In today’s top stories, Vodafone shares were up on a Reuters report that it is presently to announce its merger with CK Hutchison, while in New Zealand Infratil is to take control of telecoms giant One NZ. Elsewhere, several UK companies have had employee details stolen following a hack on payroll provider Zellis, and the EU is weighing a ban on Huawei in 5G infrastructure. Short interest in Chinese ecommerce player PDD Holdings has hit its highest level since March, while Sequoia has announced a major restructuring, separating its US and European businesses from their Chinese and Indian counterparts. Lastly, Mercedes-Benz has signed a deal with H2 Green Steel which will see the Swedish company deliver approximately 50,000 tonnes of its flagship product.
IAG’s shares slip 1% on hack news
Several UK companies, including IAG-owned [IAG.L] British Airways, have had employee details stolen following a hack on payroll provider Zellis. The group behind the attack, Clop, is believed to be linked to Russia. In other cybersecurity risk news, the EU is considering an outright ban on the use of Huawei technology in 5G infrastructure, according to the Financial Times. Meanwhile, ByteDance has been accused of using TikTok to help China spy on Hong Kong activists.
Short sellers pile into PDD
Short interest in Chinese ecommerce player PDD Holdings [PDD] has hit its highest level since March, with bearish positions accounting for 8% of total shares held, according to Bloomberg. It comes as the country’s recovery continues to weaken and companies are locked in a price war to regain consumer confidence. PDD’s low-price sales strategy had helped the share price hit a 52-week high in January, but it’s down 11% year-to-date.
Sequoia separates from China business
Venture capital firm Sequoia has announced a major restructuring, separating its US and European businesses from their Chinese and Indian counterparts. In a letter published online on Tuesday morning, Sequoia said that it’s “become increasingly complex to run a decentralised global investment” firm, hinting at geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington. Sequoia previously led a ByteDance funding round. In other news, Canadian asset manager AIMCo is to double its London headcount, the FT reported.
New Zealand telecoms buy-out
Infrastructure investor Infratil [IFT.NZ] is to take control of New Zealand telecoms giant One NZ after agreeing to buy out Brookfield Asset Management [BAM.TO]. Infratil’s shares have been suspended at NZ$10.10 after announcing it will issue 81.5 million shares at NZ$9.20 to raise NZ$750m to part-fund the takeover. In the UK, Vodafone’s [VOD.L] shares were up 3% on a Reuters report that it’ll announce its merger with CK Hutchison [0001.HK] as soon as Friday.
Mercedes-Benz inks green steel deal
German automaker Mercedes-Benz [MBG.DE] has signed a deal with H2 Green Steel, which will see the Swedish company deliver approximately 50,000 tonnes of green steel for car production in Europe. There have also been tentative discussions to bring green hydrogen and sustainable steel to the US. Markus Schäfer, chief technology officer at Mercedes-Benz, said in a press release that the two parties “are accelerating the creation of a decarbonised, regional and resilient steel supply chain”.
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