Philip Morris announces new regional structure to support smoke-free growth
Philip Morris International Inc.
Philip Morris is reorganizing its regional structure to support growth of its smoke-free business.
The owner of cigarette brands including Marlboro, L&M and Chesterfield is reducing its operating regions to four from six.
The new regional structure better aligns with the company’s business strategy in the approximately 180 markets where PMI’s products are sold.
It is designed to accelerate smoke-free product growth in markets where IQOS already holds double-digit market shares, while also driving the transition from cigarettes to smoke-free products in untapped markets—including as of April 2024, the U.S., the world’s largest smoke-free market
BMW raises investment in Hungary EV factory to over 2B euros
BMW raised its planned investment in an electric vehicle (EV) factory under construction in Hungary to over two billion euros ($2.08 billion) on Friday and said it will build a 500-million-euro high-voltage battery assembly plant on site.
The carmaker had previously said it would spend over one billion euros on the Debrecen factory, due to open in 2025 and ramp up to producing 150,000 cars a year.
Hungary’s government will provide 13.5 billion forints ($33.92 million) of non-refundable subsidy for the additional investment, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said at a press conference.
Five hundred additional jobs will be created to staff the battery assembly plant.
Hungary will also be the site of Europe’s largest battery plant, under construction by CATL.
Shoppers hunt for Black Friday bargains
Shoppers are hunting for deals this Black Friday in contrast to last year when when consumers were buying early out of fear of not getting what they needed amid supply-network clogs.
This year, shoppers are holding out for the best bargains, said Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail at Salesforce, which tracks online sales.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said traffic was “significantly larger” compared to the previous two years because shoppers feel more comfortable in crowds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Elon Musk says Twitter’s verified service with colors to start next week
Twitter Inc is planning to roll out its verified service next Friday with different colored checks for individuals, companies and governments, after a botched initial launch led to a surge in users impersonating celebrities and brands on the platform.
Chief Executive Elon Musk on Friday allotted colors for the categories – gold for companies, grey for governments and a blue check for individuals including celebrities.
“Painful, but necessary,” he said, adding that verified accounts will be manually authenticated before a check is activated.
The revamped $8-per-month service will allow individuals to have a smaller, secondary logo of their organizations if verified by them, he said in another tweet on Friday. “Longer explanation next week.”
Adidas launches probe into misconduct allegations against Kanye West
Adidas AG on Thursday said it has launched an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior by Kanye West, after the German sporting goods maker last month ended its partnership with the rapper and fashion designer.
Adidas said it initiated the probe after receiving an anonymous letter making several allegations against the musician, who now goes by Ye.
“It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true,” an Adidas spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.
“However, we take these allegations very seriously and have taken the decision to launch an independent investigation of the matter immediately to address the allegations.
“Ye could not be immediately be reached for comment. News of the probe was first reported by the Financial Times on Thursday.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals de-prioritizes poziotinib following FDA letter
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals is de-prioritizing development of poziotinib, its lung cancer treatment.
The decision comes after the biopharmaceutical company received a Complete Response Letter (CRL) from the Food and Drug Administration says the poziotinib application cannot be approved in its present form.
“Based on the CRL, the Company would have to generate additional data including a randomized controlled study prior to approval,” the company said.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals will de-prioritize poziotinib program activities, effective immediately, and is in the process of reducing its R&D workforce by approximately 75%.
Based on the anticipated cost savings from the restructuring, Spectrum believes it will be able to generate the working capital required to support its strategic refocusing through 2024.
Foxconn’s woes to take bigger toll on giant China iPhone plant as more workers leave — source
Foxconn’s flagship iPhone plant in China is set to see its November shipments further reduced by the latest bout of worker unrest this week, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday, as thousands of employees left the site.
The company could now see more than 30% of the site’s November production affected, up from an internal estimate of up to 30% when the factory’s worker troubles started in late October, the source said.
The site, which is the only factory where Foxconn makes premium iPhone models, including the iPhone 14 Pro, is unlikely to resume full production by the end of this month, the source added.
The world’s largest Apple iPhone factory has been grappling with strict COVID-19 restrictions that have fueled discontent among workers and disrupted production ahead of Christmas and January’s Lunar New Year holiday, as many workers were either put into isolation or fled the plant.
It has fueled concerns over Apple’s ability to deliver products for the busy holiday period.
Binance.US confirms plans to bid on bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital
Binance has confirmed plans to make a fresh bid for bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital, CoinDesk reported, citing an interview by Bloomberg with Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.
Sam Bankman Fried’s crypto exchange FTX was set to acquire Voyager’s assets after signing a deal in September, but then filed for bankruptcy itself following a liquidity crunch.
FTX scooped up Voyager’s assets in a $1.42-billion bid at a bankruptcy auction in September. Binance was also a major bidder, the Wall Street Journal had reported previously.
