Benzinga Before The Bell: Twitter Whistleblower Peiter Zatko To Depose Before Senate Panel, GameStop To Boost Employee Compensation To Drive Growth, California Proposes Total Ban On New Gasoline Car Sales By 2035 And Other Top Financial Stories Thursday, August 25


Stuck By Chip Shortage, Stellantis Halts Production In Sochaux Plant

  • Stellantis NV STLA is suspending car production in its Sochaux car plant in France until August 27, 2022, Reuters reported.
  • The reason for the halt is semiconductor shortages, the report added.
  • In June, Stellantis had to halt production at its Peugeot site in France as component shortages affected one of its main suppliers.

Honda To Cut Japan Production By 40% On Supply Chain Woes: Reuters

  • Honda Motor Co Ltd HMC is planning to cut Japan production by up to 40% as supply chain and logistical woes continue to hamper, Reuters reported.
  • The COVID-19 and semiconductor shortages have made it difficult to procure parts and logistics.
  • The report noted that the automaker’s assembly plant in Saitama prefecture, north of Tokyo, would have a 40% production cut early in September.
  • Also, two of its assembly lines in the Suzuka plant in western Japan will cut production by 30%.

Twitter Whistleblower Peiter Zatko To Depose Before Senate Panel: What You Need To Know

  • Twitter, Inc. TWTR whistleblower Peiter Zatko will testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee next month regarding his complaint that the social media platform misled regulators, Reuters reported.
  • Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), the committee’s chair, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), a ranking member of the committee, will hold a full committee hearing to look into “allegations of widespread security failures at Twitter, a joint statement read.
  • “Mr. Zatko’s allegations of widespread security failures and foreign state actor interference at Twitter raise serious concerns. If these claims are accurate, they may show dangerous data privacy and security risks for Twitter users around the world.”

Wall Street Journal

GameStop To Boost Employee Compensation To Drive Growth: Report

  • GameStop Corp GME looks to reward thousands of employees with stock and pay raises, returning focus to its bricks-and-mortar business, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The videogame retailer, which had shifted last year to growing online sales, increased its focus to motivate and retain the employees at its over 3,000 locations in the U.S.
  • GameStop plans to award stock to its U.S. store leaders and give raises to some senior store staff.

Meta, Twitter Removed Provocative Accounts Promoting Pro-West Narratives From Middle East, A Study Finds

  • In July and August, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc META and Twitter Inc TWTR removed accounts that pushed pro-Western content to audiences in the Middle East and Russian-speaking Central Asia, the Wall Street Journal reports citing Graphika.
  • They also removed posts criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The posts reportedly included anti-extremism messaging and sought to back Western foreign policy.
  • Some accounts focused on China’s treatment within its borders of Muslim minorities.


Pinterest Comes Under Regulatory Radar Over Gender, Racial Bias: Report

  • The California Civil Rights Department investigated several companies, including Pinterest, Inc PINS, following discrimination claims from employees, Bloomberg reports.
  • Employees alleged Pinterest of underpayment and racial discrimination in 2020.
  • In late 2020, Pinterest settled a gender-discrimination case by former COO Francoise Brougher.


Australia’s Ramsay Health Rejects KKR’s ‘Meaningfully Inferior’ Alternative Buyout Proposal

  • Earlier, Australia-listed Ramsay Health Care received an all-cash deal at $88/share from KKR & Co KKR led consortium.
  • The consortium has requested the Ramsay Santé board of directors for due diligence. However, there’s no guarantee that the Paris-listed firm, in which Ramsay Health owns 52.8%, will grant access to the suitors.
  • Now KKR is no longer talking about a whole company all-cash deal.

Advantage Tesla And EV Startups? California Proposes Total Ban On New Gasoline Car Sales By 2035

  • California could become the first state to announce an electric vehicle mandate, opening up a massive market opportunity for the manufacturers of green-energy vehicles in the Golden State.
  • The California Air Resources Board is expected to vote on Thursday day on stringent rules to ban gasoline cars by 2035 and set interim targets to phase out these cars, board member Daniel Sperling told CNN.
  • While expressing confidence that the rule would be adopted, Sperling reportedly said it would positively impact the U.S. car market.

XPeng Reportedly Plans To Launch 2 EVs Next Year — One Of Them Could Compete With Tesla’s Model Y

  • Tesla Inc TSLA rival XPeng Inc XPEV is planning to launch two cars next year — one of which could be a potentially strong competitor to Tesla’s Model Y — the company’s Vice Chairman and President Brian Gu said during the latest earnings conference call.
  • The Cars: XPeng plans to launch a B-class and a C-class vehicle, which refers to their sizes.
  • The B-class vehicle, expected to be the Tesla Model Y competitor, is slated for launch in the first half of next year, while C-class will be launched in the second half.

Visa Hits A Milestone Highlighting Latest Consumer Dynamics

  • Visa Inc V issued over 4 billion network tokens worldwide through Visa Token Service (VTS), marking a significant milestone in its proprietary offering.
  • This historic milestone nearly doubled Visa’s token count in one year, surpassing the number of physical cards in circulation worldwide.
  • “Tokenization is a simple yet powerful concept pioneered by Visa: conceal and devalue sensitive payment data to stay ahead of fraudsters and make digital payments more secure,” EVP Jack Forestell said. “The uptick in issuers, acquirers, merchants, and consumers all transacting with Visa tokens reinforces that the future of money is truly digital, and digital money must be built on trust.”

Novartis To Spinoff Sandoz Business To Create #1 European Generics Company

  • Novartis AG NVS plans to spin off Sandoz, its generics and biosimilars division, into a new publicly traded standalone company.
  • According to Novartis, Sandoz, which generated nearly $10 billion in sales last year, will emerge as Europe’s leading generics company with key strategic areas of Biosimilars, Antibiotics, and Generic Medicines.
  • The company has not received any formal binding offers for Sandoz - but if any “highly attractive” bids did emerge, Novartis would fully consider them, CEO Vas Narasimhan told a media briefing.

Baidu Makes Its Quantum Computer Debut: Report

  • Baidu, Inc BIDU revealed its superconducting quantum computer debut dubbed “Qianshi,” with a 10-quantum-bit (qubit) processor at Quantum Create 2022, a quantum developer conference in Beijing.
  • Baidu also developed a 36-qubit quantum chip.
  • Baidu touted Liang Xi as the first all-platform quantum hardware-software integration solution offering versatile quantum services through private deployment, cloud services, and hardware access.

Amazon To Shutter Care Unit By Year-End: Decision ‘Not Made Lightly’

  •, Inc AMZN is shutting down its primary healthcare service at the end of 2022.
  • Neil Lindsay, Amazon Health Services senior vice president, said the decision to shutter Amazon Care “wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” reported GeekWire, which cited an internal company memo.
  • Lindsay said the service was not a “complete enough offering for large enterprise customers” it had been targeting and “wasn’t going to work long-term.”

Nvidia Crypto Mining Chip Sales Plummet Further: Ethereum (ETH) Merge Fallout?

  • Chip manufacturing giant Nvidia Corp NVDA reported a 66% quarterly revenue decline in its original equipment manufacturing (OEM) segment, which accounts for sales from its cryptocurrency mining processor (CMP) product line.
  • Nvidia’s OEM revenue for the second quarter tumbled to $140 million from $409 million a year earlier, contributing to just 2% of its overall quarterly revenue.
  • Last quarter, Nvidia reported $158 million from OEM revenue, a 77% decline year-over-year. Although the company did not disclose specific numbers concerning CMP revenue, it attributed the decline in revenue to weaker sales from the product line.

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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