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Tesla's board may reportedly tell Elon Musk to recuse himself from talks about taking the company private (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

elon musk

  • Tesla's board of directors may tell CEO Elon Musk to recuse himself as it explores the possibility of taking the company private, CNBC reports, citing people familiar with the matter. 
  • According to the publication, the board plans to meet with financial advisors to determine how it will explore the idea of how to convert Tesla into a private company and has told Musk that he must consult a separate, personal set of advisors. 
  • The board will probably form a smaller, special committee comprised of independent directors to analyze buyout proposals, CNBC reports. 
  • According to the publication, Musk spoke with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund about funding Tesla's transition to becoming a private company, citing one source close to the matter. 


Tesla's board of directors may tell CEO Elon Musk to recuse himself as it explores the possibility of taking the company private, CNBC reports, citing people familiar with the matter. 

According to the publication, the board plans to meet with financial advisors to determine how it will explore the idea of how to convert Tesla into a private company and has told Musk that he must consult a separate, personal set of advisors. 

The board will probably form a smaller, special committee comprised of independent directors to analyze buyout proposals, CNBC reports. 

According to the publication, Musk spoke with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund about funding Tesla's transition to becoming a private company, citing one source close to the matter. 

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Musk shocked observers on Tuesday when he announced his desire to take the company private, saying he had the funding for such a deal secured and merely needed the proposal to pass a shareholder vote before it could go through. (He indicated via Twitter that he had investor support.)

But two days later, it's unclear where that funding will come from. Tesla has yet to submit any regulatory filings that provide more detail into Musk's proposal, and on Wednesday The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission made an inquiry into Tesla about whether one of Musk's tweets regarding the possibility of taking the company private was truthful.

According to The Journal, the SEC is also looking into why Musk's first statement about the potential of taking Tesla private was made on Twitter instead of in a regulatory filing. The agency also asked the company whether it believes Musk's tweet follows SEC rules about protecting investors, the report said.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the SEC was "intensifying" its inquiry into Tesla. According to the publication, the agency had already been gathering information about statements Tesla has made regarding sales and manufacturing targets.

An inquiry from the SEC does not necessarily mean an investigation will follow.

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk said on Tuesday via Twitter before issuing a formal statement on Tesla's website.

Tesla's share price surged after the tweet, rising by as much as 12%, to over $381, before trading closed.

No details about funding have been disclosed though. And according to Musk's statement, no final decision has been made. That has some experts raising an eyebrow.

James Rosener, a partner at the law firm Pepper Hamilton, told Business Insider that Twitter was not the right medium for a securities disclosure since the platform's 280-character limit prevented Musk from disclosing enough information relevant to investors — including the structure of the deal, its tax impact, and the amount of debt it would require — to ensure he's not misleading them.

According to Rosener, Musk's tweet likely ran afoul of the SEC's anti-fraud rules.

"There's definitely material omissions," Rosener said. "Clearly, it was not what any lawyer with any experience in this kind of stuff would advise to put out."

David Whiston, an equity strategist at Morningstar who covers the US auto industry, said he was confused by Musk's tweets, which he said indicated Musk had both the funding and the shareholder votes necessary to take the company private.

"I'm still trying to understand why he even went public like this," Whiston said, "because I don't see a point in going public to say you are considering going private unless you're trying to get, perhaps, the price higher than $420 a share, or you're just really eager to hurt the short-sellers. Otherwise, why wouldn't you just wait until you're definitely doing a deal to say something?"

Tesla's board released a statement on Wednesday morning, but it was very brief and offered few details besides that Musk met with the board last week to bring up the possibility of going private. Musk said via Twitter on Tuesday that the deal was contingent on a shareholder vote but that "investor support is confirmed."

According to Probes Reporter, a research firm focusing on undisclosed SEC investigations, the SEC investigated Tesla from June 2016 to May 2017 regarding the Model 3 sedan. Tesla did not disclose the investigation, which did not result in an enforcement action, the firm said.

Tesla has been public since 2010, but Musk has said in the past that he would like to take Tesla private.

"I wish we could be private with Tesla," Musk said in an interview with Rolling Stone published in November. "It actually makes us less efficient to be a public company."

Musk has also said on multiple occasions that Tesla will become profitable by the end of this year and won't need to raise additional funds, despite its increased cash-burn rate in recent quarters.

At the end of June, Tesla said it achieved its goal of making 5,000 Model 3s in one week. Musk previously said that the company would hit that number by the end of 2017 and that sustaining such a production rate is critical for Tesla to become profitable.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had acquired a $2 billion stake in the company. The fund owns between 3% and 5% of Tesla's total stock, meaning the stake is likely worth $1.7 billion to $2.9 billion.

Read CNBC's full story here.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

Read more about Tesla possibly going private:

SEE ALSO: Tesla appears to be on a hiring spree in the US and in China two months after laying off 9% of its employees

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Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Bull Pennant Formation

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Bitcoin price regained some of its lost value on Thursday following a small but noteworthy correction. The BTC/USD pair yesterday established a new intraday low at 6131-fiat, a level that attracted buyers waiting to buy the dip, and has gained as much as 7% value ever since. The early Asian trading hours today witnessed

The post Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Bull Pennant Formation appeared first on CCN

Stocks close mixed as tech continues gains

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Stocks were mixed Thursday. Technology and retail companies gained, while the energy and financial sectors slipped. The dollar rallied amid sharp declines in emerging-market currencies, and Treasury yields fell. 

Here's the scoreboard:

Dow Jones industrial average25,508.96 −74.79 (-0.29%)

S&P 5002,856.82 −0.88 (-0.031%)

Nasdaq Composite: 7,902.62 +14.29 (+0.18%)

  1. Washington and Ankara remain at oddsTurkish officials returned from meetings with a delegation from the US Treasury and State Department without any resolution to a conflict over Turkey's detention of several Americans and other issues. Strained relations between the NATO allies sent the lira to an all-time low. 
  2. US business inflation moderated last monthThe Labor Department said the producer price index, which gauges the prices businesses receive for their products, was mostly unchanged in July. Still, data showed that core PPI, a measure of underlying inflation excluding food and energy costs, pushed 0.3% higher last month, the same as in June.
  3. Earnings season rolls on. Roku crushed Wall Street expectations. Viacom missed. In a report that came out a day late, Booking Holdings lowered its outlook. Tronc and Dropbox report after the bell — follow Business Insider here for live updates. 

And a look at the upcoming economic calendar:

  • The US releases the consumer-price index. 
  • GDP and trade numbers are out in the UK.

SEE ALSO: Tesla is now worth less than it was before Elon Musk’s $420 tweet (TSLA)

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A former hedge fund manager is bidding for newspaper company Tronc

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Chicago Tribune building is seen in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

  • Former hedge fund manager William Z. Wyatt is leading a group of investors that are close to a deal to acquire newspaper publisher Tronc, sources told Business Insider.
  • Wyatt was previously a manager at Starboard Value. 
  • At least one other private equity bid for Tronc may also be in the works, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday.

An investment group formed by former hedge fund manager William Z. Wyatt is close to a deal to acquire newspaper publisher Tronc, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The people cautioned that there is no certainty a deal will be reached. 

Reuters earlier reported on the talks. 

Wyatt was previously a manager at Starboard Value until June 2018, a New York-based investment adviser with a history of investing in deeply undervalued publicly traded US companies and pushing them into mergers and acquisitions, as it did with Internet pioneer Yahoo in 2016. 

At least one other private equity bid for Tronc may also be in the works, Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday.

The Tribune said the group is bidding between $19 and $20 per share for the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and other newspaper holdings. At its mid-point, this would value the company at roughly $740 million.

Shares of Tronc closed at $16.64 on Wednesday, meaning it has a market value of around $620 million. 

Politico was the first to report about “industry rumblings” of an offer for the company from a private equity firm in July.

While financial buyers have mostly avoided newspapers in recent years, several prominent names were reported to have been circling Tronc in recent months, including SoftBank and private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Tronc already sold its other newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune earlier this year to billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong for $500 million.

The fate of the company has been in question since former chairman Michael Ferro decided to sell his controlling stake in the company in April to McCormick Media which eventually fell through. Since then, top executives have been consumed with trying to sell it, sources say.

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A decision to allow the AT&T-Time Warner merger to go ahead (again) could depend on a random draw — and AT&T might have shot itself in the foot

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Makan Delrahim, U.S. assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division, speaks with the media outside U.S. District Court on June 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. A federal judge today said that AT&T can move forward with its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, which government which the U.S. Justice Department had sought to block.

  • The DOJ released its written appeal argument against the AT&T-Time Warner merger on Monday.
  • As a basis for its appeal, the DOJ argues that US District Court Judge Richard Leon didn't understand its argument in the initial case.
  • Antitrust experts say the outcome of the appeal might rest on the judges chosen at random.

The US Department of Justice is getting another crack at blocking AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. Experts say the only real shot the DOJ has is if it gets lucky with the right judge.

In a written argument released Monday, the DOJ explained its appeal, saying US District Court Judge Richard Leon fundamentally didn't understand its antitrust case.

"The district court's determination that Time Warner would not have increased bargaining leverage post-merger erroneously disregarded the economics that governs negotiations in this industry," the DOJ wrote in its argument.

While the DOJ will face an uphill battle to win its appeal, according to antitrust experts, they say that the outcome may rest on the judges chosen at random to hear the case.

"A lot depends on the panel you get," George Hay, a former Director of Economics for the DOJ's Antitrust Division, told Business Insider. 

"The D.C. Circuit is a very diverse panel including someone very conservative like [Brett] Kavanaugh. [He] wont participate but the point is you have some extremely liberal judges who are much more favorable to government and some extremely conservative judges who are likely to be hostile to government and you get three judges and it's a random draw."

There are 17 judges in the D.C. circuit including Chief Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's former Supreme Court nominee, and Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's pick for the court. Judges with conflicts of interest will recuse themselves if chosen.

"We used to call it 'The Wheel' kind of like The Price is Right wheel that was spun," former DOJ Assistant Chief Ethan Glass told Business Insider. "Now I think it is done by computers."

Judges are supposed to be neutral. But they read the news and have views like everybody else.

While evidence that's outside the record can't be the basis for challenging the merger, it might play a role, according to Glass.

