Stock Take 04/06/2021

Tesla under pressure in China

US electric carmaker Tesla suffered a sales slump in China in May, according to a media report. Bottom-line vehicle orders nearly halved to about 9800 from more than 18,000 in April, technology news platform The Information reported Thursday, citing internal data. Sales in the People’s Republic had already slumped in April compared to March. A statement from Tesla was not initially available.

China is the second-largest market for the electric car pioneer after the USA and accounts for about 30 per cent of its sales. Recently, however, Tesla has had to deal with increased safety concerns, among other things, because of the car data collected by onboard cameras and sensors and consumer complaints in China. The authorities then tightened their dealings with the company against the backdrop of growing tensions with the USA.

On the NASDAQ, Tesla shares nevertheless climbed by 4.58 per cent to 599.05 US dollars by the end of trading.

Bill Ackman’s SPAC joins Universal Music

Hedge fund billionaire William Ackman’s acquisition vehicle (SPAC) is close to taking a 10 per cent stake in Vivendi subsidiary Universal Music Group (UMG). The shell company called Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH) confirmed on Friday that it was in talks to acquire a 10 per cent stake in UMG for around 4 billion US dollars (3.29 billion euros). The music division would be valued at approximately 35 billion euros. The enterprise value, which also considers the amount of debt and cash on a company’s balance sheet, would be around 42 billion dollars.

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After the IPO of Vivendi’s stake, Pershing Square Tontine intends to distribute the acquired UMG shares to its shareholders, SPAC further announced. However, PSTH stressed at the same time that, unlike most SPAC transactions, the two companies would not merge.

The deal would then be the largest SPAC transaction ever, surpassing the merger of the ride and meal delivery service Grab with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), which valued the company at around $35 billion as Singapore, according to data from Dealogic.

ECJ backs Tesco workers in equal pay dispute

Thousands of current and former employees of the British supermarket chain Tesco have secured the European Court of Justice (ECJ) support in their legal battle for equal pay. The supreme judicial body of the European Union, based in Luxembourg, has recognised the legality of the actions.

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The case reached the ECJ after being heard at the Employment Tribunal in Watford, UK. The claimants argued in Watford that their work in the shops and that of the men employed in the distribution centres of the Tesco Stores distribution network were equivalent and that, although the work was carried out in different establishments, it was permissible under Article 157 TFEU to compare their work with that of those men. This is because, according to Article 157 TFEU, their working conditions and those of the men employed in the distribution centres can be traced back to a single source, namely Tesco Stores.

Tesco Stores counters that Article 157 TFEU has no direct effect on actions based on equal value work. Therefore, the applicants in the main proceedings cannot rely on Article 157 TFEU before the referring court. Moreover, Tesco Stores could not be regarded as a ‘single source’. The Watford Employment Tribunal then stated that there was uncertainty in the UK courts as to the direct effect of Article 157 TFEU and asked the ECJ for help.

As a preliminary matter, the ECJ held that it had jurisdiction to refer to Article 86 of the Withdrawal Agreement despite the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The court supported the applicants’ view, stating that the grocer should be seen as a single entity in terms of employment conditions and referred to the principle of work of equal value. “In a dispute concerning work of equal value carried out by workers of different sexes who have the same employer in different establishments of that employer, Article 157 TFEU may therefore be relied on before the national courts, provided that the employer constitutes such a single source,” the ECJ added.

The employment tribunal in Watford will now have to take the ECJ’s ruling into account when it decides on the case. In London, Tesco shares went down 0.31 per cent to £2.25 on Fri

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