Xerox abandons $35B bid for rival HP amid coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has forced Xerox to abandon its $35 billion attempt at a hostile takeover of larger rival HP.

Xerox is withdrawing its cash-and-stock offer for HP because the viral pandemic has created conditions that are “not conducive” to getting the deal done, the Connecticut-based printer maker said Tuesday.

Xerox added that it still sees financial and strategic benefits to the merger, which it first proposed in November. The deal reportedly had support from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns stakes in both companies and argued that their combination could lead to significant cost savings.

HP, which makes printers and personal computers, firmly opposed the proposal even after Xerox raised its offer to $24 a share and nominated a slate of directors to HP’s board. The California-based firm has said Xerox’s bid undervalued HP and raised concerns about the amount of debt involved.


April 6, 2020

Sony will merge its phone, camera and home entertainment businesses

Sony is radically re-organizing three of its electronics divisions - Sony Mobile Communication, Imaging Products & Solutions and Home Entertainment & Sound. They will be merged into "Sony Electronics Corporation" effective April 1.

This means Sony's phone business, its consumer cameras, its TVs and home audio hardware will be under the control of one company. The goal is to better integrate the different (but related) products, optimize the internal structure of the company and become more competitive overall.

Also, the related global sales and marketing, manufacturing, logistics, procurement and engineering efforts for these divisions will be combined in an attempt to strengthen them and raise profitability. Sony Interactive Entertainment, which produces PlayStation consoles and develops games for them, is Sony's only consumer-facing electronics division to remain independent. No surprise here, SIE has been doing quite well financially.

The company's image sensor division and its professional equipment division (cameras for studios, broadcast equipment, etc.) ...

April 1, 2020

France to support start-ups with €4 billion plan amid coronavirus crisis

Investments in early stage digital companies have boomed in France in recent years, helped by tax cuts and business-friendly measures put in place by President Emmanuel Macron, who has vowed to turn the country into a "start-up nation”.

"We're announcing a specific plan to support the liquidity of start-ups," O told French radio station Radio Classique. "In total it will be a plan for 4 billion (euros).”

The money injected by venture capital funds into French start-ups jumped 30% over the first three quarters of 2019 from a year earlier to 3.9 billion euros, according to Dealroom, a data provider.

The French government's liquidity plan for start-ups includes a short-term refinancing scheme (160 million euros), the early payment of some tax credits (1.5 billion), the accelerated payment of already-planned investments in the sector (150 million) and guarantees over cash flow costs (2 billion).

"Given the global economic situation, there's a risk that some investors ...

March 27, 2020

Porsche to invest billions more in electrification

Porsche is investing around 10 billion euros in the hybridisation, electrification and digitalisation of its vehicles by 2024 and, according to their statements, is “consistently expanding” the product range in the field of electric mobility.

The Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer announced this at the presentation of its annual figures for 2019. Despite the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus, plus the high investments in the electrification of the product range, digitalisation, and the expansion and renewal of locations, the company wants to ensure that it continues to meet its high earnings expectations, said CFO Lutz Meschke in the announcement.

Porsche does not provide more detailed information in the communication which areas and plants will benefit from the investments into electromobility. As confirmed earlier, the next electric car to be launched on the market will be the first derivative of the Taycan, the Cross Turismo. The new generation of the Macan is to follow ...

March 23, 2020

Black Monday for markets due to falling oil prices and coronaviruses

The New York Stock Exchange had its biggest drop in 11 years, while the Mexican Stock Exchange had its worst level since 1995.

Wall Street collapsed on Monday, with its biggest drop in 11 years, crushed by the oil crash and the world coronavirus crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 7.79% to 23,851.02 points, with a drop of 2,000 points, while the technological Nasdaq lost 7.29% to 7,950.68 units, and the S&P 500, of the main companies on the stock market, fell 7.60% to 2,746.56 points.

The New York stock market was also hit since the opening by the fall in crude oil, which had its worst day since the first Gulf War in 1991, with a loss of almost 25%.

Mexican stock market has worst level since 1995, when the drop was -6.65%.The leading S & P / BMV IPC index closed at 38,730.56 units, with a loss of 6.42%. 

In Latin America ...

