Morning Brief: Top Financial Stories Dominating on Tuesday, May 17


KKR To Scoop This Power Company At 36% Premium

  • U.S. private-equity firm KKR & Co Inc KKR agreed to acquire power generation company ContourGlobal PLC GLOFF for £1.75 billion ($2.16 billion).
  • KKR will pay £2.64 for each share of ContourGlobal, representing a 36% premium to its May 16 closing price.
  • ContourGlobal operates 138 thermal and renewable power plants across Europe, Latin America, North America, and Africa.

Wall Street Journal

FDA Gives Nod To First Nonprescription COVID-19 Test That Also Detects Flu, RSV

  • The FDA has authorized the first nonprescription test to detect Covid-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • The test, called the Labcorp Seasonal Respiratory Virus RT-PCR DTC Test, was developed by Laboratory Corp of America Holdings LH.
  • It can be sold directly to consumers online or at retail. A person can self-collect a nasal swab sample at home and then send that sample to Labcorp for testing.

Troubled EV Maker Lordstown Motors’ Survival Hopes Rests On Fresh Funds, Valuation

  • Lordstown Motors Corp RIDE CFO acknowledged difficulties in sustaining the business for at least another year after selling its factory to Apple Inc AAPL supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd HNHPF.
  • Adam Kroll found it challenging to sustain pending more funding and a surge in market valuation.
  • Lordstown needs to raise an additional $150 million in the capital before the 2022 end to execute its plans of building about 500 vehicles.


Alibaba, Tencent To Post Lack-Luster Quarterly Results As Domestic Regulatory Crackdown Takes A Toll

  • Fastest growing companies like Alibaba Group Holding Limited BABA and Tencent Holding Ltd TCEHY are struggling to keep up with even the most staid utilities amid China’s crackdown on internet giants.
  • Tencent’s results on May 18 will likely show a revenue growth of a mere 4.3% in the March quarter. Alibaba’s revenue will likely grow by 7.1%.
  • The companies will see record lows and lag the 8.6% average growth reported by the ten largest utilities, including Duke Energy Corp DUK and Southern Company SO last year.

Rivian In Dispute With Supplier Commercial Vehicle Group

  • Rivian Automotive Inc RIVN shares fell about 6% on Monday on word the EV startup is in dispute with Commercial Vehicle Group Inc CVGI, a key seat supplier.
  • The probable dispute would jeopardize Rivian’s delivery van contract with Amazon.Com, Inc. AMZN, the report added.
  • Rivian alleged in a lawsuit that Commercial Vehicle Group, a New Albany, Ohio-based auto parts manufacturer, threatened to stop supplying seats unless the carmaker agreed to pay twice the price.

Financial Times

Warren Buffett Exits Wells Fargo And Buys Stake In Its Rival Bank

  • Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE: BRK-B) bought $3 billion worth of shares in Citigroup Inc C in Q1, giving the group a stake of about 2.8%, according to filings with regulators.
  • The investment came as Berkshire sold the remainder of its position in Wells Fargo & Co WFC, a rival bank that had been a staple in Buffett’s portfolio for more than three decades.

New York Times

FDA May Authorize Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Booster For 5-11 Year Kids Soon

  • The FDA is expected to authorize a booster shot of Pfizer Inc PFE/ BioNTech SE’s BNTX COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 probably by today, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • The companies submitted an application to the FDA for authorization last month.
  • They have cited data from a mid-to-late-stage study showing the third dose of their shot increased protection against the original coronavirus version and the omicron variant among children aged 5-11 years.


Why United Airlines Shares Are Trading Higher Today

  • United Airlines Holdings, Inc. UAL updated its financial outlook for second-quarter 2022.
  • The company stated that the demand environment has continued to improve following the previous guidance, resulting in a higher unit revenue outlook for Q2.
  • Meanwhile, UAL noted that oil price has also increased, resulting in a higher expected fuel price for the quarter.

Shareholders Rejected Intel’s Top Executive Compensation Just A Month After It Painted Dismal Q2 Outlook

  • Intel Corp INTC shareholders rejected compensation packages for top executives, including a payout of as much as $178.6 million to CEO Pat Gelsinger.
  • Shareholders cast 1.78 billion votes against executive compensation at the annual meeting.
  • Shareholders cast 921.2 million votes in favor of the compensation. The vote is non-binding.

Elon Musk Getting’ Cold Feet’ On Twitter Deal? Analyst Says Bots Issue An Excuse To Lower Price Or Walk Away

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk is likely using the bots issue as a scapegoat to walk away from his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc TWTR or negotiate a lower price, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives.
  • “A changing stock market/risk environment the last month, and a number of other financing factors have caused Musk to get “cold feet” on the Twitter deal, with the bot issue not a new [one] and likely more of a scapegoat to push for a lower price,” Ives wrote in a note.
  • “The elephant in the room for the Twitter board is Musk can walk away for a $1 billion as a small breakup fee ... and likely cite the bot/fake account issue as the reason, even though this likely would be contested by Twitter in the courts.”

