Benzinga Before The Bell: Elon Musk May Get Info It Wants From Twitter, Apple To Lay Off 100 Recruiter Contractors, Saudi's Investment Fund Picks Stocks Of US Big Tech And Other Top Financial Stories Tuesday, August 16


Court Orders Twitter To Hand Over Former Exec’s Relevant Spam/Bot Account Documents To Elon Musk

  • The court ordered Twitter Inc TWTR to provide Tesla Inc TSLA chief Elon Musk with documents from a former Twitter executive whom Musk said was instrumental in calculating the number of fake accounts on the platform.
  • The court ordered Twitter to collect, review and produce documents from former General Manager of Consumer Product Kayvon Beykpour.
  • Bot and spam accounts on Twitter have become pivotal in the legal fight over Musk’s potential $44 billion takeover of the social media company.

Walmart Spices Up Amazon Rivalry By Collaborating With Paramount – Report

  • Walmart Inc WMT collaborated with Paramount Global PARA to offer Paramount+ streaming service to the subscribers of its membership program.
  • Inc’s AMZN Prime offers free shipping and video and music streaming services.
  • Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL YouTube joined the likes of Inc AMZN and Apple Inc AAPL, which all have their hubs to sell streaming video services.
  • It marks an attractive opportunity for the streaming companies which battled subscriber losses following pandemic recovery and macro slowdown.

Tencent Bowes Down To Regulatory Pressure After Alibaba

  • China’s Tencent Holding Ltd TCEHY looks to divest fully, or bulk of its $24 billion stake in food delivery firm Meituan MPNGY, Reuters reports.
  • Tencent aims to appease domestic regulators and monetize an eight-year-old investment by the move.
  • Tencent owns 17% of Meituan, valued at $24.3 billion as of August 15.

Volkswagen Mexico Union Workers To Hold New Vote After Rejecting 9% Raise

  • Volkswagen AG’s VWAGY workers in the Mexico factory are set to hold a new contract vote after rejecting the initial agreement with the management of a 9% raise, Reuters reported.
  • The initial deal between the company and its Independent Union of Automotive Workers (SITIAVW) failed to gain the approval of its workers.
  • The report noted that the deal, if approved, would have been the biggest automaker raise in Mexico in recent years, covering about 7,000 people in the state of Puebla.

Wall Street Journal

In Efforts To Trim Costs, HBO Cuts 14% Of Its Workforce: Report

  • As a part of a broader overhaul at Warner Bros. Discovery Inc WBD, HBO is laying off about 14% of its workforce, Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.
  • The people said that most of the 70 job cuts would happen at HBO Max, the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service launched in 2020.
  • According to the report, the HBO Max units in charge of reality shows and documentaries will be affected, and the one responsible for family entertainment.


BitGo May Choose To Go Public, After Galaxy Digital Terminated Buyout Deal

  • BitGo, a cryptocurrency custody provider, attracted an all-cash offer that exceeded the value of the now-terminated deal with Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Holdings, reported Bloomberg, citing BitGo’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Belshe in an interview.
  • BitGo isn’t actively entertaining acquisition offers at the moment and could list on the stock market if the timing is right, he added.
  • Recently, Galaxy Digital announced that it is terminating the acquisition deal for BitGo after the company failed to deliver audited financial statements for 2021. No termination fee is payable in connection with the termination.


Home Depot Beats On Q2 Aided By Home Improvement Project Demand; Reaffirms FY22 Guidance

  • Home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc HD reported second-quarter FY22 sales growth of 6.5% year-on-year to $43.79 billion, beating the consensus of $43.40 billion.
  • Customer transactions for the quarter fell 3%. Comparable sales increased 5.8%, and comparable sales in the U.S. rose 5.4%.
  • Gross profit rose 6% Y/Y to $14.4 billion. The operating margin was 16.5%, and operating income for the quarter rose 8.6% to $7.2 billion.
  • EPS of $5.05 beat the analyst consensus of $4.95.

Saudi Public Investment Fund Picks Shares In Alphabet, Zoom, Microsoft

  • Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) purchased shares in U.S.-based tech giants, including Alphabet Inc GOOG, Zoom Video Communications Inc ZM, and Microsoft Corporation MSFT.
  • As per the SEC filing, the market value of the sovereign wealth fund’s investment portfolio increased to about $40.8 billion at the end of the second quarter.
  • The SEC regulatory filing showed that the PIF acquired 213,000 class A shares in Alphabet, 4.7 million class A shares in Zoom, and 1.8 million in Microsoft.

Tesla Rival Xpeng Unveils ‘Ultra-fast Charging Technology’ That Can Power Its 200 Km-Range G9 SUV In 5 Minutes

  • Tesla Inc TSLA rival XPeng Inc XPEV unveiled ultra-fast charging technology for its electric vehicles at its Supercharging Media Day held in Guangzhou on Monday.
  • The Chinese electric vehicle startup announced its S4 Supercharger, which can deliver 200 km of charge to the G9 SUV, the company’s upcoming vehicle model, in just five minutes.
  • “With the support of ultra-fast charging, high range and self-operated charging stations, the market landscape is expected to change and hybrids will be eliminated,” chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng said at the event.

