Benzinga Before The Bell: Elon Musk's Demand For Broad Twitter Data Dismissed, Xiaomi Wants To Join EV Race, Bed Bath & Beyond Plans To Share Turnaround Strategy Next Week And Other Top Financial Stories Friday, August 26


The Aviation Sector Is Slammed By Sky-High Rents

  • CNBC reported that just when travel demand is rebounding, a lack of available aircraft is pushing up the cost airlines pay to rent planes.
  • According to aviation advice business IBA Group, the rent on a new Boeing 737 Max increased by more than 20% between April 2020 and this July to reach $316,000 per month.
  • The price of the rival Airbus A320neo increased to $324,000 a month, a rise of more than 14% from April 2020 and the highest level since before the Covid epidemic.


Chipotle Workers Vote For First Union In Michigan: Reuters

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill CMG workers in its Lansing, Michigan restaurant have voted in favor of union formation, Reuters reported.
  • Michigan has become the first U.S. Chipotle location to unionize.
  • Workers at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in Augusta, Maine, had previously petitioned in June for a union election.

Musk’s ‘Absurdly Broad’ Twitter User Data Requests Largely Dismissed By Delaware Judge

  • Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk wanted Twitter Inc TWTR to hand over data amounting to trillions of data points, but the demand was largely turned down by a judge on Thursday.
  • Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of Delaware’s Court of Chancery said Musk’s demands were “absurdly broad” and that “no one in their right mind has ever tried to undertake such an effort,” reported Reuters.
  • McCormick said that her impression was that Twitter had agreed to produce a “tremendous amount of information” to Musk and that the information plaintiff has agreed to produce is “sufficiently broad” to satisfy most of its obligations.

Wall Street Journal

Tesla Supplier Eyes Additional $4B EV Battery Plant in US: Report

  • Tesla Inc TSLA supplier Panasonic Holdings Corp PCRFY discussed building an additional $4 billion EV battery plant in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Panasonic eyed Oklahoma as the location for its new plant.
  • EV makers, including Tesla, boosted production volume and sought more batteries from suppliers to reduce long wait times for many popular EV models.


This Ace Chinese Smartphone Maker Wants To Join The EV Race: Report

  • Xiaomi Corp XIACY explored collaborating with Beijing Automotive Group Co to produce electric vehicles, Bloomberg reports.
  • Xiaomi weighed buying a stake in Beijing Hyundai Motor Co, Ltd HYMTF No. 2 plant, which is fully licensed to make cars in China, and a production tie-up as it faces delays in acquiring a license to drive vehicles on its own.
  • The collaboration could see vehicles built by Beijing Automotive’s EV brand, BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology Co, co-branded with Xiaomi.

Merck’s Buyout Of Seagen Hits Speed Braker Over Price Agreement: Report

  • Merck & Co Inc MRK and Seagen Inc SGEN have not been able to agree on a buyout price, Bloomberg reported.
  • The deal talks have been stalled, for now, threatening Merck’s potentially the largest deal in more than a decade, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Previously, Merck and Seagen’s deal was expected to be sealed within a few weeks, worth roughly $40 billion or more.
  • Merck will still have a significant presence in oncology if the deal fails. It already has one of the best-selling cancer treatments in the world, its Keytruda immunotherapy drug, but it’s heavily reliant on that one product.

Singapore Intensifies Scrutiny Of Companies Working With Cryptos Like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin

  • Singapore is intensifying its scrutiny of cryptocurrency-related companies ahead of planned regulatory changes, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) sending a detailed questionnaire to some applicants and holders of its digital-payments license, Bloomberg reported citing sources.
  • The questions, which were issued over the last month, concentrate on gauging the financial soundness of the com and their interconnectedness, with some adding they’re expected to respond promptly, the report said.

India’s Crypto Crackdown Resumes As It Accuses a16z-Backed Coinswitch Kuber Of Violating Forex Laws

  • India’s anti-money laundering agency has accused a16z-backed crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber of violating forex laws, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.
  • India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches at five premises of CoinSwitch Kuber, including the residences of directors and the CEO.
  • CoinSwitch Kuber is reportedly under suspicion of acquiring shares of over 20 billion rupees ($250 million) in contravention of forex laws, an anonymous source told the publication.