"We should think about these judges as people," Glass said. "The circuit judges are people who come with preconceived notions but they also read the news and they are generally aware of whats going on."

"What the opponents to the merger have, I think pretty successfully done, is drawn out a narrative that since the merger was not blocked by Judge Leon, prices have gone up." 

Following the approval of the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, AT&T increased its monthly admin fee from $0.76 to $1.99 for every AT&T monthly customer.

"This is a standard administrative fee across the wireless industry, which helps cover costs we incur for items like cell site maintenance and interconnection between carriers," a representative for AT&T told Business Insider.

AT&T responded to the DOJ's appeal by calling it an attempt at a second chance to block the merger. 

"Appeals aren't 'do-overs,"'AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement. "After a long trial, Judge Leon weighed the evidence and rendered a comprehensive 172-page decision that systematically exposed each of the many holes in the Government’s case. There is nothing in DOJ’s brief today that should disturb that decision."

While Hay predicts Judge Leon's decision to hold up, he said the appeal is valid.

"I predict that the government will probably lose their appeal," Hay said. "But don't think it's because the appeal is frivolous. The government isn't totally crazy in saying the judge didn't understand the theory."

SEE ALSO: AT&T is adding $1.23 to your wireless bill, which could make it an extra $800 million this year

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Tesla is now worth less than it was before Elon Musk’s $420 tweet (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Elon Musk solarcity tesla spaceX

  • Tesla surged more than 10% Tuesday after Elon  Musk said he was considering taking the company private.
  • However a lack of more information and a reported investigation by federal regulators have wiped out the gains.
  • Follow Tesla's stock price in real-time here. 

Shares of Tesla have rolled over and given up their more than 10% gains from Tuesday when CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he was considering taking the company private at $420 share.

The stock declined more than 6% Thursday, falling as low as $346.49. When Musk’s cryptic tweet sent shockwaves through markets at 12:48 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the stock was worth $358.

Musk said funding was secured, but offered no details as to which investor may be willing to cough up the billions needed to take Tesla off public stock exchanges. Those lingering questions, paired with  a report from The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was investigating the tweet, only further dragged down the price.

Bloomberg on Thursday afternoon conformed the paper’s report, and said that the federal securities regulator had been looking into Tesla’s public statements before the tweet. That investigations is now "intensifying," it said. 

Legal experts told Business Insider that if financing had not actually been secured at the time of his tweet — which would count as a material statement under SEC rules — the billionaire likely broke federal laws. The SEC's requirements say a company must file an official disclosure within four days of a major event. Those events are generally defined as an acquisition, leadership change, or something in regards to the company’s financial situation.

In an email to employees which was later published on Tesla's website, Musk gave a few more details on the plan, leading with the fact that a final decision has not been made.

Thursday's declines also wipe out the smaller gains that came just before Musk's tweet, when the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia's public investment fund had invested $2 billion in the company. 

Tesla is up nearly 13% since the beginning of the year.

Now read:

Tesla stock price

SEE ALSO: Millennial investors are ditching Tesla during its wild week (TSLA)

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SEC reportedly 'intensifying' examination of Tesla after Elon Musk tweets about taking the company private (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

elon musk

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is "intensifying" its inquiry into Tesla, Bloomberg reported.
  • According to the publication, the agency had already been gathering information about statements Tesla has made regarding sales and manufacturing targets.
  • The SEC and Tesla declined Business Insider's requests for comment.
  • The SEC on Wednesday asked Tesla whether one of CEO Elon Musk's tweets about the possibility of taking the company private was truthful, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission is "intensifying" its inquiry into Tesla, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The agency on Wednesday asked Tesla whether one of CEO Elon Musk's tweets about the possibility of taking the company private was truthful, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to The Journal, the SEC is also looking into why Musk's first statement about the potential of taking Tesla private was made on Twitter instead of in a regulatory filing. The agency also asked the company whether it believes Musk's tweet follows SEC rules about protecting investors, the report said.

Bloomberg reported that the agency had already been gathering information about statements Tesla has made regarding sales and manufacturing targets.

An inquiry from the SEC does not necessarily mean an investigation will follow.

The SEC and Tesla declined Business Insider's requests for comment.

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk said on Tuesday via Twitter before issuing a formal statement on Tesla's website.

Tesla's share price surged after the tweet, rising by as much as 12%, to over $381, before trading closed.

No details about funding have been disclosed though. And according to Musk's statement, no final decision has been made. That has some experts raising an eyebrow.

James Rosener, a partner at the law firm Pepper Hamilton, told Business Insider that Twitter was not the right medium for a securities disclosure since the platform's 280-character limit prevented Musk from disclosing enough information relevant to investors — including the structure of the deal, its tax impact, and the amount of debt it would require — to ensure he's not misleading them.

According to Rosener, Musk's tweet likely ran afoul of the SEC's anti-fraud rules.

"There's definitely material omissions," Rosener said. "Clearly, it was not what any lawyer with any experience in this kind of stuff would advise to put out."

David Whiston, an equity strategist at Morningstar who covers the US auto industry, said he was confused by Musk's tweets, which he said indicated Musk had both the funding and the shareholder votes necessary to take the company private.

"I'm still trying to understand why he even went public like this," Whiston said, "because I don't see a point in going public to say you are considering going private unless you're trying to get, perhaps, the price higher than $420 a share, or you're just really eager to hurt the short-sellers. Otherwise, why wouldn't you just wait until you're definitely doing a deal to say something?"

Tesla's board released a statement on Wednesday morning, but it was very brief and offered few details besides that Musk met with the board last week to bring up the possibility of going private. Musk said via Twitter on Tuesday that the deal was contingent on a shareholder vote but that "investor support is confirmed."

According to Probes Reporter, a research firm focusing on undisclosed SEC investigations, the SEC investigated Tesla from June 2016 to May 2017 regarding the Model 3 sedan. Tesla did not disclose the investigation, which did not result in an enforcement action, the firm said.

Tesla has been public since 2010, but Musk has said in the past that he would like to take Tesla private.

"I wish we could be private with Tesla," Musk said in an interview with Rolling Stone published in November. "It actually makes us less efficient to be a public company."

Musk has also said on multiple occasions that Tesla will become profitable by the end of this year and won't need to raise additional funds, despite its increased cash-burn rate in recent quarters.

At the end of June, Tesla said it achieved its goal of making 5,000 Model 3s in one week. Musk previously said that the company would hit that number by the end of 2017 and that sustaining such a production rate is critical for Tesla to become profitable.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had acquired a $2 billion stake in the company. The fund owns between 3% and 5% of Tesla's total stock, meaning the stake is likely worth $1.7 billion to $2.9 billion.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Read Bloomberg's full story here.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Tesla appears to be on a hiring spree in the US and in China two months after laying off 9% of its employees

Join the conversation about this story »

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'Walking a tightrope': China's debt situation is drawing comparisons to the US mortgage crisis

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

china investor worried stock market

  • Wealth-management products are collections of financial instruments sold as one high-yield investment.
  • They may pose risks similar to those of mortgage-backed securities in the US leading up to the financial crisis, according to analysts. 

A trade war may not be China's biggest problem.

Analysts are cautioning against the country's use of wealth-management products, or groups of financial instruments that are sold as one high-yield investment. Takahide Kiuchi, an economist at Nomura, thinks they may even pose risks that mirror those that led up to the Great Recession.

"The situation revolving around these [wealth-management products] is similar to the residential mortgage-backed securities problem in the US that eventually triggered the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the global financial crisis," Kiuchi said.  

Kiuchi is referring to 2008 when mortgage-backed securities, financial instruments that bundled risky home loans for investors, threw the world into years of economic turmoil.

Wealth-management products offer implicit or explicit guarantees from Chinese banks, which are exposed to them through investment companies. The outstanding amount of non-guaranteed bank wealth-management products was more than $3 trillion at the end of June, according to Reuters, and about 15% of that appears to be invested in shadow lending. 

Kiuchi said any sudden removal of bank guarantees on these instruments would likely lead to individuals pulling their funds out. That could cause the collapse of the investment companies that issue the wealth management products, he said, and subsequently hit small and midsized banks and insurance companies.

China's financial authorities have been taking steps to address these risks. Last month, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission rolled out new regulations and guidelines on wealth management products. 

But with an ongoing trade war between the US and China, Beijing appears to be shifting gears. Kiuchi said officials seem to be placing more emphasis on economic stimulus and less on structural reforms and financial stability.

"A change in the environment could suddenly turn risks into real problems," Kiuchi said. "The authorities are walking a tightrope in their efforts to carefully unwind these complex and tightly intertwined financial risks."

Others see financial system risks as more manageable. While UBS strategists led by Adrian Zuercher acknowledged in a recent note that some investors are concerned China could face a financial crisis under the debt buildup, they don't think it's likely. 

A majority of debt is domestic and funded by stable sources, they noted. And much of that credit has been used for investment rather than consumption, which they said makes additional restructuring options possible.

"Still, the rapid rise in debt-to-GDP ratio reflects that China has borrowed a lot from the future," Zuercher wrote. "Another issue in China's credit market is the lack of credit differentiation and prevalent implicit guarantees in investment products."

SEE ALSO: The stock market is stretched to double tech-bubble extremes, according to one measure — here's why investors should be very scared of the implications

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Bitcoin Trading Platform BitMEX Hits 1 Million BTC in Daily Volume [Again]

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin investors might be suffering under the weight of one of the asset’s heaviest-ever bear markets, but for cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges like BitMEX, the mood is anything but sour. “What market downturn?,” began a press release sent from a public relations firm representing BitMEX, reporting that the Seychelles-based exchange had on Wednesday crossed 1 million

The post Bitcoin Trading Platform BitMEX Hits 1 Million BTC in Daily Volume [Again] appeared first on CCN

Tesla appears to be on a hiring spree in the US and in China two months after laying off 9% of its employees (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

tesla employees

  • According to the data analysis site Thinknum, Tesla increased the number of open listings on the "careers" section of its website by 23.5% between July 1 and August 4.
  • Tesla's website lists job openings at its upcoming Gigafactory in Shanghai, where it plans to eventually produce around 500,000 vehicles and battery packs per year.
  • At the beginning of June, Tesla laid off around 9% of its employees as part of its effort to become profitable in the second half of this year.


