In today’s top stories, “Vodafone must change” says new CEO Margherita Della Valle, starting by cutting 11,000 jobs over the next three years. Elsewhere, Berkshire Hathaway opened a $9.9bn position in credit card issuer Capital One in Q1, while Ford is to scale back its EV investments in China over concerns about its ability to compete with local automakers. Norway’s $1.4bn oil fund Norges is turning up the heat on US companies to do more to address ESG concerns. Lastly, EU regulators have given Microsoft the green light to buy Activision Blizzard, although this is no guarantee the deal will go ahead.
Vodafone shares fall 4% on layoff news
Telecoms giant Vodafone [VOD.L] is to cut 11,000 jobs over the next three years, as part of new CEO and finance director Margherita Della Valle’s plan to “simplify” the business. Revenue for the first quarter (Q1) was up a marginal 0.3% year-over-year to €45.7bn, while there was a slight fall in EBITDA to €14.7bn. “Our performance has not been good enough. To consistently deliver, Vodafone must change,” Della Valle said in a statement. Shares opened 4.4% down on Tuesday morning.
Capital One shares rise on Buffett bet
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway [BRK-B] opened a $9.9bn position in credit card issuer Capital One [COF] in Q1, according to the firm’s latest 13F filing. The Capital One share price was up as much as 7% premarket Tuesday. Berkshire also acquired much smaller stakes in drinks maker Diageo [DGE.L] and Vitesse Energy [VTS], but exited its position in chipmaker TSMC [TSM].
Ford to reduce China investments
Automaker Ford [F] is to scale back its electric vehicle (EV) investments in China because there is “no guarantee” foreign players can compete with domestic EV makers, CEO Jim Farley told the Financial Times. Farley ruled out exiting China altogether, however, because the country boasts battery technology that is “among the best in the world”.
Norges pushes for ESG commitments
Norway’s $1.4bn oil fund Norges, one of the world’s biggest sovereign funds, is turning up the heat on US companies to do more to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns. Norges chief governance officer Carine Smith Ihenacho said shareholder proposals have been used to raise concerns to boards. Two of the four companies to have received a proposal — Packaging Corporation of America [PKG] and Marathon Petroleum [MPC] — have since made commitments on climate.
Microsoft–Activision deal wins EU approval
EU regulators have given Microsoft [MSFT] the green light to buy Activision Blizzard [ATVI]. The decision comes a few weeks after the UK blocked the deal on grounds that it would hurt competition in the cloud gaming market. Even if Microsoft were to win its appeal against the UK ruling, it’s far from certain that the deal will go ahead, as the Federal Trade Commission has sued to block the deal in the US.
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