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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have finalized the terms of their divorce — and she's set to come out of it as one of the richest women in the world

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 4:31pm

  • Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have finalized the terms of their divorce. On Thursday, they both released statements on Twitter.
  • The couple first announced their plans to divorce in January, leading to speculation on how they would divide their fortune.
  • Jeff Bezos — founder and current CEO of Amazon — is set to remain the world's richest person with 75% of the couple's Amazon shares, while MacKenzie Bezos is positioned to become one of the world's richest women after retaining 25% of the shares.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

MacKenzie Bezos is set to become one of the richest women in the world after her divorce.

On Thursday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced that they had finalized the terms of their divorce. Following 25 years of marriage, news of their impending divorce first broke in January.

Read more: Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have finalized the terms of their divorce— here's what typically happens when billionaires break up

MacKenzie announced in a Twitter statement that she will retain 25% of the former couple's Amazon shares, while Jeff will keep 75% along with voting control of the shares she retains. MacKenzie will also be giving him her stakes in the Washington Post and Blue Origin.

Jeff is still set to remain the richest person alive; his current net worth is nearly $150 billion.

Following the divorce, MacKenzie will join the ranks of the world's richest women, among them Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, who inherited the L'Oreal fortune in 2017; Alice Walton, one of the three Walmart heirs; Jacqueline Mars of the Mars candy dynasty; and Laurene Powell-Jobs, who has significant stakes in Apple and Disney.

SEE ALSO: MacKenzie Bezos played a big role in the founding of Amazon and drove across the country with Jeff to start it

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Judge orders Elon Musk and the SEC to put on their 'reasonableness pants' and work things out (TSLA)

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 4:22pm

  • Lawyers for Tesla CEO Elon Musk sparred with government lawyers in federal court on Thursday.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission had accused Musk of violating his settlement agreement with the regulatory agency by tweeting that the company would make 500,000 cars this year.
  • Elon Musk attended the hearing but did not testify.
  • Judge Alison Nathan ordered the two parties to take two weeks and find a new resolution. 

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that Tesla CEO Elon Musk and federal regulators with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should hold further mediation to come up with a new way to monitor the billionaire’s tweets.

Musk and the SEC have been embroiled in a legal battle since August, when the CEO tweeted that he intended to take Tesla private at $420 per share. In a $20 million settlement with the stock regulator, Musk agreed to have his external communications vetted by a Tesla lawyer.

That all came to a breaking point in February when the SEC asked a judge to find Musk in contempt of court, accusing him of violating that agreement by tweeting that Tesla would make 500,000 cars in 2019.

Read more: Elon Musk and the SEC are in a fierce battle over one of Musk's tweets — here's what you need to know about their dispute

In Thursday’s hearing at a packed courthouse in Manhattan, lawyers for Musk and the SEC made their cases in 45-minute oral arguments. The hearing ended with a simple order from Judge Alison Nathan: make a new resolution. SEC lawyers also said they want to set up a framework for future violations, including escalating fines. 

"My call to action is for everyone to take a deep breath, put your reasonableness pants on and work this out,” she said, according to reporters in the courtroom.

As he left the courthouse, Musk said he was “very happy” with the outcome, according to Bloomberg, and that he was very impressed with the judge’s analysis.

.@elonmusk ouside court says he'll "most likely" settle the SEC's push to have him held in contempt, within the next two weeks. @tictoc #TSLA @law

— Bob Van Voris (@BobVanVoris) April 4, 2019


SEE ALSO: Minute-by-minute: How Elon Musk faces off with SEC in court

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2 drug giants are feuding over a highly successful new migraine drug, and court documents reveal how profitable the $10 billion market could be

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 4:07pm

  • Two drugmakers, Amgen and Novartis, have worked together for years on a new type of cutting-edge migraine drug, Aimovig.
  • Now they're involved in a bitter fight. Amgen is trying to get out of the collaboration, while Novartis is suing Amgen to keep it in place. 
  • Aimovig costs roughly $7,000 a year and was the first of a new category of migraine drugs to get to market. The lawsuit provides a window into how successful it has been and how much Novartis stands to lose in the disagreement.

Years ago, two big drugmakers partnered to bring a new kind of cutting-edge migraine medication to patients.

The collaboration was wildly successful — maybe too successful.

One of the collaborators, the $120 billion drug company Amgen, is now trying to get out of the agreement with the $220 billion Swiss drug giant Novartis

But Novartis isn't taking it lying down. The drug giant just sued Amgen, alleging that its partner doesn't have a legitimate reason to end the collaboration. Novartis even accused Amgen of trying to keep all the profits from the migraine drug for itself. 

The squabble, now poised to play out in court, comes as their product, Aimovig, leads a new and competitive category of migraine drugs that could be worth as much as $10 billion.

The drugs cost roughly $7,000 a year in the US, and about 210,000 American patients have taken Aimovig so far, with about 20,000 patients outside the US, according to the Novartis complaint.

"In the short time since it has been launched in the US, the product has become a runaway success and the number of patients being treated has vastly exceeded what Amgen and Novartis Pharma projected," the complaint, which was filed on Thursday, says. 

Millions of Americans suffer from migraines, and about 3 million to 7 million have chronic debilitating migraines each month. Though many think of migraines as simply head pain, those who get them also often experience vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to lights, smells, and sounds. 

A new class of migraine drugs aim to offer relief to those who experience migraines more frequently. Aimovig was the first to get approved in the US, and others quickly followed.

(The companies will work to make sure the disagreement won't affect patient access, Amgen told Business Insider in a statement.)

Read more: The FDA just approved a new kind of medication that could change the way we treat a condition that affects 38 million Americans

A yearslong collaboration, now threatened by a dispute

The collaboration between Novartis and Amgen on Aimovig dates back to 2015.

The origins of their quarrel also started that year, when a unit of Novartis called Sandoz began working with another migraine company, the biotech Alder Biopharmaceuticals. Sandoz was manufacturing the experimental migraine drug ALD403 at a factory in Austria. 

Novartis said it found out about the agreement only this past summer and, in the interest of being a good partner, gave Amgen a heads up.

