Top US stocks: Hyatt Hotels, Sonos and T-Mobile

Hyatt drives its asset-light model with a deal to buy Apple Leisure Group, Sonos celebrates a win over Alphabet, T-Mobile investigates a possible major breach of data, Tencent mulls delaying its IPO for its music streaming unit, and Oatly reports record revenue.

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Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt Hotels on Sunday said it has agreed to buy Apple Leisure Group for $2.7 billion in cash from KKR as it pursues an asset-light strategy that will see it generate billions in asset disposals.

Apple Leisure Group provides management services to the largest portfolio of luxury all-inclusive resorts in the Americas under brands like Secrets, Dreams and Zoetry, and the deal will also include its membership offering, Unlimited Vacation Club, and its travel and distribution business, ALG Vacations. The addition will double Hyatt’s global resorts footprint.

This marks Hyatt’s entry into a market where it will manage hotels rather than own or lease them. It has helped underpin its ambition to sell $1.5 billion worth of assets by the end of 2021 and prompted it to commit to selling a further $2 billion worth by the end of 2024.

Alphabet and Sonos

Sonos is celebrating a win after a judge at the US International Trade Commission said Alphabet has infringed five Sonos patents, a decision that could hurt Alphabet’s ability to sell key hardware like smart speakers in the US.

A brief ruling from Charles Bullock did not elaborate on how Alphabet may have infringed the patents, and a spokesperson for the company denied any claims it uses Sonos’ technology and said it disagreed with the preliminary ruling. The full commission will review the decision by December 13.

The decision also said Alphabet’s sale of the products violates a 1930 federal tariff law designed to prevent unfair competition which, if upheld, could see a ban on Alphabet’s ability to import devices like smart speakers and phones that are made overseas in the likes of China.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has said it is investigating claims being made online that personal data of over 100 million users is up for sale, according to a report from Vice published yesterday.

The report said the forum does not mention T-Mobile by name but that the data has been obtained from T-Mobile servers. The claims suggest the data includes names, phone numbers, social security numbers, addresses and other information. The seller told Vice that he was asking for six bitcoin, worth around $270,000, for a subset of 30 million bits of data, with the rest being sold privately.

‘We are aware of claims made in an underground forum and have been actively investigating their validity. We do not have any additional information to share at this time,’ said T-Mobile in a statement to Vice.

Tencent

Tencent Music Entertainment Group is considering putting the brakes on its plan to raise $5 billion with a listing in Hong Kong amid the regulatory crackdown in China, according to reports from Nikkei Asia.

Tencent Music is the music streaming arm of giant Tencent. Unnamed sources said a listing this year of the music arm was ‘technically possible’ but said it was ‘increasingly looking like it will be difficult to meet the deadline’. Work was reportedly well underway but has slowed in recent days.

It comes after Tencent was told to give up all of its exclusive music streaming rights after it was found to be unfair, with the company having held around 80% of all streaming rights in China beforehand.

Didi

Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi said it will be more transparent with its drivers about their fees in an effort to address criticism that it pays drivers unfairly, according to Reuters.

Didi said it will initially let drivers operating in seven major Chinese cities see how much they will receive and how much customers pay for their rides through a new function on its app designed for drivers. It said there ‘are still many shortcomings with this transparent income statement that was delivered late’ and committed to improving it and expanding it to other cities.

The news comes after reports in China criticised Didi and suggested it was reaping up to 30% of the fee for each ride, prompting the firm to clarify that drivers were receiving an average of 79% of fees.

Moderna

Canada on Friday ordered 40 million more doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine and an option to order a further 65 million jabs in the future.

The agreed doses will be delivered in 2022 and 2023, while the option would provide further supplies stretching into 2024. It comes just days after Moderna signed a deal to build a local manufacturing plant to produce its vaccine in Canada.

News also broke last week that the US could start to initiate booster jabs as soon as this fall, which would undoubtedly benefit US vaccine makers like Moderna and Pfizer.

Oatly

Oatly, the oat milk maker, said 2021 was the ‘most transformational year in our company’s history’ after completing its IPO as it revealed record revenues.

Revenue rose to $146.2 million in the second quarter from $95.3 million the year before, with growth coming in strong across all geographical regions. The adjusted Ebitda loss swelled to $43.5 million from $1.2 million and its pretax loss ballooned to $58.8 million from $4.4 million. Oatly also provided full-year guidance and said it expects annual revenue to jump 64% to over $690 million as it continues to ramp-up production and capacity.

With that in mind, Oatly revealed it has decided to raise capacity at its facility in Utah to 225 million litres from the current capacity of 150 million litres. That forms part of a wider plan for its three existing facilities to have treble the capacity at the end of 2022 than they do now. It is already planning to open a new facility in China later this year.

PharmaCann

PharmaCann has confidentially filed for an initial public offering that could give the cannabis company a valuation of over $1 billion, according to Reuters.

The report suggested it is looking to dual-list in the US and Canada, according to sources, which said the listing could happen this fall. PharmaCann currently has licences to grow and sell marijuana in six US states and its dispensaries operate under the Verilife brand.

The listing is thought to be in the pipeline in order to raise cash so PharmaCann can capitalise on the launch of recreational sales in New York state that could happen as early as next year after it became the 16th state to give it the green light back in March. It is expected to be one of the most lucrative markets in the country.

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