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11/4/20: What’s Going On

Ant Group leaves investors hanging, the U.K. discusses Covid-19 data tracking with Palantir and more from around the business world.
(Andy Feng)
(Andy Feng)
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“The sudden halt to Ant Group Co.’s giant initial public offering left investors hanging, employees shellshocked and shareholders trying to come to grips with why China pulled the plug on the record-breaking deal when it was so close to the finish line. A growing regulatory assault on Ant and co-founder Jack Ma is forcing a reassessment of how much the financial-technology giant is worth and whether the company’s growth and profitability will be severely crimped by Beijing in the years ahead.”

“Weeks after an embarrassing spreadsheet mistake threatened to undermine the integrity of the country’s coronavirus response, the U.K. government has reportedly reached out to Palantir Technologies to help save it from embarrassment. According to the Financial Times, U.K. officials working on the test-and-trace program have held talks with the U.S. data firm in order to license software and re-organize the official data tracking coronavirus cases.”

“The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in September as exports continued to recover from the global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic while imports slowed. The U.S. posted a deficit of $63.86 billion in September, compared with $67.04 billion in August and $47.84 billion a year earlier, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.”

“Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund built by former operators and founders, has raised $30 million for a new fund, per SEC filings.”

“Alibaba shares fell sharply in New York and Hong Kong after the Chinese e-commerce giant’s financial technology affiliate, Ant Group, suspended its $37 billion initial public offering.”

“BMW AG, the German luxury car maker, reported strong growth in profits and new vehicle sales in the third quarter, as China’s robust recovery from the pandemic continues to bolster premium auto brands.”

“Fox Corp, the Murdoch-controlled company that owns Fox News Channel and the Fox broadcast network, reported Tuesday that ad revenues fell 7% due to the postponement of live sports and other “scripted” programming as a result of the pandemic.”

“British online grocery company Ocado Group has acquired Kindred AI, a six-year-old startup that develops software for industrial robotic arms, for $262 million in cash.”

“AT&T is in discussions with private-equity firms, including Apollo Management, to sell a significant minority stakein its DirecTV, AT&T Now and U-Verse pay-TV businesses in a complicated transaction that would shift legacy assets off the wireless carrier’s balance sheet.”

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