Amgen objected, and the two companies have been going back and forth about it since then. On Tuesday, Amgen gave Novartis notice that it wanted to terminate their collaboration. 

Alder's ALD403 has indeed been positioned as a rival product to Aimovig and other already approved drugs from the generic drugmaker Teva and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. They all use a similar scientific approach to treating migraines preventatively, or before they happen. 

Read more: Drugmakers are using an unusual tactic to compete in a new class of medication treating the 38 million Americans who have migraines

Novartis says it risks losing more than $500 million

But in the complaint, which was filed in the Southern District of New York, Novartis said that ALD403 isn't really a threat to Aimovig.

The experimental drug, which hasn't been approved anywhere, "differs significantly from, and will not fully compete with, Aimovig," Novartis' complaint says. That's because it will be the fourth type of new migraine product and has to be injected by a doctor at their office, while patients can self-inject Aimovig. 

The Swiss drug giant also said it has invested too much in Aimovig to get cut out now, having spent about $530 million to help out with the US launch last May.

Amgen gets the bulk of US sales for Aimovig, which amounted to roughly $120 million last year, and pays royalties to Novartis. Novartis, meanwhile, gets commercial rights outside the US under their agreement.

And while the companies haven't disclosed how that breaks down, most assume they're roughly splitting profits, the Mizuho analyst Salim Syed said. 

Ending the agreement now would mean doing so "before Novartis Pharma has come close to earning a return on its investment," Novartis said.

"Amgen's purpose is all too apparent," the complaint adds. "On the heels of Aimovig's successful launch, Amgen wants to cut Novartis Pharma out of the future sales of Aimovig in the U.S."

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The SEC revealed the punishment it wants Elon Musk to face if he violates the terms of their settlement in the future (TSLA)

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 3:41pm

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reportedly told a judge in New York City on Thursday that it wants Tesla CEO Elon Musk to face increasing fines if he violates the terms of their 2018 settlement in the future.
  • It is unclear whether a fine would be the extent of the punishment the agency believes Musk should receive for a February tweet that the SEC said did not comply with their settlement.
  • But it now appears unlikely that the SEC would want to bar Musk from serving as Tesla's CEO, a punishment the agency sought in its 2018 lawsuit over one of Musk's tweets.
  • You can follow along for the latest in Thursday's hearing here.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) told a judge in New York City on Thursday that it wants Tesla CEO Elon Musk to face increasing fines if he violates the terms of their 2018 settlement in the future, Bloomberg reported.

It is unclear from the Bloomberg report if a fine is the extent of the punishment the agency believes Musk should receive for a February tweet that the SEC said violated their settlement. But it now appears unlikely that the SEC would want to bar Musk from serving as Tesla's CEO, a punishment the agency sought in its 2018 lawsuit over one of Musk's tweets.

Judge Alison Nathan said on Thursday that she will direct Musk and the SEC to revise their settlement, according to Bloomberg.

Read more: LIVE: Elon Musk faces off with SEC in court

In February, the SEC asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt of the court that approved their 2018 settlement after Musk tweeted out a projection about vehicle production. The SEC said in a court filing that Musk had violated the terms of their settlement by not receiving approval from Tesla before publishing the tweet.

The settlement followed an August 2018 tweet from Musk saying he had obtained the funding necessary to take Tesla private at $420 per share. The SEC sued Musk over that tweet, saying that Musk was not as close to acquiring funding for the deal as he indicated. Their settlement required Musk to step down as the chairman of Tesla's board of directors for three years, pay a $20 million fine, and receive approval for all future written communications that could be relevant to Tesla shareholders.

Got a Tesla tip? Contact this reporter at

SEE ALSO: 'By whatever means necessary': Tesla leaves some customers in the lurch as it rushes to deliver cars by the end of the quarter

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A California company tested 20 popular CBD products and found 'insanely high levels' of dangerous chemicals and misleading labels

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 3:38pm

  • CannaSafe, a California cannabis-testing company, conducted a blind analysis of 20 popular CBD products.
  • Just three of them, or 15%, actually contained what the labels said, the study found. The results were shared exclusively with Business Insider.
  • Some of the products also contained dangerously high levels of solvents, Aaron Riley, CannaSafe's CEO, said in an interview.
  • The test results point to the challenges of meeting the huge demand for a product that was illegal just months ago.

It's no secret that CBD is booming.

The nonpsychoactive component of cannabis has shown up in products from face masks and lotions to cupcakes and infused lattes. And some CBD brands have even signed deals with mainstream pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens to sell CBD topicals on shelves.

Analysts at the investment bank Cowen expect the CBD market to grow from about $1 billion today to more than $16 billion by 2025.

There's just one problem: Most CBD products actually contain very little CBD, a blind analysis of 20 CBD products conducted by CannaSafe Laboratories, a California cannabis-testing company, found.

Read more: The FDA is putting together a group of experts to figure out how to handle the $1 billion CBD industry

On top of that, the analysis found that many of the tested products — which included vape cartridges, beverages, candies, and creams — contained dangerous gases like ethylene oxide and ethanol that are especially harmful when heated and inhaled.

The results of the study were shared exclusively with Business Insider. It found that out of the 20 popular products tested, only three actually matched what the labels claimed.

The tests were conducted blindly for accuracy. The names of the manufacturers weren't reported.

"The results were a little bit worse than I expected," Aaron Riley, the CEO of CannaSafe, said in an interview with Business Insider. "I expected to see like 20% to 30% pass, but it wasn't, like, a total shocker."

Based in Van Nuys, California, CannaSafe uses state-of-the-art chromatographs to test cannabis products for things like potency, pesticides, heavy metals, and assorted microbes on behalf of what Riley said is over 700 clients, mostly smaller cannabis brands.

Riley said some of the tested products had "insanely high levels" of solvents that are particularly dangerous when vaporized and inhaled.

Only about one-eighth of the California market is compliant with regulations, according to Riley. Within that subset, the failure rate is low, with about 5% or 6% of products failing, Riley said.

