Monday's Headlines: Deere & Co. Strikes Deal with Farmers on Right to Repair

Monday's Headlines: Deere & Co. Strikes Deal with Farmers on Right to Repair

Here were the biggest movers in the MyWallSt shortlist on Friday:

Moving Up ⬆️

Costco (COST) +7.3%

IDEXX Laboratories (IDXX) +6.8%

Lovesac (LOVE) +6.7%

Block (SQ) +6.6%

THOR Industries (THO) +6.3%

Moving Down ⬇️

Eventbrite (EB) -6.1%

Baozun (BZUN) -3.9%

Chegg (CHGG) -2.9%

Paycom (PAYC) -2.7%

Huazhu Hotels Group (HTHT) -2.7%

 

Deere & Co. Strikes Deal with Farmers on Right to Repai

Deere & Co. has reached an agreement with the American Farm Bureau Federation that will make it easier for farmers to repair their own equipment. The manufacturer of farm machinery signed a memorandum of understanding with the farmers' group on Sunday, hopefully bringing an end to a long-running dispute between the company and its customers.

In recent years, farmers have complained that Deere and other manufacturers have forced them to call in high-cost technicians or bring equipment to dealerships for repairs they could be doing themselves.

Deere has argued that high-tech innovations in both hardware and software have greatly improved the overall products and that attempts to modify certain elements of such could be dangerous. However, it has now agreed to give farmers access to certain resources, including manuals and repair codes. Deere hopes such an agreement will discourage farmers from pursuing legislation.

Deere & Co. has been at the forefront of innovation in the sector. Last year, the company launched its first autonomous tractor — the John Deere 8R — which can plow fields with minimal human intervention.

Shares of Deere & Co. have seen a sharp increase since the outbreak of COVID-19. Since March 2020, shares have almost tripled and are currently hovering close to their all-time highs. Shares are currently up 1% in pre-market trading.

 

Vince McMahon Returns to WWE, Ignites Sale Speculation

Shares of WWE spiked on Friday after it was announced that ex-CEO Vince McMahon was reinstated to the company’s board of directors. It was actually McMahon himself late Thursday who announced his intention to return as executive chairman and explore a sale of the company. He had stepped down last year after it was revealed he had paid 4 women a total of almost $15 million for their silence over sexual misconduct claims.

As the company’s majority shareholder, McMahon retains pretty much complete control over the business, resulting in his indiscretions going relatively unpunished. In fact, in a regulatory filing from November when McMahon was on the sidelines, the company stated “Mr. McMahon can effectively exercise control over our affairs.” His return has led to three dismissals and two further resignations from WWE’s board.

McMahon felt the need to return as the WWE is going through a pivotal moment in negotiating distribution rights, however, the real reason seems to be exploring a sale of the business, with the company stating Friday it is reviewing “strategic alternatives”. Shares of WWE are up 65% in the past year, a stark contrast to the wider market which has fallen 17%.

 

Jack Ma to Relinquish Control in Ant Group Shake-Up

Ant Group founder Jack Ma will give up control of the Chinese financial giant. Ma’s 50%+ voting share was a key obstacle that led to the company being forced to scupper its IPO plans back in November 2020. According to Reuters, his new share will fall to 6.2%.

Ant is an affiliate of tech behemoth Alibaba and operates Alipay, the ubiquitous Chinese payment app with more than 1 billion users. It was forced to scrap its $37 billion IPO plans after regulators intervened, uncomfortable with the level of control Ma exerted over the business. A critical speech on the government from him in October 2020 certainly didn’t help matters either.

The restructuring enforced on Ant — and a reported $1 billion fine — should pave the way for a rehash of the company’s IPO ambitions. However, Chinese regulations require waiting at least a year after a change in control before listing, which will likely delay immediate plans.

The announcement comes at an interesting time for Chinese companies. The last two years have seen a regulatory crackdown like no other, with tech especially being put to the sword. With green shoots of optimism starting to creep in again after the government has walked back some of its stringent COVID policies, we may see further softening as it needs to reinvigorate economic growth in the region.