Philips Names Company Insider Roy Jakobs As New CEO, Succeeding Frans van Houten

  • Roy Jakobs is proposed to succeed Frans van Houten as Koninklijke Philips NV PHG CEO effective October 15.
  • Houten’s third term as CEO was not due to end until April.
  • The departure coincided with Philips’s massive product recall that has halved its market value over the past year.

Coinbase Integrates Ethereum Blockchain Explorer Etherscan With Wallet: Why The Move Is Drawing Mixed Reactions

  • Crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc COIN has integrated its wallet app with blockchain explorer Etherscan, making on-chain data more easily accessible for its users.
  • Coinbase Wallet announced on Monday that it had integrated with Etherscan — a blockchain explorer and analytics platform for the Ethereum ETH/USD ecosystem.
  • The integration was in aid of bringing more on-chain data to retail traders and users of the Coinbase Wallet, stated the exchange in the announcement.

Apple Said To Lay Off 100 Recruiter Contractors As It Slows Down Hiring, Shift Return-To-Office Deadline

  • Apple, Inc. AAPL, which was rumored to be slowing hiring, has reportedly laid off recruiter contractors in the past week.
  • Apple Wields The Axe: In a rare move, Apple let go of 100 recruiters spread across its offices, including those in Texas and Singapore, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said in a report, citing people who asked not to be identified. The move underlines the company’s quest to slow down hiring and spending, he added.
  • The tech giant reportedly told the affected contractors that the layoffs were in line with its current business needs. Terminated contractors were promised two weeks’ pay and medical benefits, the report said.

Kraft Heinz Recalls Select Capri Sun Wild Cherry Flavored Juice Drink Citing Cleaning Solution Contamination

  • Kraft Heinz Co KHC has voluntarily recalled ~5,760 cases of Capri Sun Wild Cherry Flavored Juice Drink Blend beverages.
  • The company stated that diluted cleaning solution, which is used on food processing equipment, was inadvertently introduced into a production line at one of the factories.
  • The “Best When Used By” date on the recalled products is June 25, 2023.

Domino’s Faces Flak In India As Pictures Showing Toilet Brush, Mops Hanging Over Pizza Dough Go Viral

  • Domino’s Pizza, Inc DPZ is facing massive flak on social media platforms in India after a series of pictures from its local outlet in Bengaluru showing mops hanging over pizza dough went viral on the internet.
  • In addition to multiple mops, clothes purportedly belonging to the employees can be seen hanging on the wall. The pictures sparked concern among the netizens leaving them to call for action to be taken against the outlet.
  • What Happened: The Indian arm of Domino’s responded to the internet outrage that occurred after the photos posted on July 24 started gaining traction on Twitter recently.

H&M Back On Alibaba’s Tmall Months After Controversy Over Uyghur Comments Forced It To Shut Store

  • Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz HNNMY has reopened its official store on Alibaba Group Holding’s BABA Tmall months after the Chinese e-commerce platform took it down over the brand’s criticisms of human rights abuses in the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang.
  • H&M, in early 2021, was among several brands that raised concerns over alleged human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province — which led to massive backlash from Chinese shoppers.

UK Government Will Not Buy More AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Treatment

  • The U.K. government said it wouldn’t procure AstraZeneca Plc’s AZN Evusheld doses due to “insufficient data on the duration of protection against the omicron variant,” according to the BMJ, a peer-reviewed trade journal.
  • Evusheld, a combination of tixagevimab and cilgavimab, will now be evaluated by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which can take around 20 months.
  • The government said the decision was based on independent clinical advice from Rapid C-19, a multi-agency initiative.

Dogecoin Spinoffs, Pandas, Cyborgs Flagged As Potential Crypto Scams By Binance’s ‘Red Alarm’

  • Crypto exchange Binance’s “Red Alarm” platform has identified 50 crypto projects as potential scams or rug pulls.
  • What Happened: In July alone, the Red Alarm system analyzed 3,300 contracts and identified several projects that carry extremely high levels of risk, Binance’s BNB Chain BNB/USD investment director Gwendolyn Regina told Cointelegraph.
  • Included in this list of projects are Dogecoin DOGE/USD knockoffs and projects inspired by pandas, cyborgs and Smurfs.

Justice Department Opposes Revealing Details Related To Trump Search Affidavit: Not In ‘Public Interest’

  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) is opposing the release of details contained in an affidavit that was used to argue that a probable cause existed for the search of Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach, Florida estate belonging to former President Donald Trump.
  • What Happened: The Department said in a new filing that the “disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,” reported CNN.
  • The DoJ said that the investigation “implicates highly classified materials.” The federal executive department said the release of details contained in the affidavit at this juncture would cause “significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”
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