But things are steadily improving. Riley said that since his company started testing cannabis products in 2017, the failure rate had dropped dramatically from about 70% percent.

While California's Bureau of Cannabis Control earlier this year rolled out regulations around what is and isn't allowed in cannabis products — and has mandated that products be tested in certified labs — CBD is still in a legal gray area at the federal level.

"I'd say the regulations have been very effective in terms of mitigating risk and harm for consumers," Riley said. "I think we're going to see that kind of across the board. And probably in two or three years, it's going to be even lower than that."

'They just see dollar signs'

The problems with these products highlight the challenges of creating supply chains to meet the huge appetite for a product that was illegal just months ago.

After California introduced testing regulations earlier this year, a report from the industry website Leafly said that test results of Chinese-made vapes were showing they often contained lead, which leaches into the cannabis oil and then into the consumer's bloodstream. These products simply weren't being rigorously tested before, the report said.

And in other states, like Oregon, audits have found that laboratory testing standards were often inadequate, exposing consumers of medical and recreational cannabis to harmful pesticides, a risk compounded when the product is combusted and inhaled.

Read more: Wall Street thinks the $1 billion market for CBD could explode to $16 billion by 2025

To Riley, the quality of the operators — and thus the product — boils down to experience.

"There's all these people that are running towards this industry — they just see dollar signs or whatever," Riley said. "You have a very, very fast-growing economy."

The most successful operators, Riley said, come from "correlating industries," like agricultural management, and have experience growing large amounts of crops safely, rather than just "growing weed in their garage."

Illicit or "black market" cannabis products still use lots of pesticides — it's cheaper and easier than growing cannabis in a safer way, and there's no incentive to test illegal products.

CBD entrepreneurs welcome more regulation and clarity

Some CBD brands have said they would welcome more regulatory clarity from the federal government.

Since Congress passed last year's farm bill, which legalized hemp, many in the industry thought it would be legal to infuse products with hemp-derived CBD. But health departments in some states, including New York, have forced retailers and restaurants to pull food products with CBD off their shelves.

The Food and Drug Administration's outgoing commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, has formed a working group to "explore potential pathways" for dietary supplements and CBD-infused food products to be "conventionally marketed."

The FDA is holding a public hearing on the issue in May. The core challenge is whether CBD is a drug and should thus be regulated and sold like a pharmaceutical, or whether it can be considered a food additive or supplement and sold on store shelves.

CBD's existence in a gray area federally "isn't good for the industry or consumers," said Kerrigan Behrens, a former investment banker who's the cofounder and chief marketing officer of Sagely Naturals, a CBD company in Los Angeles.

"We hold ourselves to the same standards as any other" over-the-counter product, Behrens said. "Lots of brands aren't doing that."

Peter Horvath, the CEO of Green Growth Brands, a cannabis company that owns a branded line of CBD products distributed in traditional retailers like DSW and the Simon Property Group, said in a previous interview that more stringent regulation on the FDA's part would hurt competitors.

"If the FDA came down hard, our competitors would be sitting on inventory they couldn't sell," Horvath said. "If I'm being malicious, I hope they come down hard."

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Here's how Elon Musk's tussle with federal regulators went down in court (TSLA)

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 3:36pm

  • Federal regulators and Elon Musk are set to face off in federal court in New York on Thursday. 
  • The SEC has asked the judge to find Musk in contempt of court for allegedly violating his settlement with the agency. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his legal team have arrived for a Thursday court hearing in the case against him brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The legal spat dates back to Musk's September 2018 tweet that he was looking to take Tesla private at $420 per share. That go-private bid did not work out, and resulted in two, $20 million settlements between both Tesla and Musk with the SEC.

Musk also agreed to have his tweets monitored by a company employee, but Tesla has not disclosed who that “twitter sitter” is. That was fine, until Musk tweeted on February 19 that Tesla would make 500,000 cars in 2019 — a substantial deviation from what the company had told investors in its regulatory filings.

Despite a correction about four hours later that morning, the SEC accused Musk of violating the agreement and asked the court to find him in contempt of court. 

Full coverage: Elon Musk and the SEC are in a fierce battle over one of Musk's tweets — here's what you need to know about their dispute

Musk's lawyers have argued in subsequent filings that the SEC is overreaching in asking the court to find Musk in contempt. According to Musk's attorneys, the SEC was attempting to expand the settlement's scope to include any of Musk's tweets about Tesla, regardless of their relevance to shareholders.

"Such a broad prior restraint would violate the First Amendment," Musk's lawyers said.

The hearing, in US District Court for the Southern District of New York, kicked off off at 2pm Eastern. Business Insider has a reporter inside the courtroom — follow along for live updates by refreshing this page:

SEE ALSO: JPMORGAN: Tesla just undermined Elon Musk's defense against the SEC

1:30pm: Elon Musk arrives in court

Elon Musk, clad in a dark suit and tie, showed up to the hearing in Lower Manhattan around 1:30 pm, and was spotted in the security line to enter the courthouse. 

"I have great respect for the jugdes and the justice system, and I think that judges... the American system are outstanding," Musk said on his way in, according to Reuters. 

Tweet Embed:
.@Lebeaucarnews: "What about the SEC?"@elonmusk:

"We love you Elon," some fans yelled as he made his way from a White Tesla car up the steps of the courthouse. 

2pm: The hearing has kicked off

Judge Alison Nathan took the bench at the hearing's scheduled start time, according to Bloomberg. Each side — Musk and the SEC — will have 45 minutes for oral arguments. 

The courtroom is completely full, with 40-50 spectators overflowing into the jury stalls. 


2:10pm: SEC argues Musk does not intend to comply with the settlement

Cheryl Crumpton, representing the SEC, said "it's become pretty clear over the course of the last few weeks" that Musk never intended to comply with the settlement. 

"Unless something is obviously immaterial it needs to get pre-approval," she said in response to questions from the judge about what kind of tweets require pre-approval.

