Benzinga Before The Bell: SpaceX Fires Staff Critical Of Musk, Snapchat Tests Subscriptions And Other Top Financial Stories Friday, June 17


London’s Gatwick Airport To Fly Lesser Number Of Flights During Summer Season

  • Gatwick Airport in London is reducing the number of flights during the peak summer period due to staff shortages.
  • The decision to temporarily reduce flights follows a review of its operations to help passengers “experience a more reliable and better standard of service.”
  • The daily flights will be cut to 825 in July and 850 in August. Reuters reported that the numbers are from around 900 flights on peak days in August.

Here’s How US Looks To Churn Out Quality Workers For EV, Broadband Industry

  • The White House aims to introduce a summer-long initiative to unite labor unions and industry.
  • They aim to help train more workers for good jobs in the electric vehicle, broadband, and construction sectors, senior administration officials.
  • The government aims to counter concerns regarding the possible recession and high inflation while highlighting employment gains by the move.
  • The “Talent Pipeline Challenge” will promote employers and state and local governments to use $800 million in job training funds from the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Indian Conglomerate Reliance Eyes Bankrupt Revlon

  • Indian conglomerate company Reliance Industries is planning to acquire cosmetics maker Revlon Inc REV.
  • The development comes in the wake of Revlon filing for reorganization under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Revlon is facing heavy debts as it struggles to compete with brands driven by social media influencers.

New York Times

SpaceX Fires Employees Critical Of Elon Musk, Dubs Their Action’ Overreaching Activism

  • Elon Musk-led SpaceX on Thursday afternoon fired a number of its employees who wrote an open letter criticizing what they see as the entrepreneur’s egregious behavior.
  • The news of the firing was shared in a letter to employees by SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell.
  • “That is, the letter, solicitations and general process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry,” the executive said. She attributed the reaction to the pressure the employees were under to sign something that did not reflect their views.

Wall Street Journal

Tampon Manufactures Step Up Output To Avoid Any Major Supply Crunch

  • Some of the largest U.S. tampon makers are beefing up production to boost supplies as consumers in some parts say they cannot find their preferred products.
  • The most prominent player with 60% of the market, Procter & Gamble Co PG, said it is running plants non-stop to ensure stores have an adequate supply.
  • Edgewell Personal Care Co EPC also reported production problems in the past year.
  • Kimberly Clark Corp KMB, the third-largest tampon maker, said it had not experienced a product or supply shortage.

Inflation Hits Anheuser-Busch, CFO Says Price Increase On Cards

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV BUD mulls raising prices for some of its beverages in an effort to manage inflation.
  • As per Wall Street Journal, the company said that despite regular updates to its pricing, it is lagging on cost increases in markets, including the U.S. and Brazil.
  • “Overall, I feel inflation is slightly higher than our view,” AB InBev CFO Fernando Tennenbaum said.


Pilot Crunch Hits Cathay Pacific As Pilots Resign In Large Numbers

  • Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd CPCAY is facing a continuously high rate of pilot resignations.
  • Bloomberg reported that the airline says it may improve allowances and benefits to lure the crew who took deep pay cuts to the carrier during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • “We still have resignation rates at much higher levels than we’ve historically had,” Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer Greg Hughes said at a town hall meeting for Cathay staff watched online by Bloomberg News.

Volkswagen Looks To Settle Porsche Buyers’ Complaints For Bypassing Emission Norms

  • Volkswagen AG VLKPF agreed to settle Porsche buyers’ complaints by paying a minimum of $80 million, Bloomberg reports.
  • The buyers alleged improperly skewed emissions and fuel economy test results.
  • Tests proved that fuel economy was one to two miles per gallon lower than the company advertised.

Financial Times

GM Backed Cruise Is Giving Google, Tesla A Run For Their Money

  • General Motors Company GM backed Cruise offered tough competition to Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL Google in the race to secure the first robotaxi permit for San Francisco.
  • Cruise beat Google by offering free rides in its fully autonomous vehicles in February. Cruise also bagged approval for monetizing the rides in early June.
  • Cruise chief Kyle Vogt said, “If this can operate in a major U.S. city, like San Francisco, where there’s a high willingness to pay, high population density, high demand, high complexity, then it can operate in many places.”


Advantage AMD: Analyst Flags Delay In Intel Server Chip Shipment

  • Intel Corp’s INTC product misstep woes are likely to return to haunt the company, casting more clouds over its turnaround efforts.
  • The highly-anticipated Intel server chips, codenamed “Sapphire Rapids,” may not ship until the second quarter of 2023, as opposed to a consensus expectation for a launch in the second half of 2022, noted tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said on Thursday.
  • Premised on a second-half launch, Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore said in a December 2021 note that he expects the chip to help Intel narrow its server market share gap with rival Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.’s AMD Milan server processor.

