In today’s top stories, censorship concerns have precipitated a mass exodus from Tencent on the part of ESG funds. In cars, Stellantis, owner of Citroën and Peugeot, announced it is to return €4.2bn to shareholders, while Bentley has initiated its shift to electric. The FTC will not challenge Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical, and the Citigroup boss became the only major Wall Street CEO to see a pay rise this year. Lastly, Coinbase is responding to a punishing quarter by doubling down on resilience.
ESG funds exit Tencent
Concerns about China expanding its control of the internet through censorship has triggered a mass exodus from Tencent [0700.HK]. Dozens of ESG-focused funds have cashed out of more than $1bn worth of shares over the past six months, reported Bloomberg. “Risks in Chinese companies are hard to assess, and the development in China is not going in the right direction,” Carina Silberg, head of governance and sustainability at Alecta, which sold its entire stake, told the TV channel.
Stellantis announces a €4.2bn dividend
Shares in Citroën and Peugeot owner Stellantis [STLA] were up on Wednesday after the full-year bottom line topped analyst expectations, and EV sales increased by 41%. The automaker announced it would be returning €4.2bn to shareholders, while a €1.5bn share buyback will be completed by the end of 2023. Elsewhere, Bentley [BSY] is ending production of its 12-cylinder engines by April 2024 to focus on EVs. On the topic of buybacks, Baidu [BIDU] has announced a $5bn share buyback programme following earnings beat..
Amazon/One Medical purchase to go ahead
The FTC will not challenge Amazon’s [AMZN] acquisition of One Medical [ONEM], which should now close by the end of this week. The internet giant announced it had agreed to pay $3.9bn for the national chain of clinics last summer. The move is part of Amazon’s broader push into health care, with a view to diversifying its revenue from consumer goods, ecommerce and entertainment.
Citigroup boss gets 9% pay rise
As a number of Wall Street banking bosses see their pay packets cut amid a slowdown in profits, Citigroup [C] has gone against the grain and increased CEO Jane Fraser’s pay by 9% to $24.5m for 2022. Citigroup is currently undergoing a major restructuring under Fraser’s leadership. Elsewhere, Lloyds [LLOY.L] announced profits that were almost double last year’s, but warned its rate hike boon is ending.
Coinbase’s trading volume tumbles
Contagion from the FTX collapse led crypto traders to rein in their trading activity at the end of last year, causing Coinbase’s [COIN] fourth quarter (Q4) revenue to plunge 75%. While the crypto trading platform swung to a quarterly loss, it did beat expectations. CEO Brian Armstrong has reiterated Coinbase’s ambition to be “an all-weather company” that can survive the crypto winter. The stock has become a target for short sellers, who could be at a risk of being squeezed according to Barron’s.