Benzinga Before The Bell: Top Amazon Seller Succumbs To Economic Meltdown, Twitter To Tackle Toxic Content, Spam Bots, Bed Bath & Beyond Secures Loan Deal As It Tries To Stay Afloat And Other Top Financial Stories Wednesday, August 24


Top Amazon Seller Succumbs To Economic Meltdown

  • Online seller of health, personal care, and beauty products Pharmapacks’ parent Packable has downsized its workforce and braced to liquidate after failing to secure new financing, enabling it to stay in business, CNBC reports.
  • Packable dumped its listing plans via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger worth $1.55 billion as the market cooled.
  • It was due to partner with Highland Transcend Partners I Corp. HTPA.
  • Last September, Pharmapacks was the top Inc AMZN seller in the U.S. It now ranks fifth among the site’s top sellers nationwide, CNBC writes.


Twitter To ‘Ruthlessly Prioritize’ Tackling Toxic Content, Spam Bots Amid Whistleblower Allegations

  • Twitter Inc TWTR is reportedly merging teams that tackle toxic content and spam bots and forming a new group in order to “ruthlessly prioritize” such tasks.
  • The Jack Dorsey-founded company will amalgamate its health-experience team with its service team to form a new group called “Health Products and Services (HPS),” reported Reuters, citing an e-mail sent to employees.
  • The health experience team dealt with reducing misinformation and harmful content while the service team worked on tackling spam.

Google Invites More Complaints Related To User Privacy Violation From EU: Report

  • Austrian advocacy group complained to the French data protection authority CNIL against Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL Google for the breach of a European Union court ruling.
  • The group blamed Google for sending unsolicited advertising e-mails directly to the inbox of Gmail users.
  • Google, which mainly depended on online advertising, needs to seek the permission of Gmail users before sending them any direct marketing e-mails, the group said, citing a 2021 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Troubled Crypto Firm Celsius Sues Former Money Manager Over Suspected Theft

  • Cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network sued a former investment manager, accusing him of losing or stealing tens of millions of dollars in assets before the crypto lender went bankrupt last month, reported Reuters.
  • Jason Stone and his company KeyFi Inc. were charged by Celsius with “gross negligence” and “extraordinarily inept” crypto investment after Stone misrepresented himself as a pioneer in the industry.
  • The case was filed in Manhattan bankruptcy court.

Union Claims Starbucks Closed Two Locations In Retaliation: Reuters

  • Starbucks Corp SBUX employees union representing about 200 cafés said the company closed two locations in response to union activities, Reuters reported.
  • Workers in Kansas City, Missouri, and Seattle, Washington, have asked the National Labor Relations Board to hold union elections.
  • The coffeehouse giant said it is drawing the shutters in the two places due to safety concerns.

Meta Reaches $37.5M Settlement For Facebook’s User Privacy Violation

  • Meta Platforms Inc META reached a $37.5 million settlement regarding a 2018 lawsuit alleging Facebook of tracking user movements through their smartphones without permission, Reuters reports.
  • It resolved claims that Facebook violated California law and privacy policy by gathering data from users who turned off Location Services on their mobile devices.
  • The users said they did not want to share their locations with Facebook.

Wall Street Journal

Bed Bath & Beyond Secures Loan Deal As It Tries To Stay Afloat

  • Beleaguered retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc BBBY has reportedly secured a loan deal to bolster its balance sheet.
  • The New Jersey-headquartered home goods retailer has selected a lender following a marketing process undertaken by JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • The size and structure of the loan deal weren’t immediately clear. The company is expected to provide an update on its efforts to bolster its finances at the end of August, according to the Journal.

Mark Zuckerberg Dropped From FTC Lawsuit After Reaching Agreement On VR Startup

  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which sought to prevent Meta Platforms Inc META CEO Mark Zuckerberg from purchasing a virtual reality startup through legal action, is reportedly dropping the executive from its lawsuit.
  • Zuckerberg will be dropped from the antitrust lawsuit after he agreed not to purchase Within Unlimited Inc, the VR startup, and its fitness application dubbed “Supernatural,” reported the Wall Street Journal.
  • Meta had reportedly asked the FTC to remove Zuckerberg from the lawsuit, according to the report from the Journal.

Lyft Joins The Likes Of Amazon To Sublease Offices To Curb Costs

  • Lyft, Inc LYFT looks to sublease a significant part of some of its most prominent U.S. offices, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The Uber Technologies, Inc UBER counterpart joined an array of companies aiming to shrink its real estate footprint to adjust to more remote working employees.
  • Lyft aims to rent out parts of its office space in San Francisco, New York City, Nashville, and Seattle.


China’s Natural Calamities Disrupt Tesla, Nio’s EV Charging Services

  • China’s power crisis affected electric-car owners, with automakers including Tesla Inc TSLA and Nio Inc NIO suspending some charging facilities.
  • User apps indicated that charging stations were down in Chengdu in Sichuan province.
  • The nation’s worst drought since the 1960s has cut hydropower generation with a heatwave sending electricity demand surging and the nearby city of Chongqing.