Snapchat Bringing Paid Subscription Service? Here’s What We Know

  • Snap Inc SNAP, which heavily relies on advertising revenue, is reportedly testing out a paid subscription service with many user perks for its instant messaging app and service.
  • Snap is internally testing “Snapchat Plus,” a paid subscription that will give users early access to new features and other abilities, the Verge reported, citing a statement from a company spokesperson.
  • The company is also testing other features for the subscription service, as per the report, which cited screenshots and information shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi.

Banco Santander Appoints Héctor Grisi As CEO

  • Spanish multinational financial services provider Banco Santander SA SAN has appointed Héctor Grisi as the Chief executive Officer, effective January 1, 2023.
  • He will succeed Jose Antonio Alvarez who will remain on the board and serve as non-executive vice chair.

Is Tesla Sending Untrained Workers To Service Centers?

  • Tesla Inc TSLA is sending untrained employees to service centers to address issues as its customer fleet grows much faster than the service infrastructure, reported, citing sources.
  • Austin, Texas-based Tesla is dispatching employees who do not have service center experience to fix vehicles.
  • Some of these employees include salespeople, entry-level workers, or managers who have no training in servicing cars and are finding themselves in service centers working on vehicle.

Twitter-Backed Social Media Platform Also Gets Google Backing In $255M Funding Round

  • Indian social media app ShareChat, which counts Twitter Inc TWTR and Snap Inc SNAP among its investors, recently raised $520 million in a multi-tranche funding round.
  • ShareChat, in a statement, said that after the recent funding round, the company exceeded $5 billion in valuation.
  • In the first part of the funding round, the company raised $266 million from Alkeon Capital, Temasek, HarbourVest, Moore Strategic Ventures, and India Quotient in December.

Alibaba Could Suffer Fallout As Top Rival Plans Foray In Food Delivery Service

  • Beijing-headquartered e-commerce giant Inc JD is mulling a possible foray into the food delivery business, posing an intense competition for its Chinese peers Meituan MPNGF and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA.
  • JD Retail CEO Xin Lijun, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, said the company has “considered and explored” launching an on-demand food delivery service.
  • “As for when we will start doing it, it will depend on our capacity and when we can build up a talent team,” Lijun added.

Elon Musk Mulls SpaceX-Like Pay Structure For Twitter Staff

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk clarified how Twitter Inc TWTR employees would receive compensation and benefits after his takeover of the social media platform.
  • Musk interacted with Twitter employees on Thursday. He was asked how he compensates employees at privately held SpaceX and what approach he plans to take at Twitter after he closes his deal, according to a transcript of the interaction published by Vox.
  • Musk said that SpaceX “operates in the best of both worlds,” where stock and options are issued to everyone.

Volkswagen Says US Could Face Many Challenges To Ramp Up EV Battery Output

  • Volkswagen Group’s VWAGY U.S. CEO Scott Keogh has warned America could face key challenges to ramp up battery production plans to meet the demand for electric vehicles, Reuters reported, citing the executive.
  • Keogh said the U.S. could face issues linked to attracting skilled workers, mining for key metals, and supply chain and that the switch to EVs is the single biggest “industrial transformation in America.”
  • Keogh said the U.S. could potentially employ hundreds of thousands of people by 2030 for battery production and needs to be “making 8.5 million batteries” annually compared with 150,000-200,000 a year now.

Crypto Vs Stocks: Correlation Trends In The Bear Market

  • Bitcoin’s BTC/USD all-time high (ATH) and growing popularity have changed its lack of correlation with equity markets. Amid the heavy debate, analysts have suggested an increasing connection between tech stocks and cryptocurrency prices.
  • This slowly nourished relationship has been developing strongly over the past year. In May, Cathie Wood-led Ark Investment Management projected Bitcoin’s correlation with the S&P 500 to reach an ATH of 80%, saying that this “continues to suggest that market participants view Bitcoin as a risk-on asset”.

Nio Said To Get Sued By Audi: Here’s What It’s All About

  • Volkswagen Group’s VWAGY Audi has sued Nio Inc NIO, alleging the Chinese EV maker’s ES6 and ES8 model names infringe the trademark rights of two of its models, the S6 and S8, CnEVpost reported on Thursday, citing German media outlet Handelsblatt.
  • Audi has alleged in a lawsuit filed in a Munich court that some of Nio’s models offered for the first time in Europe would infringe Audi’s trademark rights.
  • Audi has been selling the S6 and S8 sedans for several years, while Nio launched the ES6 electric SUV in 2019 and the ES8 SUV in September.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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