Video game maker Take-Two Interactive to buy Zynga in $12.7 billion deal. Take-Two Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick said purchase of Zynga would give it a strong position in mobile, the fastest-growing segment of the interactive entertainment industry. which is expected to grow by 8% annually over the next three years. Take-Two predicts that mobile will comprise more than 50% of its net bookings in fiscal 2023, compared to 12% in 2022.
Microsoft is hit by defections as Tech Giants battle for talent to build the Metaverse. Around 100 people on the team developing Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented-reality headsets have left, mostly to Facebook parent Meta. Because Microsoft has been ahead of the competition on AR, its employees make particularly attractive targets for headhunting, said analysts. Microsoft says it will keep advancing state-of-the-art hardware that is more immersive, affordable, and in various form factors Read more here.
Banks are making it easier to get credit cards. An estimated 29.2 million general-purpose credit cards were issued to people with credit scores of 660 and below last year. Even subprime borrowers, a group shunned during the pandemic, are finding it easier to get credit. Lenders are embracing borrowers with lower credit scores to boost credit-card profitability, which fell in 2020 to the lowest level since 2009, according to the Fed.
Binance.US is building an office in Portals, a metaverse platformbuilt on the Solana blockchain. Portals recreate a dense urban environment where users can explore buildings and interactive rooms. “Binance.US is getting a space in Portals Downtown with a focus on delivering the latest news, charts, and events virtually,” Portals head of community and partnerships Chris Lund said.
WHAT TO WATCH
Self-driving tractors are the new autonomous driving play on Wall Street. Machinery manufacturer Deere could be the latest company to cash in on the AV trend with its new self-driving tractor, according to Baird. The tractor revolutionizes how critical jobs (tilling, planting, harvesting) will be done, rendering prior modes of farming obsolete and setting up a multi-year fleet upgrade cycle. Deere plans to sell the autonomous solution as a subscription service. Read more here.
Bill Gates-backed fund aims to invest $15bn in clean tech. Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will invest in four key areas: direct air capture, green hydrogen, aviation fuel, and energy storage technologies. Its focus will be on creating markets for green products and technologies and bringing down the cost of production for materials such as green steel and green hydrogen.
Pfizer and Beam partner to develop treatments for 3 genetic diseases. Pfizer unveiled a $1.3 billion partnership with Beam Therapeutics. They’ll use Beam’s leading-edge technology that makes precise corrections to typographical errors in our genes. A technology called “base editing”. They will collaborate on three treatments for rare genetic diseases of the liver, muscle, and central nervous system.
Goldman Sachs now predicts the Fed will hike rates four times this year and start shrinking its balance sheet starting in July, possibly sooner. They see hikes in March, June, and September, and have now added a hike in December for a total of four in 2022. Along with the rate hikes, Goldman sees the Fed shrinking its bond holdings soon. Declining labor market slack has made Fed officials more sensitive to upside inflation risks and less sensitive to downside growth risks. Read more here.
BofA's Francisco Blanch still sees $100+ oil prices by the second quarteras demand surges back post-omicron, and as the crude coming to market requires more expensive refining processes. The main downside risk to the prediction: China's zero-Covid policy.
There are 3 big FDA approvals to watch for in Q1 2022, says Motley Fool's Cory Renauer. A new checkpoint inhibitor from Bristol Myers Squibb could soon become a top-selling cancer drug. Meanwhile, Eli Lilly and Chinese partner Innovent have been incredibly successful with Tyvyt in China, but a speedy approval in the U.S. is still uncertain. And collaboration partners, AstraZeneca and Merck have a chance to expand Lynparza to a larger population of breast cancer patients. Read more here.
Big focus on inflation now: With the Fed being adamant about the reduction, this should be the entire focal point for the next 3 months, says BowTied Bull. If inflation begins to slow by February/March we should be off to the races again. The government will declare victory and as we open things up (and supply chain issues in China are solved by the time) we’ll see yet another big ramp-up in inflationary pressures due to rapid spending. Read more here.