Top Stories

Will TikTok split from ByteDance?

In today’s top stories, Abu Dhabi’s G42 acquires a $100m ByteDance stake, Meta cuts another 10,000 jobs and Novo Nordisk slashes insulin prices by 75%. Meanwhile, Microsoft-backed OpenAI unveils Chat GPT-4 and BMW increases its EV targets amid rollout.

ByteDance-TikTok separation on the cards

Abu Dhabi AI firm G42 has taken a $100m stake in ByteDance in a deal that values the TikTok owner at $220bn. The viral video’s US business is said to be worth between $40bn and $50bn and could be separated from its parent to alleviate Chinese ownership concerns, according to Bloomberg. “Microsoft’s focus on Bing and ChatGPT could drive interest in adding a video platform like TikTok to compete with Alphabet’s YouTube,” wrote Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Mandeep Singh and Damian Reimertz.

Chatter around AI continues

Microsoft [MSFT]-backed OpenAI has released the latest version of its sophisticated AI chatbot, GPT-4, which it claims is smarter and more creative than previous iterations and is less likely to make up facts. While AI may not eliminate all jobs, PwC believes it’ll be useful in helping its lawyers with contract analysis and due diligence, reported the Financial Times. Alphabet [GOOGL] has unveiled the second version of its medical large language model, Med-PaLM, which can answer health-related questions.

Meta announces more layoffs

Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘Year of Efficiency’ continued on Tuesday with Meta laying off 10,000 employees, sending shares in the social media giant soaring and closing 7.25% higher. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives tweeted that Zuckerberg’s cost-cutting measures and u-turn on metaverse spending are helping him “to gain more credibility from [the] Street. BofA, Evercore ISI, Raymond James and Truist all raised their price targets following the news. Cost-cutting at Apple [AAPL] will delay bonuses for some employees.

Novo Nordisk to cut insulin cost

As healthcare companies come under fire for the rising cost of insulin in the US, Novo Nordisk [NVO] is to slash the price by up to 75% for people living with diabetes by 2024. Fellow drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co [LLY] announced on 1 March that it would be reducing its prices by 70%. Capping insulin costs at $35 a month “should be the new standard in America,” David Ricks, Eli Lilly’s chair and CEO, told CNN.

BMW’s electric dreams gather pace

German automaker BMW [BMW.DE] is anticipating its battery-electric vehicle (BEV) roll-out to pick up speed, with one in three cars sold by 2026 to be all-electric. The company is expecting BEVs to make up half of all sales well ahead of its 2030 target – BEVs will reach a 15% market share in 2023. Logistics bottlenecks and higher raw material prices could impact costs in the near-term, however.

Fintechs withstand macroeconomic headwinds

As earnings season winds down, Nuvei [NVEI] and StoneCo [STNE] reported Q4 results that indicated that fintechs are navigating macroeconomic headwinds. Canadian payments platform Nuvei’s revenue grew 4% year-over-year, but 26% excluding cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Brazilian fintech StoneCo posted 44.5%, while swinging to an adjusted net profit from a loss in the previous quarter. SentinelOne, which provides cybersecurity for the finance industry, also reported, beating both top- and bottom-line estimates.

Prudential’s Asia performance in focus

Prudential [PRU.L] released its full-year 2022 earnings yesterday and its performance in Asian markets will have been in focus. The UK insurance firm has shifted focus to the region in a bid to capitalise on the growing middle class, which is projected to grow to 1.2 billion people by 2030 and make up nearly 14% of the total global population, according to McKinsey’s Global Insurance Report 2023.

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