Elon Musk has lost more than $15bn (£10.65bn) in just one day after a plunge in the value of Bitcoin dented his net worth.
The Tesla and SpaceX boss is no longer the world’s wealthiest man as a result, according to estimates from Bloomberg.
Shares in the carmaker have slumped by 10.3pc to $640 at 2.50pm on Tuesday. The drop off followed a decline in Bitcoin, which was down 11.9pc on Tuesday to $46,689.
It comes two weeks after Tesla announced it added $1.5bn in Bitcoin to its balance sheet.
Elsewhere, WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann is in talks to settle his high-profile lawsuit against SoftBank while Facebook agreed to lift a news blackout in Australia.
That's all for today
We'll be back tomorrow. See you then.
Tim Cook: People should make decisions on privacy
Apple is preparing to introduce a major change to iPhone apps that will require users to opt in to personal tracking used by the likes of Facebook and Google to target adverts. The measures have led to a war between Apple and Facebook, which has said it will harm small developers who rely on advertising.
Speaking to investors at the company's annual meeting, Tim Cook has said the move simply gives users choice:
Some may wish to share more information for the purposes of targeted ads and others may not. But we believe deeply that users ought to be able to make the decision. Because otherwise, they're not the customer. They're the product. We want to be the ripple in the pond that moves the whole industry forward.
Apple has sailed through the meeting itself, with all its directors approved by shareholders and two investor motions - on changes to pay and for giving shareholders a greater say in nominating directors - were defeated.
Apple annual meeting
Apple's first annual meeting is being held virtually for the first time. Normally, the meeting is one of a handful of public events held at Apple's headquarters, but shareholders are missing that opportunity this year.
Last year, the company narrowly survived a shareholder revolt over how it deals with government censors, but there are no controversial proposals up for debate in today's meeting. More interestingly, chief executive Tim Cook will face investor questions after the procedural part of the meeting.
Tech sees wider slump
While Tesla is suffering more than most, it's a drop across the board for tech stocks. Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet shares are all down, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down almost 2pc.
The Nasdaq 100 has erased 2021 gains pic.twitter.com/haajKDiHEf
— Katie Greifeld (@kgreifeld) February 23, 2021
Elon Musk no longer the world’s wealthiest person as Bitcoin plummets
Elon Musk is no longer the world’s wealthiest person after shares in Tesla and the value of Bitcoin plummeted, wiping more than $15bn (£10.65bn) off the billionaire's net worth.
Tesla stock was down 10.3pc at 2.50pm on Tuesday, representing the biggest decline since September. Bitcoin meanwhile had dropped by 11.9pc to $46,689 at the same time.
The losses followed comments from the enigmatic founder who said over the weekend that the prices of Bitcoin and its smaller rival ethereum “seem high”. Musk sent his message via Twitter, two weeks after his electric carmaker announced it had added $1.5bn worth of Bitcoin to its balance sheet.
He has since dropped to second place on Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, behind Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos. The Tesla chief’s worth is now estimated at around $183.4bn, down from a January peak of $210bn. The slump in Musk’s worth allowed Bezos to reclaim the top spot, even though his own wealth dipped by $3.7bn to $186.3bn.
The two tech billionaires have been trading places at the top since the turn of the year as Tesla stock fluctuated.
The car manufacturer’s shares had risen as much as 25pc since the start of the year before almost all of its gain was wiped out.
Bezos had held onto the top spot for three straight years before January when Musk’s worth swelled in line with Tesla’s 794pc rally.
Two weeks after @elonmusk announced that he spent $1.5 billion of shareholder money buying Bitcoin, #Tesla stock entered a bear market, plunging 20% from its all-time high set on Jan. 25th, and 16% since disclosing the #Bitcoin buy. Not an example other CEOs will likely follow!
— Peter 🍆 Schiff (@PeterSchiff) February 22, 2021
Tesla’s recent slump has been down to the fact that the company is now tied “at the hip” with Bitcoin, according to Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush.
“Since diving into the deep end of the pool with its $1.5bn Bitcoin purchase last month for both good and bad the company's stock is now heavily tied to this digital currency,” he said.
“Perception is reality on the Street and by Musk and Tesla aggressively embracing Bitcoin - from a transactional perspective as well - investors are starting to tie Bitcoin and Tesla at the hip.”
Mr Ives said he believed the move into crypto was a “strategic one for the long-term” and that it was likely to have a ripple effect.
“That said, Tesla is an EV play entering the golden age of EVs and there is a lingering worry that the Bitcoin sideshow could overshadow the overall EV growth story playing out for Tesla in 2021 and beyond in the eyes of the Street,” he said.
Italy gives Jack Dorsey's Square and China's Tencent the green light to invest in start-up
Jack Dorsey's payments company Square and China's Tencent have received approval from Italian regulators to invest in an Italian start-up called Satispay, it has been reported.
Both companies plan to invest €15m each into the company, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. The Italian cabinet approved the deal on Monday but details of the conditions were not disclosed.
