Top US stocks to watch: Goldman Sachs, CNH International and American Airlines

Goldman Sachs launches transaction banking in the UK, CNH to buy Raven Industries, American Airlines trims its flight schedule, Germany launches an investigation into Apple, GameStop’s new CEO formally takes over, Tesla’s ex-president sells shares, and SentinelOne plots its IPO.

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Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs has launched Transaction Banking, also known as TxB, in the UK following a successful launch in the US last year.

The business has secured over 250 clients, taken on $35 billion worth of deposits and processed trillions of dollars through its system since being launched in the US last June and it is now hoping to replicate the success in the UK, where it will gradually introduce services allowing companies to handle the likes of payment processing and payroll.

It follows on from Goldman Sachs launching its retail brand Marcus in the UK back in 2018. JPMorgan recently announced it was launching a digital bank in the UK, demonstrating the country’s appeal to the big US banks.

CNH International

CNH International has agreed to takeover Raven Industries for around $58 per share, giving the maker of precision technology used in the agriculture industry an enterprise value of around $2.1 billion, representing CNH’s biggest deal since being formed in 2013.

The two companies have been working together for years and CNH hopes acquiring Raven will strengthen its position in the agriculture equipment market. Chief executive Scott Wine said precision agriculture and autonomy were ‘critical components of our strategy’.

The price represents over a 33% premium to Raven’s volume-weighted average price over the last four weeks and the deal is expected to close in the final quarter of 2021.

American Airlines

American Airlines said on Sunday it had to cancel hundreds of flights over the weekend due to staff shortages, maintenance and other issues, prompting it to trim its schedule by 1% in July to prevent it from stretching its services.

The cancellations over the weekend represented around 3% of its total flights. Half of the cancellations were due to a lack of staff, according to CNBC, with weather damage raising the need for maintenance also causing disruption. The reduction in flights in July is designed to help alleviate some of the pressure.

Tesla

Jerome Guillen, the former president of Tesla, has sold shares in the electric carmaker worth around $274 million after leaving the business earlier this month.

Filings revealed Guillen sold 215,718 shares for $129 million on June 15, 145,289 shares for $89.6 million on June 14, and 90,111 shares for $55 million on June 10. A report from GLJ Research suggested the sale represented a significant reduction in exposure by Guillen, stating he has dropped his interest from around 1.3 million shares to around 150,000 over the last week.

Westlake Chemical

Westlake Chemical has agreed to buy Australian firm Boral’s North American building products business for $2.15 billion in cash in deal that should close later this year once regulatory approval has been secured.

The deal will see Westlake buy the business in roofing, siding, trim and shutters, decorative stone and windows, which will be combined with Westlake’s existing building products business. The business being bought from Boral generated over $1 billion in revenue during the 12 months to the end of June 2020.

Boral’s North American business currently has around 4,600 staff and has 29 manufacturing sites in the US and Mexico.

Pershing Square Tontine

SPAC Pershing Square Tontine has now entered into a definitive agreement regarding its deal to buy a 10% in the world’s largest music label, Universal Music Group, for $4 billion.

This is not a traditional blank-cheque deal. The shares in Universal will be distributed to PSTH shareholders once the music label has been listed in Amsterdam later this year. PSTH will then continue as a smaller SPAC to search for a new deal, and investors will also have the opportunity to invest in a new vehicle that will also hunt for a new acquisition.

Apple

German antitrust officials have launched an investigation into Apple, which now joins Facebook, Amazon and Google under the regulator’s spotlight.

It follows on from new rules coming into play for large digital companies, which allows regulators to intervene earlier when they believe anti-competitive practices are at play. It is primarily focusing on whether Apple’s operating system and wider ecosystem of products and services means it holds too strong a position. It said the App Store would be a ‘main focus’ of the investigation.

Similar investigations have already been launched by officials in Germany against the three other members of big US tech companies.

GameStop

GameStop has appointed chief executive Matt Furlong to its board of directors with immediate effect, marking the formal departure of his predecessor George Sherman.

GameStop picked Furlong, a former Amazon executive, as its new CEO earlier this month and also welcomed another former Amazon alumni Mike Recupero as chief financial officer as it looks to tap into their expertise in ecommerce to help digitise and transform GameStop so it is fit for the digital age.

Sherman is the last member of the old guard to leave GameStop and today will make the formal handover to the new board, which has been spearheaded by Ryan Cohen, the founder of online pet food store Chewy who became chairman of GameStop earlier this year.

Moderna

Moderna is reported to be adding two new production lines at its manufacturing facility in Massachusetts making coronavirus vaccines to help it boost capacity in preparation for rolling-out booster shots of its jab, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The two additional lines will boost capacity at the plant by 50%, with the WSJ citing company officials.

SentinelOne

Cybersecurity firm SentinelOne has filed for an initial public offering and is targeting a valuation of up to $7 billion by selling 32 million shares between $26 to $29 apiece.

The company, founded in 2013, uses artificial intelligence to help protect phones and laptops from security threats, which saw a boost in demand during the pandemic as people shifted to remote working.

Revenue rose to $93.1 million in the year to the end of January 2021 from $46.5 million the year before, but its pretax loss widened significantly to $117.1 million from $76.3 million. It has over 4,700 customers and annual recurring revenue doubled year-on-year.

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