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BenzingaEditorial

Even Disney Is Fighting for Its Life in the Battle Against COVID-19

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Disney News

Back when first suspicious coughs were heard in China, Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) chief executive, the businessperson of the year, the “Hollywood’s nicest CEO”, Bob Iger, was supposed to retire after four attempts with a bow tied on top of its magnificent leadership. The handsome executive, who even seriously considered running for president was rejoicing Disney’s successful debut into streaming as Disney Plus immediately threatened Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). It was all going so well before the COVID-19 outbreak.

The irony!

Disney’s beyond successful and much-imitated business model is what made the iconic House of Mouse perfectly exposed to the pandemic. Ironically, the things that helped Disney become the biggest media company in the world are what made it impossible to protect the company from the severe consequences of COVID-19.

After turning franchises like Pixel, Marvel and Lucasfilm into the biggest media business in the world, Mr. Iger is now forced to fight for the survival of the legendary company. The company’s largest division brought in more than $26 billion in the year ending last June by putting cruise ships and theme parks under its umbrella. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, all those cash cows are now entirely shuttered.

Switch to executive chairman

At the end of January, when the market was already starting to plummet and a few days after Disney was forced to close its Shanghai theme park due to the outbreak, the arrangement was finalized. On Feb. 25, Hollywood was shocked to hear that Mr. Iger’s 15-year run had ended despite the threats to the core business that were already clear at that point. No big media company could be more harmed by social distancing than Disney and only few have been hit harder by the pandemic. The new, nominal chief executive is referred to as “Bob C,” while Mr. Iger is still just “Bob.” And his title is “executive chairman” has an emphasis on the first word.

But still, it’s a matter of great good fortune that he didn’t just leave according to Richard Plepler, the former HBO chief at AT&T Inc’s (NYSE:T) Warner Media as Disney’s astonishing growth that has become the model for the modern, global media business is a true reflection of his successful leadership.

The nightmare

To give you a better idea, Disney is losing at least $30 million a day. The company borrowed $6 billion at the end of March, a sign both of grave trouble but also lenders’ confidence that it could rebound from the crisis. Disney employed 223,000 as of last summer, and won’t say how many workers are furloughed, but the numbers are huge.

There are 30,000 workers in the California resort business alone and another 43,000 workers in Florida which will be furloughed as the company confirmed on Sunday. All the workers will keep their benefits, but their last paychecks came on April 19. So other than making finishing touches, Mr. Iger’s checklist now includes the task of reinventing a company that will be deeply changed by this unprecedented health crisis.

The new Disney

It’s a Disney with fewer employees, that will have to lead the new and uncertain business of how to gather people safely for entertainment purposes. Earlier this month, the company announced it will release its live-action “Mulan” at the end of July, while “Black Widow” is now set for a November release date. According to Wedbush, this year’s box office is expected to fall 40% compared to last year with an estimated haul of $6.6 billion and the last time that happened was 1998.

Glimpse of hope- Disney +

Future is unclear for everyone and we know things won’t be the same. There has been a glimmer of good news in the introduction of Disney+ that passed the milestone of 50 million subscribers. But it is still an investment, years away from generating revenue that could replace a big movie opening in theaters. And the service is desperate for new content, and at a time when television and film production been paused. Meanwhile, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is reporting earnings on Tuesday and its shares have rallied about 30% for the year to date, contrasting sharply with the roughly 12% drop in the S&P 500 index. Last week, Netflix stock set an all-time high, establishing the company has the most valued U.S. entertainment company, surpassing both Walt Disney and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). But COVID-19 is changing the landscape for everyone and even Netflix. But Credit Suisse pointed out Netflix’s high-purchasing power will help keep costs down once things restart.

Mr. Iger’s Legacy Will Be Redefined

The definition of Mr. Iger’s legacy has received an unexpected sequel as this iconic American companies fighting for its life. But Mr. Iger has 40 years of Disney’s household under his belt. Moreover, these bold acquisitions are what created his reputation as he quickly turned single-digit billions of investments into many more billions. Now the question is can he turn this disaster in the same way considering this lockdown plus all the limitations ahead as restrictions will still be there for quite some time?

On the bright side, Disney is not just a company but a national treasure, a globally adored brand with audience of all ages – something even Netflix can envy. And Mr. Iger’s leadership has given investors and business around the world plenty of material to keep the optimism going even in these difficult times.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by Ivana Popovic who is a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . Ivana Popovic does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com Questions about this release can be send to ivana@iamnewswire.com

BenzingaEditorial

The EV Industry Is Worth More Than The Traditional Automakers

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Many things that were considered to be impossible actually happened in 2020. One of them is that electric vehicle makers became more valuable than traditional automakers and by about by about $100 billion, according to Barrons. EV makers are now worth about $1.3 trillion whereas traditional car makers combined have a market capitalization of about $1.2 trillion. This figure includes 100 auto makers around the globe with market caps ranging from $10 million all the way to Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA). Based on its fully diluted share count, Tesla is worth about $1 trillion.

This feat is even more impressive if you consider that this is a much smaller industry based on actual number of cars. The last year taught us that the connection between the stock market and the economy is imprecise at best. However, the fact that technology enabled batteries to overpass ICEs is the kind of disruption that investors look for. Even though Tesla is the main contributor to the value of the EV market, the overall image is just as impressive as three of the top five most valuable are EV makers, with Tesla being followed by NIO (NYSE: NIO) and BYD (OTC: BYDDF). As for traditional automakers, Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) and Toyota (NYSE: TM) are the most valuable ones with both undergoing serious investments into electrification.