Elon Musk’s South Korean Fans Pile $15B Of Savings Into Tesla Shares: Courtesy Of ‘Squid Game’ And ‘Paradise?’

  • Individual South Koreans have accumulated large stakes in Elon Musk-led Tesla Inc TSLA throughout the pandemic, having hiked their combined holdings over a hundred-fold to over $15 billion, reported Bloomberg.
  • Why It Matters: A widening wealth gap in South Korea, which has been well depicted in the Oscar-winning movie “Parasite” and Netflix Inc’s NFLX drama “Squid Game,” has made many people believe that risky bets on stocks or cryptocurrencies are the only way towards financial independence.
  • The report cited the example of Park Sunghyun and her husband, who sold their home in Seoul and moved into a rental apartment with their 7-year-old son. The couple directed the family’s $230,000 of savings into Tesla shares.


Farfetch Pops On Acquiring 47% Stake In Luxury And Fashion Retailer YNAP

  • Farfetch Ltd FTCH and business tycoon Mohamed Alabbar’s Symphony Global have acquired 47.5% and 3.2% stakes, respectively, in online luxury and fashion retailer YOOX NET-A-PORTER (YNAP). The transaction results in YNAP as a neutral platform with no controlling shareholder.
  • YNAP and its parent, Richemont, will adopt Farfetch’s platform solutions to help digitalize the luxury industry.
  • The company’s platform solutions will advance the delivery of the omnichannel strategy of Richemont’s Maisons.

Twitter Dismisses Whistleblower Allegations In India: ‘Opportunistic Timing’ From An Exec Fired For ‘Poor Performance’

  • After a former security chief at Twitter Inc’s TWTR, in his disclosure to U.S. regulators, alleged that the company falsely claimed it had a solid security plan — the microblogging platform has hit back by calling it a “false narrative.”
  • ​​Peiter Zatko had alleged that the Indian government forced the social media giant to put a government agent on the payroll. Twitter’s India unit, in response, told Benzinga that Zatko has built a “false narrative” that is “riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies.”
  • “What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context,” a Twitter spokesperson told Benzinga.

PayPal Joins Coinbase, Robinhood In TRUST Network: What You Should Know

  • Major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc COIN announced that payments giant PayPal Holdings Inc PYPL has joined its TRUST network.
  • Coinbase said on Tuesday that the addition of PayPal to the TRUST network marked another milestone in the network’s journey to becoming an industry-standard solution for compliance.
  • TRUST or the Travel Rule Universal Solution Technology network is an industry-driven solution created by leading cryptocurrency exchanges to ensure compliance with the Travel Rule.

Facebook Fixes Unique Glitch Hampering User Experience

  • Meta Platforms Inc META Facebook acknowledged users facing bizarre posts on their feeds and assured efforts to resolve the issue, the TechCrunch reports.
  • Facebook tweeted that a configuration change “caused some people to have trouble with their Facebook Feed,” and the company has now fixed the error.
  • Global users complained for over three hours about seeing random posts and activity tickers to celebrities’ pages from strangers on their timelines.
  • The posts reportedly took over users’ main feed and suppressed the usual stream of images, videos, and other stories shared by friends.

Bavarian Nordic Making All Efforts To Stretch Capacity To Boost Monkeypox Vaccine Supplies

  • Bavarian Nordic A/S BVNRY said it was making “every effort” to meet the high demand for its monkeypox vaccine worldwide as it kept its business outlook for the year.
  • The Danish biotech’s CEO said the outbreak was “unprecedented” in its first-half results.
  • Bavarian is the only producer of a vaccine approved against monkeypox. Still, the jab is in short supply, and several countries are stretching out the available doses to make the most of existing supplies, with unknown outcomes.

Scandal Effect - Toyota-Led Commercial Vehicle Partnership Expels Hino Motors

  • Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT), of which Toyota Motor Corp TM is a part, has decided to expel Hino Motors Ltd, citing misconduct concerning certification testing.
  • An investigation conducted by the government found that Hino has hidden emissions data pertaining to a light-duty engine, N04C (HC-SCR) (2019 model).
  • Toyota President Akio Toyoda opined that the misconduct committed by Hino is incompatible with CJPT’s aspirations and goals.

Intel, Languishing At 5-Year Lows, Inks $30B Expansion Deal With Brookfield

  • Intel Corp INTC and Brookfield Asset Management Inc BAM agreed to jointly fund up to $30 billion for the U.S. chipmaker’s leading-edge chip factories in Arizona.
  • Brookfield’s infrastructure affiliate will invest up to $15 billion for a 49% stake in the expansion project.
  • At the same time, Intel will retain majority ownership and operating control of the two chip factories meant to make advanced chips in Chandler, Arizona.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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