Tesla appears to be rapidly increasing its rate of hiring, including for its upcoming factory in Shanghai, two months after laying off around 9% of its employees.

According to the data analysis site Thinknum, Tesla increased the number of open listings on the "careers" section of its website by 23.5%, from 1,662 openings to 2,053, between July 1 and August 4. As of August 4, the company had the largest number of openings, 164, at the Fremont, California, factory where it makes its vehicles, followed by its Palo Alto headquarters, with 157 openings, and its Sparks, Nevada, Gigafactory, where it makes batteries and powertrains, with 100 openings.

Tesla's website also lists job openings at its upcoming Gigafactory in Shanghai, where it plans to eventually produce around 500,000 vehicles and battery packs per year. In its second-quarter earnings letter, the company said it expects to begin construction "within the next few quarters," and start production around 2021. 

As of Thursday afternoon, Tesla's website listed 22 job openings in Shanghai, with 16 of those openings located at the upcoming Gigafactory. The openings include engineering and senior-level management positions, among others.

Tesla declined to comment on its current or future hiring plans. 

At the beginning of June, Tesla laid off around 9% of its workforce. In an email to employees, CEO Elon Musk said the layoffs were part of the company's effort to become profitable. 

"What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable," he said.

Tesla reported an adjusted loss per share of $3.06 for the second quarter, which was larger than what analysts had predicted, and revenue of $4 billion, which beat analyst projections. Its negative free cash flow during the quarter, $740 million, was lower than analysts expected. The company said it expects to be profitable during the second half of this year.

"Going forward, we believe Tesla can achieve sustained quarterly profits, absent a severe force majeure or economic downturn, while continuing to grow at a rapid pace," the company said.

Musk shocked observers on Tuesday when he announced his desire to take the company private, saying he had the funding for such a deal secured and merely needed the proposal to pass a shareholder vote before it could go through. (He indicated via Twitter that he had investor support.)

But nearly two days later, it's unclear where that funding will come from. Tesla has yet to submit any regulatory filings that provide more detail into Musk's proposal, and on Wednesday The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission made an inquiry into Tesla about whether one of Musk's tweets regarding the possibility of taking the company private was truthful.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: A deal to take Tesla private probably won't come from Wall Street or Silicon Valley

Join the conversation about this story »

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Bitcoiners Losing Faith in Twitter Inspire an Exodus to Mastodon

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoiners Losing Faith in Twitter Inspire an Exodus to Mastodon

It’s no secret that a growing number of Bitcoiners are unhappy with Twitter. A mix of perceived censorship through shadow banning and lack of serious action being taken by the platform to remove the notorious ether giveaway bots have aggravated calls for a decentralized alternative to the existing social media goliath.

Although members of the community had been vocal about this for awhile, it seems that recent moves like the unexplained temporary suspension of BHB Network’s Giacomo Zucco yesterday or the simultaneous purging of Infowars’ Alex Jones’ content by Spotify, YouTube, Facebook and Apple have finally catalyzed the transition.

Enter Mastodon, the distributed social media platform. Mastodon is both very similar to and very different from Twitter. At a glance, one might be forgiven for mistaking it for TweetDeck. Many of its features have been cloned, including the ability to tweet (or “toot”), retweet (“boost”) and like (“favorite”). Some enhancements have been added in, including more granular privacy controls and up to 500 characters available for microblogging.

Where the platform really shines is in its lack of centralized oversight. Instead of users congregating around a single website, Mastodon is divided into “instances” — smaller communities that set their own rules around content and users (not unlike subreddits). Individuals registered with one Mastodon instance can communicate with users of another and have the ability to switch between a “local timeline” (seeing toots from users in their instance) and a “federated feed” (curating content from other instances).

Bitcoin Mastodon

The exodus from Twitter to Mastodon began with a number of users moving to the most popular instance, mastodon.social (boasting upward of 170,000 users). However, Opendime’s Rodolfo Novak has since gone on to create bitcoinhackers.org, an instance which, according to its “About” page, is dedicated to Bitcoin maximalists with “no scams, no shitcoin, no impersonation, no begging and no illegal content.”

Thus far, it has generated a considerable amount of interest, nearing 800 users at the time of writing and repeatedly ranking in the top 10 most active instances per hour. It remains to be seen whether these numbers will continue to climb. The general sentiment appears to be that Mastodon will be used either in tandem with Twitter (an app for cross-posting across both platforms is currently being propagated) or as a backup network for users that have been banned from it.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Tesla has started offering owners free Autopilot trials (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

tesla autopilot

  • Tesla has started offering owners a free, 14-day trial of its semi-autonomous Autopilot feature, Electrek first reported.
  • A Tesla representative confirmed to Business Insider that the company is rolling out the trial.
  • Tesla says on its website that Autopilot will automatically download to vehicles that don't have the feature shortly after they receive software update 2018.28.1 or later, at which point owners will be notified that their trial has begun.
  • Owners will be able to decide whether or not they want to activate some Autopilot features during the trial or opt out entirely.


Tesla has started offering owners a free, 14-day trial of its semi-autonomous Autopilot feature, Electrek first reported.

A Tesla representative confirmed to Business Insider that the company is rolling out the trial. The company's website features additional information about the trial, though it doesn't include specific information about its start and end dates, saying only that owners who did not purchase Autopilot will receive the trial in the coming weeks.

Tesla says on its website that Autopilot will automatically download to vehicles that don't have the feature shortly after they receive software update 2018.28.1 or later, at which point owners will be notified that their trial has begun. Owners will be able to decide whether or not they want to activate some Autopilot features during the trial or opt out entirely.

Last week, during the company's second-quarter earnings call, CEO Elon Musk said the company will start rolling out "breakthrough" features to Autopilot in around four weeks. He said the update will "certainly include some significant advancements in autonomy."

Stuart Bowers, Tesla's vice president of engineering, also said during the earnings call that the update will allow Tesla vehicles to "automatically attempt to change lanes" and suggested it could help drivers transition to and from highways. Bowers called the update, "our on-ramp to off-ramp solution that's going to automatically attempt to change lanes, understand what lane the car is in, understand the route the user wants to travel, and take that route for the user and ultimately hand back control to user."

In its current iteration, Autopilot can keep a car in its lane, adjust its speed based on surrounding traffic, and park without driver assistance, among other features. Recent accidents involving the feature have raised questions about whether drivers place too much trust in it and fail to pay attention to the road. Tesla has repeatedly said Autopilot is meant to be used with an attentive driver whose hands are on the wheel, but the most visible accidents involving Autopilot have included reports of distracted drivers .

Tesla has received criticism for how it has promoted the feature. In May, Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Auto Safety sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to investigate the strategies the company has used to sell Autopilot.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: A deal to take Tesla private probably won't come from Wall Street or Silicon Valley

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A viral tweet has inspired people to donate millions of frequent flyer miles to help reunite immigrant families separated at the US border

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

migrant child reunited

  • People are donating their frequent flyer miles to help reunite separated immigrant families.
  • Donations have spiked this week after a University of Michigan professor's tweet went viral.
  • According to Miles4Migrants, one of the organizations that helps facilitate the award flights, they've received more donated miles during the last week than they have over the past 23 months.

As the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal government work to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, road warriors and business travelers are donating their frequent flyer miles to help cover the cost of reuniting children with their families.

Although more than 1,400 separated families have been reunited as of a court-imposed July 26 deadline, at least 711 children were unable to be reunited with their families, including at least 431 who have not yet been reunited because their parents may have already been deported, according to the federal government.

As nonprofit organizations attempt to help with the reunification process, families have had to pay as much as $2,000 or more in airfare in order to be reunited, which includes the cost of a round-trip ticket for a family escort, and a pricey one-way for each child.

Several organizations — including Miles4Migrants and Michigan Support Circle — have been accepting donations of frequent flyer miles to help book those flights for families and children.

"Flights can be incredibly expensive, especially last minute," Seth Stanton, one of the directors of Miles4Migrants, told Business Insider. "Using miles helps us book these tickets to make reunifications possible."

Although both organizations have been soliciting donations of frequent flyer miles since the current crisis began, they've seen an explosion of donations over the past several days, thanks to a viral tweet by University of Michigan Law School professor Beth H. Wilensky. Wilensky learned about the option to donate miles from a post in Michigan Support Circle's Facebook group.

"At last count, we have commitments from about 175 volunteers," Rosaline Lochner, Michigan Support Circle's founder, said in a phone interview with Business Insider Tuesday afternoon. "Before Beth's tweet started to spread, we had around 8-10." 

Wilensky's husband, Jeff Wilensky, is the Vice President of global marketing for ProQuest, a multinational education technology company, and has amassed more than 600,000 Delta frequent flyer miles over the course of his work travel. He donated 75,000 of them through Michigan Support Circle, which helped reunite a three-year-old boy and his father, and fly them from Michigan — where the boy had been taken after being separated from his father at the border — to their extended family.

According to Andy Freedman, another director at Miles4Migrants, Wilensky's tweet — which has been retweeted over 30,000 times and liked more than 138,000, as of press time — and several follow-up tweets have had an immediate impact.

According to Freedman, once the tweet began spreading, miles started pouring in. "We've had more than 3.6 million miles donated by 112 separate people since the tweets," he said.

According to Stanton, the average cost of an award flight booked with miles to reunite a family is 20,000 miles, meaning the 3.6 million miles can be used for around 180 flights.

"For reference, since we founded Miles4Migrants in September 2016, we've booked just over 150 flights," according to Stanton. "We've more-than-doubled our capacity to help in just a day."

One of those donors was Tonia Ries, a marketing executive based in New York City. Ries learned about Miles4Migrants when someone she follows retweeted Wilensky's tweet, leading her to donate 50,000 American Express points that she earned by using her card for business expenses.

"This was an easy way to make a difference," Ries told Business Insider. "The recent family separation policy has made an issue I already cared about even more critical, so I was delighted to find an easy way to help. This is an ingenious way to let people use something that many can easily afford to share to help address an urgent need."

Michigan Support Circle began as a local grassroots organization primarily focused on helping separated families who had been relocated to Michigan, while Miles4Migrants has typically had a more global view, working with partner organizations that identify cases where miles can be helpful — since the border crisis gained attention, separated immigrant families within the US have become a focus of the organization. Any flights that Miles4Migrants books are for cases that are legally-approved, in cases where any necessary visas and paperwork are already arranged.