Satispay allows consumers to accept payments using any kind of device through an app.
Nikola unveils hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle lineup
Truck-maker Nikola unveiled a new lineup of hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles that have a driving range of up to 900 miles.
The new lineup includes hydrogen variants of its Tre Cabover and Two FCEV Sleeper long-haul freight trucks. The new vehicles will be targeted at the US market.
Nikola claims it will start building the prototype of the Tre in the second quarter of this year with testing and validation set to continue into 2022.
The company’s Tre battery-electric vehicle (BEV) variant currently covers up to 300 miles.
By contrast, Nikola claims the new Tre Cabover will hit distances of up to 500 miles while the Sleeper will reach up to 900 miles.
Klarna may opt for direct listing
Swedish buy now, pay later firm Klarna could list on the stock exchange without raising money by selling shares, its chief executive has said.
In an interview with Reuters, Sebastian Siemiatkowski said that it was a “very interesting concept” and stated that Spotify “did it successfully”.
“I can see it’s a more modern way of making a company public ... if you hear us having an interest in it that is true because we are interested in it,” he said. Mr Siemiatkowsi declined to comment on another private funding round where the company could raise at least $500m in the coming days.
Another funding round follows on from the $650m it raised in September from a group of investors led by Silver Lake that valued it at $11bn.
Facebook can only lose in its war on news
Facebook will restore Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented week-long blackout. The dramatic decision by the social media giant seems to have done nothing more than simply kick the can down the road, writes Harry de Quetteville:
It looks like a big win for the Australian government, and a big blow for Facebook.
But the truth is that the last minute deal which has restored news to the social media giant down under is not the clear cut, agenda setting, new era-defining reset of relations between tech power and political power in the 21st century. That may come later.
And as we wait for a final outcome both sides can claim victory: Facebook has agreed to make payments to news sites - which appears a triumph for the Australian government specifically and news media generally.
Read his full piece here.
US Lawmakers call for ambassador to represent country in Cyberspace
Lawmakers in the US are planning to introduce a new version of the Cyber Diplomacy Act today, a bill which proposes a central cyber bureau headed by an ambassador.
Both Republican and Democrat representatives are advocating for an ambassador who would advise the Secretary of State on cyber strategy.
The ambassador would liaise with foreign officials, federal agencies and private companies, while promoting regulation that benefits American businesses and also protects human rights.
Tesla plunges below price it entered S&P 500 Index
Tesla shares have sunk below the level at which the company entered the S&P 500 in December.
The stock dropped as much as 9pc to $650 (£461) in New York, after falling a similar amount on yesterday.
The electric car maker's decline arrived amid a wider market sell-off but was also thought to be fuelled by CEO Elon Musk’s Saturday Tweet that the prices of Bitcoin and rival cryptocurrency Ether “seem high.”
Yesterday, Musk lost his "world's richest person" title, after Tesla's slide wiped $15.2 billion from his net worth.
Tesla risks becoming linked to Bitcoin's fortunes
Bitcoin’s price plunge on Monday is revealing the downside of Tesla's $1.5 billion investment in the cryptocurrency, reports my colleague James Titcomb.
The cryptocurrency fell as much as 10pc yesterday. Tesla’s share price plummeted too, falling 8.6pc in the electric car company's worst day since last September.
Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said;
“With Tesla diving into the deep end of the pool on Bitcoin, Musk runs the risk that this sideshow can overshadow the fundamental electric vehicle vision in the near term for investors.
Bitcoin is the smart move at the right time for Tesla in our opinion, but on the downside it is playing with firecrackers. Musk is now tied to the Bitcoin story.”
Read the full article here.
WeWork co-founder close to settlement with SoftBank
WeWork Co-Founder Adam Neumann is in talks to settle his high-profile lawsuit against SoftBank.
Neumann filed a lawsuit last year accusing the Japanese conglomerate of "breaching their contractual commitments and fiduciary duties" by walking away from a $3 billion share buyout agreement.
Softbank said at the time co-working company WeWork had not fulfilled key conditions such as securing regulatory approvals and closing operations in China.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Neumann could now agree to an almost $500 million cut in his payout, a concession that would help WeWork move towards a second public listing attempt.
The deal currently on the table would mean Neumann sells about a quarter of his position in WeWork but remains a major shareholder. However the Wall Street Journal's source stressed the negotiations, which have been rocky at times, are ongoing and the outcome could still change.
Softbank was due to face Neumann in court next week.
SoftBank took a majority stake in WeWork after its IPO collapsed in 2019, when public investors showed concern at the money the company was losing and at Mr. Neumann’s exuberant behaviour - he is known for walking around barefoot.
Drones to deliver Covid tests in Scotland
British drone company Skyports will deliver Covid tests for the NHS in western Scotland in a UK first.
During the three month trial, Skyport drones will carry up to 3kg of Covid tests, medicine and PPE across Argyll and Bute, a region which contains 23 inhabited islands.
According to Skyports, the drones will initially operated between four hospitals and will be able to reduce travel time from up to 36 hours for a road and ferry journey to just 15 mins.
