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SEC’s crypto crack-down continues

In today’s top stories, the SEC has issued cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase [COIN] a Wells notice, while six celebrities have been fined for illegally promoting crypto assets. Elsewhere, Toshiba has finally found a buyer, and Sports Direct, owned by Frasers Group [FRAS.L], looks set to kick-start its European expansion with the acquisition of French chain Go Sport. Lockheed Martin [LMT] has pulled out of the nascent deep-sea mining industry. Lastly, Tencent [0700.HK] returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2022, as China’s economy continues its bounce-back. 

Toshiba concludes buy-out saga

Following an eight-year chain of events that included an accounting scandal and near-delisting, Toshiba’s [6502.T] board has approved a $15bn buy-out offer from a consortium led by private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners. The deal values Toyota at 1.8trn yuan (¥), down from a peak of ¥2.5trn during the past year, when funds including Bain Capital were expected to offer higher bids.

SEC’s crypto crack-down continues

The SEC has issued cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase [COIN] a Wells notice, a letter stating its belief that it violated investor protection laws. Coinbase shares fell 14% after-hours following the news. Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul and four other celebrities have also fallen foul of the regulator, having been fined a collective $400,000 for illegally promoting crypto assets TRX and BTT. Swiss crypto ETP provider 21Shares is shutting down six funds due to low demand.

Go Sport offers Direct route to Europe

Sports Direct, owned by Frasers Group [FRAS.L], looks set to drive its European expansion with an M&A strategy, starting with beleaguered French chain Go Sport. Frasers Group CEO Michael Murray said the move would allow it to open in France “with some authority rather than opening store-by-store”. Elsewhere, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe and a rival Qatari consortium led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad J.J. Al Thani are preparing improved bids of around £4.5bn for Manchester United [MANU].

Lockheed withdrawal leaves miners at sea

Lockheed Martin [LMT] has pulled out of the nascent deep-sea mining industry, of which it had been the largest corporate incumbent. The move coincided with a crunch meeting of the International Seabed Authority, which is tasked with approving regulation for the controversial mining of deep-sea environments for electric car battery materials. Meanwhile, the EU’s latest trade deal with lithium-producing Chile underscores attempts to distance itself from “neo-colonialist” accusations.

China’s reopening spurs Tencent’s return to growth

Following two consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue contraction, Tencent [0700.HK] returned to growth in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2022 with a 0.5% top-line increase to $20.8bn. The milestone signals the end of China’s extended crackdown on technology companies and a recovery from the stifling impact of Covid regulations on the country’s economy, which grew 3%, its lowest rate in decades, during 2022.


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