Because most airlines and credit card loyalty programs add significant fees or place restrictions on transferring miles to another user, both Miles4Migrants and Michigan Support Circle rely on pledges from donors to use their miles when needed. When a partner humanitarian organization identifies a case, the groups contact a pledged donor with instructions and information, and that individual can book the tickets.

The use of frequent flyer miles to reunite families is not the first time that airlines have come into the story as the spotlight has grown on the forced separation of children from their parents at illegal border crossings.

In June, as outcry grew, American Airlines issued a statement asking the federal government not to use its services to transport children who had been separated from their families. United quickly followed suit, with Frontier and Southwest following.

While the airlines don't have any direct involvement with individuals or organizations using miles to book flights for migrants, the process of helping a pledged donor book the tickets through their own account has a strong upside.

"Donors end up knowing exactly who they're helping," said Freedman. "It makes the experience less abstract, more real, and more tangible for donors."

SEE ALSO: 20 crazy things people have tried to smuggle past the TSA at airports

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Yale Economists Share Strategies to Strongly Forecast Bitcoin Returns

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

At the time when the cryptocurrency industry has recorded a loss of more than $30 billion, two Yale economists believe traders can strongly forecast the volatile market using “potential predictors for cryptocurrency returns.” Aleh Tsyvinski and Yukun Liu published a new study, titled “Risks and Returns of Cryptocurrency,” after researching factors that could accurately predict the

The post Yale Economists Share Strategies to Strongly Forecast Bitcoin Returns appeared first on CCN

SIM swap hacker caught in Florida

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Florida police have arrested 25-year-old named Ricky Joseph Handschumacher. The young man is suspected of grand theft and money laundering. Handschumacher used SIM Swapping techniques to steal thousands in Bitcoin and to “drain bank accounts” according to security researcher Brian Krebs. Handschumacher’s scam was simple: he called+ telecom operators and ask them to swap his […]

Investors are pulling billion of dollars out of Europe — and Britain is one of the worst hit

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

An exit sign printed in English and French is seen in front of the White cliffs of Dover, at the Dover ferry terminal, Britain February 20, 2016. Stand on top of the white cliffs of Dover on a clear day and you can see the French coast and the constant traffic of ferries crossing the Channel, binding Britain and Europe through the flow of people and goods. Seen through many British eyes, the famous cliffs conjure up a different vision, that of a fiercely independent island nation with a nearly thousand-year history of repelling would-be invaders from the continent just 33 km (21 miles) away. The tension between these two facets of British identity goes a long way to explain the country's tetchy relationship with the European Union, which will come to a head in a looming referendum on whether to withdraw from the bloc. Photograph taken on February 20, 2016.

  • Investors have pulled $35 billion from European equities this year and $51 billion from European funds, according to Barclays data.
  • UK funds have seen outflows of over 6% of assets under management since the Brexit vote.

LONDON — Global investors are fleeing Europe in droves, according to Barclays.

Analyst Magesh Kumar Chandrasekaran and the European Equity Strategy team at the investment bank said in a note sent to clients on Thursday that billions have been pulled from European stock markets and funds in 2018.

Europe has seen the highest equity outflows so far this year of any major market. Investors have pulled $35 billion from European equities so far in 2018, the bank said

Barclays added: "European funds have seen redemptions for twenty-one consecutive weeks, worth $51 billn since the start of March this year. These redemptions have completely wiped out the inflows Europe receivedsince 2017."

europe flows

UK funds have suffered particularly badly. The bank writes: "Within Europe, outflows from the UK have been more severe compared to the rest of Europe. UK funds have seen outflows of more than 6% of AUM since the Brexit referendum."

UK funds have seen six weeks of fund outflows and $3.8 billion was pulled in the last week alone, according to Barclays data.

Globally, flows into equities have been flat over the last month and bonds saw $17 billion of inflows. $104 billion has been invested into equities so far this year, compared to $65 billion for bonds.

"Among regions, the US was the only major market to have received meaningful equity inflows over the last four weeks," the team said. "As trade war-related uncertainties increased in May, EM [emerging markets] funds saw $17bn worth of outflows. However, last week, EM funds received inflows for the first time in eleven weeks."

Investors are also shifting money from active funds to passive funds, with $82 billion shifting between the two strategies.

SEE ALSO: One in 2 ICOs failed in the 2nd quarter — and those that succeeded suffered huge losses

DON'T MISS: Barclays traders say they're building out a crypto desk— but the bank says it has nothing in the works

NEXT UP: Barclays is teaming up with a startup online lender — and it points to a growing trend for banks

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Two children flying alone on Frontier Airlines ended up in a hotel room in another state after their plane was diverted — and their parents aren't happy about it

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

frontier airlines

  • Two children flying alone were taken in a vehicle to a hotel room with a Frontier Airlines employee last month after severe weather diverted their Orlando-bound flight to Atlanta.
  • The children's parents told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Frontier Airlines customer service could not give them information and that they only heard from their children because another minor let the children borrow a cell phone that night. 
  • Frontier Airlines said their employees followed "standard procedure" for the handling of unaccompanied minors flying alone, as they were attended to at all times by an employee and given a hotel room. 

Two children flying alone were taken in a vehicle to a hotel room with other children and a Frontier Airlines employee last month after severe weather diverted their flight to Atlanta, according to the parents of the minors who spoke to the Orlando Sentinel. 

The two children, Carter Gray, 9, and Etta Gray, 7, traveled unaccompanied on Frontier Airlines flight 1756 on July 22 from Des Moines, Iowa to their hometown of Orlando, Florida, where they were returning from a visit with their grandparents. The flight, which was scheduled to arrive at 10:46 p.m. on July 22, circled the Orlando International Airport for 45 minutes before diverting to Atlanta because of the stormy weather. 

The children's mother was left waiting at the airport in Orlando, completely in the dark as to what had happened to them.

"This was the first year I said okay, they’re old enough to fly on their own, they know their phone number, they know their address," said Etta and Carter’s mother Jennifer Ignash, to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Once the flight got diverted, the mother said, "it was like, okay, panic."

Ignash told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she was not able to learn anything about her children's whereabouts from Frontier's customer service line that evening and did not receive a call from a Frontier employee until the next day. 

The parents only heard from their children when shortly after midnight on July 23, an older unaccompanied minor on the flight let Carter borrow his cell phone to call his father

“Without that child, we would have had zero idea where our kids were,” Ignash said to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Ignash said her two children were then taken by a Frontier employee using a personal vehicle to an Atlanta hotel room, where four other unaccompanied children from the flight stayed in adjoining rooms. 

“We never gave approval for that to happen,” Etta and Carter’s father, Chad Gray, said in an interview.

The parents retained an aviation attorney, Alan Armstrong of Atlanta, who has been handling their public statements. Armstrong's would not confirm in a call with Business Insider if the children's parents are seeking legal action against Frontier, but he did say he hopes to bring attention to a neglected issue.

"The real thrust of this is to make Frontier and the entire airline industry aware of the gross deficiencies in their procedures for dealing with unaccompanied minors and children," Armstrong told Business Insider. 

For Frontier Airlines, the parent's reaction to go to the media has been surprising as they said their employees followed standard protocol. 

"It has been more than two weeks since the flight diversion but the family never contacted us," said Frontier spokesperson Jonathan Freed to Business Insider. "The first we learned of their concerns was as a result of their lawyer calling media."

Freed said in a statement to Business Insider that, in keeping with Frontier's "standard procedure" for unaccompanied minors, the children were accompanied at all times, placed in a hotel room overnight, and provided with food. 

"We understand how an unexpected delay caused by weather can be stressful for a parent and our goal is to help passengers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible.”

After providing the children with a breakfast voucher to McDonald's, Frontier continued the flight to Orlando the following morning and the children landed safely in Orlando at 1 p.m on July 23.

SEE ALSO: American Airlines kicked a woman off a flight after she brought her $30,000 cello on board, even though she bought a seat for it

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Millennial investors are ditching Tesla during its wild week (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

elon musk


Elon Musk sent shockwaves through the stock market this week when he announced plans to go private.

The stock surged more than 10% following his cryptic tweet that funding had been secured to take the electric carmaker private, and investors on Robinhood may have cashed out following the rise.

Data from the free stock trading app show roughly 7,400 investors ditched the stock in the past seven days, the biggest rout of any equity on the brokerage.

On August 2, 83,405 Robinhood investors — who skew much younger than traditional brokerages — held the stock. As of August 9, a total of 75,994 held it, marking a decline of about 8.8%. That's close to the lowest number since Business Insider first started tracking the data in June. 

Since peaking at $379, Tesla has given up nearly half of its gains since Tuesday, and was down 3.8% in trading Thursday as doubt swirled about the financing Musk had touted earlier.

Legal experts told Business Insider that if financing had not actually been secured at the time of his tweet — which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says counts a material statement — the billionaire likely broke federal laws. The SEC's requirements say a company must file an official disclosure within four days of a major event. Those events are generally defined as an acquisition, leadership change, or something in regards to the company’s financial situation.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the SEC was, in fact, investigating the tweet. 

Shares of Tesla have risen 11% since the beginning of the year.

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Tesla stock price private elon musk

SEE ALSO: 'A private life is a happy life': Here's what Wall Street is saying about Tesla's plan to leave the stock market (TSLA)

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What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Bank of America asked 65 investors their biggest fear

The more that people cram into an investment position, the more violent the stampede to the exits will be at the first sign of trouble.

It's a relatively straightforward dynamic that's played out countless times throughout market history, across a wide range of asset classes.

And even though such a risk seems obvious, traders still have a tough time knowing when to cut and run. After all, if they get out too early, they could miss more potential gains.

Luckily, in the spirit of preventing a mass exodus, investors in the credit space seem acutely aware of the risks associated with crowded positions. According to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) survey of 65 credit investors, a sharp loss of liquidity is now their biggest worry of all.

Amazon just hit an all-time high as it inches towards becoming a $1 trillion company

Shares of Amazon climbed 0.8% on Thursday, hitting an all-time high of $1,899.96, as the e-commerce giant inches towards a $1 trillion valuation.

The stock now just needs another 7% gain in order to hit a market cap of $1 trillion. Based on the current number of outstanding shares — 487.74 million — a stock price of $2,050.27 would get it over the hump.

