1.AMAZON – Amazon.com Inc‘s Canada division has been ordered to close its Brampton facility in southern Ontario, with workers being asked to self-isolate for 14 days, according to a statement from Peel Public Health on Friday.
Over the past few weeks, the rate of COVID-19 infection across Peel has been decreasing while the rate inside Amazon’s fulfillment center has been increasing significantly, according to Peel Public Health.
Amazon said it will appeal the decision, adding that the facility closure may have some short-term impact on its Canadian customers.
The company said that in its most recent round of mandatory testing in the facility, COVID-19 positive cases were less than 1%.
Peel Public Health said a current investigation determined high-risk exposure to COVID-19 for everyone working at the facility cannot be ruled out.
All employees will be required to self-isolate through March 27, unless they have tested positive in the last 90 days and completed their isolation period, the health agency said.
2. ZOOM– A U.S. judge dismissed large parts of a lawsuit accusing Zoom Video Communications Inc of violating users’ privacy rights by sharing personal information with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn and letting malevolent intruders join Zoom meetings in a practice called Zoombombing.
In a Thursday night decision, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, dismissed several claims in the proposed class action including invasion of privacy, negligence, and violations of that state’s consumer and anti-hacking laws. She allowed some contract-based claims to proceed.
The judge said the plaintiffs failed to prove that Zoom shared or sold their data without permission, and at best alleged that the San Jose-based company “disclosed certain other people’s data, not necessarily Plaintiffs’ data.”
She also said Zoom is “mostly” immune under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which shields online platforms from liability over user content, for Zoombombing, where outsiders hijack Zoom meetings and display pornography, use racist language, or post other disturbing content.
“Appalling as this content is, Zoom’s failure to edit or block user-generated content is the very activity Congress sought to immunize” under Section 230, which shields online platforms from liability over user content, Koh wrote.
The plaintiffs want Zoom to improve its security practices, and damages for past privacy violations. Koh said they can try to replead the dismissed claims.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond on Friday to requests for comment. A lawyer for Zoom had no immediate comment.
Zoom’s customer base has grown more than fourfold since early last year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people to work and communicate through their computers at home.
The company’s share price has more than tripled since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Zoom stock was at $343.50 per share in midday trading on the Nasdaq on Friday.
3. LG :– Proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services Inc and Glass Lewis & Co recommended separately that LG Corp shareholders vote against the South Korean company’s plan to spin off five affiliates, arguing there is no “compelling” reason for the proposed transaction.
LG announced in November that it would spin off a new holding company and transfer its holdings in LG Hausys, LG MMA, Silicon Works, LG International, and Pantos into the new entity, marking the latest reorganization at one of the country’s family-led conglomerates as they pass to a new generation.
U.S. hedge fund Whitebox Advisors, which owns roughly 1% of LG, opposes the plan and has mounted a public campaign to stop it, saying the spinoff would hurt minority shareholders while aiming at resolving a family succession issue.
LG has argued that the spinoff would let it focus on existing core businesses such as electronics, chemicals and telecommunications services.
ISS and Glass Lewis both rejected the company’s arguments, roughly two weeks before shareholders are to vote on March 26.
“It appears that the proposed transaction lacks a compelling business justification and does not address the most pressing issues related to capital management and the enormous discount to NAV at which shares of the parent company trade,” ISS said in a report seen by Reuters.
Glass Lewis cited “inadequate rationale” in recommending against the deal in its report, published late on Friday and seen by Reuters.
Analysts expect the new holding firm, to be headed by Koo Bon-joon, a son of LG’s founder, will eventually be separated from LG Corp. LG Corp itself is led by Koo Bon-Jon’s nephew Koo Kwang-mo, who took over as LG Group chairman in 2018 after his father died.
The ISS report also addressed the family dynamics.
“The statement about the post-spinoff exchange of shares between family members has fueled suspicions that the proposed transaction is merely aimed at addressing issues with succession planning inside the founding family,” the report said.
4.ALIBABA: -China’s antitrust regulators are considering levying a record fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd over suspected anticompetitive behavior, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The fine could surpass the $975 million that Qualcomm paid in 2015 over anticompetitive practices, the report said. The regulators are also considering whether the Chinese e-commerce giant should divest some assets unrelated to its main online-retailing business.
Alibaba declined to respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Founder Jack Ma’s business empire has been put under intense scrutiny by Chinese regulators following his stinging criticism of China’s regulatory system in late October.
In late December China’s State Administration for Market Regulation announced it launched an antitrust probe into Alibaba.
That news came after authorities in Beijing halted a planned $37 billion IPO from Ant Group, Alibaba’s internet finance arm.
The company has come under fire in the past from rivals and sellers for allegedly forbidding its merchants from listing on other e-commerce platforms, a practice known as “two-choose-one.”
Alibaba’s Hong Kong shares climbed 1.7% on Friday morning after its New York shares gained 2.8% overnight amid a broad stock market rally. The New York shares are still down about a quarter from their October levels.
5.DANONE– The board of French food group Danone said on Monday that Emmanuel Faber would step down as chairman and CEO, as the group tries to draw a line under a management crisis and growing pressure from shareholders.
Faber, who had recently said he would relinquish his role as CEO but stay on as chairman to try to appease critics, will be replaced immediately by recently appointed director Gilles Schnepp in the seat of non-executive chairman.
“The immediate priority of the new chairman, together with the board, will be to lead the transition, including the search for a new CEO. Danone has appointed an international search agency to support the process”, the group said in a statement.
Danone had come under pressure in recent months from several shareholders including investment fund Artisan Partners and activist investor Bluebell Capital, who called for Faber to leave and for the group to improve returns.
They had also championed Schnepp, who used to run electrical firm Legrand and was named to Danone’s board in December, as a desirable candidate as chairman.
The abrupt shake-up now leaves Danone under pressure to find a new CEO quickly.
“Of course the ‘job’ starts now with the Board due to appoint a top-class CEO,” Bluebell said in a statement late on Sunday, adding it was happy with the outcome so far.