WeWork postponed its ipo amid tepid interest from investors and a drop in its expected stockmarket value. The office-rental firm has never made a profit and was trying to go public amid market doubts about the prospects for other loss-making startups that have floated shares this year. Adam Neumann, WeWork’s hipsterish CEO, said he was “humbled” by the experience.
Another blockbuster ipo that was shelved earlier this year was back on track, but in a much slimmer form. Anheuser-Busch InBev started taking orders for an offering of shares in its Asian division minus its Australian business, which it sold after pulling the ipo two months ago. The brewer will float the shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange at the end of the month.
Under pressure from an activist investor, at&t was reportedly considering whether to divest its Direc tv business, a satellite-media provider that the telecoms giant acquired in 2015 as part of its diversification strategy. Elliott, an activist hedge fund, revealed recently that it has bought a stake in at&t and criticised its management’s approach to acquisitions, which has saddled the company with around $160bn in net debt.
The United Automobile Workers union held its first strike at General Motors since 2007. Around 48,000 employees downed tools, disrupting more than 50 factories and car-parts warehouses. A collective-bargaining deal agreed to in 2015 has expired, but the company says the pay rises and other terms in a new contract are generous. The union argues that it made sacrifices when GM faced bankruptcy in 2009, and that its workers should be rewarded for creating “a healthy, profitable industry”.
Facebook announced its plans for an independent “oversight board” to regulate decisions it makes about censorship on the social network. The board will hear its first cases in 2020, and will eventually have 40 members.
Sandoz stopped distributing its Zantac heartburn medicine while regulators investigate the presence of an impurity called NDMA, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen. The Swiss drugmaker said that this was a precautionary measure.
The move towards autonomous cars stepped up a gear when Shanghai became the first city in China to allow test vehicles to carry passengers. The riders will be volunteers and a driver will sit in the car, but if there are no accidents on Shanghai’s complex and busy road system the three car firms that have been granted the permits will get the green light to increase their fleets.