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Jack Ma’s Ant Group Slapped With $1B Fine, Carl Icahn’s Huge Short Position In GameStop, Novavax Culls COVID-19 Vaccine Alliance With GAVI: Top Stories Tuesday, Nov. 22

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Reuters

China To Reportedly Impose Over $1B Fine On Jack Ma’s Ant Group Ending 2-Year Long Regulatory Overhaul

Ending Jack Ma’s Ant Group’s two-year-long regulatory feud, Chinese authorities will reportedly impose a fine of more than $1 billion on the billionaire’s fintech company.

China’s central bank – which has been driving the revamp at Ant after the Xi Jinping-led administration scuttled the company’s $37 billion IPO at the last minute in 2020 – is the regulator readying the fine.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Further Trims Stake In EV Maker BYD Amid Rising China Risks

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) has reportedly trimmed its stake in China’s BYD Manufacturing Company Limited BYDDY BYDDF further.

Berkshire sold about 3.23 million Hong Kong-listed shares of BYD for HK $630.33 million ($80.7 million).

Buffett’s investment firm has recently been on a BYD share-selling spree.

Wall Street Journal

Simon & Schuster’s Penguin Random House Deal Falls Apart, Opens Door To New Potential Bidders

Paramount Global (NASDAQ: PARA), the owner of Simon & Schuster’s book-publishing unit, will let its $2.2 billion sale to Penguin Random House collapse, opening doors to new suitors.

German media group Bertelsmann SE & Co could not convince Paramount Global to help launch an appeal and extend the deal contract.

The termination date is November 21.

Bloomberg

Ford And Volkswagen Folded Argo AI After Failing To Reach A Deal With Amazon

Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) ditched its plan to invest in Argo AI start-up backed by Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) and Volkswagen AG (OTC: VWAGY).

The budding relationship soured as Ford and VW grew wary that Amazon would divert Argo’s talent and attention.

The companies also struggled to develop a governance structure to share control of Argo.

Additionally, the high cost of Argo’s technology was a reason for Amazon’s back-off.

Without Amazon, Argo failed to attract other investors and bolster its credibility for public listing.

Meta’s Metaverse Ambitions In Jeopardy As FTC Challenges Within Unlimited Acquisition

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) squashed competition when it halted plans to build its own virtual reality fitness app and opted to buy Within Unlimited Inc instead.

The FTC said that the acquisition would keep the tech giant from entering the space through homegrown tech, denying consumers the benefit of adding another competitor to the market.

The FTC said that before the deal, Within’s team expected that Meta would try to enter the dedicated fitness app market.

Carl Icahn Reportedly Continues To Hold Large Short Position In GameStop

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn started shorting GameStop Corp (NYSE: GME) during the height of the “meme-stock” frenzy around January 2021 and continues to hold a large position.

Short Position: Icahn commenced building the short position when GameStop was trading close to its peak of $483 per share and continues to hold a large bet against the retailer’s shares.

Volkswagen Cuts China Sales Guidance By 14%

Volkswagen AG has lowered its China sales target by 14% for 2022.

The move comes amid China’s return tothe COVID-Zero policy that had previously caused severe supply chain disruption in automobile production.

The company is targeting 3.3 million car sales in china in 2022, down from the previous outlook of 3.85 million.

CNBC

Iger Lays Out Restructuring Soon After Returning To The Helm Of Disney, Chapek’s Right-Hand Man Departs

Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) newly appointed CEO Bob Iger, who took the reigns for the second time, told employees that the company would be undergoing a restructuring in the coming weeks.

In a memo to employees, Iger announced the departure of Kareem Daniel, the company’s head of media and entertainment and right hand to now-departed CEO Bob Chapek.

Iger announced, along with a “new structure that puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”

Benzinga

Novavax Terminates Agreement With GAVI Alliance For Sale Of Its COVID-19 Vaccines

Novavax Inc (NASDAQ: NVAX) delivered a written notice to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, terminating with immediate effect an agreement for the sale of its COVID-19 vaccine to low- and middle-income countries.

The company cited Gavi’s failure to procure the 350 million doses it had agreed to buy in May last year for the COVAX facility.

Equinor And Partners Plan More Gas For Europe With Almost NOK15B Investment In Arctic Gas Field

Equinor ASA (NYSE: EQNR) and its partners would invest NOK 14.8 billion in developing the Irpa gas discovery in the Norwegian Sea.

The development will ensure activity and stable gas deliveries from Aasta Hansteen until 2039.

Expected recoverable gas resources are estimated at approximately 20 billion standard cubic meters, equivalent to 124 million b.o.e.

Philips Flags Two Additional Issues With Reworked, Placed Ventilators

Koninklijke Philips NV (NYSE: PHG) flagged further problems with some ventilator machines it had previously replaced.

A Philips spokesperson said only Trilogy 100/200 ventilator models were potentially affected.

The FDA said the company had notified it that the sound abatement foam could come loose in some refurbished models, “lowering the inspiratory pressure.”

Ericsson Eyes 6G Network Research in UK

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) looked to establish a new research unit in the U.K. as part of a multi-million-pound investment to boost the country’s future wireless connectivity capabilities.

Ericsson would invest tens of millions of pounds (GBP) over the next ten years in a U.K.-based program focusing on 6G research and breakthrough innovations.

The program will employ 20 dedicated researchers and support additional Ph.D. students working alongside leading academics, CSPs, and industry partners.

Possible partner universities include Surrey, Bristol, and Manchester.

Medtronic Trims FY23 Annual Outlook On Currency Headwind, Posts Mixed Q2 Earnings

Medtronic Plc’s (NYSE: MDT) Q2 FY23 sales of $7.58 billion decreased 3% Y/Y on a reported basis and increased 2% organically, missing the consensus of $7.70 billion.

Q2 organic revenue results reflect lower than anticipated underlying market procedure volumes in certain businesses and the pricing impact of volume-based procurement in China.

The company forecasts lower adjusted EPS of $5.25-$5.30, down from $5.53 – $5.65.

Domino’s Pizza Deploys EV Fleet To Mitigate Delivery Drivers’ Shortage

Domino’s Pizza Inc (NYSE:DPZ) plans to deploy electric vehicles at some of its U.S. stores to overcome a worker shortage affecting deliveries.

The pizza chain will induct morethan 100 custom-branded 2023 Chevy Bolt electric vehicles. Chevrolet is owned by General Motors Co (NYSE: GM).

It is also planning to expand the fleet with additional 700 vehicles in the coming months.

See more from Benzinga

Medtronic Trims FY23 Annual Outlook On Currency Headwind, Posts Mixed Q2 Earnings

Equinor And Partners Plan More Gas For Europe With Almost NOK15B Investment In Arctic Gas Field

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