Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.02.22]






Walmart Completes Asda Sale to TDR Capital, Issa Brothers

Walmart has completed its sale of Asda Group Ltd. to private equity firm TDR Capital and the gas station billionaire brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa.

On Tuesday, Walmart said that the parties had satisfied the terms of the 6.8-billion-pound deal, and that they have progressed on regulatory approvals and await approval from the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority, the government department that reviews competition issues in mergers.



Adidas is selling Reebok to focus on its own brand

Adidas says it will offload struggling US fitness brand Reebok as part of a strategic overhaul.

The German sportswear company said in a statement on Tuesday that it has decided to begin a formal process 'aimed at divesting Reebok' following a review of the business that it announced late last year.

The decision to sell Reebok was made as part of a new five-year strategy that Adidas will unveil on March 10. It bought the US label 15 years ago in a bid to expand its reach in Nike (NKE)'s home market. Reebok at the time had apparel deals with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL).



Ford vows to go all-electric in Europe by 2030

Ford is taking an aggressive approach to its electrification strategy in Europe, announcing that all its passenger vehicles will be all-electric or hybrid by mid-2026. All of its consumer vehicles will be fully electric by 2030, meaning Ford will have one of the most aggressive EV roadmaps of any European automaker. On the commercial side, the company plans to have plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or all-electric vehicles in two-thirds of its lineup by 2030.

As part of that process, Ford will invest $1 billion into its assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, allowing it to produce an all-electric model in two years. That's part of the company's recently announced $29 billion global investment in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025. 'We are charging into an all-electric future in Europe,' said Ford of Europe president Stuart Rowley.



Huawei to halve smartphones made in 2021, says report

Huawei has reportedly told suppliers that orders for its smartphones will drop by around 60% in 2021. The drop in expected phone shipments from 189 million in 2020 down to 70 million in 2021 is a result of sanctions against the Chinese smartphone maker in the US, Nikkei reported Thursday.

Huawei's phones are hugely popular globally but aren't sold in the US. Huawei was blacklisted in 2019 when it was added to the United States' entity list (PDF), with former President Donald Trump also signing an executive order essentially banning the company in light of national security concerns that Huawei had close ties with the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied that charge.



Volkswagen and Audi to resume production in Mexico after gas shortages

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican unit of Volkswagen AG will resume production of its Tiguan sports utility vehicle on Monday evening, the company said in a statement on Sunday, following gas shortages that hit swathes of Mexico last week.

Meanwhile, Audi will resume normal production levels at its plant in Puebla on Monday, after 'the supply of hydrocarbons to the industrial sector was guaranteed,' the company said on Sunday.



Pfizer launches COVID-19 vaccine trial in pregnant women

Pfizer and BioNTech have announced a new trial to evaluate their COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women.

Their vaccine, along with Moderna's, are the two mRNA vaccines currently available in the United States after being granted Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pregnant women were excluded from the first clinical trials, meaning there's limited data in this group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says getting vaccinated is a personal choice for anyone who is pregnant, and recommends people speak to their health care providers if they have questions about relative risks.



Saudi Aramco, STC and Huawei to fast track digitalisation through 5G in the oil and gas sector

Oil and gas giant, Saudi Aramco, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with STC and Huawei to compile a series of 5G use cases that will help to expedite digitalisation in the oil and gas sector.

The companies will launch a joint innovation programme for 5G technology and applications development in the oil and gas sector, according to reports in the regional press.


GSK and Vir Biotechnology enter collaboration to find coronavirus solutions

GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) and Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) today announced they have signed a binding agreement to enter into a collaboration to research and develop solutions for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The collaboration will use Vir’s proprietary monoclonal antibody platform technology to accelerate existing and identify new anti-viral antibodies that could be used as therapeutic or preventative options to help address the current COVID-19 pandemic and future outbreaks. The companies will leverage GSK’s expertise in functional genomics and combine their capabilities in CRISPR screening and artificial intelligence to identify anti-coronavirus compounds that target cellular host genes. They will also apply their combined expertise to research SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus vaccines.


Siemens and MaRS Partner to Accelerate Innovation for Startups in Development of Autonomous and Connected Vehicles

Siemens Digital Industries Software and MaRS Discovery District, a Toronto-based innovation hub, have partnered to provide over 1,400 Canadian science and technology companies with access to Siemens’ Xcelerator™ portfolio of software and services to support and accelerate the development of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies. The design and simulation software can help companies in the MaRS ecosystem conduct early design development and advanced verification of autonomous function and performance systems.

MayaHTT, a long-time Siemens partner with unique expertise in addressing complex technical challenges from chip design to full vehicle system validation will support MaRS companies with software deployment and training services.