Coming Soon: Order A Tesla Or Polestar For Your Uber Ride Across The World In These Cities

  • Uber Technologies Inc UBER will soon let users in select cities across the world book a Tesla Inc TSLA or a Polestar electric vehicle for their rides, as it seeks to accelerate its 2030 electrification ambitions.
  • The Uber Comfort Electric feature is making a debut in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Dubai, and the car rental company said it plans to add more cities soon.
  • “Last year, we teamed up with Hertz to give drivers an option to rent a Tesla. This partnership plans to get 50,000 Teslas on the road by 2023,” Sachin Kansal, Uber’s vice president of product, said.

Daimler Truck Clocks 17% Revenue Growth In Q1 Aided By Strong Demand Situation

  • Daimler Truck Holding DTRUY said high demand has cushioned it from rising raw materials prices and inflationary pressures as the company posted a 7.9% year-on-year rise in first-quarter FY22 sales.
  • Daimler expects FY22 sales of 500,000 – 520,000 and raised FY22 revenue outlook to €48.0 - €50.0 billion from €45.5 - €47.5 billion.

US Baby Formula Crisis Could See Some Relief As FDA, Abbott Agree On Deal

  • The baby formula shortage that has morphed into a crisis in the U.S. could soon see some relief following an agreement between market leader Abbott Laboratories ABT and the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Abbott announced late Tuesday that it has agreed to enter into a consent decree with the FDA regarding the restart of production at the former’s Sturgis, Michigan infant formula plant.
  • Abbott, which through its Abbott Nutrition arm manufactures baby formula, voluntarily recalled powdered infant formulas produced at the plant in mid-February due to reports of bacterial contamination. The plant was shut down following the death of two infants and the indisposition of four more.

Key Boeing China Customer Said To Have Scrapped Over 100 Jets From Delivery Plans

  • Key Boeing Co BA customer China Southern Airlines Co has removed more than 100 of its 737 MAX jets from its fleet plans due to uncertainty over deliveries, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing the airlines.
  • China Southern Airlines expects to take delivery of 78 aircraft through 2024, down from 181 in a previous forecast in March.
  • MAX was not included due to “uncertainty surrounding the delivery,” the report said, citing an airline representative.

Bitcoin Sees $299M Weekly Inflows Despite Terra (LUNA) Disaster

  • Bitcoin BTC/USD recorded its largest weekly inflows this year even as the chaos surrounding Terra LUNA/USD sent markets plummeting last week.
  • According to last week’s CoinShares report examining fund flows into digital asset products, Bitcoin saw $298.6 million worth of inflows for the week ended May 13.
  • Meanwhile, Ethereum ETH/USD products continued to see an exodus of capital with outflows totaling $27 million for the week.

Apple Now Lets Apps Charge More For Subscriptions Without User Consent In Some Cases: What It Means For You

  • Apple Inc AAPL says app creators will be able to charge hiked subscription fees to users without the need for an opt-in.
  • The Tim Cook-led company issued an update on Monday saying that “uncer certain specific conditions” and “with advance notice” developers will be able to offer an auto renewable subscription price increase without the user needing to take any action.
  • The iPhone maker laid out the specific conditions which induce a price increase that doesn’t exceed $5 and 50% of the subscription price, or $50 and 50% for an annual subscription price. The price increase should also be permissible under local law.

Spotify Said To Be Testing Out NFT Previews For Artists

  • Music streaming platform Spotify Technology SA SPOT is reportedly testing out a way for artists to display their NFTs on their artist pages.
  • A spokesperson from Spotify told Music Ally that the platform is “running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promotes their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles.”
  • Included in this list of artists are Steve Aoki and The Wombats that have already displayed their NFTs on the platform.

Elon Musk Reacts To Dogecoin Creator’s Tweet That 95% Of Crypto Is ‘Scams And Garbage’

  • Dogecoin DOGE/USD co-creator Billy Markus appreciated Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk’s reaction to a tweet in which the latter touched upon the poor reputation of cryptocurrencies and people associated with the segment.
  • Markus tweeted that the reason why people think “crypto is 95% scams and garbage and most crypto people are assholes is because crypto is 95% scams and garbage and most crypto people are assholes.”

Tiger Global Exits Rivian, Netflix Stakes In Q1 — Doubles Down On These Chinese EV Makers Instead

  • Hedge fund Tiger Global dissolved its stake in Rivian Automotive Inc RIVN and Netflix Inc NFLX in the first quarter and significantly lowered its exposure to Uber Technologies Inc UBER. It more than doubled its positions in Chinese EV makers Xpeng Inc XPEV and Li Auto Inc LI, according to regulatory filings.
  • The Chase Coleman-founded hedge fund, popular for its mega bets on technology firms, completely exited its position in Rivian, the high-profile EV maker that went public last year and has been under pressure after missing some key production and delivery targets.
  • Tiger Global sold all of the 751,000 shares in Rivian it held at the beginning of the year. Rivian shares slumped 55% in the first quarter to $46.44. The stock is down 76% year-to-date.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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