"Tesla still appears to be unwilling to exercise any meaningful control over the conduct of its CEO," she said.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tesla says it delivered about 63,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2019, a 31% drop from Q4 2018 (TSLA)

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 8:56pm

  • Tesla produced 77,100 vehicles in the first quarter of 2019, the company said on Wednesday.
  • Analysts polled by Bloomberg were expecting total production to be 64,400 vehicles.
  • Tesla's stock price sank $0.39, or slightly more than 0.1%, in after-hours trading following the announcement.

Tesla on Wednesday released total vehicle-production and delivery numbers for the first quarter of 2019, which ended on Sunday.

Here are the important figures:

  • Total production: 77,100
  • Total deliveries: 63,000
  • Model 3 deliveries: 50,900
  • Model S and Model X deliveries: 12,100.

Wall Street analysts' average estimate for total production was 64,400 cars, according to Bloomberg.

Tesla had previously warned in its fourth-quarter update to investors that first-quarter numbers for Model S and Model X would likely come in "slightly below" the prior year's figures for the same period. In the first quarter of 2018, the company produced 24,728 Model S and Model X vehicles.

Tesla cited challenges it encountered with deliveries overseas.

"We had only delivered half of the entire quarter’s numbers by March 21, ten days before end of quarter," Tesla said in a press release Wednesday night. "This caused a large number of vehicle deliveries to shift to the second quarter."

Like many other previous quarters, this deadline was also met with an all-hands-on-deck rush to meet internal targets by Tesla. Emails from CEO Elon Musk, which Business Insider obtained in March, to company employees highlighted how important this quarterly deadline was for the company.

Read more: Tesla is planning an exclusive event to show off its self-driving car tech — but Americans still have major fears about autonomy

Shares of the company fell $0.39, or slightly more than 0.1%, in after-hours trading following the production report, according to Markets Insider data.

Tesla is expected to report its first-quarter financials soon, but it has not yet confirmed a release date. Musk said in February that the company would likely dip back into the red for this quarter — a departure from his previous statements about the company's continued profitability — as it expanded into Europe and China.

The company did not provide an update on how many $35,000 Model 3 orders it received. The company began taking orders for the long-awaited base model in February.

More Tesla news:

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk just emailed all Tesla employees to address 'uncertainty' around the company's plan to close stores

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$10 billion identity startup Okta launches a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in startups using blockchain and AI (OKTA)

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 6:39pm

  • At its customer conference Oktane, cloud identity manager Okta announced a $50 million fund to invest in the next generation of identity and authentication startups.
  • The fund will focus on early-stage investments in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain startups.
  • The fund’s first investment is in Trusted Key, a blockchain-based digital identity platform that had previously raised $3 million.

Today, cloud identity management provider Okta unveiled Okta Ventures, a $50 million in-house venture fund focusing on early-stage identity and authentication startups that use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain technology.

Announced on-stage at the company’s annual customer conference in San Francisco, Okta Ventures’ first investment is in Trusted Key, a blockchain-based digital identity company that had previously raised $3 million. While Okta isn't disclosing the amount, the investment speaks to the company's interest in using blockchain to improve its flagship tool, which helps customers log in to multiple work apps with just their corporate username and password.

Read More: Okta's cofounder explains why it's buying an automation startup for $52.5 million in its biggest deal yet

The company says that the fund will invest in existing Okta partners in addition to other identity management startups. Portfolio companies will have access to Okta’s products for the first year, in addition to the ability to build products that integrate with Okta’s technology.

“We expect the partnerships with our portfolio companies to extend our platform, and we’re committed to providing significant value to these early stage startups,” said Okta Cofounder and COO Frederic Kerrest in a prepared statement. “Trusted Key is a perfect example of a young company working on a big idea, and we look forward to collaborating to shape the future of identity.”

According to a TechCrunch report, Okta Ventures will invest between $250,000 and $2 million in eight to 10 early-stage businesses per year.

Okta went public in 2017 in one of the first pure-cloud subscription-based company IPOs. It raised $231 million from Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock, Khosla Ventures, and Floodgate before going public.

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Democratic lawmaker asks IRS for 6 years of Trump's tax returns

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 6:30pm

  • The House Ways and Means Committee chairman has asked the Internal Revenue Service for six years of President Donald Trump's tax returns.
  • "We have completed the necessary groundwork for a request of this magnitude and I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal, and oversight rights," Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts said.
  • The request spans a number of Trump's businesses, including a revocable trust, limited-liability companies he controls and his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

US House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has asked the Internal Revenue Service to provide six years of President Donald Trump's personal and business tax returns.

"We have completed the necessary groundwork for a request of this magnitude and I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal, and oversight rights," Neal said in a statement on Wednesday announcing the request.

Neal, who is the only House of Representatives member authorized by law to request Trump's returns, has been under pressure to act from some Democratic lawmakers and outside groups. He reportedly gave the IRS a deadline of April 10 to furnish the tax returns.

Read more: Trump says he deserves to lose in 2020 if the Green New Deal becomes reality, refers to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a 'young bartender'

Asked about the Democrats' request for six years of tax returns, Trump replied to reporters on Wednesday: "Is that all?"

"Usually it's ten," Trump said. "So I guess they're giving up."

Trump defied decades of precedent as a presidential candidate by refusing to release the tax documents and has continued to keep them under wraps as president, saying his returns were under audit by the IRS.

Democrats hope that obtaining the returns will allow them to identify any conflicts of interest posed by Trump’s global business empire.

Republicans oppose the effort, saying such a move would set a dangerous precedent by turning the confidential tax documents of a US citizen into a political weapon.

SEE ALSO: Trump says he deserves to lose in 2020 if the Green New Deal becomes reality, refers to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a 'young bartender'

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JPMorgan retakes the crown as Wall Street's top dealmaker

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 6:10pm

  • JPMorgan reclaimed the crown from Goldman Sachs as the leading merger advisor during the first quarter of 2019.
  • The bank increased its merger-deal volume by 33% to overtake rival Goldman, whose volume was up 3.3% year-over-year.
  • JPMorgan was the top dealmaker in the US while Goldman headed the class in Europe.