Apple made headlines last week when it became the first US companyto reach the milestone.

Tribune Media rejects $3.9 billion sale to Sinclair

Tribune Media Co. terminated its $3.9 billion deal to be acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group and filed suit, the company said Thursday, after regulators objected to the acquisition that had received support from US President Donald Trump.

Tribune filed a lawsuit against Sinclair, the largest US broadcast station owner, alleging material breach of contract 15 months after the merger was first announced.

The Federal Communications Commission said in July that Sinclair "did not fully disclose" facts about the merger, raising questions about whether the company "attempted to skirt the commission's broadcast ownership rules."

The crypto bear market has been a blessing for this bitcoin trading firm's booming new business

Bitcoin markets have been in a tailspin this week, but that's actually been a blessing for one trading firm's burgeoning new lending business.

Genesis Global Trading, a crypto trading shop based in New York, launched a crypto lending unit, Genesis Capital, earlier this year.That business originated $30 million in crypto loans on Tuesday, its largest amount ever, according to chief executive officer Michael Moro. The company typically lends out around $2 million per day on average.

In a sense, it could be a bearish indicator for the market. Many of the people who are borrowing crypto from the firm are doing so in order to take a short position on a given coin.

In markets news

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ShapeShift to Add Multi-Crypto Swapping Tool to Its Exchange Platform

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

ShapeShift to Add Multi-Crypto Swapping Tool to Its Exchange Platform

On August 8, 2018, ShapeShiftAG, the parent company of ShapeShift.io, one of the world's largest decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges, announced its acquisition of Bitfract, a blockchain software startup based in Austin, Texas.

Bitfract’s crypto trading tool allows users to swap bitcoin for a basket of cryptocurrencies within a single transaction.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees revealed that this sort of multi-crypto trading solution has been a long-term target of ShapeShift's internal engineering team. One thing that stood out about Bitfract for Voorhees was the “creativity and drive of the team.”

“They used our API brilliantly, and taking steps toward acquiring the company seemed like the natural course for us to take,” Voorhees added.

For his part, Bitfract CEO and co-founder Willy Ogorzaly stated:

“ShapeShift has always aligned most closely with our mission and values. When Erik asked if we wanted to join ShapeShift, the answer was immediately yes.”

Ogorzaly said they welcomed the idea of being acquired as his team had become “incredibly familiar with ShapeShift’s API” and how to leverage it as a “tool for innovation.”

Using Bitfract's tool, users will able to diversify their crypto asset portfolios without exposing themselves to the risk factors of multiple transactions including security risks, time losses and extra transaction fees. The tool also makes it extremely easy to adopt investment positions in a wide variety of crypto assets.

It allows users the ability to choose the specific assets they want and the relevant percentage for each asset. Users send bitcoin to the destination wallet address, and their requested crypto assets are then delivered to them in a simple, seamless process.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Turkish lira sinks to an all-time low amid tensions between Washington and Ankara

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

trump Erdogan

  • The lira hit a record low against the dollar on Thursday.
  • Talks in Washington failed to deescalate tensions between the US and Turkey that had arisen over the detention of several Americans.
  • Watch the lira trade in real time here.

The Turkish lira hit an all-time low against the US dollar Thursday after diplomatic talks between Washington and Ankara appeared to break down.

The lira was down 3% versus the dollar at noon ET. It touched a record low of 5.5 against the greenback after Turkish officials returned from meetings with a delegation from the US Treasury and State Department without any resolution to a conflict over Turkey's detention of several Americans.

"The Turkish delegation went to Washington, and there seem to be no compromises on offer at the moment, and confidence in the currency remains weak," said Kit Juckes, the global head of FX strategy at Societe Generale. 

The Trump administration earlier this month announced sanctions against Turkey for failing to release Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor who has been detained for nearly two years. 

The sanctions target Turkey's minister of justice and minister of interior, whom the White House said played "leading roles" in the arrest and detention of 50-year-old Brunson. He was arrested in Izmir in 2016 for allegedly aiding a failed military coup — accusations the pastor denies.

The lira had already been under significant pressure, shedding nearly a third of its value against the dollar this year. It has faced mounting pressure following the June reelection of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who grabbed newly-granted executive powers in the historic political change.

Erdogan has signaled he will wield more influence over the country's central bank in his term. The self-proclaimed "enemy of interest rates" has pushed for unorthodox policies like cutting borrowing costs amid accelerating inflation.

The Turkish government said it would be announcing a "new economic plan" this week, but that seemed to do little for the lira. 

Screen Shot 2018 08 09 at 11.59.20 AM

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Turkish lira sinks to an all-time low amid tensions between Washington and Ankara

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

trump Erdogan

  • The lira hit a record low against the dollar on Thursday.
  • Talks in Washington failed to deescalate tensions between the US and Turkey that had arisen over the detention of several Americans.
  • Watch the lira trade in real time here.

The Turkish lira hit an all-time low against the US dollar Thursday after diplomatic talks between Washington and Ankara appeared to break down.

The lira was down 3% versus the dollar at noon ET. It touched a record low of 5.5 against the greenback after Turkish officials returned from meetings with a delegation from the US Treasury and State Department without any resolution to a conflict over Turkey's detention of several Americans.

"The Turkish delegation went to Washington, and there seem to be no compromises on offer at the moment, and confidence in the currency remains weak," said Kit Juckes, the global head of FX strategy at Societe Generale. 

The Trump administration earlier this month announced sanctions against Turkey for failing to release Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor who has been detained for nearly two years. 

The sanctions target Turkey's minister of justice and minister of interior, whom the White House said played "leading roles" in the arrest and detention of 50-year-old Brunson. He was arrested in Izmir in 2016 for allegedly aiding a failed military coup — accusations the pastor denies.

The lira had already been under significant pressure, shedding nearly a third of its value against the dollar this year. The June reelection of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who grabbed newly-granted executive powers in the historic political change, rattled markets further.

Erdogan has signaled he will wield more influence over the country's central bank in his term. The self-proclaimed "enemy of interest rates" has pushed for unorthodox policies like cutting borrowing costs amid accelerating inflation.

The Turkish government said it would be announcing a "new economic plan" this week, but that seemed to do little for the lira. 

Screen Shot 2018 08 09 at 11.59.20 AM

SEE ALSO: Roku's plan to take on Amazon and Netflix seems to be working — and the stock just hit a record high (NFLX, AMZN, ROKU)

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

A deal to take Tesla private probably won't come from Wall Street or Silicon Valley (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

elon musk

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk shocked observers on Tuesday when he announced his desire to take Tesla private, but nearly two days later, it's unclear where the funding will come from.
  • Banks or investment firms would likely be put off by an inability to fund a deal through debt, according to James Rosener, a partner at the law firm Pepper Hamilton.
  • A nation's sovereign wealth fund is more likely, according to Rosener, who listed Saudi Arabia as a possible candidate.

 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shocked observers on Tuesday when he announced his desire to take the company private.

Musk said he had the funding for such a deal secured and merely needed the proposal to pass a shareholder vote before it could go through. (He indicated via Twitter that he had investor support.)

But nearly two days later, it's unclear where that funding will come from. Tesla has yet to submit any regulatory filings that provide more detail into Musk's proposal, and, according to The New York Times, some top executives at major Wall Street Banks, like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, were not familiar with Musk's intention to convert Tesla into a private company before he tweeted about it.

That raises the question: Where's the money coming from?

Musk said he isn't selling his 20% stake in the company and will allow current Tesla investors to keep their investments if a deal goes through, which means whoever provides funding for the deal won't have to account for all of the over $70 billion valuation that would result from Musk's proposed $420-per-share buyout price.

Still, dedicating tens of billions of dollars toward a single investment would be unusual for any single bank or investment firm, James Rosener, a partner at the law firm Pepper Hamilton who specializes in private equity and corporate financing, told Business Insider.

That leaves two options: a group of firms or a nation's sovereign wealth fund.

Funding probably won't come from Wall Street or Silicon Valley

Rosener said the latter is more likely, due in part to the fact that a deal would be difficult to finance through debt. Tesla, which has a history of burning cash quickly, wouldn't inspire enough confidence in potential creditors that it could handle the interest payments a large amount of new debt would require.

A sovereign wealth fund could have the financial resources to buy equity with cash, Rosener said. He suggested Saudi Arabia, which was recently reported to have purchased a 3%-5% stake in Tesla, could be a possible candidate.

"Could it be [Saudia Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman] putting tens of billions of dollars in? It's certainly manageable," Rosener said.

Another obvious candidate, China, is much less likely due to the country's reluctance toward inbound investment, according to Rosener.

Whether or not a deal goes through, Musk's approach to potentially taking Tesla private has been unconventional, like much else he does.

"It's certainly kind of a cavalier approach to a complex transaction. We'll see if it works out," Rosener said.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

Read more about Tesla possibly going private:

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk is in perilous territory after tweeting about wanting to take Tesla private, experts say

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The crypto bear market has been a blessing for this bitcoin trading firm's booming new business

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

bitcoin accepted here cryptocurrency

  • Bitcoin has tanked this week, falling about 16%.
  • But the bearish turn has been a blessing for Genesis Global Trading's new lending business.
  • Genesis originated $30 million in crypto loans on Tuesday, its largest amount ever, as many borrowing crypto are doing so in order to take a short position. 

Bitcoin markets have been in a tailspin this week, but that's actually been a blessing for one trading firm's burgeoning new lending business. 

Genesis Global Trading, a crypto trading shop based in New York, launched a crypto lending unit, Genesis Capital, earlier this year. That business originated $30 million in crypto loans on Tuesday, its largest amount ever, according to chief executive officer Michael Moro. The company typically lends out around $2 million per day on average. 

In a sense, it could be a bearish indicator for the market. Many of the people who are borrowing crypto from the firm are doing so in order to take a short position on a given coin. 

At last check, the price of bitcoin — the largest crypto — was down about 15% at $6,517 a coin

"Hedge funds could borrow bitcoin to short it, for example," Lex Sokolin, a partner at Autonomous NEXT, the financial-technology analytics provider. "This would mean they borrow some amount in bitcoin, sell it, and then repay in bitcoin (at whatever price) whenever the loan comes due."

Part of the bump in lending is also tied to the launch of Ethereum Classic trading on Coinbase, according to Moro. 

