In today’s top stories, Microsoft’s Brad Smith spent the day in court, trying to convince EU regulators of the benefits of the proposed Activision takeover. Elsewhere, Australian mining group BHP took a significant hit last year, but is heartened by strengthening demand from China and India. China itself is in the grip of a merciless ecommerce price war, with the Hang Seng Index taking collateral damage. British EV charging provider EO Charging has received a large chunk of funding, while China’s Nio is poised to break into Europe. Lastly, Volkswagen has run into trouble with the authorities over software.
Microsoft and EU in gaming showdown
On his way to a hearing with EU regulators on Tuesday, Brad Smith, president of Microsoft [MSFT], told reporters that Microsoft’s proposed takeover of Activision Blizzard [ATVI] will boost competition by bringing “more games to more people on more devices and platforms than ever before”. Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court began hearings over the liability of internet companies like Google [GOOGL] or Twitter for content published on their sites.
BHP’s $1bn inflation hole
Inflation cost Australian mining group BHP [BHP.AX] $1bn during the second half of 2022, with supply and labour costs up and commodity prices taking a hit. The world’s largest miner reported a 16% fall in revenue and a 30% decline in pre-tax profit for the period, but strengthening demand from China and India has improved BHP’s outlook for the current year.
Ecommerce price war slashes Chinese stocks
The Hang Seng Index fell 2.8% on Tuesday as a price war between China’s ecommerce platforms depresses their shares. JD.com [JD] fell as much as 12.5% in US pre-market trading on news that it is earmarking 10bn yuan for subsidies, as rival PDD Holdings [PDD] threatens to undercut its pricing. ByteDance entering the food market threatens Meituan [3690.HK].
EO supercharged by investment green light
British EV charging provider EO Charging has secured $80m investment from Vortex Energy [VRTX.CN], a green energy investor backed by Egypt’s EFG Hermes [EFGD.L] and Abu Dhabi sovereign institutional investors. Elsewhere, Chinese EV-maker Nio [NIO] is building a factory to produce budget EVs for export to Europe as soon as next year, as Chinese subsidies on EV purchases expire.
Volkswagen hits regulatory roadblock
A German court has ruled that a Volkswagen AG [VOW.DE] Golf model that uses software to regulate diesel emissions based on the external temperature does not comply with EU regulations. The case could lead to as many as 10 million vehicles being retrofitted or decommissioned, with environmental group DUH, who brought the case to court, looking to target BMW [BMW.DE] and Mercedes-Benz [MBG.DE] next.
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