1. AstraZeneca – AstraZeneca Plc has sold its 7.7% stake in Moderna Inc for more than $1 billion after the U.S. biotechnology company’s shares soared on the back of its coronavirus vaccine breakthrough, The Times reported.
The report added that it was not clear over what period British-based AstraZeneca sold its holding in Moderna.
AstraZeneca and Moderna did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
AstraZeneca is retaining partnership with Moderna on other disease treatments and could sell its AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine on a commercial basis in future if the virus becomes endemic, the report added.
Moderna, whose vaccine is cleared for emergency use against COVID-19 in the United States, said last week it was expecting sales of $18.4 billion from its coronavirus vaccine this year.
2. LOGITECH:-Computer goods maker Logitech International on Monday warned operating income for fiscal 2022 will drop back from a 2021 boom driven stoked by demand for mice and keyboards for work and leisure at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Operating income for fiscal 2022, measured under non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (non-GAAP), is expected to be between $750 million and $800 million, the Swiss-U.S. company said. That’s down from the $1.1 billion it now expects for fiscal 2021, a fraction up from a previous estimate of $1.05 billion.
Sales for fiscal 2022, measured in constant currency terms, will be about flat – plus or minus 5%. For fiscal 2021, Logitech raised its sales growth forecast to about 63% in constant currencies, up from the 57-60% range it previously expected.
In January, Logitech reported a more than three-fold jump in quarterly adjusted operating income, benefiting from the pandemic-driven boost in demand for work-from-home products and gaming accessories.
Sales at the company, which makes mobile speakers, keyboards, mice and video conferencing devices, increased 85% to $1.67 billion in the third quarter, which has traditionally been the company’s biggest sales period.
The company also said on Monday its expectations of long-term sales growth in constant currency have increased to 8% to 10%, up from high-single digits and that its non-GAAP operating margin target has improved to between 14% and 17%, up from 11% to 14%.
3. SOFT BANK :– SoftBank’s internet subsidiary Z Holdings outlined plans on Monday to invest 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) in technology over five years to resist an onslaught from larger overseas rivals.
The announcement follows the merger of its internet business Yahoo Japan with chat app operator Line, creating a $30 billion domestic internet heavyweight.
Z Holdings said it is targeting sales of 2 trillion yen and operating income of 225 billion yen in three years, as the COVID-19 pandemic boosts demand for online services.
Following a complex transaction, two thirds of Z Holdings shares will be owned by a new holding company, A Holdings, owned 50:50 by SoftBank Corp and South Korea’s Naver Corp.
Z Holdings remains a consolidated subsidiary of SoftBank. Naver was the previous majority owner of Line.
The CEOs of Z Holdings and Line, Kentaro Kawabe and Takeshi Idezawa respectively, become co-CEOs of the combined entity, reflecting the hybrid origin of the firm which straddles e-commerce, payments, advertising and chat.
Kawabe pointed to the breadth of those services, many of which are deeply embedded in the lives of Japanese consumers, as its defence against rivals like Google parent Alphabet and Amazon.com and their larger research budgets.
In an early indicator of efforts to save on costs, Z Holdings said it was looking to integrate Line’s QR code payment service Line Pay into peer PayPay, which SoftBank has promoted aggressively to attract consumers away from cash, in April 2022.
Z Holdings retains its listed status, one of a number of such firms among SoftBank’s domestic holdings, despite calls for Japanese firms to unwind such structures.
Z Holdings also controls online fashion retailer Zozo Inc and office supplies firm Askul Corp.
4. TWITTER:-Russia’s communications regulator accused Twitter on Monday of violating Russian law, saying the social media platform had not complied with some of its requests to delete banned content.
Roskomnadzor said Twitter had failed to delete 2,862 posts containing material linked to suicide, pornography and drugs since 2017. It could be fined heavily and found guilty of repeatedly failing to delete content deemed illegal under Russian law, it said.
The platform is used extensively by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his allies to criticize the authorities and announce new protests.
Twitter has been fined in the past for breaching Russia’s data laws, but the fines have so far been relatively small. It
did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Russia in recent months has taken steps to exert more influence over foreign social media platforms.
Bills passed by the lower house of parliament in December last year allowed Russia to levy large fines on platforms that do not delete banned content and even restrict access to U.S. social media giants if they “discriminate” against Russian media.
The foreign ministry has also accused Facebook and other U.S. social media platforms of failing to identify fake posts related to unauthorized protests in support of Navalny, where police detained thousands of demonstrators nationwide.
In January, President Vladimir Putin queried what he described as the growing clout of U.S. social media giants and said their influence meant they now competed with governments.
Last month a Moscow court fined Twitter for refusing to store its server holding data about Russian citizens on Russian territory.
5. Google- India’s conglomerate Reliance Industries has partnered with Facebook Inc, Google and fintech player Infibeam to set up a national digital payment network, Economic Times newspaper reported on Saturday, citing unnamed sources.
Last year, India’s central bank invited companies to forge new umbrella entities (NUEs) to create a payments network that would rival the system operated by the National Payments Council of India (NPCI), as it seeks to reduce concentration risks in the space.
Set up in 2008, NPCI is a not-for-profit company, which as of March 2019 counted dozens of banks as its shareholders, including the State Bank of India, Citibank and HSBC. It processes billions of dollars in payments daily via services that include inter-bank fund transfers, ATM transactions and digital payments.
Citing three unnamed sources, India’s leading business daily Economic Times said that the group led by Reliance and Infibeam was in the advanced stages of submitting their proposal to the Reserve Bank of India.
A spokesperson for Infibeam declined comment on the report, saying the company was bound by the confidentiality of process, while Reliance, Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Digital payments in India could rise to $135.2 billion in 2023, according to an Assocham-PWC India study in 2019.
Facebook and Google are already partnered with Reliance and own stakes in Jio Platforms – the unit which houses Reliance’s music, movie apps and telecoms venture.
The RBI this week extended the deadline for all parties to submit NUE applications until March 31 from February 26.
The report said RBI is expected to take another six months to study all the proposals being submitted and that it is not expected to give more than two new “for-profit” NUE licences.