As for the business' next steps, Moro said he expects to expand its services. One thing the firm could do is start doing is put the collateral they are given for loans to work. 

"All the people borrowing and shorting are putting up collateral," he said. "We have the ability to turn around and do whatever we want with the collateral."

The company is also considering US dollar loans. This would mean  a bitcoin holder who wants to liquidate his or her crypto could do so without selling it but still have access to cash. 

See also:

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Every Financial Portfolio Should Include Bitcoin, New Research Paper Suggests

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The viability of investments into cryptocurrencies is a hotly debated topic. While many investors large and small are still skeptical about virtual currencies like Bitcoin, a growing number of people are starting to come around. In many nations, especially ones fraught with economic and political instability, virtual currencies offer an alternative way to hedge against

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Court Sides With Crypto Exchange Despite Allegation It Violated China Ban

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A Chinese cryptocurrency trader who was sent bitcoin in error must repay an exchange even if it broke domestic rules, a Beijing court has ruled.

Stop ‘Overreacting’, Crypto Hedge Fund Vet Tells Bitcoin Investors

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

As the founder of the first U.S. cryptocurrency hedge fund, Dan Morehead has seen his share of bitcoin bear markets. Speaking with CNBC on Wednesday, the Pantera Capital CEO said that he has a simple message for bitcoin investors selling into a market that has already experienced a 67 percent decline from its all-time high:

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The Russian ruble is getting slammed amid US sanctions

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Putin


The Russian ruble plummeted to its lowest level against the dollar since 2016 on Thursday as Washington prepares to penalize Moscow for a chemical attack in the UK earlier this year. 

The ruble was down 0.8% to 66.1101 against the dollar at 9:45 a.m. ET. It shed as much as 5% versus the dollar after the the State Department said it would impose new sanctions against Moscow for the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

US and European allies have publicly blamed the Kremlin for attempting to kill the two in the British town of Salisbury using a Novichok nerve agent, a claim Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied. 

The sanctions, set to go into effect later this month, target Russia's defense sector and could prevent hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment from reaching state-owned companies. A second round of tougher sanctions could be imposed in 90 days if Moscow does not meet a list of demands, the State Department said.

"Investors will likely ignore the Russian economic fundamentals in the weeks ahead and focus on political developments," said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM. 

Turbulence in the oil market is also putting pressure on the currency, analysts said. Crude prices fell to a seven-week low Wednesday after data showed a smaller-than-expected drawdown in US stockpiles and as the US and China rolled out additional tariffs against one another, including on oil products. 

The ruble is down 14.25% versus the dollar this year. 

See also:

The stock market is stretched to double tech-bubble extremes, according to one measure — here's why investors should be very scared of the implications

Screen Shot 2018 08 09 at 9.41.33 AM

SEE ALSO: A US cargo ship has been drifting off the coast of China for a month — and it shows the real-world effects of the trade war

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

The controlling shareholder of CBS is reportedly looking for a new CEO to replace Les Moonves

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

les moonves

  • CBS's controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, is looking for a candidate to replace CEO Les Moonves, according to a NBC News report.
  • The CBS board has hired multiple law firms to investigate recent sexual harassment allegations against Moonves.
  • Moonves, 68, has been allowed to stay in his position as chief executive for the time being.

The investigation into sexual harassment allegations against CBS CEO Les Moonves is just getting started, but it looks like the company's controlling shareholder has little faith the 68-year-old will be vindicated.

According to a NBC News, CBS' controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, is already asking around about a possible replacement for Moonves, who has worked at the company for 23 years.

SHARI REDSTONE

Two people close to Redstone, who asked to remain anonymous since they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told the outlet that she has been asking people to suggest candidates who could run the network.

One executive who spoke with NBC said that Richard Parsons, the former CEO of Time Warner, is helping come up with a list of possible replacements for Moonves.

Business Insider has contacted CBS, their parent company National Amusements, and representatives for Parsons Thursday morning, but did not immediately receive a response.

Representatives for all three declined to comment to NBC News, according to the original report.

Moonves has been allowed to stay in his position while law firms hired by CBS investigate the allegations made in a New Yorker exposé earlier this month.

Six women came forward in the report. Four said Moonves forcibly touched or kissed them.

The other two accused the executive of sexual misconduct and harassment.

Moonves partially admitted to misbehavior in a statement to the magazine.

He said: "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that 'no' means 'no,' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career."

Redstone and Moonves have a had bad blood recently over Redstone's plans to merge CBS with her other family-owned company, Viacom.

The two disagreed over who would act as Moonves' deputy if the two companies were merged. Sources familiar with the deal told CNBC in April that Redstone was likely to replace Moonves if the two companies merged, because of this disagreement.

SEE ALSO: Samantha Bee blasts CBS for not firing CEO Les Moonves over sexual misconduct allegations

DON'T MISS: Howard Stern called out 'shark' CBS CEO Les Moonves in a revealing rant about their history

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Roku's plan to take on Amazon and Netflix seems to be working — and has the stock gunning for a new record high (NFLX, AMZN, ROKU)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Roku CEO Anthony Wood

  • Roku topped Wall Street's earnings expectations on Wednesday, posting a financially neutral quarter where analysts had anticipated a 14 cent loss per share. 
  • The streaming company's ad business helped fuel the beat — an area Netflix and Amazon ignore. 
  • Shares surged more than 10% in after-hours trading following the release.
  • Follow Roku's stock price here. 

Shares of Roku were up more than 10% in early trading Thursday, indicating an opening price of $52.15, after the company reported second-quarter earnings on Wednesday that blew Wall Street’s expectations out of the water.

Here are the important numbers:

  • Revenue: $156.8 million. Analysts were expecting $141.5 million.
  • EPS: 0 cents a share. Wall Street was looking for a loss of 14.6 cents a share.
  • Revenue forecast (Q3): $164 million to $172 million. Analysts had previously predicted it would post $166.5 million in sales in the third quarter.
  • Net loss (Q3 forecast, non-GAAP): $3 million to $8 million. Wall Street's prior estimate was an adjusted net loss of 11.6 million for the period.
  • Subscribers: 22 million. That’s up from 20.8 million in the first quarter and 15.1 million in the same quarter of 2017.

If the stock continues to climb in trading Thursday, it could easily top its record high of $52.70, set back in February.

The earnings report also solidifies Roku’s clear delineation from its streaming competitors like Netflix and Amazon: advertising. The two elephants in the room don't advertise, and instead, the giants rely on subscriber numbers to fuel nearly all of their revenue. 

"It's a mainstream ad business," CEO Anthony Wood told analysts on a conference call. More than half of the top 200 advertisers listed by Ad Age now advertise via Roku, he said.

That bump in advertising helped Roku’s revenue climb to $16.60 per user on a 12-month trailing basis, up from $11.22 a year ago.

"The shift to streaming is really happening," Wood said. "It's a big opportunity for us."

Wall Street analysts have ratcheted up their estimates for Roku following the earnings report, and now have an average price target of $53, according to Bloomberg, up from $45 before the report. Shares were flat since the beginning of the year before Thursday’s pre-market surge.

Troy Wolverton contributed to this report. 

Now read:

Roku stock price

SEE ALSO: The CEO of Roku explains the master plan that led it to blow away Wall Street expectations

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A top Fed official wants to make sure the job market is strong enough to withstand the next recession

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

construction worker

  • Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin is worried policymakers may lack the tools to deal with the next recession.
  • With that in mind, he says, looking for ways to strengthen US labor-force participation could create a crucial buffer before the next downturn.

The Federal Reserve may have limited tools to deal with the next recession, making it imperative that policymakers find ways to further strengthen an already much-improved labor market before the next economic downturn, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said in a speech Wednesday.

"I'm concerned about monetary and fiscal policymakers' capabilities to provide an effective backstop in the next recession," said Barkin, who joined the Fed in January. "But stronger underlying growth would address this concern. Stronger growth would allow the FOMC to raise rates higher without constraining the economy, giving us more ammunition when we need it."

In particular, Barkin is focused on ways of further beefing up the labor market, which has seen the unemployment rate drop sharply from a Great Recession peak of 10% down to just 3.9% in July.

How can policymakers do this if the job market is already running hot? Barkin cites low labor-force participation as a sign of continued fragility.

"Labor force growth requires tackling the many labor segments operating under their full potential," Barkin said. "For example, there’s a large divide between urban and rural areas; here in Virginia the employment-to-population ratio among working-age adults is about six points higher in urban areas than in rural areas. People in rural areas often don’t have the same opportunities as people in urban areas. At the same time, there are divides within cities."

Barkin, who is a voter this year on the Federal Open Market Committee, was broadly supportive, if cautious, about ongoing interest rate hikes from the Fed, the next of which is expected in September.

"When the economy calls for moving back to normal levels, as do the conditions I just described, we should follow through," he said, adding that "how high rates will ultimately need to rise depends on economic growth: The higher the underlying growth prospects, the higher the policy rate." The current range for the federal funds rate is 1.75% to 2%.

Still, he emphasized other things economic policymakers, including the Fed, Congress, as well as state and local governments can do to improve outcomes across a wider spectrum.

"There might be other levers policymakers can pull to increase the labor force, such as providing more opportunities to rural and inner-city communities," he said. "That includes creating jobs in both places as well as investing in initiatives that enable people to travel to, or live near, the jobs." 

Barkin also cited greater availability of child care and paid leave as way of supporting increased female workforce participation, and the importance of attracting immigrants, "who bring with them much-needed skills and entrepreneurial energy."

US labor-force participation was already on a steady decline in the run-up to the Great Recession of 2007-2009, but the decline clearly accelerated during the slump. It has yet to rebound in any noticeable way. 

Screen Shot 2018 08 09 at 8.10.23 AM

SEE ALSO: There's a major hurdle to employment that many Americans don't even think about — and it's holding the economy back

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

‘Bitcoin [Mining] Threatens Our Existence’ Academic Says, Calls for Intervention

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The ever-increasing amounts of electricity that bitcoin mining consumes threaten to reverse the efforts and gains made so far in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, an academic has claimed. According to Dr. Jon Truby, the director of the Centre for Law and Development at Qatar University, bitcoin was designed with no considerations made on its environmental

The post ‘Bitcoin [Mining] Threatens Our Existence’ Academic Says, Calls for Intervention appeared first on CCN

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

trump and putin

Here is what you need to know.

