, trailing only the Premier League and the National Football League in terms of viewers.
  • Alphabet purchased the bid-related documents from the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Financial Times

Vodafone Mulls Merging UK Unit With CK Hutchison’s Three

  • Telecoms group Vodafone Group Plc VOD is in talks to combine its UK operations with Three UK, the mobile operator owned by Hong Kong infrastructure conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings LTD CKHUY.
  • The deal could help consolidate the British mobile market as Vodafone faces pressure from an activist investor to simplify its business and improve returns.
  • Analysts had previously speculated that Vodafone could seek to buy Three, but it would need to meet CK Hutchison’s hefty price expectations.

BT-Warner Bros Discovery Collaborate Over Premium Sports in UK and Ireland

  • BT Group Plc BTGOF concluded its long-awaited deal with Warner Bros Discovery, Inc WBD to form a joint venture for its sports business as it reinstated its full-year dividend.
  • BT will receive £93 million from Warner Bros Discovery and up to £540 million on an earn-out subject to the accomplishment of specific goals.
  • In February, BT announced exclusive discussions with Warner Bros Discovery, opting against a sale of BT Sport to the sports streaming company DAZN, owned by billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik.

Benzinga

Why Lordstown Motors (RIDE) Stock Is Up 22% Today

  • Lordstown Motors Corp’s RIDE stock is trading 21.8% higher at $1.84 in the premarket session on Thursday.
  • The beleaguered electric vehicle startup said on Wednesday it has closed a $230 million deal to sell its Ohio factory to Taiwan’s Hon Hai Technology HNHPF, better known as Foxconn, sending its shares higher after the bell.
  • The deal will infuse Lordstown Motors with the much-needed cash to continue the development of its Endurance electric pickup.

Google Is Bringing You A New Alternative To Apple Watch In Its Pixel Series

  • Alphabet Inc GOOGL GOOG subsidiary Google confirmed that it will be bringing out the Pixel Watch wearable this fall alongside its Pixel 7 smartphone.
  • The first-ever Google Pixel Watch was announced by the tech giant at its Google I/O event on Wednesday.
  • The Sundar Pichai-led company said on Twitter that its Pixel Watch was “made inside and out” by it.

BlackRock And Citadel Deny Role In Terra’s UST Collapse

  • BlackRock, Inc. BLK and Citadel Securities have denied any involvement in the collapse of Terra’s LUNA/USD algorithmic stablecoin Terra USD UST/USD.
  • According to a Wednesday report from Forbes, both the investment firms said in separate emails that they do not trade stablecoins like UST.
  • “Rumors that BlackRock had a role in the collapse of UST are categorically false. In fact, BlackRock does not trade UST,” a BlackRock spokesperson said.

SEC Is Already Investigating Terra’s Stablecoin UST: Report

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is already investigating this week’s events concerning Terra LUNA/USD and TerraUSD UST/USD, according to a report from The Block.
  • Two former SEC lawyers told The Block on Wednesday that the SEC is “already on the scene.”
  • Philip Moustakis, one of the regulator’s former lawyers, said that even if the stablecoin had managed to avoid being subject to federal securities laws thus far, the events that unfolded over the week would grant the SEC enough jurisdiction to investigate.

Apple Supplier Foxconn Weathers It All To Report Highest Quarterly Profit In 8 Years

  • Apple, Inc. AAPL iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. HNHPF turned in forecast-beating results for the first quarter, defying the odds that included COVID lockdowns in China, supply challenges, input price inflation and demand slowdown.
  • Hon Hai, widely known as Foxconn, reported a 5% increase in its first-quarter net income to NT$29.45 billion ($990 million), Nikkei Asia reported. This marked the biggest profit in eight years, the report noted.
  • The Taiwanese contractor also confirmed its previously-reported quarterly revenue at NT$1.4 trillion.

Crypto Market Panic Worsens As Tether (USDT) Loses Dollar-Peg

  • Market-wide panic ensued after Tether USDT/USD – the largest stablecoin by market cap – began losing its peg to the U.S. dollar.
  • What Happened: According to data from Benzinga Pro, USDT fell to an all-time low of $0.948 across major exchanges like Coinbase Global Inc COIN on Thursday.

Google Finally Gets Apple-Like’ Courage’ To Remove Headphone Jack From New Pixel Phone

  • Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL GOOG Google has removed the headphone jack in its just introduced Pixel 6A smartphone.
  • The removal of the headphone jack is notable as Google took a dig at rival Apple Inc AAPL when it touted a “headphone jack” as a prime feature in its previous Pixel 5A device.
  • The Sundar Pichai-led company’s very Applesque introduction to 5A now seems distant as there’s no headphone jack in the mid-range $449 smartphone it launched on Wednesday at its Google I/O event.

Bitcoin Bull Jack Dorsey Likens Coinbase To A Casino

  • Twitter Inc TWTR founder and CEO of Block Inc SQ Jack Dorsey equated rival Coinbase Gobal, Inc COIN with a casino on Wednesday.
  • Dorsey was responding to a tweet by River Financial CEO Alexander Leishman. The latter said that Coinbase was becoming a “prime acquisition target.”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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