JPMorgan led global mergers for the first quarter of 2019 with $322 billion of announced transactions globally, according to data compiled by MergerMarket. The banking giant has regularly been among the top merger advisers in recent years.

Over 3,500 mergers were announced globally worth a total of $802 billion in the first quarter, a 15% decrease from the prior year, according to MergerMarket. JPMorgan advised on over 40% of the deal volume over 56 transactions, while Goldman was second with a 35% share. JPMorgan's surge to the top of the table occurred thanks to a 33% year-over-year jump in deal volume.

The Jamie Dimon-led JPMorgan saw a big boost from its role as lead advisor to Celgene in its $74 billion sale to Bristol-Myers Squibb. Goldman was notably absent on the deal, a rare miss for the firm on a leading transaction. Morgan Stanley served as the lead adviser to Bristol-Myers Squibb. Overall, US deals comprised of more than half of the global deal volume for only the third quarter since 2007, MergerMarket said.

Both JPMorgan and Goldman advised on the largest deal outside the US, whereby the world's largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, purchased the chemical firm Saudi Basic Industries for $69 billion.

Citi, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch rounded out the top-five slots, showcasing the dominance of bulge-bracket firms. Boutique adviser Evercore leapt from 15th to sixth place in the rankings while rival Lazard fell from fourth to 13th.


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Roku drops after report says Amazon is turning up the heat on streaming (ROKU)

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 6:09pm

  • Roku shares dropped Wednesday afternoon following a report that said Amazon was looking to expand its streaming offerings.
  • Amazon has "talked to executives at media companies and advertising agencies about its plans to include more ad-supported streaming channels to compete with Roku and Pluto TV," Cheddar reported.
  • Watch Roku trade live.

In what's become a familiar stock-market reaction to Amazon's plans to extend itself into an industry, shares of Roku fell as much as 3.2% Wednesday after it was reported that the e-commerce giant is looking to expand its streaming offerings.

Amazon is planning a "vast" expansion of its free streaming service on Amazon Fire TV devices, asking marketers to pledge millions of dollars to support the new offerings Cheddar reported, citing multiple people who held discussions with Amazon. Amazon declined to comment to Cheddar.

"Amazon has talked to executives at media companies and advertising agencies about its plans to include more ad-supported streaming channels to compete with Roku and Pluto TV, which offer free access to TV shows and movies with commercials," Cheddar's Michelle Castillo reported.

Advertisers are reportedly reluctant to pledge money before they know what content might be available on the new channels, and some buyers said Amazon is asking for "as much as a large cable network for advertising commitments."

Roku is the latest in a string of companies that have seen their share prices dip, if only briefly, following news that Amazon is expanding, or looking into expanding, into a given industry.

In March, shares of the grocery stores Kroger and Costco fell after The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon was planning to open its own grocery stores in the US at a lower price point than Whole Foods — the chain it bought two years ago.

And last year, pharmacy stocks like Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS, and Rite Aid took a tumble after Amazon bought the startup PillPack.

Wednesday's slide did little to dent Roku's recent rally. Shares were still up 126% this year, trading at $68.40 apiece.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

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A senior bond salesman is leaving Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The move comes on the heels of a shakeup in the firm's credit-trading division.

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 4:19pm


  • A senior bond salesman is out at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
  • Justin Adams, a managing director in credit sales, is joining Wells Fargo.
  • The move comes on the heels of a shakeup in the firm's fixed income, currencies, and commodities division. 

A senior bond salesman is out at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a move that comes on the heels of a shakeup in the firm's fixed income, currencies, and commodities division. 

Justin Adams, a managing director in cross credit sales, is leaving to join Wells Fargo in New York, according to people familiar with the matter.

Adams spent nearly 15 years with the firm and specialized in cash and derivatives sales to hedge funds. 

Spokespeople for Bank of America and Wells Fargo declined to comment. 

Adams' departure follows a reshuffling last month in Bank of America's FICC division. Karen Fang, the head of sales and structuring for FICC in the Americas, left her post for a senior role in trading, and Gerry Walker, the global head of credit sales, took over Fang's role.

Walker's replacement wasn't immediately announced.

At Wells, Adams will be reunited with Steve Hollender, a former credit sales exec at BAML, who started at Wells Fargo at the beginning of this year as head of investment-grade credit sales. 

Bank of America is the third-ranked FICC business on Wall Street, behind JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Wells Fargo, known more for its consumer and retail business than its investment banking presence, doesn't crack the top-10, according to industry data and consulting firm Coalition. 

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A 17,000-bottle private wine collection including rare Burgundies and Bordeaux went on auction over the weekend and destroyed the previous record by $8 million

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 4:06pm

  • A 17,000-bottle wine collection sold for nearly $30 million over the weekend at a Sotheby's auction, Bloomberg reported.
  • The collection exceeded its estimated sale price by almost $4 million.
  • The sale crushed the previous record for a private wine collection — a highly-anticipated 2016 sale totaling $22 million — by a whopping $8 million.

A recent Sotheby's auction exceeded all expectations: A 17,000-bottle collection spanning nearly five decades sold for almost $4 million more than its estimated sale price.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, the collection sold for $29.8 million this past weekend at the Tran-scend-ent Wines auction. Estimates leading up to the auction put the collection's anticipated price around $26 million. The auction took place in Hong Kong; China is quickly becoming one of the world's largest wine markets.

The sale set a new record for the highest value private wine collection ever sold at auction, surpassing a record previously held by billionaire Bill Koch's collection. Koch's 20,000-bottle collection sold for almost $22 million at a New York auction in 2016.

This latest Sotheby's wine auction joins the ranks of other high-stakes wine auctions, where single cases have sold for as high as $363,000.

Read more: The top 10 most expensive wines and spirits sold by Christie's in 2018, ranked

This rare collection included "grand cru" — or first-class — Burgundies and Bordeaux from an anonymous owner. According to Bloomberg, Sotheby's has yet to disclose the seller, though he was described as a "fifth-generation property developer."

The past year has seen several record-shattering liquor sales, including a single bottle of 60-year-old Macallan that sold for $1.1 million at auction. The sale set the record for the most expensive bottle of whiskey ever sold, only to be surpassed a month later by another bottle of Macallan, which sold for $1.5 million.

