Flash Briefing: Moody’s says Eskom restructuring not enough; Tencent invests in Reddit

By Alec Hogg

In today’s global business headlines:

  • Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley yesterday announced its biggest acquisition since the global financial crisis with the $900m purchase of Canadian-headquartered Solium at a 43% premium to the ruling share price. Solium is an excellent fit for Morgan Stanley’s unit which specialises in managing stock options for 300 corporate clients including Microsoft and Ford. Solium does the same thing for 3,000 clients, most of whose 1 million younger employees work for new age businesses like Stripe and Instacart. The bank expects to be able to convert these potential future millionaires into clients of its Wealth Arm which manages over $2.3trn on behalf of over 3.5m US households.
  • While the debate about the impact of global warming continues to rage, ports around the US aren’t taking any chances after the government’s national Climate Assessment concluded that the sea level will rise significantly over the next few decades. The port of Virginia, the US’s fifth largest container port, has announced plans to invest $375m to raise electricity power cables ahead of a forecast of a one and a half foot rise in the sea level in the next 30 years. The Institute of Marine Science is forecasting a similar rise of the sea level in other major powers like Boston and New York.
  • Link sharing internet website Reddit has been valued at $3bn in a successful fundraising issue to inject $300m into the company. Reddit’s backers include Naspers associate Tencent, and Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital funds Sequoia Capital and Andreesen Horowitz. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman says Tencent’s expertise in video games brought the two parties together.
  • In South African related news, credit rating agency Moody’s says president Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to fix Eskom is not enough to address the problem. In his State of the Nation address, Ramaphosa announced plans to split South Africa’s troubled power utility into three. Moody’s says more radical restructuring is required. This came as Eskom announced the most intense power cuts in four years, taking 4,000 Megawatts out of the system by imposing level four load shedding.