NEWS DIGEST 04.12.2021: Latest business & finance news – NewsNow

Good morning and happy weekend. For today the news comes from the Business section of NewsNow, which is celebrating its 25th year of service.

UK households will be paying much higher energy bills, which will rise not only because of high power and gas prices but also because of the collapse of Bulb, the biggest victim of the energy crisis so far, according to the UK’s energy regulator Ofgem, cited by Bloomberg. The energy crisis and soaring wholesale power and natural gas prices claimed its biggest victim so far in the UK when Bulb, a power and gas supplier serving 1.7 million customers, said at the end of November that it would enter into special administration. The collapse of Bulb, and more than 20 other energy providers in the UK since the summer, will cost a UK household between $106 and $113 on top of their energy bills next year and in 2023, according to the regulator’s initial assessment of the cost of the crisis. Another 20 energy providers in the UK could go bust in what looks like a “massacre” in the coming months unless the government reviews the energy price cap, Keith Anderson, chief executive at one of the largest providers, ScottishPower, said last month. Energy is expected to fuel additional price hikes next year when the energy regulator is set to raise the so-called price cap on energy bills – UK Grim Prospects Over Surging Energy Bills Just Got Worse (OilPrice.com – Latest Energy News)

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The parent company of Boots is reportedly considering putting the pharmacy chain on the market next year, according to news reports this morning. US retail giant Walgreens Boots Alliance is lining up advisers from Goldman Sachs to explore a potential sale of the pharmacy, Sky News wrote. City A.M. understands that a potential valuation of the 172-year old firm would be around £10bn. Boots has more than 2,200 stores and employs 55,000 people. “Walgreens Boots Alliance does not comment on market speculation and Boots is an important part of the Group.” “In line with the Group’s long-term healthcare strategy, Boots UK continues to expand its healthcare offering,” the statement read. “Furthermore, boots.com continues to grow above expectations having more than doubled sales when compared to pre-pandemic levels.” In an update in October, Boots reported a sales rebound after lockdown restrictions eased – 2,200 branches: Owner of Boots plotting £10bn sale of 172-year old pharmacy chain (City A.M.)

Elon Musk’s latest round of Tesla stock sale has brought total sales over the past four weeks to 10 million shares worth around $10.9 billion, as the EV manufacturer’s CEO is looking to offset taxes on the exercising of options to buy 2.1 million shares. Just this week, Musk sold another 934,000 shares in Tesla worth about $1.01 billion, according to regulatory filings cited by Bloomberg. Ten percent of Tesla stock would be worth some $21 billion. Musk would need to sell another at least 7 million shares, on top of the 10 million Tesla shares he has already sold, to reach that 10 percent. Texas does not have state income tax or a capital gains tax on individuals, unlike California, which taxes its rich people with the highest income taxes in the U.S. Since Musk first said he would sell 10 percent of his holding in Tesla in early November, Tesla’s stock has dropped by 10 percent from $1,222 on the day before the Twitter poll to $1,084 at close on Thursday, December 2 – Musk Sold Another $1 Billion Worth Of Tesla Shares (OilPrice.com – Latest Energy News)

China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc’s announcement on Friday that it plans to withdraw from the New York Stock Exchange and pursue a Hong Kong listing raises the question of how the move will happen. Didi has not disclosed if a Hong Kong listing will precede a New York delisting. Didi said on Friday that its American Depository Shares will be “convertible into freely tradable shares of the company on another internationally recognized stock exchange at the election of ADS holders.” This would allow investors to swap ADRs for Hong Kong-listed shares. Didi will need to carry on filing disclosures with the SEC even after it has delisted from New York, as long as it has 300 U.S. shareholders. A foreign company could also de-register with the SEC if its U.S. average daily trading volume (ADTV) is 5% or less of the worldwide ADTV. Didi went public in New York less than six months ago and will need to let a year lapse to qualify for this route – Explainer-How could China’s Didi delist from the New York Stock Exchange? (Yahoo! Finance/Reuters)

In an extraordinary revelation with sinister implications, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in his soon to be released book The Chief’s Chief, revealed that three days before the first presidential debate between former President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden, Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. In his book, Meadows writes that White House doctor Sean Conley called him before they were getting ready to depart Washington D.C., informing him of Trump’s test and to “stop the president from leaving.” Meadows relayed the information to Trump, who reacted with a profanity-laced tirade that Meadows censored in his book: “Oh spit, you’ve gotta be trucking lidding me,” yelled Trump. As Trump told long-time insider journalist Bob Woodward in March 2020, he intended to “play it down,” despite knowing the virus was “deadly stuff.” The playing down of the pandemic by the ruling class was on full display the same day Trump first tested positive for the virus. During the debate, a sweaty Trump issued his call to his fascist Proud Boy supporters to “stand back and stand by.” Given Trump’s dictatorial aspirations, his at-the-time lagging poll numbers, due to in large part to his indifferent and criminal handling of the pandemic, coupled with the knowledge that he had recently tested positive, make it not inconceivable that Trump knowingly tried to infect his political rival. In response to the revelation, Trump unsurprisingly put out a statement claiming his former chief of staff was spreading “fake news.” “The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate,” wrote Trump, refusing to comment on the first positive test and ignoring the fact that one negative test does not mean he was not infected – Trump hid positive coronavirus test prior to presidential debate with Joe Biden last year (International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) World Socialist Web Site)

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