SEE ALSO: There are 3 staples every wine cellar should have, according to an expert at Christie's

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NOW WATCH: A sommelier compared 11 wines from Costco, Target, Trader Joe's, and BJ's — and the winner was clear

Carl Icahn reportedly dumped his entire Lyft stake ahead of its IPO (LYFT)

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 3:04pm

  • Carl Icahn sold his roughly 2.7% stake in Lyft ahead of its initial public offering, The Wall Street Journal says.
  • Lyft's share price has plunged more than 20% since debuting on the Nasdaq on Friday.
  • Icahn's stake was valued at roughly $550 million at the IPO price of $72.
  • Watch Lyft trade live.

Carl Icahn sold his roughly 2.7% stake in Lyft ahead of last week's initial public offering, The Wall Street Journal says, citing people familiar with the matter. No buyer was reported.

While the motivation of Icahn's sale was not announced, the activist investor may have been put off by Lyft's 2018 operating losses of nearly $1 billion and a dual class share structure which gives the founders Logan Green and John Zimmer de facto control of the company despite holding a minority of shares. Under the structure, the founders have 20 votes per share while other shareholders have one vote per share.

Icahn invested roughly $150 million in Lyft in 2015 when the ride-hailing firm was valued at $2.5 billion. While the exact price at which the sale occurred is unknown, Icahn has likely realized a significant gain given Lyft's $24 billion valuation when it went public.

Lyft's pre-IPO investors, including the founders, are subject to a lock-up which prohibits the sale of shares for 180 days from the March 28 IPO date.

Lyft's early trading has been choppy as short sellers have mounted a massive bet against the company. Analysts have expressed concerns about the company's valuation despite the significant growth potential of the ride-sharing industry.

Shares were down 20% from the $87.24 where they debuted on Friday. 

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NOW WATCH: The founder and CIO of $12 billion Ariel Investments breaks down how his top-ranked flagship fund has crushed its peers over the past 10 years

Patagonia mocks Wall Street on Twitter after revealing plans to cut financial companies off from their beloved branded fleece vests

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 2:50pm

  • This week, news broke that Patagonia will no longer make new partnerships with financial companies to produce branded fleece vests and other clothing. 
  • On Wednesday, Patagonia mocked Wall Street on Twitter, implying that companies will soon try to improve their social and environmental policies to regain access to the beloved vests.
  • Patagonia fleece vests are a crucial part of bankers' and other finance workers' "Midtown Uniforms," which typically consist of slacks, a dress shirt, and a fleece vest. 

Patagonia isn't satisfied with simply cutting hedge funds and banks off from their beloved fleece vests. Now the American clothing retailer is trolling Wall Street on Twitter. 

This week, news broke that Patagonia decided that it would require new companies that it works with on branded apparel to align with Patagonia's values of being environmentally conscious and prioritizing the planet.

A spokesperson from Patagonia told Business Insider via email that the corporate sales program recently shifted its focus to work with "more mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet."

Read more: The Midtown Uniform is now in peril as Patagonia isn't accepting new finance clients for its ubiquitous fleece vests

Patagonia took to Twitter to mock Wall Street for the panic over the news. The tweet features a screenshot from "Silicon Valley," a show that satirizes the tech industry, including investors' well-documented obsession with Patagonia fleece vests.


B Corporations are companies that meet certain standards of social and environmental accountability, and 1% for the Planet is an organization that encourages people and businesses to donate 1% of sales toward environmental causes. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia's founder, cofounded 1% for the Planet.

Patagonia fleece vests branded with companies' names have become a crucial part of the wardrobes of people who work in the finance industry. In New York City, these vests are part of the "Midtown Uniform" — typically slacks, a dress shirt, and a fleece vest. 

Binna Kim, president of the public-relations company Vested, first reported the news on Monday after she reached out to a certified reseller of Patagonia apparel to purchase branded clothing for a client. The reseller told Kim that Patagonia is now reluctant to partner with companies that they view to be "ecologically damaging," as well as religious groups, food groups, political-affiliated organizations, financial institutions, and more.

However, for financial-services companies that have already penned a deal with Patagonia, there is a silver lining. The change of focus affects only new customers, leaving existing clients with their deals, a Patagonia spokesperson said.

SEE ALSO: How the fleece vest became the unofficial uniform of Silicon Valley investors

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Peter Thiel-backed digital bank N26 is considering a cash back-type offering as it eyes US expansion

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 2:46pm

  • N26, a European digital bank, is considering developing some type of earn-as-you-spend offering as part of its launch in the US scheduled for later this year. 
  • Nicolas Kopp, US CEO of N26, told Business Insider the fintech needs to address US consumers' desire to get something in return for using a specific card or banking product. 
  • The digital bank raised $300 million in Series D in January to value it at $2.6 billion, making it the most valuable fintech in Europe. 

N26 has built a successful digital banking business in Europe that's helped it nab over $500 million in funding and a $2.6 billion valuation

But as it prepares for a launch in the US later this year, the Peter Thiel-backed fintech is considering ways to better appeal to American clients. 

Nicolas Kopp, US CEO of N26, told Business Insider one nuance between the US and European markets is American customer's expectation of some type of points program with their banking products.

"Another thing that we need to address is this attitude of a lot of US consumers around earn as you spend," Kopp said. 

Read more: A Peter Thiel-backed fintech that aims to be 'a mixture of Venmo, Zelle, Mint and Chase' is launching in the US

N26's standard account in Europe currently doesn't have any points or cash-back programs, Kopp said. N26 Business, which is geared toward freelancers or the self-employed, does offer .1% cashback on purchases made with the account's Mastercard. 

Kopp declined to comment on how exactly how N26 would roll out the program beyond saying it would function slightly differently than a traditional points program typical of many credit cards. 

"We are thinking through an alternative to how we can allocate to that side of the US audience that is very aware of what they get in return for using a specific card or banking product," Kopp said. 

