Morning Brief: Top Financial Stories Dominating on Thursday, May 26

CNBC

Two Major Tech Deals Come Under UK Government Scrutiny

  • The U.K. will review Altice USA Inc’s ATUS increased stake in BT Group plc BTGOF after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng exercised new takeover powers focusing on national security.
  • The company announced that the U.K. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is “calling in” its deal with Altice, which telecom magnate Patrick Drahi owns.
  • BT Group said it would fully cooperate with this review.

Reuters

Britain Competition Watchdog Launches Second Probe On Google

  • Britain’s competition regulator launched its second probe into the advertising practices of Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL Google for allegedly fudging competition and illegally favoring its services.
  • The CMA studied three critical parts of the ad tech stack chain, services that mediate ad tech since Google owned the largest provider in each of those components.
  • The CMA’s latest probe follows its probe into Google and Facebook owner-Meta Platforms Inc FB “Jedi Blue” agreement.

Canada’s Telus Withdraws Its $830M Bid For Australia’s Appen

  • Telus International TIXT TIXT made and then unexpectedly withdrew a A$1.2 billion ($830 million) acquisition offer for Australian rival Appen Ltd APPEF.
  • “Telus informed us that they were revoking their Indicative Proposal. No reasons were given,” the Australian software seller stated.
  • On Thursday, trading in Appen’s shares was halted after they surged more than 29 percent to A$8.27, well below the indicative offer price of A$9.50 per share.

Wall Street Journal

Apple Gives 10% Hike To Store Workers Amid Hot Inflation, Unionization Drive

  • Apple, Inc. AAPL has reportedly followed up on its February pay increases for its store employees with another.
  • Cupertino is raising salaries for store employees in the U.S. by 10% or more, to at least $22 per hour, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an email from the company to workers.
  • “This year as part of our annual performance review process, we’re increasing our overall compensation budget,” the report said, citing an Apple spokesperson.
  • The latest move is on top of the 2-10% upward revision the company announced in February.

Boeing’s Starliner Spacecraft Returns To Earth

  • After undocking from the International Space Station, Boeing Co. BA spacecraft landed in the desert on Wednesday, marking the end of a test mission that was first attempted more than two years ago, reported WSJ.
  • The ship had successfully connected with the space station on Friday night, nearly a day after being launched into orbit by a rocket from a Florida launchpad.
  • The Starliner carried out several maneuvers during the mission to demonstrate its capacity to fly and make adjustments in orbit to reach the station.

Bloomberg

Another Chinese Car Tech Company Aspires To Go Public Via SPAC Merger After DiDi’s Debacle

  • Billionaire Li Shufu-backed car technology company Ecarx Holdings Inc looks to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger with Cova Acquisition Corp COVA.
  • Ecarx, founded in 2017 by Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd’s GELYY Shufu and Ziyu Shen, develops software and hardware like digital cockpit and infotainment systems for cars.
  • The combined company will be worth $3.8 billion.
  • Ecarx would be the most prominent Chinese company to list in the U.S. following DiDi Global Inc’s DIDI debacle.

Sony Goes Aggressive On Gaming Pursuit - Read How

  • Sony Group Corp’s SONY PlayStation division looks to acquire more game studios and increase investment in live services, PC and mobile offerings, its gaming chief said, Bloomberg reports.
  • Sony is yet to expand PlayStation Studios inorganically and will look to keep forging deals, Jim Ryan said.
  • Sony spent nearly half its PlayStation 5 investment budget developing and growing live services and looks to increase that ratio to 55% by FY25.
  • Sony projects PC net sales of $300 million in the current fiscal year, up almost four-fold from $80 million a year ago.

Financial Times

Fed Explores More Aggressive Interest Rate Hikes To Counter Inflation While Weighing Associated Risks

  • Federal Reserve officials discussed moving the U.S. central bank to a “restrictive” policy stance to counter inflation through more aggressive interest rate increases.
  • Most U.S. monetary policymakers agreed to increase the Fed’s primary interest rate between 0.75% - 1% by 50 basis points at the next set of meetings.
  • The Fed officials saw risks to financial stability related to the tightening cycle that could hurt the liquidity of Treasury securities markets and the private sector’s intermediation capacity.

