Investor relations week: the end of the pandemic, new sustainability funds from Vanguard and the big withdrawal from BuzzFeed Spac


– The largest US bank predicts the end of the pandemic and a return to global growth in the coming year, according to CNN. “Our point of view is that 2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, of an end to the global pandemic and a return to the normal conditions we had before the Covid-19 epidemic,” reportedly said Marko Kolanovic, Chief Global Markets Strategist at JPMorgan. wrote in a note to customers on Wednesday. “This is guaranteed by obtaining broad immunity from the population and with the help of human ingenuity, such as new therapies which should be widely available in 2022.”

– Vanguard has launched a new line of actively managed sustainability funds, CityWire reported. He said the latest launch brings the number of sustainability funds offered by Vanguard to 10. The new funds have four “sustainability principles” in mind, including a commitment to underlying companies with a net zero carbon footprint by 2050, excluding companies that could harm society and the economy. environment, a commitment to engage with portfolio companies on ESG issues and the requirement that companies follow good governance practices.

– CNBC has revealed that digital media company BuzzFeed plans to raise just $ 16 million from its listing through a special purpose acquisition company (Spac), after it emerged that 94% of the 287.5 million dollars raised by the Spec had been withdrawn by investors. The outlet described BuzzFeed as the first large modern digital media company to enter public markets, adding that it will be closely watched not only by investors but also by other industry peers. Vice, Vox, Bustle, Group Nine and others have considered going public through Spac and are also candidates for a combination with BuzzFeed.

– The Financial Time (paywall) reported that the United States will put SenseTime, the Chinese artificial intelligence company specializing in facial recognition software, on an investment blacklist today (Friday), the same day that SenseTime fixes the price. of its initial public offering in Hong Kong. Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said that action against SenseTime, which Washington says allows human rights violations against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, will be part of a package of sanctions against a number of countries. to mark Human Rights Day.

– The Guardian reported that Volkswagen is apparently considering an IPO of Porsche to help fund its transition to electric vehicles. Estimates of Porsche’s value as a standalone company range between 45 and 90 billion euros ($ 51 billion and $ 102 billion), according to the newspaper. Speculation over what could be a record-breaking Porsche list surfaced during the year, he added, citing Reuters sources – but no decision was made “due to a complex setup. stakeholders ”, and it is not clear whether a list would occur.

– In other potential IPO news, the Walgreens Boots Alliance, the owner of the UK’s largest chemist, “lines up Goldman Sachs to work on a possible divestiture” of Boots. Sky News reported that any deal could see the “172-year-old health and beauty retailer” valued at £ 5bn ($ 6.6bn). Splitting the chain into a separately listed company could also be a possibility, he added.

– According to Reuters, hedge fund firm Engine Capital has pushed Kohl’s Corp to consider a sale of the company or to separate its e-commerce division to improve its share price. Engine Capital said the department store has underperformed both the S&P 500 and other retailers in recent years, despite its large business footprint and real estate holdings. The New York-based hedge fund added that Kohl’s should consider a strategic review of the entire company, including a sale. In response, Kohl’s said the company continues to explore all opportunities to maximize shareholder value.

– Norwegian conglomerate Aker has hired Yngve Slyngstad, the former head of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund (SFW), to lead its asset management unit, which focuses on renewable energy projects, Reuters reported. Slyngstad will hold 5% of the capital of Aker Asset Management when it takes office on March 1. He is leaving the world’s largest SFW, which has assets of around $ 1.4 billion, after more than 20 years, and was its CEO from 2008 to 2020..

– UK transport group Go-Ahead has postponed financial results and prepares to suspend trading of its shares as negotiations continue over a £ 25million ($ 33million) breach of the Southeastern rail franchise, reported the Guardian. Shares plunged 25% on Thursday after the news broke. The bus and train operator was stripped of the contract to operate the suburban network in September after the government discovered discrepancies spanning several years since 2014.

– New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city is imposing a vaccination mandate on all private sector employers as a preventative measure to tackle a wave of Covid-19 cases this winter, CNBC reported. The mandate covers 184,000 companies and will go into effect on Dec. 27, de Blasio said. Anyone 12 years of age or older, workers and customers, will need to show proof of two doses of vaccine by this date, unless they have received the single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.

“We have Omicron as a new factor, we have the colder weather, which is really going to create additional challenges with the Delta variant, we have holiday gatherings,” said de Blasio. He said the purpose of the vaccination requirements is to avoid the closures imposed in March 2020 when Covid-19 devastated New York and its economy.

– According to Guardian, US activist investor Elliott Management launched an attack on UK firm SSE’s energy transition strategy and called for two new independent directors. The company rejected the hedge fund firm’s idea that it should part ways with its renewables arm and issued another rebuff on Elliott’s demands on Tuesday. In a letter to SSE chairman Sir John Manzoni, Elliott said the firm’s investment strategy lacked ambition and called on the firm to provide a detailed and credible plan “to address investor concerns about the SSE’s corporate governance, its ability to finance its long-term growth and its persistent undervaluation.

SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies defended the company’s investment plan and dismissed Elliott’s criticism. He said SSE had conducted a “rigorous” review including input from shareholders, and said the plan was “the optimal path to accelerate clean growth, lead the energy transition and create value for all stakeholders” .

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