Benzinga Before The Bell: YouTube Plans Streaming Marketplace, Drug Pricing Bill Passes Congress, Bitcoin Could Surge To All-Time High Soon And Other Top Financial Stories Monday, August 15


PlayAGS Shares Pop Premarket On Takeover Offer At 33% Premium

  • Gaming equipment provider Inspired Entertainment, Inc INSE offered $370 million to acquire slot machine maker PlayAGS, Inc AGS, Reuters reports.
  • Inspired offered $10 per share in cash to acquire PlayAGS.
  • The offer price implies a 33.2% premium on PlayAGS’s August 12 closing of $7.51.
  • PlayAGS makes gaming tables and interactive solutions for gaming houses.
  • PlayAGS is now worth a fifth of what the market valued in 2019 as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the casino gaming industry.

Wall Street Journal

Landmark Drug Pricing Reform Bill Passes Congress House

  • The U.S. House of Representatives voted 220-207 to pass new, wide-ranging legislation allowing Medicare drug price negotiations for the first time and capping seniors’ drug expenses to $2,000 per year and seniors’ insulin costs at $35 per month.
  • The bill passed the U.S. Senate 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. President Joe Biden has said he would sign the legislation.
  • Beginning in 2025, price concessions will kick off for ten drugs in PART D with the highest program spending on the market for nine or 13 years and lack generic competition.

YouTube Jumps Streaming Video Marketplace Bandwagon, Joining Likes Of Amazon, Apple

  • Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL YouTube is planning to launch an online store for streaming video services, the Wall Street Journal reports. YouTube hopes the new platform referred to internally as a “channel store,” could be available as early as this fall.
  • YouTube currently allows subscribers to YouTube TV, its $64.99-a-month online package of cable channels, to add on a subscription to services like HBO Max. The new marketplace would allow consumers to choose streaming services a la carte through the main YouTube app.
  • YouTube has explored splitting subscription revenue with streaming partners. It would join the likes of Inc AMZN, Roku, Inc ROKU, and Apple Inc AAPL, which all have their hubs to sell streaming video services.


China’s Airlines Might Follow the Multibillion-Dollar Delisting From US Stock Markets: Bloomberg

  • Analysts believe that China’s state-controlled airlines will be the next probable group to leave the U.S. stock exchanges, maybe followed by technology giants, writes Bloomberg.
  • The decision by five Chinese state-owned enterprises to leave U.S. stock markets raises doubts about whether authorities in both countries can agree on disclosure regulations.
  • Beijing officials cite national security and secrecy issues as their justifications for not allowing U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inspections in China and Hong Kong.

Investors Ask Asian Crypto Exchange’s CEO To Step Down, Bankrupt Exchange In Potential Fundraising Talks

  • Bloomberg reported that Singapore’s High Court granted Asian crypto exchange Zipmex Pte, Zipmex more than three months of creditor protection until December 2.
  • The company filed for bankruptcy protection in July and capped withdrawals last month after exposure to troubled crypto lender Babel Finance hurt its finances.
  • Some shareholders and potential investors in Zipmex are urging CEO Marcus Lim to step down over management decisions that led to a severe cash crunch, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

Bill Gates Backed TerraPower Raised $750M For Cheaper Nuclear To Tackle Global Warming, Cut Costs

  • Microsoft Corp MSFT co-founder Bill Gates-backed TerraPower LLC raised $750 million to develop small-scale nuclear reactors, including a significant investment from South Korean conglomerate SK Group, Bloomberg reports.
  • SK will invest $250 million to add a stake in the technology developer, which aims to monetize smaller and cheaper designs than conventional nuclear plants.
  • “Nuclear will become a vital part of our energy transition,” SK Group subsidiary SK Inc EVP Kim Moohwan said in an interview. “In terms of safety, economic viability, and applicability of the technology, TerraPower’s smaller reactors stand out the most to us.”

Chinese Tycoon Behind Nickel’s Big Short Squeeze On LME In Talks To Sell Steel Assets: Report

  • Tsingshan Holding Group, owned by Chinese tycoon Xiang Guangda, is planning to sell some of its stainless-steel assets in Indonesia to China Baowu Steel Group Corp., Bloomberg reported citing sources.
  • State-owned Baowu, which is the world’s biggest crude steel producer, is likely to buy controlling stakes in some integrated production lines owned by Tsingshan in the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park, the report stated.
  • Who’s Xiang Guangda: Xiang was in the news recently after his bets that nickel prices would fall led to a historic squeeze on the London Metal Exchange earlier in 2022, the report said.


Malaysia Airlines Inks Tentative Agreement For 20 Airbus A330neo Aircraft

  • In a transaction that also involves the aircraft leasing firm Avolon, Malaysia Airlines has inked a tentative agreement to buy 20 Airbus SE EADSY A330neos to replace its A330ceo fleet.
  • The carrier will purchase 10 of the aircraft from Airbus and then enter into a sale-and-leaseback agreement with Avolon, leasing the remaining 10 aircraft directly from the latter.
  • The planes are scheduled to be delivered from 3Q24 through 2028.

Li Auto Shares Slide On Street-Missing Q3 Revenue Outlook

  • Li Auto Inc LI reported second-quarter FY22 revenue growth of 73% year-on-year to RMB8.73 billion ($1.30 billion), beating the consensus of $1.12 billion.
  • Non-GAAP net loss per ADS attributable to ordinary shareholders were RMB(0.17) or $(0.02), against the consensus of $(0.06).
  • Deliveries of Li ONEs jumped 63.2% Y/Y to 28,687 vehicles.
  • Vehicle margin rose 250 basis points Y/Y to 21.2%.

SAS Secures $700M In Debtor-In-Possession Financing

  • SAS AB SASDY has entered into a debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing credit agreement for $700 million with Apollo Global Management, Inc. APO.
  • DIP financing is a specialized type of bridge financing used by businesses that are restructuring through a chapter 11 process.
  • SAS filed for bankruptcy protection in July to cut its debt burden.

This Analyst Believes Bitcoin, Ethereum Will Surge To All-Time High Soon: Here’s Why

  • According to cryptocurrency industry veteran Bobby Lee, both Bitcoin BTC/USD and Ethereum ETH/USD will soon get back to their all-time highs, which were reached in November 2021.
  • In a recent interview, Lee said that as the current crypto market is facing a stiff downturn, he is optimistic about a market revival.
  • “I’m very bullish on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. It’s just that I think the last time I was on the show, I was worried about the price. Then, in the short term, there was a price correction. And compared to then, Bitcoin and Ethereum have both come up more than 20% in price,” Lee said.

AstraZeneca-Daiichi’s Flagship Breast Cancer Drug Improves Survival In Late-Stage Study

  • AstraZeneca Plc AZN reported topline data from the DESTINY-Breast02 phase 3 trial of Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan).
  • The trial evaluated Enhertu versus (trastuzumab/capecitabine or lapatinib/capecitabine) in HER2 positive unresectable and/or metastatic breast cancer previously treated with T-DM1.
  • The trial met the primary endpoint, demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS). The trial also met the key secondary endpoint of improved overall survival.

Fear & Greed Index Inches Northwards Amid Sharp Rise In US Stocks

  • The CNN Money Fear and Greed index is slowly inching toward the “greed” zone, but still remained in the “neutral” zone on Monday following a sharp rise in the US stocks on Friday.
  • The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq recorded gains for the fourth straight week, with the recent gains coming from data showing a slower-than-projected increase in consumer prices and an unexpected decline in producer prices for July.
  • The S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched their biggest weekly winning streaks since November.
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