Venture Global ‘Secretly’ Started Constructing $13B LNG Plant On US Gulf Coast

  • The Financial Times reported that Venture Global LNG would build one of the largest new liquefied natural gas export plants in the U.S. on the Louisiana coast.
  • The Plaquemines project will supply more than 13 million tons a year of LNG, equivalent to 15% of total U.S. export capacity.
  • A second phase could take the plant’s capacity to 20 million tons a year.

Benzinga

Twitter To Settle Complaint Alleging It Used User Phone Numbers To Target Ads For $150M

  • Twitter Inc TWTR will pay $150 million in civil penalties after the social media platform settled a complaint that alleged that the company used its members’ email addresses and phone numbers to target them with advertisements.
  • The settlement pertains to allegations that Twitter violated the Federal Trade Commission Act and an administrative order issued by the Federal Trade Commission in March 2011.
  • In addition to the penalty, Twitter has agreed to “implement robust compliance measures” to protect its users’ data privacy, according to a joint statement by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FTC.

Kim Jong-Un’s Missile Test Spurs UN To Toughen Sanctions Against North Korea

  • The United Nations Security Council will reportedly vote to strengthen sanctions on North Korea after the Kim Jong-Un-led country recently tested intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • A senior U.S. official told AFP that at the request of the United States, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency for May, the U.N. would conduct a vote on a resolution aimed at toughening sanctions on North Korea.

GameStop Is Dishing Out Big Discounts During This Special Playstation Event

  • GameStop Corp GME is dishing out some major discounts for Sony Group Corp’s SONY PlayStation “Days of Play” event.
  • The event is due to take place between May 25 and June 8 this year. On offer are GameStop discounts on select PlayStation 4 and 5 games such as “Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves” and “MLB The Show 22.”
  • The discounts also extend to PS5 DualSense Controllers, which are going for $59.99 against the regular price of $69.99 to $74.99.

Why Nio Is Betting On This Honeywell Product To Fight Global Warming

  • Nio Inc NIO will use Honeywell International Inc’s HON refrigerant with ultra-low global warming potential for its recently launched ET7 sedan, CnEVpost reported on Thursday, citing the U.S. industrial company.
  • Honeywell claims its hydrofluoroolefin (HFO)-based refrigerant has a global warming potential (GWP) of less than 1, a 99.9% reduction compared to HFC refrigerants currently used in the Chinese market.
  • The HFO-1234yf refrigerant was being used in more than 120 million vehicles globally at the end of last year, the report said, citing Honeywell.

JPMorgan Sees Bitcoin’s Fair Value At $38,000; Crypto Now Preferred Over Real Estate

  • Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co have reportedly forecast potential upside for Bitcoin BTC/USD and other cryptocurrencies in the months to come.
  • In a Wednesday research note to investors seen by Forbes, JPMorgan strategists, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, placed Bitcoin’s “fair value” at $38,000, 28% higher than its current market price.
  • The bank also noted that cryptocurrencies had surpassed real estate as a preferred alternative asset.

Bitcoin Edges Up, Ethereum, Dogecoin Down: Fed Meet Cheers Stocks But Crypto Stuck In Rut

  • Bitcoin and Ethereum were mixed at press time on Wednesday evening, breaking away from other risk assets after the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting minutes came in line with expectations. The global cryptocurrency market cap fell 0.7% to $1.3 trillion.
  • Major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum failed to overcome resistance at the key $30,000 and $2,000 levels even though other risk assets like stocks rallied on Wednesday.

Wait, Now 27% Of US Adults Own Or Trade Crypto: KuCoin Report

  • A report by leading cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin reveals that 27% of U.S adults are now invested or have traded cryptocurrencies in the last six months.
  • KuCoin in a report titled “Into The Cryptoverse” provided insights into the growing cryptocurrency market in the United States.
  • The report didn’t specify which digital coins are most popular among U.S. adults, but on-chain data shows that Bitcoin BTC/USD and Ethereum ETH/USD are the most prevalent cryptocurrencies worldwide.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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