Stock Take 23/08/2021

Branson wants to take Virgin Orbit public

The British billionaire Richard Branson is taking another company from his corporate universe public. The space company Virgin Orbit is to be placed via an investment vehicle and will have a market value of 3.2 billion dollars. US aircraft manufacturer Boeing is participating in the transaction, Virgin Orbit announced on Monday. In total, the company, which was formed in 2017 to separate its satellite businesses from Virgin Galactic’s space tourism activities, will receive $100 million from investors. 

Branson wants to take Virgin Orbit to the US technology exchange Nasdaq in a so-called SPAC deal. A merger is planned with investment vehicle NextGen Acquisition Corp, set up by a former Goldman Sachs banker. Branson has made fortunes in music and aviation with his conglomerate Virgin Group. Two years ago, he floated Virgin Galactic, a space company that will offer tourist flights into space. 

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Boeing shares gained more than 3 per cent and were the best Dow Jones stock.

Trillium Therapeutics share shoots up 188%

The US pharmaceutical company Pfizer swallows the Canadian Trillium Therapeutics completely. Pfizer is putting 2.26 billion dollars on the table for this. Pfizer is paying 18.50 dollars per Trillium share – a good 200 per cent premium on Friday’s closing price. Last year, Pfizer bought the company, which specialises in the development of cancer immunotherapies, for 25 million dollars. With the acquisition, Pfizer secures, among other things, two new potential cancer drugs that are currently in the early phase of clinical development.

Pfizer’s shares were the topic of conversation in many respects on Monday. A takeover bid for the company Trillium Therapeutics and the full US approval for the corona-related medication marketed jointly with BioNTech were considered the most important news. At the same time, the pharmaceutical giant’s shares ultimately rose by 2.42 per cent to 49.90 US dollars on the NYSE. At the same time, the shares of the Mainz-based BioNTech group, which are mainly listed in New York, shot up by 9.58 per cent to 382.10 US dollars.

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On Monday, it became known that Pfizer was reaching for the oncology specialist Trillium Therapeutics in a takeover worth billions. The company’s shares were up 188.83 per cent from Friday’s close at $17.59.

General Motors under pressure

The debacle over fire hazards in Chevrolet Bolt EV electric vehicles is costing the largest US carmaker, General Motors (GM), more and more. On Friday, the company announced that all Bolt EV models must now be recalled – including those of the latest vintages.

This means that about 73 000 newer models will be added to the nearly 69 000 e-cars built between 2017 and 2019 that have already been ordered for repair. The manufacturer put the additional costs at around one billion dollars. Most of the affected vehicles were sold in the USA, the rest in Canada.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has repeatedly warned owners not to park the cars in garages or near houses because of the risk of battery fires. The matter is highly costly for General Motors – in the most recent quarter, Bolt EV recalls already cost the corporation $800 million.

GM first launched a recall to fix the problem back in November 2020. Afterwards, however, the US transport regulator again warned of a fire hazard. According to the NHTSA, despite repairs already made, there have been further cases of Bolt models catching fire. The batteries are made by LG of South Korea.

General Motors shares were last quoted on the NYSE down 1.12 per cent at 48.26 US dollars.

PayPal expands crypto services

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin rose above the round mark of 50,000 US dollars for the first time in three months on Monday. At its peak, the best-known digital asset trades for around 50,500 US dollars. Other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, at the time of writing the second-largest crypto after Bitcoin, also rose in price. The market value of all approximately 11,360 cryptocurrencies grew to 2.16 trillion dollars, according to the website Coinmarketcap.

Since mid-July, the Bitcoin price has risen by about 20,000 dollars. However, the original cryptocurrency is still a long way from its record high of almost 65,000 dollars, reached in mid-April. The number two digital currency by market value, Ether, also rose at the beginning of the week and cost around 3,360 dollars. The record here is well over 4,000 dollars.

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The news that the payment service provider PayPal wants to expand its crypto offer, which is already available in the USA, to Great Britain provided a boost. According to this, British customers will be able to make transactions in Bitcoin and three other digital currencies, including Ether, in the week. PayPal has been offering such services in the United States for some time.

In recent days, the announcement by the most prominent US trading platform, Coinbase that it would increase its holdings of digital currencies had also caused confidence among digital asset investors.

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