Benzinga Before The Bell: Kohl's Deal Talks Cancellation, Tesla's Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, Nio's Strong June Deliveries And Other Top Financial Stories Friday, July 1


Why Kohl’s Shares Are Plunging Today

  • Kohl’s Corp KSS has called off discussions to sell its business to Franchise Group Inc FRG.
  • The decision comes at a time when there is increased volatility in the stock market and the economy as the Federal Reserve seeks to hike interest rates to contain inflation.
  • Franchise Group had been considering lowering its bid for Kohl’s to $50 per share from an earlier offer of $60 per share.

FTX Reportedly Shopping BlockFi At 99.5% Discount, CEO Shoots Down $25M Figure

  • A term sheet is almost completed and expected to be signed by the end of the week that will see the second-largest crypto firm, FTX, acquire embattled crypto lending platform BlockFi for a paltry $25 million, CNBC reported Thursday, citing sources familiar with the situation. — a shocking 99.5% less than its near $5-billion valuation.
  • CEO Zac Prince said in a tweet just before 3 p.m. Thursday that the figure reported by CNBC is incorrect.


California Goes Ahead With Lithium Tax Despite Protests From EV Suppliers

  • California has approved a plan to tax the electric vehicle battery metal lithium to generate revenue for environmental remediation projects, Reuters reports.
  • The tax is structured as a flat-rate per tonne and will go into effect in January.
  • Funds generated from the tax will help restore the Salton Sea region from damage in the 20th century.

Google Settles Lawsuit With App Developers For Hefty Sum - Key Takeaways

  • Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL agreed to settle a lawsuit with app developers for $90 million.
  • The app developers accused Google of exploiting agreements with smartphone makers, technical barriers, and revenue-sharing deals to close the app ecosystem effectively and shunt most payments through its Google Play billing system with a default service fee of 30%.
  • Google earmarked $90 million to support app developers who made $2 million or less in annual revenue from 2016-2021.

Tesla Hit By New Class-Action Lawsuit Claiming Racial Discrimination: Report

  • Fifteen black employees of Tesla Inc TSLA, including former or current, have filed a lawsuit alleging racial abuse and harassment at the company’s factories, Reuters reported.
  • According to the lawsuit filed, the workers were regularly subjected to racist comments and behavior by colleagues, managers, and HR employees.
  • Per the lawsuit, the harassment mainly occurred at Tesla’s Fremont factory in California.

Toyota Launches Hybrid SUV For Indian Market: Reuters

  • Toyota Motor Corp TM has unveiled its first mass-market hybrid car for India, a sport utility vehicle (SUV).
  • Toyota will build the Urban Cruiser Hyryder SUV in alliance with Suzuki Motor SZKMY.
  • Related: 2 Japanese Auto Giants To Jointly Make New Hybrid SUV In India
  • The Japanese auto major’s latest offering will compete with Hyundai Motor Co., Ltd. HYMTF and Kia Motors in a segment that accounts for major auto sales in India.

Facebook Parent Meta Cuts Hiring Plans As Mark Zuckerberg Flags’ Worst Downturn In Recent History:’ Report

  • Meta Platforms Inc META CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly asked his employees to brace for one of the worst economic downturns in recent history.
  • Zuckerberg told his staff on Thursday that he was hoping to turn up the heat on them, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing an audio recording of an internal Q&A session.
  • “​​If I had to bet, I’d say that this might be one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history,” said Zuckerberg.

Wall Street Journal

Atlantic City Casino Workers Seal Labor Pacts With MGM, Caesars

  • The Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino workers union has reached an agreement with MGM Resorts International MGM and Caesars Entertainment Inc CZR.
  • The agreements reached are likely to prevent strikes at MGM Resorts’ Borgata casino and Caesars Entertainment’s Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana properties.
  • Unite Here Local 54 union organizers have been asking for a pay raise and had voted in favor of a strike if no deal comes through.


Amazon, AT&T, Disney Paying For Abortion Travel Costs Had Also Contributed To Anti-Abortion Campaigns

  • Inc AMZN, AT&T Inc T, and Walt Disney Company DIS, pledging to pay for employees to travel for reproductive medical care, ended up contributing to the campaigns of anti-abortion governors.
  • Republican Governors Bill Lee of Tennessee, Greg Abbott of Texas, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, and Ron DeSantis of Florida sought to limit abortion rights.
  • Each governor received contributions from at least one of the companies or associated political action committees before the court’s decision.

BNP Paribas Exits US Commodities Finance Business

  • BNP Paribas BNPQY is set to exit its commodity finance business in the U.S., following previous retreats in other parts of the world.
  • “The decision to exit this business was in line with our approach at EMEA,” the bank stated.
  • “The impact is limited, and BNP Paribas remains deeply committed to the U.S. and the U.S., as well as its energy and renewable customers,” it added.

Financial Times

Citigroup Negotiating With Local Bidders For Its Russian Operations

  • Citigroup Inc C is in talks with local buyers in Russia over a potential sale of its operations in the country, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • The bank is in negotiations with privately-owned Russian companies, including Expobank and insurance company Reso-Garantia for the divestiture, the report said.
  • Société Générale’s former Russian subsidiary, Rosbank, owned by Vladimir Potanin, has also expressed interest in buying Citi’s operations.


