Benzinga Before The Bell: Tesla Raises Prices, Revlon Goes Bankrupt And Other Top Financial Stories Thursday, June 16

Wall Street Journal

Moderna Plans COVID-19 Vaccine Trial For Infants

  • Moderna Inc MRNA is reportedly planning to evaluate its COVID-19 vaccine in infants aged three months to 6 months.
  • According to the Wall Street Journal report, the company is in the final stages of planning the study, to be named BabyCove.
  • It is expected to begin enrolling approximately 700 babies in September.

Boeing Now Has a Liaison To Raise Concerns For Employees Who Work On Behalf Of FAA

  • Boeing Co. BA has appointed Mark Fava as its new ombudsperson for employees working on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration, reported WSJ.
  • Fava is a former U.S. Navy officer and airline operations official.
  • According to a Boeing representative, Fava has recently concentrated on regulatory issues concerning the company’s commercial and military aircraft.

WWE Investigating CEO Vince McMahon’s Secret $3M Payment To Former Female Worker: Report

  • World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. WWE CEO Vince McMahon is reportedly the subject of an internal corporate investigation regarding a $3 million payment to a former female employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.
  • The Wall Street Journal, citing documents and people familiar with the board inquiry, reported the former employee was hired as a paralegal in 2019 and had signed a non-disclosure agreement last January that prevents her from discussing the nature of her relationship with McMahon.

McDonald’s Settles French Tax Case For $1.3B

  • McDonald’s Corp MCD has agreed to settle a tax dispute in France by paying about $1.3 billion in fines and back taxes.
  • The fast-food giant has been facing a probe in France over the proper declaration of all its activities.
  • The deal’s details are expected to be disclosed at a court hearing in Paris on Thursday.


JPMorgan’s Fundraise Strategy For Wealthy Private Bets Comes With Its Share Of Pros And Cons

  • JP Morgan Chase & Co JPM beat peers in sourcing more capital for Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management, becoming a top source of cash for Tiger’s newest and largest-ever venture-capital fund, PIP 15.
  • JPMorgan assumed multiple roles for PIP 15, sourcing investor capital and debt financing.
  • For Tiger, JPMorgan Private Investments set up onshore and offshore conduits allowing a much lower minimum investment.

Crypto-SPAC Deals Stuck In SEC Lag As Demand Falls After Crash

  • Crypto companies confront yet another challenge on top of the ones they already face. This time, the industry has been stuck in a lengthy back-and-forth with U.S. regulators since last year’s boom.
  • According to people familiar with the matter, bids to merge with blank-check companies (SPACs) are being scrutinized by SEC accountants because the asset class poses new bookkeeping concerns.
  • According to data and analytics source SPACInsider, the regulator now takes twice as long to review paperwork from crypto companies as it does from other industries in some cases.


Spotify Slows Down On Hiring Amid Macro Uncertainties

  • Spotify Technology S.A. SPOT slowed hiring by 25%, CNBC reports based on a companywide email from CEO Daniel Ek.
  • However, he added the company would “continue to still hire and grow, we are just going to slow that pace and be a bit more prudent with the absolute level of new hires over the next few quarters.”
  • Spotify had ~8,230 employees globally at Q1-end.

Apple Could Be Bringing 15-Inch M2 MacBook Within A Year

  • Apple Inc AAPL could come up with a new 15” MacBook model which could sport its latest M2 and M2 Pro Chips.
  • The revelation was made by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Twitter. Kuo said that the new 15” MacBook would enter mass production in the first half of 2023, and the launch date may be the second quarter of 2023 or later.
  • The Taiwan-based analyst said that the new 15” MacBook would offer two CPU options — M2, which would come with a 35W power adapter, and M2 Pro, which will arrive with a 67W adapter.

French Regulator Reaches Truce With Meta Over Online Ad

  • France’s antitrust watchdog body approved Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc’s META commitments regarding the French online advertising sector.
  • The watchdog’s investigation services raised competition concerns about Meta’s multiple practices following a referral by Criteo S.A. CRTO in September 2019.
  • Criteo alleged that the gradual exclusion of companies from the Facebook platform has adversely impacted the diversity of the online advertising industry.

BlackRock Unveils Perpetual Infrastructure Strategy For Energy Transition, Security

  • BlackRock Inc BLK will establish a perpetual infrastructure strategy to help companies transition to lower-carbon business models over time.
  • Over half of the strategy will be allocated to Europe initially.
  • The perpetual capital strategy will start with money in the “single-digit billions” from a few cornerstone investors, BlackRock said, with plans to grow it significantly, the report mentioned.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Takes A Jab At Coinbase: We Said No To Super Bowl Ads, But Now We’re Hiring

  • Changpeng Zhao — the CEO of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchange Binance which also launched major crypto-asset BNB BNB/USD — took to Twitter Inc. TWTR to take what appears to be a jab at U.S.-based competitor Coinbase Global Inc. COIN.
  • In a Wednesday tweet, Zhao wrote that “it was not easy saying no to Super Bowl ads, stadium naming rights, large sponsor deals a few months ago, but we did.” Thanks to this capital-conservative approach, he noted that now Binance is “hiring for 2,000 open positions.