Points and cash-back programs that incentivize spending have become almost table stakes among banks and credit cards in the US. JPMorgan Chase's Sapphire Reserve card, which launched in 2016, kicked off a fight amongst firms to tap into an industry that has $183 billion in fees and interest. 

Nowadays, seemingly any new banking product has some type of earn-as-you-spend feature. Apple's recently launched credit card will have 2% cash back. 

However, cash-back programs are a double-edge sword as so-called 'super users' of the card are able to rack up big rewards, cutting into credit card companies' profit margins

Sign up here for our weekly newsletter Wall Street Insider, a behind-the-scenes look at the stories dominating banking, business, and big deals.

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Verizon's 5G service is here, but Apple could take over a year to build a compatible phone (AAPL)

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 2:46pm

  • Apple likely won't have its 5G phone ready next year unless its ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm is settled in a few months, UBS analysts said in a report out Wednesday.
  • Verizon announced later on Wednesday that it was launching 5G coverage in Chicago and Minneapolis.
  • Apple competitors Samsung and LG have debuted their first 5G phones, while the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has announced plans to enter the space.
  • Watch Apple trade live.

As the race to get in on 5G intensifies, Apple may not have a phone with the new technology available anytime soon unless its legal battle with the chipmaker Qualcomm is quickly resolved, UBS analysts speculated in two reports to clients out Wednesday.

"Barring a settlement with Qualcomm in the next few months, field work suggests Apple is increasingly in jeopardy of being unable to ship a 5G iPhone in 2020," a team of analysts led by Timothy Arcuri wrote to clients on Wednesday.

The note was distributed just before Verizon announced on Wednesday that it had launched 5G coverage in Chicago and Minneapolis. The fledgling wireless technology has been touted for years as the better, faster "evolution" of 4G LTE technology we all rely on for streaming and browsing the web, and it's finally beginning to come to market — for some.

The company's inability to offer a 5G phone next year could be a near-term challenge as Apple is already grappling with slowing iPhone sales, the analysts said. Still, they believe an improving iPhone replacement cycle could cushion the blow of missing out on the 5G party.

"While it is possible/likely this continues to lengthen, AAPL remains steadfast in its estimate that actual upgrade rates are < 3 yrs which suggest we are now actually below full replacement rates — a factor which should soften any potential impact from the lack of a true 5G phone in 2020," they said. 

Apple competitor Samsung unveiled a foldable phone earlier this year that costs about $2,000 and can take advantage of the 5G mobile network. It is expected to arrive later this month. Additionally, LG also debuted a 5G phone back in February, and said it should hit the market in the first half of this year.

In a separate report out Wednesday, a different team of UBS analysts asked whether it even mattered that Apple might be falling behind.

"We already question the benefits of 5G for smartphones and believe signs of AAPL being willing to delay adoption to 2021 suggests it might share our concerns and is not very concerned about share loss from not having 5G," analysts led by Bill Lu said.

Earlier this week, Apple slashed the price of its iPhones in China amid stiff competition from local competitors Huawei and Xiaomi.

Apple shares were up 23% this year. However, they're still trading 17% below October's record high of $233.47. 

Read more Apple coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

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NOW WATCH: The founder and CIO of $12 billion Ariel Investments breaks down how his top-ranked flagship fund has crushed its peers over the past 10 years

Investors are hot on hedge funds again, but old-school stock pickers are getting left in the cold

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 2:35pm

  • Despite coming off one of the worst performing years on record, hedge funds are enjoying renewed interest from investors, who believe there is a market slowdown coming, a JPMorgan survey finds.
  • But the one type of fund that hasn't seen a surge in interest is the one that the industry was built on: fundamental long-short equity. 
  • Investors prefer to get equity exposure in their hedge fund portfolios through quant strategies, the survey shows, and managers like Jana Partners and BlueMountain Capital have already cut back on their stock-picking products this year. 

The hedge fund industry's exponential growth over the last couple of decades can be at least partially be attributed to the near-mythological status that the early top stock-pickers enjoyed among investors.

Tens of billions poured into these funds and their spin-offs, as investors trusted investors like Tiger Management founder Julian Robertson to win big bets in the stock market.

Now, investors are turning to machines over people for their stock hit, and asking hedge funds still run by humans for strategies that can't be replicated by a computer. 

Despite bounce-back performances from well-known stock-pickers like David Einhorn and Bill Ackman this year, money has flowed out of these funds faster than any other category — bleeding more than $6 billion through February, while the overall industry is up $1.6 billion, according to eVestment. Last year, the category saw $10.7 billion leave in net redemptions. 

For the remainder of 2019, investors want to increase their investments in the hedge fund space, a survey of JPMorgan's institutional investor clients shows, but for equity strategies, quants are preferred, as investors favor the transparent and unemotional way they invest.

See more: A bunch of hedge fund managers featured in 'The Big Short' are among the casualties of Citadel's most recent cuts

Only 13% of investors in J.P. Morgan survey want to decrease their allocations to hedge funds this year, while 32% plan to increase — primarily because they see a slowdown coming in the markets, and want to build up a hedge against it in their portfolios. A new Preqin study similarly found that 61% of institutions believe equity markets are "at their peak." 

Old-school stockpickers, who are supposed to protect against market downturns with their short positions, will not have nearly as many investors fighting to invest more with them this year, according to JPMorgan. Nearly a third of investors, on an asset-weighted basis, plan to decrease their stock-picking allocations this year, compared to only 10% that plan to increase it. 

“Beta has been cheap and effective for the past decade," said Michael Monforth, global head of JPMorgan's capital introductory group, about why investors no longer want many large funds' bread-and-butter strategy. The challenge many funds have had in making money on their shorts has also convinced investors to either move their hedge fund money out of equities entirely or into quant funds. 

Managers have responded already in 2019. Jana Partners closed its stock-picking fund to focus on its activism efforts, and BlueMountain Capital Management cut its long-short fund after just two years of trading

Quant equity funds are still a hot commodity in investors' eyes, and 21% plan to increase their allocation to computer-controlled funds compared to just 6% decreasing. Strategies that are "agnostic to the markets" can also expect to pick up assets from people leaving stock-picking funds, said Monforth. 