Twilio Hackers Target DoorDash: Report

  • DoorDash, Inc DASH has confirmed a data hack that exposed customers’ personal information. DoorDash said malicious hackers stole credentials from employees of a third-party vendor to gain access to some of DoorDash’s internal tools.
  • DoorDash verified the vendor breach’s link to the phishing campaign that compromised Twilio Inc TWLO on August 4.
  • DoorDash said the attackers accessed the names, email addresses, delivery addresses, and phone numbers of DoorDash customers.

Bed Bath & Beyond Plans To Share Turnaround Strategy Next Week

  • Home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc BBBY plans to provide a business and strategic update about its turnaround plan on August 31, 2022.
  • The company has been struggling recently with high debt and falling sales despite attempts to overhaul it.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond shares tanked after billionaire investor and GameStop Corp GME Chairman Ryan Chen exited his position.

Is Tesla’s Hypergrowth Story Over Or Just Getting Started? Here’s What 2 Top Analysts Say

  • As Tesla Inc TSLA shares began trading on a split-adjusted basis on Thursday, sell-side analysts on either side of the spectrum adjusted their price targets on the electric-vehicle maker’s stock.
  • Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives, a known Tesla bull, squared off with perpetual Telsa bear Gordon Johnson of GLJ Research on CNBC late Thursday, and here’s what emerged from their exchange:
  • Supply Vs Demand: Tesla is facing the “high-quality problem” of demand outstripping supply, Ives suggested. The company is going into 2023 with the potential of 2 million deliveries, he said.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Collaborates With T-Mobile To Put An End To Cell Phone’ Dead Zones’

  • SpaceX and T-Mobile US Inc TMUS held a joint event at the former’s Starbase facility in South Texas on Thursday to announce a technology partnership.
  • What Happened: At the live event, SpaceX and Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert unveiled a plan to bring satellite-based connectivity to T-Mobile’s users next year.
  • The technology alliance between SpaceX and T-Mobile is dubbed “Coverage Above and Beyond” and would lead to the “end of mobile dead zones,” according to Sievert.

Munster Sees This Business Emerging As’ Fourth Leg’ Of Amazon Growth Story

  • Amazon, Inc. AMZN is reportedly planning to shut down its primary healthcare service unit by the end of 2022. The reports come on the heels of the e-commerce giant agreeing to buy 1Life Healthcare, Inc. ONEM, which operates a chain of primary healthcare clinics under the brand name “One Medical.”
  • Commenting on this, Loup Funds’ Gene Munster said he believes Amazon is still committed to healthcare. The decision to shut down Amazon Health Services may have to do with its redundancy to One Medical, he added.
  • The venture capitalist noted that One Medical has the momentum, with 790,000 members compared with an estimated 15,000 enrolled for Amazon Care.

Jack Dorsey-Led Block’s Afterpay And Australian Bank Westpac Terminate Partnership

  • ‘Buy now, pay later’ company Afterpay Ltd — owned by Jack Dorsey’s Block Inc SQ— and Westpac Banking Corporation WEBNF have ended their partnership after the Australian payments firm rolled back a smartphone app it was running with the bank.
  • Westpac, in a statement emailed to Benzinga, confirmed the tie-up termination, reported earlier by Reuters, saying it will support existing ‘Money by Afterpay’ customers to transfer funds to accounts of their choice or provide competitive offers to those who choose to stay with the bank.
  • Afterpay said it would integrate its products with its Block’s “ecosystem” instead, according to the Reuters report.

Gap Withdraws FY22 Outlook After Q2 Performance

  • Gap Inc GPS shares are trading higher in Thursday’s after-hours session. The company reported top-line results that beat analyst expectations.
  • Gap said fiscal second-quarter revenue decreased 8% year-over-year to $3.86 billion, which beat average analyst estimates of $3.82 billion, according to Benzinga Pro. Comparable sales were down 10% year-over-year.
  • Gap reported second-quarter earnings of 8 cents per share, which is down from earnings of 70 cents per share year-over-year.

After Six Years Of Collaboration, Takeda Walks Away From Microbiome Drug Pact

  • Finch Therapeutics Group Inc FNCH will regain full development and commercial rights to FIN-524 (previously known as TAK-524) and FIN-525 from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd TAK.
  • Following a review of its pipeline, Takeda will terminate its collaboration with Finch, effective November 17, 2022, resulting in the return to Finch of worldwide rights to develop and commercialize FIN-524, FIN-525, and any other microbiome product candidates for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • “We are currently conducting a review of our portfolio and assessing the financial and strategic impact of the discontinuation of our collaboration with Takeda,” said Mark Smith, CEO of Finch Therapeutics.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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