Electric-Car Maker Xpeng Raises $400 Million From Xiaomi

Chinese electric-car maker Xpeng Motors Technology Ltd. has raised $400 million from investors including technology company Xiaomi Corp., as it seeks a spot among China’s more serious contenders in the market.

Private-equity firms and individual investors including founder He Xiaopeng also took part in the funding round, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

The startup said in June it has produced 10,000 units of its G3 sport utility vehicle, putting it in competition with local rivals such as NIO Inc. and global competitors including Tesla Inc. in the world’s biggest EV market.

Yet demand in China is sputtering, with EV sales falling for months since the government cut subsidies earlier this year. The slump has raised speculation among investors that only a small fraction of China’s aspiring electric-car makers will survive.

Xpeng is working with Xiaomi in developing technologies connecting smartphones with vehicles. Xpeng’s backers also include ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The ...

Nov. 19, 2019

GOLDMAN SACHS buys shares of insurance group AXA

French insurance group AXA announced it sells 144 million shares in its US subsidiary AXA Equitable Holdings (EQH) to the investment company GOLDMAN SACHS which acted as the sole underwriter of a registered public offering of the AXA Group.

Under the deal, EQN will buy from GOLDMAN SACHS 24 million shares from the proposed 144 million shares. The purchase price of one share will be equal to the value per share which the underwriter paid AXA. The deal is 13 November 2019 after all the registration procedures.

"AXA S.A. the pricing of the sale of 144,000,000 shares of common stock of AXA Equitable Holdings, to Goldman Sachs, as the sole underwriter in a registered public offering of those shares. AXA sold the shares of common stock of EQH at a net price of USD 21.80 per share. The Offering is expected to close on November 13, 2019. As part of the Offering, ...

Nov. 15, 2019

Alibaba wants to raise billions by listing its shares in Hong Kong

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced plans to raise up to $13.4 billion by issuing shares in Hong Kong, a vote of confidence in the Asian financial hub that has been rocked by months of civil unrest.

Alibaba said in a stock market filing Wednesday that it wants to use a secondary listing in Hong Kong to fund its continued expansion into online travel, delivery and media.

The company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma first tapped public markets in 2014, raising $25 billion in an offering on the New York Stock Exchange that shattered records as the largest IPO in history.

Alibaba (BABA) will price 500 million new shares on or around November 20, with trading starting in Hong Kong roughly four business days later. At the current New York price of Alibaba's shares, the offering could raise as much as $13.4 billion, if the company's bankers exercise an option to purchase ...

Nov. 12, 2019

Apple will give $2.5 billion to address the affordable housing crisis in Silicon Valley

Apple said Monday it will contribute $2.5 billion to try and alleviate California’s housing crisis, raising the bar for tech companies to commit to the communities in which they reside.

“Before the world knew the name Silicon Valley, and long before we carried technology in our pockets, Apple called this region home, and we feel a profound civic responsibility to ensure it remains a vibrant place where people can live, have a family and contribute to the community,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in a blog post Monday. 

The announcement comes as Silicon Valley communities put more pressure on tech companies who have rapidly expanded in the Bay Area and contributed to the displacement of local residents who can’t afford skyrocketing housing prices. The announcement follows housing commitments from other tech giants like Google, which announced in July it would be giving $1 billion for affordable housing in the Bay Area. Facebook ...

Nov. 8, 2019

Spirit Boosts Aftermarket Reach With Bombardier Aerostructures Buyout

The sale of Bombardier’s aerostructures business to U.S. company Spirit Aerosystems was finalized late last week with some aftermarket services included as part of the $1.1 billion deal. Bombardier has looked to shed its commercial business units to focus on its business aviation and rail interests.

Spirit, which spun off from Boeing in 2005 and specializes in nacelle products and the manufacture of aircraft structures, announced the acquisition on Oct. 31.

It will pay Bombardier $500 million in cash and take on $300 million in pension liabilities and $290 million worth of repayment obligations to the Canadian government.

The deal includes the OEM’s aerostructures activities and aftermarket services operations, which Spirit says will more than double its services' reach globally. This includes its aerostructures manufacturing and aftermarket sites in Belfast, UK, where it produces wings for the Airbus A220, formerly known as the CSeries, along with components for the A320neo and Bombardier regional ...