Oxford Biomedica Inks New Three-Year Deal To Make AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Oxford Biomedica plc OXBDF signed a new three-year agreement to potentially make AstraZeneca Plc’s AZN COVID-19 vaccine beyond 2022.
  • The new agreement represents an expansion of the original master supply and development agreement announced between the two companies in September 2020.
  • The manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines at Oxford Biomedica’s Oxbox facility, as part of the original commitment, is expected to complete in the last quarter of 2022.

NIO Shares Gain As June Deliveries Jump By Over 60%, Reflecting Recovery

  • NIO Inc NIO reported its June and second quarter 2022 delivery results. NIO delivered 12,961 vehicles in June 2022 (vs. 7,024 vehicles in May 2022), up 60.3% month-over-month.
  • The June deliveries consisted of 8,612 premium smart electric SUVs, including 1,684 ES8s, 5,100 ES6s and 1,828 EC6s, and 4,349 ET7s, its flagship premium smart electric sedan.
  • NIO delivered 25,059 vehicles in Q2 2022, up 14.4% Y/Y. The cumulative deliveries of NIO vehicles reached 217,897 as of June 30.

JPMorgan Analysts List 2 Reasons Why Crypto Deleveraging Will End Soon

  • Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM believe there are two strong reasons to suggest that the end of the cryptocurrency bear market is near.
  • In a note to clients seen by Business Insider on Wednesday, JPM strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou reasoned that recent events give reason to believe that deleveraging in the cryptocurrency sector could be in its final stages.
  • “Indicators like our Net Leverage metric suggest that deleveraging is already well advanced,” said Panigirtzoglou.

Apple CarPlay Users Could Soon Get To Buy Gas Right Off Their Dashboard

  • Apple Inc AAPL could allow its CarPlay users to purchase gasoline directly from their vehicle’s dashboard as early as this fall.
  • The Tim Cook-led tech giant in June quietly unveiled a feature that will provide a CarPlay app to navigate to a pump and buy gas directly from a screen on their car dashboard and skip tapping a credit card, reported Reuters.
  • HF Sinclair Corp DINO, a Dallas, Texas-based diversified energy company, which markets gas at 1,600 stations in the United States, reportedly said it plans to use the CarPlay technology in the coming months.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Gets FCC Nod For Starlink Internet On Cars, Boats And Planes

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk-led SpaceX has been granted authorization by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use its constellation of satellites to connect moving vehicles such as cars, boats, and planes to the internet.
  • The FCC on Thursday granted SpaceX’s request to allow Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM) Starlink terminals to its satellites.
  • The FCC also approved a request by another company, Kepler Communications, to offer similar services.

eToro Said To Abandon SPAC Merger

  • Retail stock and cryptocurrency brokerage platform eToro is reportedly not going ahead with its planned blank-check merger.
  • The Information reported (via The Block Crypto) that the company has halted plans to merge with a Betsy Cohen-backed special purpose acquisition (SPAC) firm Fintech Acquisition Corp V FTCV.

Celsius’ Lead Investor Suggests Most Influential Bitcoin Whales Co-Invest As Part Of Recovery Plan

  • BnkToTheFuture, a lead investor in beleaguered cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius, has put forth three proposals to save the company from going under.
  • On Friday, CEO of BkToTheFuture Simon Dixon shared the Depositor’s First Celsius Recovery Plan in a post on Twitter.
  • In one of the recovery proposals, the firm suggested that a pool of the most influential Bitcoin BTC/USD whales co-invest with the community.

Apple Hikes iPhone, iPad Prices In Japan As Yen Weakens

  • Apple Inc. AAPL has hiked iPhone and iPad prices in Japan, according to its regional website.
  • The base model of the iPhone now costs JPY 117,800, compared to JPY 99,800 earlier, indicating a hike of about 18%. The iPhone 13 mini now comes at JPY 99,800.
  • The hikes come as Japan’s currency, the yen, continues to weaken.

TikTok’s Smaller US Rival Files For IPO

  • Short video app Triller Inc has confidentially filed for an initial public offering with the U.S. SEC.
  • Recently, Triller terminated its merger with video advertising software provider SeaChange International, Inc SEAC when it shared plans to pursue an IPO with a potential listing under the ticker symbol “ILLR” by September.
  • Triller, launched in 2015, has looked to take on larger rival TikTok.

Apple’s Former Top Corporate Lawyer Pleads Guilty To Securities Fraud, Insider Trading

  • Apple Inc’s AAPL former corporate secretary and director of corporate law, Gene Levoff, has admitted to being part of an insider trading scheme that ran for five years.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice said 48-year-old Levoff pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William Martini to six counts of securities fraud.
  • “Gene Levoff betrayed the trust of one of the world’s largest tech companies for his own financial gain,” said U.S. attorney Vikas Khanna.

Indian Crypto Players Have A New Tax Rule From Today: What You Should Know

  • Indian cryptocurrency players will have to comply with a government order for a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS) on all cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) transactions, starting today.
  • The law, which the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government introduced during the Union Budget in February, will be effective from July 1 (Friday) for transactions of more than 10,000 rupees ($126).
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) under the Indian Ministry of Finance said the tax would be deducted when the sum gets credited to the resident’s account or at the time of payment, whichever is earlier.

Facebook Parent Meta Testing NFTs With Some Creators In The US: Report

  • Meta Platforms Inc META is reportedly testing digital collectibles on Facebook with select creators across the United States.
  • According to a TechCrunch report on Thursday, Meta has started a slow rollout for a few NFT creators to post their digital collectibles on Facebook.
  • Similar to the one introduced on Instagram, the feature will allow creators to display NFTs on their profiles under a tab titled “digital collectibles.”

Nio Photo via Company

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