AmEx Global Business Travel Going Public Through Merger with SPAC
Topic of the day
American Express Global Business Travel is merging with a blank-check company backed by Apollo Global Management Inc. to go public with a roughly $5.3 billion valuation, the companies said. A travel-booking services provider for corporate customers, AmEx Global Business Travel is 50% owned by American Express Co. It is combining with the special-purpose acquisition company Apollo Strategic Growth Capital. The Wall Street Journal previously reported the two sides were nearing a deal. The merger represents a vote of investor confidence in business travel despite a bumpy 2021 recovery in the industry. Although business travel is bouncing back as more people are vaccinated, new Covid-19 variants and travel restrictions continue to emerge and keep activity well below pre-pandemic levels. Paul Abbott, chief executive officer of American Express Global Business Travel, responded to plunging sales at the start of the pandemic by cutting costs.
The Swiss stock market closed little changed on Friday. The SMI lost two points to 12,176 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 10 price gainers and 9 price losers; the Sika share closed unchanged. 34.87 million shares were traded (previously: 37.63 million). The Swiss Life share was the day's winner with a plus of 1.5 percent. Market participants referred to positive statements from the Allianz capital market day. The insurer has set higher targets for profit growth in the coming years. It also wants to accelerate its profitable growth thanks to scalable business models. Allianz promises shareholders continuously rising dividends. UBS also raised its price target for Swiss Life to CHF 585 from CHF 475. The buy recommendation was confirmed. The Novartis share lost 0.3 per cent. The analysts at Bryan Garnier downgraded the papers to "Neutral" from "Buy". In addition, the price target was taken down to 85 from 115 francs previously.
European equity markets closed lower on Friday after the US reported lower-than-expected job creation last month, while investors worried about a further slowdown in the coming months due to the Omicron variant. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.6% to 462.8 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 and the SBF 120 gave up 0.4% and 0.5%, respectively. In Frankfurt, the DAX 40 dropped 0.6%, and the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.1%. German insurer Allianz SE said its U.S. life insurer had reached an agreement to reinsure liabilities of $35 billion, in one of the largest transactions of its kind. U.S. subsidiary Allianz Life struck the deal with life insurance group Resolution Life and affiliates of investment firm Sixth Street, including Talcott Resolution Life Insurance Co., for a portfolio of fixed annuities. Resolution Life, which operates in Bermuda, the U.K. and elsewhere, acquires and manages portfolios of life insurance policies. San Francisco-based Sixth Street, the former credit arm of private-equity firm TPG, manages more than $55 billion in assets. France agreed to sell $19 billion of military aircraft to the United Arab Emirates, including jet fighters, while the U.S. Gulf ally’s burgeoning security ties with China impede its purchase of advanced American combat jets. The deal, for 80 French-made Rafale F4 jet fighters and 12 Airbus Caracal combat helicopters, was unveiled on Friday during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the U.A.E.’s de facto ruler. The fighters incorporate advanced radar, targeting and weapons systems. “These contracts are important for the economy and create jobs in France,” Mr. Macron told reporters. “What is good for French men and women, I defend ardently.”
Investors punished shares of Chinese companies traded in the U.S. on Friday as Didi Global Inc. searched for ways to back out of its New York stock listing months after the initial public offering drew Beijing’s ire. The Chinese ride-hailing company’s decision to delist its American depositary shares from the New York Stock Exchange and pursue a listing in Hong Kong marked a new stage in the decoupling of Chinese companies from U.S. markets. Declines cascaded broadly through U.S.-listed Chinese firms, with stock in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. falling 8.2%, cutting some $27 billion from the company’s market value. Pinduoduo Inc. retreated 8.2%, Baidu Inc. declined 7.8%. and JD.com Inc. fell 7.7%. Elon Musk has now unloaded more than $10 billion in Tesla Inc. stock as the billionaire’s share-selling spree involving his holdings in the electric-vehicle maker stretched into a second month. Mr. Musk on Thursday sold more than 934,000 Tesla shares valued at just over $1 billion, according to regulatory filings. The sales came as Mr. Musk exercised more than 2.1 million vested Tesla stock options. The chief executive began selling shares on Nov. 8. Nearly two months earlier, on Sept. 14, he had established a plan to exercise at least some of his nearly 23 million vested stock options set to expire in August 2022 and to sell some of the shares to cover tax withholding obligations. The latest transactions are part of that plan, according to the disclosures.
The Asian and Australian stock markets trended inconsistently within narrow limits on Monday. In Japan, things are going down, pushed mainly by technology and e-commerce stocks, which had already been sold off on Wall Street. Expectations of a more hawkish Fed policy are raising investor concerns about global growth. Softbank hurtled down 7.3 per cent following recent sell-offs in portfolio companies such as Didi Global and Alibaba.
U.S. government bond yields moved higher in Asia after investors drove them to multimonth lows on Friday following the jobs data. Yields swung between advances and declines after the data but began falling later in the session.
UBS raises Swiss Life target to CHF 585 (475) – Buy
UBS lowers Intertrust to Neutral (Buy) – Target EUR 19.50 (18)
UBS raises Wizz Air to Neutral (Sell) – Target GBP 44 (40)
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