Oracle wins race for TikTok, a flurry of deals over the weekend, and drugmaker still confident of a vaccine this year.
Oracle Corp. emerged as the winner in negotiations to take over the U.S. operations of ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok app, according to people familiar with the talks. The terms of the deal are still evolving, with the end option likely to be something closer to a corporate restructuring with Oracle taking a stake in a newly formed U.S. business. While the structure seems to be devised in order to meet recently tightened Chinese oversight rules, it is not clear whether it would pass muster with the Trump administration, which has set tomorrow as the deadline for the sale or shutdown of TikTok’s American operation.
Deals, deals… deals?
Nvidia Corp. agreed to buy SoftBank Group Corp.’s chip division Arm Ltd. for $40 billion in the semiconductor industry’s largest-ever deal. SoftBank will also raise 1.2 trillion yen ($10.4 billion) from selling about a third of its domestic wireless arm. Gilead Sciences Inc. agreed to acquire Immunomedics Inc., the maker of a promising breast-cancer therapy, for about $21 billion, or $88 a share, more than twice Friday’s closing level. The hardy perennial of merger rumors is back again this morning, with reports suggesting the chairmen of UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG are exploring a potential combination.
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Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said it’s “likely” the U.S. will deploy a Covid-19 vaccine to the public before year-end, adding that he is “quite comfortable” that the vaccine his company is developing with BioNTech SE is safe. The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc have restarted the trial of their experimental treatment after it was paused last week over concerns about a patient who fell ill. The record-breaking race to find the vaccine, which includes more than 600 projects worldwide, remains the best hope for an end to pandemic restrictions.
While global equities are generally making positive progress today, the pace remains far short of a rally. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.9% higher after members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party selected Yoshihide Suga to replace Shinzo Abe. In Europe, an early rise in the Stoxx 600 Index failed to hold, with the gauge trading unchanged by 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time. S&P 500 futures also gave up some ground while remaining firmly in positive territory, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 0.664% and gold was slightly higher.
The eco data calendar is fairly empty today, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot going on. In Washington, the increasingly hot topic of mail-in voting will get a hearing when a House committee meets on the matter. With 50 days to the election, President Donald Trump is on the campaign trail in California, while Joe Biden is due to speak on climate change and wildfires. In the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will put his plan to break international law to Parliament today. OPEC’s monthly report is published later, as crude prices remain under pressure amid continued doubts over future demand. The New York Fed will release its new repo operations schedule.