Traditional automakers are going electric

On Friday, BMW said it aims to double its sales of fully-electric vehicles this year. Including plug-in hybrids, it aims for a 50 percent increase in sales of electrified vehicles versus 2020. It did not give sales volumes for its fully electric vehicles but in data released on Tuesday, BMW said it sold close to 193,000 electrified vehicles, including fully electric and plug-in hybris in 2020. As a reminder, Tesla delivered almost half a million all-electric models last year, which is 75% of General Motor’s (NYSE: GM) third-quarter deliveries.

The automotive industry is at an inflection point

BEVs take approximately 1% of the total market for light vehicles, but the figure rises to about 3% if we include hybrid and plug-in hybrids. Why exactly it takes a relatively small market share to disrupt an industry is a bit of a mystery, but one reason is that more investment capital tends to flow in when market share come is within the 3% to 5% range. As more capital drives more innovation and improvement, investors are lured by high growth rates, bringing in even more capital and this is how success is made. Over the past year, EV makers have raised more than $20 billion in fresh capital, which is a fraction of what traditional auto companies spend on plants and equipment. However, on a per car basis, the EV industry is investing at roughly 10 times the rate of the traditional industry. Add to this President Joe Biden’s aim of a carbon-free future by 2035 and the drive toward adoption of EVs which is already seeing impressive results in Europe, the all-electric future is around the corner.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Europe and EVs- A Blossoming Relationship

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Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) delivered around 96,000 units to the key European EV market in 2020. But in Europe, Tesla’s cars were overtaken in popularity by Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) and Renault (OTC: RNLSY). Sales of electric vehicles by European car makers accelerated rapidly in 2020 amid severe fines for car markers whose fleets don’t meet new emissions targets and generous incentives for buyers to trade in their ICE vehicles.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen reported it delivered 212,000 electric cars across the globe in 2020, which is 158% more than in the year prior. 134,000 of those vehicles were battery-electric vehicles, which grew 197% compared with 2019. Volkswagen also said that its ID. 3 model was the top-selling car in Sweden in December by absolute numbers. All-electric Volkswagen models were on top the Netherlands and Germany, taking approximately 23% of each country’s BEVs market.

Mercedes Benz

On January 8th, Mercedes-Benz-owner Daimler (OTC: DDAIF) said that the brand sold more than 160,000 plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles in 2020, representing growth of more than 228% from 2019. The share of EVs in Daimler’s sales mix rose drastically from 2% in 2019 to more than 7% in 2020. Also, Mercedes-Benz brand remained the world’s top-selling luxury carmaker for the fourth consecutive year.

Renault

Renault reported that it doubled its electric-vehicle sales in Europe. While group sales fell more than 21% in 2020, its EV sales grew 100% growth from 2019 to 115,888 vehicles. Moreover, total orders at the end of December 2020 were up by 14% compared to December 2019, which was attributed to new hybrid offerings. EVs were the only good news in an otherwise bleak 2020 for the French carmaker, which underperformed both global and European car markets. At the very least, Renault avoided fines as it met its 2020 EU emissions targets. On January 14th, its chief executive officer Luca de Meo will present a strategy update which is expected  to include reviving some older best-selling models as all-electric models.

BMW

BMW (OTC: BMWYY) which also owns Mini, said that its two brands combined sold 192,646 electric vehicles in 2020 marking an increase of nearly 32% from last year. BMW also met its 2020 EU emissions targets.

Takeaway

European governments have created generous incentives to speed up the adoption of EVs, making them much more affordable. Come 2025 when emission targets become more stricter and threat of fines for not respecting them even greater, Tesla will certainly be playing against fully-fit opponents and could even potentially struggle. An EV-only future looks closer than ever in Europe as the race is now on to challenge Tesla’s leadership.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Lenovo Makes Its Star Market Debut

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The COVID-19 pandemic had completely changed the way people work and learn. Operating from home actually turned around declining PC sales. Smartphones have been picking more and more market share from PCs and if there was no pandemic, this would probably still be the case. But instead of decreasing demand, there was record growth in PC sales as video collaboration software was needed to fulfill the need caused by closed offices and schools. The demand generated months and months of production. According to Reuters, sales of desktops, laptops, and tablets are expected to reach the level of 300 million shipments, the first time after its peak in 2008. This made all the PC manufacturers like Dell Technologies Inc. (NYSE: DELL), HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), and Lenovo Group Ltd. (OTC: LNVGY) very happy.

Lenovo CDR story

China’s Lenovo Group is listed at the Hong Kong stock exchange, with about 12.04 billion shares outstanding in total as of January 12th. The company decided to issue Chinese Depository receipts (CDRs) which will be up to 10% of the total number of shares to be listed on the Star Market of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The proceeds from the issuing of CDRs is planned to help the company’s research and development of new technologies, development of new products and solutions, and overall strategic investments in core segments. On Wednesday, the news caused to stock to drove the stock to its highest level since 2015.

The Star Market

The Star Market was launched in 2019 aiming for innovative technology companies that need more relaxed listing rules. In December, the Star Market counted 200 companies. A CDR or Chinese Depositary Receipt is a way for non-Chinese companies to list their shares in China. This is the equivalent to American depositary receipts (ADRs) which allow non-U.S. companies’ shares to trade on American exchange markets. Technically, CDRs and ADRs are not companies’ shares, but they represent an equity interest in a company. Besides Lenovo, an AI startup that specializes in facial recognition called Megvii Technology Ltd will also be among the first companies to benefit from this new structure.

Conclusion

Lenovo’s listing should be a breakthrough for Shanghai’s Science Technology and Innovation Board. Lenovo, a flagship of the Star Market, should attract much more followers and clear a path for many Chinese start-ups to raise capital in their home country. The company’s strong and growing global presence should continue to demonstrate the boom of China’s capital market and attract more investors to invest.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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