See more: The explosive growth of quant investing is paving the way for 'super managers' in the hedge-fund industry

At Aberdeen Standard Investments, the firm's clients have interest in more complex hedge fund strategies, such as private debt, because it is hard to replicate with an algorithm or factors, said Darren Wolf, head of alternative investment strategies for the Americas at Aberdeen. 

"There’s a high barrier to entry in those fields, unlike long-short equity, because in alternative credit you need higher starting capital, trading relationships, infrastructure, and more to pull off these types of securities and investments," he said. 

Multi-strategy behemoths like Point72 or Citadel built around their long-short strategies can take solace in the fact that investors are interested in staying with managers they have already been working with, according to Monforth. Investors are not leaving the hedge fund industry because they are frustrated with a stock-picking strategy, he said.

"You don’t sell your car if you have a flat tire, you fix the flat tire," he said. “It’s like going with the manager you know, because there’s already a relationship there, and investors can potentially push for more transparency or a better fee structure by staying at the same manager.”

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It's 'inevitable' that a self-driving car will kill someone. Here's why a VC thinks we should be investing in them anyway. (BA, GOOGL, TSLA)

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 11:57pm

  • Failures in emerging autonomous transportation systems have already led to people's deaths.
  • We should expect more such tragedies in the future, said Shahin Farshchi, a partner with venture firm Lux Capital, which has backed numerous startups in the self-driving car space.
  • But such incidents haven't dissuaded Farshchi about the industry's potential.
  • Autonomous vehicles could transform the way people get around and save lots of lives in the process, he said.
  • He's concerned, though, that high-profile accidents could warp people's perception of the risks and benefits of the technology.

People have already died as a result of failures in transportation-related autonomous systems and more will likely die in the future.

While incidents such as the crash of an Uber self-driving car last year and that of two Boeing 737 Max airplanes in the last six months concern Shahin Farshchi, they haven't dissuaded him about the potential for autonomy, particularly when it comes to vehicles. Farshchi's firm, Lux Capital, has made numerous bets on self-driving cars and related technologies, including in high-profile startup Zoox, and he's open to more such investments in the future.

Deaths that result from failures in autonomous systems are tragedies, Farshchi, a partner at Lux, said in an interview with Business Insider on Monday. But accidents like those involving Uber and Boeing "would not dissuade us or scare us or make us less interested in investing in these kinds of technologies."

Part of the reason why Farshchi remains optimistic about the industry is because he believes autonomous systems have the potential to revolutionize the way people get around. He expects that within about five years ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft will account for roughly one third of all miles traveled. Of those ride-sharing miles, about 10% by then will be driven by autonomous vehicles, he predicts. And that amount will only increase over time.

The basic technical challenges have been solved

His bullishness also stems from his belief that the fundamental technical challenges of creating autonomous cars are largely solved. What's left, in terms of technology obstacles, is developing the autonomous systems so that they go from being mostly reliable to almost always working and being reliably predictable when they won't work.

"All of the individual components of this problem have been solved," said Farshchi, who worked as an engineer at General Motors earlier in his career. "It's a matter of how you bring it together and harden it to make it reliable and roll it out in a way that's ultimately going to be profitable."

Read this: AI could soon be all around us — here's how that could upend 8 different industries

Part of that roll out process is going to have to involve educating the public and regulators about the potential safety benefits of autonomous cars. More than 37,000 people died in US traffic fatalities in 2017 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the leading causes of accidents are related to driver errors — something autonomous systems promise to eliminate.

"With the problem being big enough and the thousands of people that are killed every year in the United States ... I think that motivation is large enough to get this technology out there for everyone to benefit from safer, more reliable, more available transportation," Farshchi said.

Accidents could warp public perception

Accidents such as those involving the 737 Max airplanes and the Uber car represent a tragic reality that could ultimately make the world safer and a danger, he said. The industry has an opportunity and responsibility to better understand how these kinds of systems work in the real world and to develop better ways to deploy and test autonomous systems, he said.

But there is a risk that such incidents warp the public perception of autonomous vehicles. These systems aren't perfect and accidents will happen, he said. The big question is whether the public and regulators will keep such incidents in perspective.

"It's going to be inevitable that you're going to have a driverless car who hits the child or the pet, that caused a catastrophic and a tragic loss, and so it's a question of how the public perception will change as a result," he said.

What people are going to have to keep in mind is that "business as usual, which is human drivers ... cause a lot of death and injuries already as it is today."

SEE ALSO: This VC says a shakeout is coming to enterprise software because titans like Oracle and Salesforce have 'account control' that no startup can match

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NOW WATCH: The US won't let Huawei, China's biggest smartphone maker, enter the US market

Video appears to show a Tesla Model S traveling on the road at speed with no one in the driver's seat (TSLA)

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 11:43pm

  • Video showing a Tesla Model S driving at speed on a road with no one in the driver's seat circulated on social media Tuesday night.
  • The luxury electric car appeared to be operating on Autopilot, Tesla's semi-autonomous-driving technology that allows its vehicles equipped with the feature to steer, accelerate, brake, and change lanes with driver supervision.
  • At one point, a camera pans around the cabin to reveal a person lying down in the back seat.
  • Videos showing Tesla drivers asleep or otherwise preoccupied behind the steering wheel are fairly common, even as the carmaker implores its customers to remain in control of their vehicles while operating them on Autopilot.

Video showing a Tesla Model S driving at speed on a road with no one in the driver's seat circulated on social media Tuesday night.

The luxury electric car appeared to be operating on Autopilot, Tesla's semi-autonomous-driving technology that allows its vehicles equipped with the feature to steer, accelerate, brake, and change lanes with driver supervision.

At one point in the video, the camera pans toward the windshield to show the car is traveling at speed down a two-lane road. The digital instrument cluster can be seen with "115" displayed, but it was not immediately clear whether that number represented miles-per-hour, or kilometers-per-hour.

People are really stupid / this is why we can’t have nice things / WTF?! / Darwin at work

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