In today’s top stories, Zoom will lay off some 15% of its workforce, as CEO Yuan takes a 98% pay cut. Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs anticipates huge growth in the electric vehicle (EV) space, with manufacturer Nio tipped to see an upside of 120%. Following a strong 2022, there is speculation that Berkshire Hathaway will buy back Occidental Petroleum shares, while Mark Zuckerberg has declared a “Year of Efficiency” at Meta, involving a major shake-up of managerial roles. Elsewhere, Total has added to the Adani Group’s woes by pulling a $4bn stake from a green hydrogen project.
Zoom’s pandemic bubble finally bursts
Pandemic darling Zoom [ZM] is the latest tech company to announce lay-offs – 1,300 employees, or 15% of its workforce. Demand for video conferencing services has weakened since people have slowly returned to the office. “We worked tirelessly … but we also made mistakes”, CEO Eric Yuan wrote in a message to employees. Yuan is to take a 98% pay cut for the next fiscal year and forgo his 2023 bonus. Ebay [EBAY] is similarly trimming its headcount by 4%.
Goldman Sachs sees 120% upside for Nio
EV battery manufacturing and charging infrastructure is tipped to experience “considerable growth” through 2030, according to Goldman Sachs analysts. In a note seen by CNBC, they wrote that, while “growth will ease as the market expands”, the likes of Freyr Battery [FREY] and SK Innovation [096770.KS] should benefit “as the battery market becomes more concentrated”. The analysts have also given manufacturer Nio [NIO] an upside of 120%. Billionaire investor Ronald Baron sees Tesla [TSLA] hitting $1,500 by 2030.
Berkshire Hathaway snaps losing streak
Investors who want to navigate tricky markets have often studied Warren Buffett’s portfolio. Berkshire Hathaway [BRK-B] had a strong 2022, largely thanks to the stake Buffett has built in Occidental Petroleum [OXY], which was the top S&P 500 performer. UBS says that the stock is currently trading at a 20% discount, a level that has historically triggered Buffett to buy back shares.
Total pulls $4bn stake in Adani green hydrogen
French oil and gas group TotalEnergies [TTE] will be postponing a $4bn investment in a green hydrogen project led by Adani Group, whose market value recently shed $100bn. Total currently has $3bn invested in Adani solar and gas distribution projects. The decision is a fresh blow to the Indian conglomerate, which had created a new company to focus on creating “the world’s largest green hydrogen system”. Total reported $15bn in impairments after shutting down its Russia operations last year.
Meta’s ultimatum to managers
Mark Zuckerberg said 2023 will be the “Year of Efficiency” when Meta [META] reported its fourth quarter (Q4) 2022 results last week. As part of the company’s plan to become “stronger and more nimble”, it is now asking managers and directors to transition to so-called individual contributor roles, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The new title means they’ll no longer be in charge of managing other workers, but will focus on coding, designing and research.
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