The Trump administration is planning to impose targeted sanctions on Russia. The action follows the March poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil.

The SEC has reportedly made inquiries into Tesla about Elon Musk's tweet regarding possibly taking the company private. The regulatory body is looking into whether Musk's tweets were truthful and also why the CEO made the announcement on Twitter instead of in a regulatory filing.

The feud between Canada and Saudi Arabia is escalating. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday made his first public statement about diplomatic crisis, which started last week when Canada condemned recent arrests of activists in Saudi Arabia. He promised to stand firm against Saudi aggression.

More than 150 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip overnight, and Israel retaliated with deadly airstrikes. The Israel Defense Forces claimed that mounting violence began Wednesday after militants shot at an IDF vehicle in Gaza.

Another major earthquake hit Indonesia, days after a bigger one killed 347 people. According to Indonesia's meteorological agency, Thursday's earthquake struck at a depth of 12 1/2 miles, originating several miles northwest of Lombok.

Research outfit Leuthold Group says one stock market valuation metric is double where it was at the peak of the tech bubble. The development could have large implications for stock investors of all types, particularly value traders who make their living by finding discounts in the market.

Data and analytics company Dun & Bradstreet Corp. says it will go private. It agreed to be acquired by an investor group led by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings, and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, along with a group of other investors.

Stock markets around the world trade mixed. Japan's Nikkei index (-0.2%) climbed in Asia, and Germany's DAX (-0.36%) led losses across Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.1% near 2,857.

Earnings reporting continues. Adidas, Red Hat, and Bridgestone are among the companies reporting on Thursday.

US economic data keeps coming out. Initial jobless claims are out at 8:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down less than 1 basis point at 2.97%.

SEE ALSO: The stock market is stretched to double tech-bubble extremes, according to one measure — here's why investors should be very scared of the implications

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

A US cargo ship has been drifting off the coast of China for a month — and it shows the real-world effects of the trade war

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

cargo ship maersk

  • A US cargo ship carrying $20 million of soybeans has been circling off the Chinese coast for over a month.
  • The ship became an internet sensation on Chinese social media as it raced to deliver its cargo last month before new Beijing tariffs took effect.
  • The ship, called the Peak Pegasus, has been drifting in circles off the coast of Dalian ever since.
  • Peak Pegasus is a casualty of the ongoing US-China trade war.


A container ship carrying a $20 million worth of soybeans has been circling off the Chinese coast for over a month after being caught in the middle of the US-China trade war.

The Peak Pegasus, which is owned by JPMorgan Asset Management, left Seattle on June 8 on a month-long voyage to the Chinese city of Dalian. The trade war between the US and China was just erupting as it left, with Trump imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports.

The US ship was due to deliver its 70,000-tonne cargo on July 6, The Guardian reported but missed the tariff deadline. The Peak Pegasus arrived around 5 hours after China imposed retaliatory tariffs on US goods, including soybeans.

The ship has been off the coast of Dalian ever since and is currently drifting in circles at 0.1knots.

The ship — a 43,000 tonne, 229-metre long bulk carrier — has become a symbol of the disruption caused by the trade war between Beijing and Washington. It became a sensation on the Chinese social media site Weibo, according to the Guardian.

The cargo belongs to the agricultural commodity trading house Louis Dreyfus. It is estimated to be paying around $12,500 a day to continue chartering the ship, meaning the company has already paid around $400,000 in extra costs since the ship arrived.

Commodities experts told The Guardian it could still make financial sense to keep the shipment at sea. The tariffs that China imposed just before the ship arrived are 25%, which would add around $6 million to the cost of importing the soybeans.

The US-China trade dispute continued on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump announced a fresh $16 billion wave of tariffs and China responded in equal measure.

China’s commerce ministry said the new tariffs were "very unreasonable practice" and Beijing responded with 25% tariffs on another 333 separate US products from 23 August.

SEE ALSO: China just slammed massive tariffs on $34 billion worth of US goods — here's what will get hit

DON'T MISS: ROUND 2: US, China announce newest round of tariffs as Trump's trade war shows no sign of slowing down

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Bitcoin Price Looks to Defend $6K as Sell-Off Slows

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin could defend the support at $6,000 as the cryptocurrency is closing on oversold conditions as per the technical charts.

Australia Could See First Solar-Powered Bitcoin Mining Farm in Coal Town

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

An Australian data center operator and its cryptocurrency subsidiary are developing what they describe as the country’s first “behind-the-grid data center” powered by renewable energy. Situated in the coal-mining town of Collie, some 200km south of Perth, the new facility is being developed by data center operator DC Two and subsidiary D Coin and will

The post Australia Could See First Solar-Powered Bitcoin Mining Farm in Coal Town appeared first on CCN

How low will it fall? The pound continues to dive on 'no-deal' Brexit fears

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

pound



LONDON — The pound's extended slump continued on Thursday as it fell to a fresh low against the dollar.

Sterling is down 0.2% the dollar to $1.2858 at 9.45 a.m. BST (4.45 a.m. ET), marking a fresh 11-month low. The pound is up 0.03% against the euro to €1.1101, still trading close to 9-month lows.

Connor Campbell, a marketing analyst at SpreadEx, said in an email on Thursday morning: "The fears of a ‘no deal’ Brexit have really gathered steam in the last few sessions, a snowball effect stemming from Mark Carney and Liam Fox’s warnings either side of the weekend."

The deadline for Britain to leave the EU is March 2019 and the UK government has so far made little progress in agreeing on a post-Brexit trading deal with the EU.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and the UK's International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, have both highlighted the rising likelihood of a no-deal Brexit in recent weeks, warning that Britain could crash out of the EU without any deal on its future trading relationship with the bloc.

Michael Hewson, the chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said in an email: "Whether you believe such a scenario is likely or not, such is the incompetence of this government, as well as its opposition, investors would be foolhardy not to take some steps to hedge against such an outcome."

Fiona Cincotta, a senior market analyst at City Index, said: "Brexit concerns are likely to remain the key driver for the currency until Friday when preliminary second-quarter UK GDP data will be released alongside the June manufacturing and industrial production figures."

SEE ALSO: The pound falls below $1.30 after Carney warns of 'uncomfortably high' no deal Brexit risk

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Bitcoin Price Rises 3% in Gloomy Cryptocurrency Market Recovery

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Over the past 24 hours, the crypto market has slightly rebounded by adding $5 billion to its valuation, as bitcoin price recorded a three percent increase. Most tokens including Basic Attention Token (BAT), Augur (REP), Ontology (ONT), Pundi X (NPXS), and Zilliqa (ZIL), that have strong developer and investor communities, have fallen by 9 to … Continued

The post Bitcoin Price Rises 3% in Gloomy Cryptocurrency Market Recovery appeared first on CCN

10 things you need to know in markets today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

china shipping port container export import trade

Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Thursday.

1. Chinese state media on Thursday accused the United States of a "mobster mentality" in its move to implement additional tariffs on Chinese goods, and warned that Beijing had all the necessary means to fight back. The comments mark a ratcheting up in tensions between the world's two largest economies over a trade dispute, which is already impacting industries ranging from steel to cars and causing unease over which products could be targeted next.

2. Asian shares were subdued on Thursday after a new round of tit-for-tat tariffs in the US-Sino trade conflict torpedoed oil prices, while the Russian rouble tumbled as the US slapped fresh sanctions on the country. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan barely budged as caution dominated. Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.12% as of 7:43 a.m. BST (2.43 a.m. ET). The Russian Ruble had stabilised against the dollar at the same time.

3. The pound fell below $1.29 for the first time since September 2017 on Wednesday as fears about a possible no-deal Brexit continued. The currency continued to fall on Thursday morning, down 0.11% to $1.2875 at 7:58 a.m. BST (2.58 a.m. ET).

4. Intel on Wednesday said it sold $1 billion of artificial intelligence processor chips in 2017, the first time the world's second-largest chipmaker disclosed revenue from the fast-growing computing segment. As PC sales have stagnated, Intel has increasingly been depending on its sales to data centers, which provide behind-the-scenes computing power for mobile and web-based apps.

5. The New York City Council on Wednesday agreed to cap the number of licenses for ride-hailing services such as Uber for one year, dealing a blow to the companies that have relied on the largest US metro area for a major source of their revenue. The City Council measure was aimed at reducing traffic congestion and increasing driver paychecks in the wake of the explosive growth of for-hire vehicles and a rash of suicides among New York's "Yellow Cab" drivers who have seen their incomes fall.

6. China has revamped a national leadership group charged with planning and studying its key technological development strategies, signaling potential policy shifts are underway as its technological ambitions fueled a backlash abroad.The group, formerly called the "National Technology and Education leadership Group" under the state Cabinet, has been renamed without the mention of education to reflect a focus on technology. Shares of China's leading tech firms rallied on Thursday, with investors expecting a policy boost for their sector.

7. Twenty-First Century Fox's quarterly revenue jumped 17.7% as the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media company received higher fees from cable distributors. Fox said on Wednesday net income attributable to shareholders increased to $920 million or 49 cents per share in the fourth quarter ended June 30, from $476 million or 26 cents per share a year earlier.

8. German-owned discount supermarket Aldi is rolling out scores of new products in the United States, it said on Thursday, in an aggressive push to expand in the country even as rivals are struggling in a drawn-out price war. Aldi, the world's No. 5 retailer owned by Aldi Sud, embarked on a $5 billion plan last year to remodel and expand its US chain to 2,500 by the end of 2022 from 1,600 in June 2017.

9. Conservationists on Wednesday notified the Trump administration that they would sue over its reversal of a 2014 decision prohibiting bee-killing pesticides and genetically modified crops on US wildlife refuges. The reversal, issued on August 2 in a US Fish and Wildlife Service memo, suggested that neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics, were needed for "farming practices” in refuge areas where that was allowed.

10. Mazda and Suzuki conducted improper fuel economy and emissions tests on their vehicles, the latest in a series of compliance scandals in Japan's auto sector, the Nikkei business daily reported. Mazda and Suzuki have submitted reports of their findings on their tests to the transport ministry and will publicize details on Thursday, the Nikkei said.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Intuit Scores Patent for Processing Bitcoin Payments With Text Messages

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

California-based business and financial software company Intuit has been awarded a patent for processing bitcoin payments via text message.