Voyager filed for bankruptcy in July, months after the crash of major crypto tokens TerraUSD and Luna that sent shockwaves across the digital asset industry and led to the collapse of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, to which Voyager was exposed.
Reuters contributed to this report.
More Twitter changes
Twitter CEO Elon Musk is planning more changes as he continues to shake-up the social media giant.
Amazon workers demonstrate at some German, French sites on Black Friday
Some workers at Amazon sites in Germany and France downed tools on Black Friday, as part of a move across the world to target the online retailer on one of the busiest shopping days of the year with calls for better pay.
The Make Amazon Pay initiative, which made the call for strikes, said industrial action was planned in more than 30 countries, including the United States.
In Germany, there were demonstrations at nine out of Amazon’s 20 warehouses in the country, although on Friday morning, the company said the vast majority of its employees in Germany were working as normal.
France’s SUD and CGT unions called for strike action in the country’s eight warehouses.
Amazon France said there had been no sign of disruption to operations so far. Two French union officials said they were not expecting a big turnout because the rising cost-of-living was driving employees to seek overtime.
Stocks mixed in the shortened holiday session
U.S. stocks opened mixed in the abbreviated trading session with the stock market closing at 1pm ET. For the week, all three of the major averages are looking at gains. In commodities, oil was firmer at the $78 level.
Black Friday shopping underway; payment transactions up 0.7% in Britain
Investors will be watching for signs of how consumers are spending this Black Friday.
The National Retail Federation estimates almost eight million more people plan to shop in the U.S. this year Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday than last year.
“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said last week.
However, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell cautioned:
“Black Friday deals are now in full swing, and retailers will be hoping they can shift some of their excess stock. While this should clear some space in their warehouses, it won’t necessarily be good for their profit margins as consumers are under significant financial pressure and the only way to get them to keep spending is to slash prices to the bone.”
The volume of Black Friday payment transactions in Britain as of 1300 GMT was up 0.7% versus 2021, data from Barclaycard Payments showed on Friday.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Gasoline price continues slide
The nationwide price for a gallon of gasoline slipped Friday to $3.578, according to AAA.
The average price of a gallon of gasoline on Thursday was $3.586.
One week ago, a gallon of gasoline cost $3.707. A month ago, that same gallon of gasoline cost $3.778.
Gas hit an all-time high of $5.016 on June 14.
Diesel declined to $5.248.
Ford recalls SUVs in US over possible fuel leak, fire risk
The Ford Motor Company is recalling more than 500,000 sport utility vehicles across the United States over fire risks resulting from a possibly cracked fuel injector.
Ford, the second-largest car manufacturer in the U.S., said that while the likelihood of fires was rare, it was compelled to offer the recall after being informed of at least 20 such incidents. The recall covers the company’s Bronco Sport and Escape SUVs manufactured between the 2020 and 2023 model years.
Oil’s losing week
Oil gained on Friday, cutting some of the week’s losses which have been driven by worries about Chinese demand and expectations a high price cap planned by the Group of Seven (G7) nations on Russian oil.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded around $79.00 a barrel.
Brent crude futures traded around $86.00 a barrel.
Both contracts were headed for their third consecutive weekly decline, on track to fall about 2% with worries about tight supply easing.
G7 and European Union diplomats have been discussing a price cap on Russian oil of between $65 and $70 a barrel, with the aim of limiting revenue to fund Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine without disrupting global oil markets, according to Reuters.
Cryptocurrency prices for Bitcoin, Ethereum rise and Dogecoin slides on Friday
Bitcoin was trading around $16,000, after a three-day winning streak.
For the week, Bitcoin has lost less than 1%.
For the month, the cryptocurrency is down more than 18% and down more than 64% year-to-date.
Ethereum was trading around $1,100, after trading little changed for the week.
Dogecoin was trading at 8 cents, after losing nearly 4% in the past week.
Microsoft’s bid to acquire the video game publisher could face a major roadblock
Microsoft’s bid to acquire the video game publisher Activision Blizzard reportedly could face a major roadblock as early as next month.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block the $69 billion takeover, according to Politico, citing people familiar with the matter.
A lawsuit challenging the deal is not guaranteed, and the FTC’s four commissioners have yet to vote out a complaint or meet with lawyers for the companies.
The FTC staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies’ arguments, those people said.
At the center of the FTC’s concerns is whether acquiring Activision would give Microsoft an unfair boost in the video game market.
Microsoft’s Xbox is number three to the industry-leading Sony Interactive Entertainment and its PlayStation console.
Sony is concerned that if Microsoft made hit games like Call of Duty exclusive to its platforms Sony would be significantly disadvantaged.
For more on the story, click here: Microsoft bid for Activision likely to be blocked by FTC lawsuit: report