Author: Gary Anglebrandt

MCD – UK Activist Group Blocks 4 McDonald's Distribution Sites, Calls For Transition To Plant-Based Food

UK Activist Group Blocks 4 McDonald's Distribution Sites, Calls For Transition To Plant-Based Food

Activist group Animal Rebellion has blockaded four McDonald’s Corp (NYSE: MCD) distribution centers in the United Kingdom.

  • The group is calling attention to the role that raising livestock plays in climate change and is pushing McDonald’s to transform into an all plant-based company by 2025.
  • Protestors are using trucks and bamboo structures to disrupt McDonald’s supply chain, Animal Rebellion said in a statement.
  • Animal Rebellion says McDonald’s is “just a symbol of a much bigger problem, the entire animal agriculture industry.”
  • The group says a transition to a plant-based food system is needed to stop the climate crisis and end the suffering of animals.
  • McDonald’s is frequently a target for activists given its size, brand recognition and emphasis on beef. Cattle-raising uses huge amounts of land and is among the main reasons behind deforestation, including in the Amazon rainforest. The meat and dairy industry also is a major source of greenhouse gases, in addition to having a reputation for factory farming. Campaigners point out that the land could be used much more efficiently to feed people by using it for plant-based food.
  • The group’s blockade began on Saturday. The activists plan to stay for 24 to 48 hours.
  • McDonald’s has 1,300 outlets in the U.K., according to the BBC.
  • McDonald’s U.K. office told the BBC that it is “assessing the impact” the protest is having on supplies.
  • The company announced in November that it plans to introduce a plant-based burger called the McPlant.
  • Beyond Meat Inc (NASDAQ: BYND) co-created the plant-based patty that is to become the McPlant, Beyond Meat said at the time.
  • McDonald’s plans could extend to chicken and breakfast sandwiches as well.

Photo courtesy Animal Rebellion.

AMC – AMC's Former Owner And Largest Shareholder Unloads Most Of Its Stake

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE: AMC) has announced that Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co. has sold off nearly all its shares in the U.S.-based theater company.

What Happened: Wanda, which had been AMC’s largest shareholder, sold off most of its shares on the open market. AMC now has some 3 million individual shareholders, and no single entity has an ownership stake above 10%, AMC said in its statement on Friday.

AMC CEO Adam Aron credited Wanda with helping to make AMC the largest movie theater operator in the world.

The sale is part of a broader set of moves by Wanda. The conglomerate has been pulling back its sizable overseas investments after having paid high prices for many assets and now is struggling with a heavy load of debt.

But the sales though did come at a favorable time for Wanda. According to Deadline, the sales took place between May 13 and May 18 when they were trading for about $14 a share. Though AMC’s share price dropped 11% in the past week, it still is up 501% year-to-date.

Wanda still holds 10,000 shares for a stake of just 0.002%. Wanda reported a 6.8% stake in April and a stake of more than a third of the company in October, according to Bloomberg.

GameStop Saga Beneficiary: AMC was among the top other stocks targeted in the GameStop Corp (NYSE: GME) short squeeze drama that began unfolding in January. The moves led by the WallStreetBets Reddit group pushed up the price of targeted stocks and caused huge losses among short sellers that had bet against the stocks.

Wanda bought AMC in 2012 for $2.6 billion, and then took the company public in 2013, retaining a majority of the total outstanding shares.

Photo by Samantha Celera on Flickr.

© 2021 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

KKR – KKR Reportedly In Talks To Buy Sustainability Consultancy ERM At $3B Valuation

Private equity giant KKR & Co Inc (NYSE: KKR) is in talks to buy U.K.-based sustainability consulting company ERM Group Inc., Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

  • The deal values ERM at $3 billion, the sources told Bloomberg.
  • ERM is owned by Omers Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management Corp., who bought ERM for in 2015 for $1.7 billion including debt, according to Bloomberg.
  • An announcement could be coming within days.
  • ERM works in a range of industries, including mining, energy and manufacturing.

Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash.

© 2021 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

KO – Coca-Cola Drops Its Coke Energy Drinks In North America

Coca-Cola Drops Its Coke Energy Drinks In North America

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is dropping its Coke Energy brand from its North American lineup.

