In today’s top stories, Mondelēz snaps up Clif Bar for $2.9bn, ProShares launches the first short-bitcoin fund and JetBlue raises its takeover offer for Spirit Airlines. Meanwhile, Tencent cuts its Koolearn stake and UBS reveals its EV stock picks.
JetBlue boosts Spirit offer
After being rebuffed by Spirit [SAVE] earlier this year, JetBlue [JBLUE] stepped up its takeover bid. While the Spirit board favours a merger with Frontier [ULCC], JetBlue is now trying to sweeten the deal by raising its offer from $31.50 per share to $33.50. “We’re more convinced than ever that a JetBlue-Spirit transaction would create a true national competitor [and] deliver value to all of our stakeholders,” said JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes.
Mondelēz acquires energy bar brand
Energy food and drinks maker Clif Bar is being gobbled up by Mondelēz [MDLZ] for $2.9.bn. Clif Bar CEO Sally Grimes believes Mondelez to be “the right partner at the right time” to fuel the company’s next growth chapter. She described their purposes and cultures as “aligned”. The Cadbury maker’s appetite for M&A has seen it do several deals over the past four years, including buying UK energy bar brand, Grenade, for £200m.
UBS picks EV plays
EV makers continue to report strong sales, but as demand grows, investors would be wise to look to the technology supply chains. UBS analysts led by Grace Chen recommend Infineon [IFX.DE], which manufactures semiconductors for EV powertrains, according to CNBC. Another recommendation of theirs is Nvidia [NVDA] given its partnerships with Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover. Delta Electronics [2308.TW] and Valeo [FR.PA] are other picks.
ProShares launches short bitcoin ETF
As crypto prices crater, ProShares has launched a short bitcoin ETF in the US, the first of its kind. The move is in stark contrast to when it launched the futures-linked bitcoin ETF in October of last year but comes at a time when cryptocurrency stocks are reeling. Amid the downturn, Sensor Tower data shows that ad spending by crypto companies has plunged 90% since November 2021.
Tencent cuts Koolearn stake
Chinese education stocks have been burned in recent months amid concerns that tutoring companies might have to become non-profits or otherwise pivot their business. When Koolearn Technology [1797.HK] announced a move into live streaming ecommerce earlier this month, the share price soared 684% in nine trading sessions through 16 June. Fears that the stock is overbought has led Tencent [0700.HK] to cut its stake from 9% to 1.6%, according to Bloomberg.
Navigating the crypto winter
Confidence in blockchain and DeFi is at a low following the crash of Terra and Luna. Equities with exposure to cryptocurrencies have been affected. Coinbase [COIN] is to cut jobs to weather the crypto winter, which analysts believe is a wise move. MicroStrategy [MSTR] founder Michael Saylor has doubled down on bitcoin and has touted it as the future of DeFi, while crypto miner Riot [RIOT] hopes to boost its hash rate.
Investors increase thematic exposure
Almost all — 98% — wealth managers expect to increase their exposure to thematic funds over the next 12 months, according to HANetf’s review for the period January to April. Currently, 73.3% of respondents have over 15% exposure to thematic funds in the portfolios. Blockchain and DeFi along with clean and renewable energy are the two themes that they’re most bullish about. EV and charging infrastructure is viewed least favourably.
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