1.TOSHIBA:Toshiba Corp said it now aims to break up into two companies instead of three and also unveiled a big boost to planned shareholder returns in an effort to appease angry investors.
Its revised plan is still expected, however, to face much pushback from foreign hedge funds, many of whom have been opposed to any kind of split and would prefer that the scandal-ridden Japanese conglomerate be taken private.
Under the new restructuring, Toshiba will just split off its device business, including its power chip unit. Previously it had aimed to break up into three companies – one for energy and infrastructure, one for devices and one for flash memory chips.
Toshiba also intends to increase shareholder returns to 300 billion yen ($2.6 billion) over the next two years which compares to an earlier target for returns of 100 billion yen.
Shares in the industrial conglomerate closed 1.6% higher following the news.
Toshiba said the new restructuring plan was simpler, would save costs and would make it easier for alliances with strategic partners to be pursued.
“We have not changed the plan to avoid confrontation with shareholders,” CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa told a briefing.
He said the revised restructuring would be put to a shareholder vote at an extraordinary general meeting in March with an approval threshold set at just over 50%.
2.CREDIT SUISSE:–Credit Suisse will face charges in a Swiss court on Monday of allowing an alleged Bulgarian cocaine trafficking gang to launder millions of euros, some of it stuffed into suitcases.
Swiss prosecutors say the country’s second-biggest bank and one of its former relationship managers did not take all necessary steps to prevent the alleged drug traffickers from hiding and laundering cash between 2004 and 2008.
“Credit Suisse unreservedly rejects as meritless all allegations in this legacy matter raised against it and is convinced that its former employee is innocent,” the bank said in a statement to Reuters.
In the first criminal trial of a major bank in Switzerland, prosecutors are seeking around 42.4 million Swiss francs in compensation from Credit Suisse, which added that it would “defend itself vigorously in court”.
The case has attracted intense interest in Switzerland, where it is seen as a test for a potentially tougher stance by prosecutors against the country’s banks.
The indictment runs to more than 500 pages, and centres on relationships that Credit Suisse and its ex-employee had with former Bulgarian wrestler Evelin Banev and multiple associates, two of whom are charged in the case. A second indictment in the case charges a former relationship manager at Julius Baer with facilitating money laundering.
A legal representative for the ex-Credit Suisse employee, who cannot be named under Swiss privacy laws, said the case was unjustified and his client denied wrongdoing.
A lawyer for the two alleged gang members, who face charges of multiple counts of misappropriation, fraud and forgery of documents in the Swiss federal court but cannot be named under Swiss privacy laws, declined to comment. A lawyer for the former relationship manager at Julius Baer did not respond to requests for comment.
Banev, who does not face charges in Switzerland, was convicted of drug trafficking in Italy in 2017 and then in Bulgaria in 2018 for being part of a criminal organisation active in trafficking tonnes of cocaine from Latin America.
He vanished, but was arrested in September in Ukraine, from where Bulgarian prosecutors are seeking his extradition to face charges of setting up an organised criminal group and drug trafficking, Interpol’s red list of wanted persons shows.
3.SPOTIFY:- Spotify Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said on Sunday he “strongly” condemns racial slurs and other comments made by popular U.S. podcaster Joe Rogan but will not be removing him from the platform.
Ek’s comments, sent in a letter to staff seen by Reuters, come on the heels of Rogan issuing an apology for the second time in a week, the latest for using racial slurs after a montage video surfaced showing him repeatedly using the N-word.
Ek said it was Rogan’s decision to remove a number of past episodes from “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, following discussions with the music streaming platform and his own reflections on some of the content in the show, including the usage of racially insensitive language.
“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said… I want to make one point very clear – I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Ek said.
Ek reiterated his stand on Spotify’s content moderation policies and said that he believes the company should have clear boundaries around the content being published. The company should take actions when they are crossed, but he cautioned that canceling voices is a slippery slope.
The company will also commit $100 million for the licensing, development, and marketing of music and audio content from historically marginalized groups, in a bid to elevate creators from a diversity of backgrounds, according to the letter, which was confirmed by a Spotify spokesperson.
In his apology, Rogan had said the montage showed him using the epithet in conversations on shows over the last 12 years, and included examples of him discussing its use by Black and white comedians and others.
A mixed martial arts commentator and a prominent vaccine skeptic, Rogan has courted controversy with his views on COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic and government mandates to control the spread of the virus.
4.VOLKSWAGEN:Volkswagen does not expect the global shortage of semiconductors to end this year although it should further ease slightly in the second half, a board member was quoted as saying by industry magazine Automobilwoche.
“The volatile situation will affect us at least beyond the first half of this year,” Murat Aksel, the head of procurement on the Volkswagen board said in an interview with Automobilwoche.
Carmakers around the world have been hit by a shortage of semiconductors caused by COVID-19 supply-chain disruptions as well as soaring semiconductor demand at consumer electronic companies.
Aksel said there were clearly structural issues at play, with demand set to continue to rise in the car making industry.
As such, instead of looking at claiming damages from suppliers behind on chip deliveries, the focus was on working closely with them to ensure better availability, he said.
It should become easier to make reliable predictions in 2023, when more semiconductor production capacity comes online, he said.
5.AMAZON :– A day after Facebook owner Meta Platforms suffered the deepest loss of stock market value in history for a U.S. company, Amazon logged the greatest ever one-day increase in value.
Shares of the online retail and cloud computing giant surged 13.5% on Friday following its blowout quarterly report, expanding its market capitalization by around $190 billion by the end of trading.
Amazon is now valued at about $1.6 trillion. With Meta Platforms’ stock slipping 0.3% on Friday, its value stood at about $660 billion.
Amazon’s shares jumped after the company reported better-than-expected profits late on Thursday and said it was hiking the price of its annual U.S. Prime subscriptions by 17%.
Amazon’s surge comes a day after Meta Platforms’ stock market value plunged more than $200 billion in the biggest single-day loss for a U.S. company after the social media giant issued a dismal forecast.
“After fighting the post-lockdown blues in 2021, we believe Amazon’s fortunes have the potential to improve as 2022 unfolds,” Monness Crespi Hardt analyst Brian White wrote in a research note. “Amazon is uniquely positioned to exit this crisis as one of the biggest beneficiaries of accelerated digital transformation.”
Retail investors appeared to use Amazon’s rally to take profits. Data on Fidelity’s website showed Amazon was the most traded stock among its customers on Friday, with sell orders outnumbering buy orders by more than two to one.
Amazon’s stock price remains down around 15% from its record high close of $3,731.41 in July.