The company will run both a scheduled and on-demand service, with NHS staff able to place orders through an online system developed by Deloitte.
Stephen Whiston, Head of Strategic Planning for Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Argyll and Bute HSCP is delighted to once again be at the forefront of using this innovative technology to assess how unmanned drones can enhance our logistics operations and improve services for patients and clinicians in some of our most remote and island communities."
Cleared for take-off… In a UK first, we’ve launched a COVID-19 test #dronedelivery service for the NHS in Scotland to improve services for patients and healthcare professionals in some of the most remote communities.
Full story: https://t.co/Cvh9FLVa4p #dronesforgood #NHS
— Skyports (@SkyportsHQ) February 23, 2021
World's largest Bitcoin mine plans to go public
The German company operating the world's largest Bitcoin mine is planning to go public in New York.
Frankfurt-based Northern Data AG is working with Credit Suisse Group AG on a listing that could raise up to $500 million, according to a Bloomberg report.
The company is known for running Bitcoin mines in areas where electricity is cheap. It's facility in Texas is currently the world's largest.
Northern Data has been listed on Germany’s over-the-counter market since 2015 but over the past year, its shares have more than tripled.
Bitcoin mining has been long criticised for the heavy environmental cost that comes with the practice. You can read about it in more detail here.
Bitcoin extends losses after Musk's 'high' price tweet
Bitcoin continued to slide on Tuesday after figures including Janet Yellen and Bill Gates issued warnings over the cryptocurrency.
The price of Bitcoin slipped around 15pc on Tuesday to under $47,000, after having plunged on Monday from record highs over the weekend.
It comes after a eye-watering rally which has seen Bitcoin prices rise by almost 400pc over the past year. Last week, its market capitalisation topped $1 trillion.
However, Bitcoin took a hit from comments by Elon Musk, a strong advocate for the cryptocurrency, over the weekend, where he said prices "seem high".
Earlier this week, Bill Gates said was not bullish on Bitcoin and was concerned about investors who did not have "as much money to spare" as Musk.
Janet Yellen, meanwhile, branded Bitcoin an “inefficient” way of conducting transactions.
Cazoo pounces on German car subscription company
Online car dealership Cazoo has continued its acquisition spree, snapping up Cluno, Germany’s leading consumer car subscription platform, as it eyes international expansion.
Cluno works by users paying monthly subscription fees for their cars as well as maintenance, service, warranty, tax and insurance.
It comes as the latest purchase by Cazoo, founded by veteran entrepreneur Alex Chesterman, which has been bulking out its operations over the past year.
Last week, reports emerged that the company had hired bankers for a public float, which could value it as high as £6bn.
Chesterman, who founded Zoopla, told the Telegraph last summer that Covid-19 had accelerated the trend for people to buy cars online. "If you surveyed people in the second half of 2019, which we did, and asked what percentage of them would be prepared to be keen to buy a car online. That number has now doubled.”
Tesla rival Lucid to go public in $24bn deal
Luxury electric car maker Lucid is set to go public in the biggest SPAC deal to date, landing an equity value of around $24bn.
The company will be joining the public markets by merging with a blank-check firm controlled by dealmaker Michael Klein, Churchill Capital IV Corp.
The move comes amid growing interest in the electric vehicle space, as more countries put in place tougher emissions restrictions. The UK, for example, is banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030.
Lucid is run by a former Tesla engineer, Peter Rawlinson, who told the Telegraph in 2020 that there was a gap for luxury electric vehicles.
"There isn’t a luxury EV available for anyone to buy anywhere in the world. I’m not hammering Tesla unduly here, I’m just an observer, I’m being pretty analytical. I think they’re beautifully engineered, super products, but not true luxury.”
Facebook 'won't be forced into news negotiations'
Facebook has said it will not be forced into negotiations to pay for news on its site, as it agreed to lift a news blackout in the country.
The company said it had received clarification from Australia that it would "retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation".
It said Australia had also agreed to give Google and Facebook more time to agree private deals with publishers, before the case was referred to a government-appointed arbitrator.
It will be reversing the news ban in the "coming days", after reaching a deal with Australia.
It brings to an end a week-long standoff which led to widespread criticism from politicians across the globe who warned the step to block news was harming democracy. Facebook took the step ahead of the introduction of a new media code in Australia which requires it to pay for news which appears on its site.
Facebook said it would be investing in news globally, but would continue to "resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook."
Five things to start your day
The Collison brothers, the duo behind the payments firm Stripe, were previously worth $4.3bn each.
Canada, the UK and Europe may force Facebook to pay for news, a move that critics say might cause a splintering of the internet.
The Lucid Air is taking on Tesla and due to go into production next year.
Competition Appeal Tribunal says US is appropriate forum for competition case, but grants right to proceed against Google.
The group's new shopping features in the UK will be seen as its latest effort to capitalise on the recent surge in ecommerce.
Coming up today
Apple Annual General Meeting at 5pm and Square results at 9pm