  • In an unfortunate bit of timing, Coca-Cola introduced the brand just last year right before the pandemic hit.
  • The company hailed it at the time as the “first-ever energy drink under the Coca-Cola brand.”
  • The Coke Energy drinks — which came in regular, cherry and zero-sugar varieties — had 114 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce drink compared to 34 milligrams for a regular Coke, according to CNN.
  • The brand will still be sold in some markets outside North America, CNN said.
  • The move follows the cutting of 200 brands that Coca-Cola announced last October, with pioneering diet soda Tab among them.
  • Learn more: How to Buy Coca-Cola (KO) Stock

Photo courtesy Coca-Cola.

COIN – Ark Funds Add More Coinbase, Offload Some Tesla

Cathie Wood’s Ark funds on Friday picked up more shares of Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN), which debuted this past week, while selling off some holdings of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).

Here’s the rundown on the trades.

  • ARK bought 187,078 shares of Coinbase.
  • That amounts to nearly $64 million at the day’s closing price of $342.
  • The funds went into the flagship ARK Innovation ETF (NYSE:ARKK), as well as into the ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (NYSE:ARKW) and the Ark Fintech Innovation ETF (NYSE:ARKF).
  • Ark bought almost 1 million shares of Coinbase earlier in the week.Ark sold off 134,541 shares of Tesla — worth $99.5 million at Friday’s close.
  • The Tesla shares came out of the ARK Innovation fund and the Next Generation Internet ETF.
  • The trades follow a pattern Ark set earlier in the week on these two stocks.

Image: Courtesy of Coinbase

FB – Personal Data Of 533 Million Facebook Users Reportedly Made Available Online For Free

Personal information leaked because of an earlier vulnerability on Facebook, Inc (NASDAQ: FB) has reportedly been made freely available online.

What Happened: Business Insider reported that the personal information of 533 million Facebook users has been posted on a “low level hacking forum,” without specifying the forum.

News of the information being posted for free came from Alon Gal, co-founder & CTO of cybercrime data business Hudson Rock.

Business Insider said it had seen and verified a sampling of the records in the leaked data by cross-referencing them with the data of known Facebook users.

Business Insider said it even tried to contact the leaker on the Telegram messaging app but did not get a response.

Why It Matters: The data includes information such as phone numbers, full names and birth dates of users from 106 countries, including the U.S., the U.K. and India. 

Facebook said the data leak resulted from a vulnerability that was fixed in 2019, according to several media reports.

But now it appears the already-stolen data has resurfaced, and it could be used by in hacking and scamming attempts.

Photo from Pixabay. 

© 2021 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

AMZN – Amazon Apologizes For Tweet Amid Claims That Its Workers Pee In Bottles, Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) has issued an apology to Wisconsin congressman Mark Pocan over the issue of workers peeing into bottles.

What Happened: Amazon apologized for a tweet it posted on March 24 in response

Pocan, who said the company makes “workers urinate in water bottles.”

The company responded by saying, “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”On Friday, Amazon said this was a mistake: “This was an own-goal, we’re unhappy about it, and we owe an apology to Representative Pocan.”

The apology goes on to deny that its fulfillment centers have problems with workers and restroom breaks, while acknowledging that its drivers may have trouble finding restrooms “because of traffic or sometimes rural routes” especially during the pandemic.

“This is a long-standing, industry-wide issue and is not specific to Amazon,” the company said.

Why It Matters: The March 24 tweet was met with quick criticism, and the apology isn’t faring much better. The Verge criticized it as ungenuine, noting that the apology is to the congressman, not workers, and for claiming the issue only concerns drivers.

Amazon for years has faced accusations that workers are under so much pressure that they forgo bathroom breaks. The complaints have included both warehouse workers and drivers.

The company also is in the middle of a union battle, featuring what could be a landmark vote that has implications not just for Amazon locations, but other tech companies in the U.S. as well. Amazon’s Twitter activity on this front also has drawn heat.

Photo: Flickr/Tony Webster

© 2021 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.