1.FACEBOOK: Australia’s competition watchdog is looking into a claim that Facebook Inc refused a publisher’s request to negotiate a licensing deal, the regulator told Reuters, setting the stage for the first test of the world’s toughest online content law.
The Conversation, which publishes current affairs commentary by academics, said it asked Facebook to begin talks as required under new Australian legislation that requires the social media firm and Alphabet Inc’s Google to negotiate content-supply deals with media outlets.
Facebook declined without giving a reason, The Conversation said, even though the publisher was among the first in Australia to secure a similar deal with Google in the lead-up to the law in 2020.
The knockback could present the first test of a controversial mechanism unique to Australia’s effort to claw back advertising dollars from Google and Facebook: if they refuse to negotiate licence fees with publishers, a government-appointed arbitrator may step in.
In a statement responding to Reuters questions, Facebook’s head of news partnerships for Australia, Andrew Hunter, said the company was “focused on concluding commercial deals with a range of Australian publishers”.
Hunter did not answer specific questions concerning The Conversation, but said Facebook was planning a separate initiative “to support regional, rural and digital Australian newsrooms and public-interest journalism in the coming months”, without giving details.
2.APPLE:- Apple Inc is expanding retail operations as the United States emerges from the pandemic, betting that a combination of strategies developed before and during COVID-19 will make its stores more popular than ever, its retail chief told Reuters.
Apple is doing this as the retail industry works out what the post-pandemic future will look like, including consumers who have become used to ordering almost everything online.
For Apple, the answer is keeping what helped it through the pandemic, and doubling down on its pre-pandemic strategy of in-store events and experiences beyond shopping.
The express counters that popped up to help customers more efficiently pick up online orders, for example, will become regular features of Apple’s 500-plus stores around the world, all of which have reopened as of June 14.
The iPhone maker is also adding a new “Creative Studios” program, starting in Los Angeles and Beijing, that aims to teach young people from underrepresented communities to use Apple products to create music, films and photography. That adds to a broader array of classes based out of the stores designed to bring in customers in contact with Apple more frequently.
“We’re looking at this moment right now as a way to really begin again, and begin again in every way,” Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, told Reuters as the company prepared on Thursday to open a new store at the renovated Tower Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, Apple’s second new U.S. retail outlet since the beginning of the pandemic.
3.NIKE:- Nike Inc on Thursday forecast fiscal full-year sales ahead of Wall Street estimates, betting on its online business, higher demand as lockdowns ease, and its tried-and-tested strategy of limiting stock for popular products.
The sneaker maker’s shares rose nearly 13% after the bell as the company also posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue.
After staying at home for more than a year and limiting themselves to leisure-wear and comfortable pajamas, consumers are back to buying sneakers for running and hiking as they return to their routines, thanks to rapid vaccinations.
There were definite reasons for optimism and confidence, like the return to sport, Chief Financial Officer Matthew Friend said on an earnings call, adding that Nike has already begun to see an acceleration in its sport performance business.
Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike said fiscal 2022 revenue is estimated to grow by low double-digits and surpass $50 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $48.46 billion for fiscal 2022, according to Refinitiv.
First-half growth is expected to be slightly higher than second half growth, Friend said.
In Nike’s biggest market, North America, fourth-quarter revenue more than doubled to $5.38 billion and beat the average analysts’ estimate of $4.31 billion.
Total gross margin rose 8.5 percentage points to 45.8% versus last year, boosted in part by the company’s direct to consumer business and fewer charges related to factory cancellations. Analysts expected gross margin of 43.96%, according to Refinitiv.
4.BLACK ROCK:-BlackRock Inc Chief Executive Larry Fink said on Thursday the company would create new support channels for employees and start evaluating the conduct of senior leaders, including himself, after a legal review of intolerant behavior at the world’s top asset manager.
Fink described the steps in an all-hands memo following a review by the law firm of Paul, Weiss that was led by partner Loretta Lynch, a former U.S. Attorney General.
The review came after employees complained about racial and sexual harassment, and the conduct of executives, in a series of reports this spring.
In a Feb. 1 Medium post, for instance, a former BlackRock analyst described being sexually harassed and discriminated against as an Arab-American Muslim woman, including being taunted for not wearing a Christmas holiday sweater. Little happened after she complained to human resources, she wrote.
With some $9 trillion under management, BlackRock is an influential voice pushing for more boardroom diversity and minority representation at portfolio companies.
BlackRock’s changes were reported earlier on Thursday by Bloomberg News.
The law firm’s review “highlighted things I wasn’t happy about. These included instances where people at BlackRock had experiences that did not meet what we all should expect of BlackRock,” Fink said in his memo, provided by a BlackRock spokesman.
BlackRock declined to discuss individual cases, citing privacy.
Fink said BlackRock would make changes including “expanding options for employees to engage on issues that do not warrant a formal complaint” and investing in its human resources team.
5.FEDEX – FedEx reported Thursday fourth-quarter results that beat analysts’ forecasts, driven by strong package services demand and the delivery firm painted a rosy picture about ongoing momentum into its new fiscal year.
FedEx shares lost 1.93% in after-hours trade following the report.
FedEx announced earnings per share of $5.01 on revenue of $22.6 billion. Analysts polled by Investing.com anticipated EPS of $4.97 on revenue of $21.46 billion.
Volume growth and disciplined revenue and portfolio management were partially offset by costs to support strong demand, increased variable compensation expense, and higher labor rates.
Looking ahead, FedEx forecast EPS in the range of $20.50 to $21.50 for the full year, above Wall Street consensus of $20.48 consensus.
“We expect continued strong momentum in fiscal 2022, and our investments are focused on the areas of greatest growth and highest returns, like e-commerce, to position us for sustained long-term growth in earnings, cash flows, and returns,” said CFO Michael Lenz.