Spotify To Downsize Employee Count, Activist Investor Elliott Invests Multibillion Dollars In Salesforce, Abbott Draws DOJ Investigation On Baby Formula Plant Shutdown: Today's Top Stories


Juul's Consumer Settlement Is 'Reasonable & Adequate,' US Judge Says

  • Juul Labs Inc, a unit of Altria Group MO, has reportedly secured preliminary court approval of a $255 million settlement resolving consumer claims for deceptive marketing.
  • U.S. District Judge said the proposed class action settlement resolving claims by consumers who said they overpaid for Juul's vaping products was "fair, reasonable, and adequate."

Goldman Sachs To Reduce Asset Management Investments After Dismal Fourth Quarter Earnings

  • The Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc's GS asset management arm plans to significantly reduce the $59 billion of alternative investments that weighed on the bank's earnings.
  • The unit seeks to divest its positions over the next few years and replace some of those funds on its balance sheet with outside capital, said Julian Salisbury, the chief investment officer of asset and wealth management at Goldman Sachs.

Volkswagen Keeps IPO Option Open For Charging, Energy Business

  • Volkswagen AG's VWAGY energy and charging division is reportedly exploring a possible listing.
  • The energy and charging business division, like its battery business PowerCo, is preparing for a listing as part of a training schedule by the CEO Oliver Blume.
  • The plan was to secure the long-term structure of the business, the report quoted the division's chief Elke Temme.

Amazon's Cloud Division Earmarks $35B Towards Virginia

  • Amazon.Com, Inc's cloud services unit shared plans to invest another $35 billion by 2040 to expand data centers in Virginia.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) said the new investment would create 1,000 jobs.
  • Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin said AWS would establish multiple data center campuses across Virginia.


Wall Street Journal

Activist Investor Elliott Makes Multibillion-Dollar Investment In Salesforce

  • Activist investor Elliott Management Corp has reportedly picked up a multi-billion dollar stake in cloud software firm Salesforce Inc CRM.
  • Elliott managing partner Jesse Cohn said, "We look forward to working constructively with Salesforce to realize the value befitting a company of its stature."
  • Cohn said Elliott has "developed a deep respect" for Salesforce Co-CEO Marc Benioff.

Abbott Laboratories Under DOJ Investigation Into 2022 Baby Formula Plant Shutdown

  • The Justice Department's consumer-protection branch investigates infant formula maker Abbott Laboratories ABT.
  • The Justice Department is investigating conduct at Abbott's plant in Sturgis, Michigan, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • "The DOJ has informed us of its investigation, and we're cooperating fully," The WSJ quoted an Abbott spokesman saying.


Financial Times

Airbus Hires Morgan Stanley To Fastrack Solar Drone Program Spinoff

  • Airbus SE EADSF EADSY weighed spinning off its high-altitude drone program Zephyr to accomplish standalone telecom and earth observation business likely to start commercial operations by 2024.
  • Airbus roped in Morgan Stanley MS to seek external partners to help accelerate the commercialization of the crewless, solar-powered Zephyr aircraft.
  • Airbus aimed to maintain ownership in Aalto, where the Zephyr program resides, but explore external investment to drive the company's objectives.
  • Zephyr eyed "Aalto ports" globally at 5 or 6 locations, including the U.S. and the Middle East.



Spotify To Downsize Employee Count To Fight Macro Headwinds

  • Spotify Technology S.A. SPOT eyed layoffs by this week, joining the downsizing wave of technology companies from Amazon.Com Inc AMZN to Meta Platforms Inc META
  • Spotify intends to cut about 6% of its employee base and incur €35 million to €45 million in related charges.
  • In October, Spotify removed 38 staff from its Gimlet Media and Parcast podcast studios. The move involved less than 5% layoffs from Spotify's podcast staff.

Amazon Goes Aggressive In India, Starts Amazon Air For Shipping

  • Inc began air shipment services in India, despite the pandemic recovery-driven global online sales softening.
  • Amazon looks to tap its cargo capacity in its partner Quikjet Cargo Airlines Pvt operated Boeing Co BA 737-800 aircraft to start shipping in Hyderabad, Bangalore, New Delhi, and Mumbai, Bloomberg reports citing VP Akhil Saxena.
  • Amazon tried to sublet unused space in its cargo jets as it battled the post-pandemic slowdown.



Lithia Eyes Ferrari Dealer Jardine Motors For £300M

  • Lithia Motors Inc LAD is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire U.K.-based counterpart Jardine Motors for £300 million.
  • If completed, Jardine Motors will be sold by its parent Jardine Matheson Holdings, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate.
  • The acquisition will expand Lithia's foothold in the U.K., including access to Ferrari NV RACE and Maserati.

Honda Partners With GS Yuasa For Lithium-Ion Batteries

  • Honda Motor Co Ltd HMC has signed a collaboration agreement with GS Yuasa International Ltd. for a high-capacity, high-output lithium-ion battery. The financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.
  • The two companies will discuss specifics to establish a joint venture company by the end of 2023.  
  • The collaboration will aim for competitive battery production methods and also establish a supply chain for key raw materials.

Samsung, Nokia Ink New Multi-Year 5G Patent Deal

  • Nokia Corp NOK inked a new cross-license patent agreement with Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd SSNLF after the expiry of the previous deal at the end of 2022. The financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.
  • Under the agreement, which covers Nokia's fundamental inventions in 5G and other technologies, Samsung will make payments to Nokia for a multi-year period beginning 1 January 2023. 
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