Today's business and finance round up 3rd November 2021
😓THG’s woes continue as major investor cashes out
3rd November 2021
Good morning Squid, a cryptocurrency inspired by Netflix’s most viewed show ever “Squid Game,” saw its price plummet to $0 – less than two weeks after it shot up 310,000% to nearly $3,000. Its anonymous creators have now disappeared with $2.5m. In case you were wondering Squid was in fact a scam, a few red flags being:
The website was littered with spelling mistakes.
Investors could only buy and not sell their coins.
Moral of the story – do not buy dodgy assets from the internet, don’t fall for the hype or you could lose big.
THG’s woes continue as major investor cashes out
Energy crisis turns BP into cash cow
ONLINETHG’s woes continue as major investor cashes out
What’s going on?THG’s relationship with investors continues to go from bad to worse. Yesterday shares in the online retailer and logistics specialist hit an all-time low after investment giant Blackrock revealed it was halving its stake.
Why is this important?
THG sells nutrition, vitamins and beauty products online and owns brands such as Cult Beauty, Lookfantastic and Glossybox. It listed on the London Stock Exchange for £5bn in September 2020 - the largest debut since 2013 making it the toast of the City. In June it struck a deal with Japanese tech group SoftBank that provided it with a $1bn purse for strategic acquisitions. But the last few months for THG has been rocky to say the least.September: It announced it would spin out its beauty business (a major source of revenue) and instead focus on its very new but promising ecommerce platform called Ingenuity that it sells to other companies.Early October: It hosted an investor day to ease concerns over its strategy but instead caused more alarm. Investors were spooked by the update and concerned that SoftBank’s support for THG was declining.Late October: It announced a shake-up of its board amid criticism around its founder, Matthew Moulding's dual role as CEO and chairman – which is viewed as a no-no for UK-listed companies.Then came the news that Blackrock - the world’s biggest asset manager with over $9tn of funds and owner of 10% of THG – was selling half its stake and for less than what it paid. This sent shares down 9% on the day and is viewed as a clear signal of a loss of confidence in THG.TakeawayTHG shares have lost two-thirds of their value since the start of September. Until investors have more confidence on the strategy and how the company is run, it’s likely that pressure on the shares will continue.
ENERGYEnergy crisis turns BP into cash cow
Oil and gas giant BP announced bumper profits in the three months to September on the back of soaring energy prices. Underlying replacement cost profit – the main measure of performance – rose 17% to $3.3bn in the third quarter compared to the $3bn expected by analysts.BP’s CEO said the strong performance has made the company into a “cash machine” and enabled it to return $1.25bn to shareholders over the next few months.Oil and gas prices have soared this year as post lockdown activity fuelled huge demand around the world. Crude oil is currently trading at $85 a barrel, its highest level since 2014. Gas markets have spiked to all-time highs in recent months leading to a sharp jump in household energy bills and concerns over a cost-of-living crisis this winter.BP’s results came on the same day four more energy providers went bust leaving 24,000 customers in need of a new supplier.Since September, 17 energy companies have collapsed, impacting more than 2 million households.While consumers and manufacturers have been the big losers of the energy crisis, oil and gas firms like BP are the undoubted winners.Although the current conversations at COP26 centres on reducing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels, it will take time to make that transition. In the meantime, there’s still plenty of opportunity for BP to make profits.
Stat of the day
Global Covid deaths have reached 5 million
Other stories to keep you in the loop
Cop26: Jeff Bezos pledges $2 billion to protect the environment
Coca-Cola buys sports drink maker for $5.6bn in biggest ever deal
EY partners take £750,000 in profits each
Pfizer’s $36bn Covid vaccine payday
Yahoo pulls out of China amid 'challenging' environment
Goldman Sachs promotes 643 Managing Directors, its largest class ever
Amazon-backed electric carmaker is targeting an IPO valuation above $60bn
Elon Musk says Tesla has not signed deal with Hertz
Netflix launches first games on smartphones
Interesting links from around the web
Big brands worst marketing mistakes
Why your career choice is the most ethical decision you will ever make
Value stocks are unloved and poised to make a killing over the next decade