Disney Delays Shifting 2,000 Jobs To Florida Until 2026 As Feud With DeSantis Said To Intensify

  • Walt Disney Co’s DIS dispute with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to play out, as reports suggest the media giant has halted plans to move some California-based employees to the Sunshine State.
  • Disney has pushed back its original itinerary of moving around 2,000 workers at its Parks, Experience, and Product division to its new campus in the Orlando community of Lake Nona, from the end of this year to 2026, the Hollywood Reporter reported, citing a Disney spokesperson’s statement.
  • Many of these employees were reportedly Imagineering workers, involved in designing and engineering the theme parks and rides.

More Trouble For Baby Formula Production As Thunderstorms, Flood, Hit Abbott’s Troubled Michigan Plant

  • Just a few weeks after reopening its baby formula Sturgis, Michigan plant, Abbott Laboratories ABT said it paused EleCare specialty baby formula production after recent thunderstorms flooded part of the facility.
  • The company has informed the FDA and will conduct comprehensive testing with an independent third party to ensure the plant is safe to resume production.
  • This will likely delay the production and distribution of new products for a few weeks.

GM Invests $81M In Global Technical Center To Build Cadillac Celestiq

  • General Motors Co GM plans to invest more than $81 million into the company’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, to build the Cadillac Celestiq.
  • The electric flagship sedan will be the first production vehicle to be built at GM’s Global Technical Center since its inauguration in May 1956.
  • The Cadillac Celestiq will be built on the company’s Ultium Platform, comprising a common electric vehicle architecture and propulsion components like battery cells, modules, packs, Ultium Drive units, EV motors, and integrated power electronics.

Elon Musk’s Twitter Meet’ Smart Move:’ Analyst Lists Likely Questions At Event

  • Elon Musk will host an all-hands virtual meeting with Twitter, Inc. TWTR employees on Thursday, apparently in a bid to allay their apprehensions and win over their confidence. Prominent Tesla, Inc. TSLA bull and Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives delved into what could transpire in the meeting.
  • Step In ‘Right Direction:’ Thursday’s meeting is “another clear step in the right direction toward the fructification of the deal,” Ives said. The analyst viewed this as a “smart strategic move” as Twitter employees haven’t been properly apprised over the past few weeks. They may have many questions during this volatile period of uncertainty, he added.
  • Probable questions will likely include details on the deal timing, Musk’s intent in closing it, and the likelihood of his shutting down the San Francisco headquarters and moving employees to Austin, Texas, Ives said.

BHP To Retain Australian Coal Project For Another 8 Years As It Failed To...

  • BHP Group Ltd BHP will retain New South Wales Energy Coal (NSWEC) in its portfolio. The sale process of NSWEC did not result in a viable offer.
  • The company said that moving to closure in 2030 provides the optimal financial outcome compared to alternate options.
  • BHP will seek the relevant approvals to continue mining beyond its current mining consent expiring in 2026 and proceed with a managed process to cease mining at the asset by the end of 2030.

Tesla Raises US Car Prices By Up To $6000: What Its EVs Cost Now

  • Tesla Inc TSLA on Thursday bumped up the price for its Model Y crossover in the latest round of price hikes, the electric vehicle maker’s website showed.
  • The Austin, Texas-based company has raised prices for both the Model Y Long Range and Performance variant in the range of $2,000 to $3,000.
  • Model Y Long Range is now priced at $65,990, a jump of $2,000, while the Performance variant is now $3,000 more expensive at $69,990.

Why Toyota Will Stick To Making Hybrid Cars Amid Growing Calls For EV Transition

  • Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp TM has reportedly said it would continue developing and making hybrid and other low-emission vehicles amid shareholder pressure to embrace electric cars.
  • The world’s largest automaker by sales told shareholders it needed to offer a number of options to suit different markets and customers, Nikkei Asia reported, citing the automaker’s executives.
  • “We will not, cannot, limit the choices [of our customers], because Toyota is truly global and serves customers in different regions,” the report said, citing Toyota’s executive vice president, Masahiko Maeda.

Cosmetics Maker Revlon Files For Bankruptcy

  • Cosmetics brand Revlon Inc REV has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 after facing heavy debt.
  • It has filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • The filing will allow the cosmetics maker to reorganize its legacy capital structure and improve its long-term outlook in the face of a liquidity crunch.

Tesla Accounted For 70% Of 400 Self-Driving Car Crashes Since Last June: Report

  • Tesla Inc TSLA electric vehicles accounted for nearly 70% of reported crashes involving advanced driver-assist systems since last June, CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing federal data.
  • According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, Tesla cars were involved in 273 accidents involving its advanced driver-assist system since companies were required to start reporting the incidents about a year ago.
  • There were 392 crashes involving 11 automakers and one supplier from June 2021 through May 15, the report said.

Photo by anncapictures from Pixabay

Posted In: NewsPenny StocksSmall CapTop Stories