Nov. 5, 2019

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot agree to pursue giant auto merger

France’s PSA, which owns Peugeot, and Fiat Chrysler have agreed to pursue a merger that would create the world’s fourth-largest carmaker and reshape the automotive sector.

PSA and FCA said their boards had agreed to “work towards” a tie-up that would give shareholders of each group 50 per cent ownership in the new entity. 

The deal would create a company with revenues of €170bn, recurring operating profit of more than €11bn and combined vehicle sales of 8.7m, putting it ahead of General Motors and Hyundai-Kia in sales. In Europe, the company’s sales would even outpace Volkswagen, which has historically dominated the region’s industry.

At current market prices, the combined entity is worth just under €43.4bn.

FCA shareholders will receive a €5.5bn cash payout and proceeds from the sale of its robot-making Comau unit, estimated at between €200m and €300m.

The two companies intend to forge a 50-50 all-stock merger in which PSA chief executive Carlos ...

Nov. 1, 2019

Virgin Galactic to begin trading on the NYSE as the first space tourism stock

Private space tourism is about to go public.

Shareholders approved Virgin Galactic’s merger with one of Chamath Palihapitiya’s ventures, setting up the space tourism company to list directly on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

“Virgin Galactic is making history again today as it becomes the world’s first and only publicly traded commercial human spaceflight company. For the first time, anyone will have the opportunity to invest in a human spaceflight company that is transforming the market,” CEO George Whitesides said in a statement.

The merger was announced in July, with Palihapitiya’s Social Capital Hedosophia taking a 49% stake in Virgin Galactic. The deal gives the combined company a valuation of $1.5 billion, with Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson retaining a 51% controlling stake.

Palihapitiya’s company already trades on the NYSE, under the ticker “IPOA.” The new combined venture’s shares will trade under the ticker symbol “SPCE” on the NYSE on Monday.

A ...

Oct. 29, 2019

Facebook to Buy Startup for Controlling Computers With Your Mind

Facebook Inc. agreed to acquire CTRL-Labs, a technology startup that is building software to let people control a digital avatar using only their thoughts. The world’s largest social network is paying between $500 million and $1 billion, according to people familiar with the deal.

The closely held four-year-old startup, which has dozens of employees and has raised tens of millions in venture capital, uses a bracelet to measure neuron activity in a subject’s arm to determine movement that person is thinking about, even if they aren’t physically moving. That neuron activity is then translated into movement on a digital screen. Facebook declined to comment on the price of the acquisition.

Technology like CTRL-Labs’s may someday be a crucial part of products like augmented reality glasses, where a user might want to control a computer without the need for buttons or a keyboard. 

Facebook has been pushing deeper into augmented reality technology, including the ...

Oct. 24, 2019

Global renewable power capacity to rise by 50% in five years - IEA

Global renewable energy capacity is set to rise by 50 per cent in five years' time, driven by solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on homes, buildings and industry, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Total renewable-based power capacity will rise by 1.2 terawatts (TW) by 2024 from 2.5 TW last year, equivalent to the total installed current power capacity of the United States.

Solar PV will account for nearly 60% of this growth and onshore wind 25%, the IEA's annual report on global renewables showed.

The share of renewables in power generation is expected to rise to 30% in 2024 from 26% today.

Falling technology costs and more effective government policies have helped to drive the higher forecasts for renewable capacity deployment since last year's report, the IEA said.

"Renewables are already the world's second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality ...

Oct. 21, 2019

South Korea Speeds Up Plans for Autonomous, Electric and Flying Cars

South Korea unveiled plans to speed up the adoption of electric cars, self-driving vehicles and even flying automobiles in the coming years to help revive a sagging economy.

President Moon Jae-in said in a speech Tuesday Korean companies will invest 60 trillion won ($50 billion) over the next decade into the future of transportation. The government will spend 2.2 trillion won to help develop related technology and help lay the groundwork for the infrastructure needed for things such as robocars, he said. Commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles will occur by 2027, or three years earlier than planned, he said.

Moon is betting that the investments will create jobs and spur an export-dependent economy that’s been among the hardest hit from global trade tensions, with the central Bank of Korea warning as recently as this month that it will be difficult to achieve 2.2% growth this year.

Moon also predicted that electric and hydrogen-fueled ...

Oct. 16, 2019