ShapeShift Acquires Tool that Insta-Swaps Bitcoin into Dozens of other Cryptos

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Swiss-based trading platform ShapeShift AG has announced the acquisition of Bitfract, a software firm that allows users to swap bitcoin into dozens of digital assets in one transaction. According to the company’s post, the Bitfract tool is poised as a game changer that simplifies the buying process by allowing investors rebalance their cryptocurrency portfolios in

The post ShapeShift Acquires Tool that Insta-Swaps Bitcoin into Dozens of other Cryptos appeared first on CCN

Tim Draper Off the Hook [For Now] in Tezos Class Action Lawsuit

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Claims against venture capitalist Tim Draper and Bitcoin Suisse in a Tezos class action lawsuit have been dismissed. No Direct Control According to U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California, the motions by Draper and Swiss-based crypto financial services company Bitcoin Suisse to dismiss them as defendants in the Tezos securities

The post Tim Draper Off the Hook [For Now] in Tezos Class Action Lawsuit appeared first on CCN

A couple reasons why Elon Musk could actually pull off his wild plan to take Tesla private (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

elon musk

  • Elon Musk's plan to take Tesla private has generated a lot of buzz, and it has been met with a lot of skepticism
  • But there are several reasons why he might actually be able to pull off the deal.
  • He's got a few things going for him, including a market with mountains of uninvested cash, an army of believers, and ties to some massive backers that could help him make his plan a reality. 

Since setting Wall Street ablaze on Tuesday with an unexpected tweet about taking his car company Tesla private, Elon Musk has been met with a healthy dose of skepticism over his proposed plan as well as his unconventional method of announcing it. 

Analysts are taking Musk at his word that he has indeed secured funding, has investor support, and is seriously considering taking the company private — he could face serious legal consequences if he wasn't entirely truthful. But many nonetheless find the $420 a share price tag he's floated exceptionally high given that Tesla ended trading on Wednesday at $370.34 a share.

It would be the largest buyout of all time and would require gargantuan amounts of capital to complete at the more than $70 billion valuation implied by Musk's tweet. The company would need roughly $57 billion in committed financing to buy up the 80% of the company Musk doesn't own, according to Goldman Sachs estimates. 

"We don't believe the current fundamentals of Tesla support a valuation anywhere close to $420 per share," Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne said. He set a price target of $200.

Colin Langan at UBS set a target of $195, taking an even more dubious view: "Disclosing news of this nature via Twitter is unprecedented and, according to a former SEC chairman, may constitute fraud if Tesla does not already have the financing lined up.

"The deal would likely require participation from numerous banks and institutional investors, and we think it likely that news of the deal would have leaked had Tesla already held discussions to secure funding," Langan added.

In short, the skepticism around Musk's proposed deal is abundant.

So let's focus instead on a couple reasons why he might actually be able to pull it off.

Lots of capital sloshing around

Musk's take-private of Tesla would be unprecedented. 

But so is the amount of capital available for investment right now — a byproduct of the ultra-low interest rate environment the decade following the financial crisis.

Private equity shops having been accumulating record amounts of dry powder as funding remains plentiful while smart deals are comparatively scarce. Pitchbook estimated in March that PE funds had amassed nearly a trillion in undeployed funds.  

Sovereign wealth funds and other large backers, such as Japanese investor SoftBank, have billions in cash to throw around and the appetite to do so, too. 

A market ripe with cash looking to be invested is ideal for Tesla's charismatic leader.

"Right now there is so much money sloshing around the system that has no place to go," Rita McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School, told Business Insider.

As McGrath sees it, there are two types of Tesla investors: Those who view the company as just another car company, akin to Ford or General Motors. These tend to be the skeptics.

Then there are those who believe the company is on the cutting edge of batteries, energy transmission, and renewable energy and that "owning Tesla is a front-seat ticket to whatever the future holds."

An investment like Musk is seeking would carry a lot of risk given the rich price tag, but for those in the latter camp who believe Tesla offers incredible upside, that may be a bet worth making "if you've got nothing else to do with that cash."

Forget about the debt

Many have pointed out that the math on a leveraged buyout for Tesla looks dicey. The company doesn't generate enough free cash flow to justify massive amounts of additional debt burden, which would create crushing interest payments for company. 

Given the cash-flow pressures and the ongoing Model 3 ramp-up, "adding as much as $50 billion of net debt to the capital structure would clearly intensify the outcomes of such an action," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote. 

"Given Tesla's financials, we don’t believe lenders would sign up to support the deal," RBC's Joseph Spak added. 

But people shouldn't be viewing this as a potential LBO, according to David Erickson, a lecturer at the Wharton School.

The deal would instead be a debt-light transaction focused on converting existing public shareholders into private shareholders, and then raising enough additional equity to cash out the shareholders that want to exit.

"What it would have to be, predominantly, is an equity take out," said Erickson, who spent 25 years on Wall Street, including several years as the global co-head of equity capital markets at Barclays. "They would have to come up with enough cash to monetize whoever doesn’t want to stay in. Most of that I would assume would be equity related." 

Getting a large chunk of existing shareholders to convert isn't that far-fetched. Large mutual funds have grown increasingly willing to invest in promising private companies.

As Musk himself has pointed out, Fidelity, the third-largest Tesla shareholder with an 8% stake, has already invested in private tech companies, including the likes Uber, Blue Apron, and his own SpaceX. 

T. Rowe Price, the second-largest shareholder with a 9% stake, has as well.

While funds that hold Tesla stock in their publicly traded indexes would be different, they could potentially cash out and shift their investment to a different arm of the company. 

The unknowable question at this point is how many shareholders would want to exit, and how much Tesla would need to raise to cash them out. 

"Let’s assume $20 billion is required. Is there somebody going to write equity checks for $20 billion?" Erickson asked, noting that Japanese investor SoftBank could be a possibility, as could a sovereign wealth fund.  

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son held talks with Musk about a potential investment in 2017, though a deal failed to materialize and discussions are no longer active, Bloomberg reported Wednesday

Musk has assured us the funding has been secured.

And it's quite possible it has. 

Don't sleep on the Saudis

Who has that kind of money laying around?

As previously mentioned, private equity funds have mammoth amounts of capital to deploy. However, they tend to prefer companies that already generate gobs of cash rather than those that are still rapidly burning it as they carve out a business model. 

A large private investor or a sovereign wealth fund are considered more likely candidates, with many suggesting the aforementioned SoftBank and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia as potential suitors.

The Saudis could make for a particularly good fit.

Under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country has been trying to reduce its dependence on its vast oil reserves and diversify its income streams. The much ballyhooed initial public offering of state oil giant Saudi Aramco has yet to materialize as a solution.

"The Saudi angle is interesting to me. Their existential problem is their whole economy is based on oil," McGrath said.

Tesla's rich price could seem justifiable to the Saudis if they believe Tesla isn't just car company, but rather a bet on the future that hedges their oil riches with a "window into batteries and renewable energy," McGrath said. 

And there's evidence that of the two types of Tesla investors that McGrath highlights, the Saudis are Musk believers: The Financial Times reported Tuesday that the Saudi sovereign wealth fund had acquired a nearly 5% stake in Tesla. 

Would they be willing add substantially to that stake? Or would several other large players need to step up as well?

Musk has a great track record of wooing big investors to back his projects. Even so, it still won't be easy. 

"He'll have to convince an awful lot of people with very deep pockets," McGrath said. 

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Only 12 Tesla solar roofs were reportedly connected to the grid in California at the end of May (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

tesla solar roof

  • Only 12 Tesla solar roofs were connected to the grid in California as of May 31, Reuters reports.
  • The publication said Tesla has faced delays in its efforts to ramp up production of its solar roof tiles due to assembly-line issues at its Buffalo, New York, factory and the challenges involved in meeting CEO Elon Musk's aesthetic expectations. 
  • Tesla declined to comment on the number of solar roofs it has installed.
  • During Tesla's second-quarter earnings call, Musk said there are "several hundred homes with the solar roof on them." A Tesla spokesperson told Business Insider that the cited number includes homes that are in the installation process or are scheduling an installation, in addition to homes where installation has been completed.


Only 12 Tesla solar roofs were connected to the grid in California as of May 31, Reuters reports.

The publication said Tesla has faced delays in its efforts to ramp up production of its solar roof tiles due to assembly-line issues at its Buffalo, New York, factory and the challenges involved in meeting CEO Elon Musk's aesthetic expectations. 

Tesla declined to comment on the number of solar roofs it has installed. A Tesla representative said the company is ramping up solar roof production and will increase the rate of production near the end of this year.

The representative referred Business Insider to a comment Musk made during the company's second-quarter earnings call in which he said there are "several hundred homes with the solar roof on them." The representative said that number includes homes that are in the installation process or are scheduling an installation, in addition to homes where installation has been completed.

During the call, Musk said the solar roof testing process is time-consuming.

“It's quite a long validation program for a roof which is going to last for 30, 40, 50 years," he said.

Tesla's solar roof — which consists of a series of solar panels that resemble roof tiles and are meant to cover a customer's entire roof — is a major selling point for the company. It was designed to be more aesthetically pleasing than typical solar panels and more durable than traditional roof tile materials like clay, slate, and terra cotta.

Tesla began taking reservations for the solar roof in May 2017 and said installations would begin that summer, but the first installations for customers who weren't Tesla employees didn't begin until April 2018.

In its first-quarter earnings report this year, Tesla said it anticipated a significant increase in solar roof production during the second half of the year. 

Read Reuters' full story here.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: The SEC has reportedly made inquiries into Tesla about Elon Musk's tweet regarding possibly taking the company private

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Brian Kelly: If You’re Selling Bitcoin Because of ETF Delay, You’re Doing it Wrong

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

CNBC Fast Money contributor and BKCM CEO Brian Kelly has firmly emphasized that while bitcoin has seen a massive decline in price over the last 24 hours, investors selling the dominant cryptocurrency based on the delay of SEC in approving the first bitcoin ETF are doing it wrong. Bitcoin Drops 12% While EOS, Bitcoin Cash

The post Brian Kelly: If You’re Selling Bitcoin Because of ETF Delay, You’re Doing it Wrong appeared first on CCN

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