March 21, 2020

Morgan Stanley, Goldman See Virus Causing Greater Economic Pain

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists said the coronavirus will inflict greater economic pain than they previously expected as they warned of a record plunge in the U.S. output in the second quarter and a deeper global recession.

Morgan Stanley’s U.S. economists led by Ellen Zentner told clients in a report on Sunday that they now see American gross domestic product falling at an annual rate of 30.1% in April-June. That will drive up unemployment to average 12.8% over the period, they said.

At Goldman Sachs, Jan Hatzius’s team said in a report that they now expect the world economy to contract about 1% this year, which would be a bigger decline than even that witnessed in 2009 amid the financial crisis. They were already projecting a 24% annualized drop in U.S. output in the next quarter.

The dire forecasts from two of Wall Street’s biggest banks reflects the sudden stop ...

March 18, 2020

Karius raises $165 million for its liquid biopsy technology identifying diseases in a drop of blood

Liquid biopsy technology has been widely embraced in cancer treatments as a way to identify which therapies may work best for patients based on the presence of trace amounts of genetic material in a patient’s bloodstream that are shed by cancer cells.

Karius applies the same principles to the detection of pathogens in the blood — developing hardware and software that applies computer vision and machine learning techniques to identify the genetic material that’s present in a blood sample.

As the company explains, microbes infecting the human body leave traces of their DNA in blood, which are called microbial cell-free DNA (mcfDNA). The company’s test can measure the that cell free DNA of more than 1,000 clinically relevant samples from things like bacteria, DNA viruses, fungi, and parasites. These tests indicate the types of quantities of those pathogens that are likely affecting a patient. 

“We’re through the early stages of adoption and clinical ...

March 9, 2020

Investment bank Morgan Stanley is buying digital stock brokerage E*Trade for $13 billion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the consolidation will give Morgan Stanley an inroad with E*Trade’s 5.2 million retail investors in what will be Wall Street’s largest deal since the 2008 financial crisis. The bank is targeting this market, though Morgan Stanley’s current $2.7 trillion in assets under management dwarfs E*Trade’s mere $360 billion.

Despite lagging in assets, E*Trade’s client base is far larger than Morgan Stanley’s three million. But it’s also a different share of the investments landscape; while Morgan Stanley mostly appeals to high-dollar and institutional investors, E*Trade’s zero commission structure brings in more consumer-level, retail accounts.

It may also bring the wealth management giant closer to cryptocurrency markets. E*Trade reportedly toyed with launching a bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) trading platform in April 2019. That service could now get wrapped into Morgan Stanley’s, though there’s no word yet on what that would look like.

This all-stock deal will grant E*Trade ...

Feb. 27, 2020

Wanda Sports Considering $1 Billion Sale of Ironman Triathlon

Wanda Sports Group Co., the China-based sports marketing and event promoter, is considering selling the Ironman triathlon business it bought in 2015, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company, part of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s conglomerate, is working with an adviser and has held discussions with some private-equity buyers that expressed interest in the business, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Wanda Sports is seeking to fetch about $1 billion for the triathlon business, one of the people said.

Shares of Wanda Sports rose a record 46% in New York on Tuesday.

A deal could come after Wanda Sports declined to enter talks last year with The Professional Triathletes Organisation, which was interested in acquiring the Ironman business. The organization said at the time that excessive leverage has hampered Wanda Sports’s ability to invest in Ironman operations. On Feb. 4, the PTO renewed ...

Feb. 24, 2020

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion to fight climate change

Jeff Bezos is throwing his weight — and wealth — behind the fight against climate change months after Amazon employees publicly pressured him and the company to do more to address the issue.

The Amazon (AMZN) CEO on Monday announced a new fund to back scientists, activists and organizations working to mitigate the impact of climate change. Bezos will commit $10 billion "to start," he said in an Instagram post.

The initiative, called the Bezos Earth Fund, will begin giving out grants this summer. The $10 billion commitment constitutes less than 8% of the world's richest man's estimated $130 billion net worth. Even so, it is one of the biggest charitable pledges ever, according to a ranking by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Bezos has been under pressure from his employees to do more to protect the environment. Thousands of Amazon employees signed a letter last May asking how the company planned to respond ...

Feb. 18, 2020