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Musk’s all-nighters at Twitter raise concern for Tesla investors

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SAN FRANCISCO:

In 2018, Elon Musk was working through the night and sleeping at Tesla Inc’s factories in California and Nevada as the company struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3.

On Monday, Musk said he had worked through the night at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters and would keep “working & sleeping here” until the social media platform – which he recently acquired for $44 billion – was fixed.

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A self-described “nanomanager,” Musk’s penchant for working long hours in moments of crisis has been a well-known part of his brand. But the billionaire’s deep dive into Twitter, after a protracted buyout that he tried to scrap, has some Tesla investors worried about his capacity to focus on his role as CEO of the world’s most valuable carmaker.

“Tesla investors are going to be frustrated,” said Gene Munster, managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures. “He’s probably going to spend more time on Twitter than any Tesla investor feels comfortable about.”

Musk, who is expected to testify in court on Wednesday about whether a $56 billion pay package at Tesla is justified, did not respond to a Reuters email seeking comment.

He tweeted on Monday “I have Tesla covered too,” saying he planned to work at the electric vehicle maker for part of this week. Tesla has an office in Palo Alto, California, and a factory in Fremont, California.

Tesla’s shares have dropped by 50% since early April, when he disclosed he had taken a stake in Twitter. Sales of Musk’s own Tesla shares – totaling $20 billion since he disclosed his Twitter stake – have added to the pressure.

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Tesla faces a growing list of challenges from demand concerns in China to a regulatory probe of the claims it makes about the abilities of its “Autopilot” driver assistance technology in the United States.

So far this month, Musk’s tweets about his efforts to reboot Twitter have accounted for more than two-thirds of his postings on the platform he acquired in October, according to a Reuters tally.

Tesla accounted for just 3% of his tweets from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15, down from an average of almost 16% over the previous eight months.

Munster said he expects Twitter to consume Musk’s attention for the next six to 12 months, adding that Tesla was a more developed company than in earlier days and less immediately reliant on Musk.

In recent days, Musk has said his workload has increased significantly after his Twitter buy.

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“I have too much work on my plate,” he said by video link to a business conference in Indonesia on Monday, saying he was working “from morning till night seven days a week.”

“Once Twitter is set on the right path, I think it is a much easier thing to manage than SpaceX or Tesla,” Musk said earlier this month at the Baron investment conference, referring to the aerospace company which he also runs.

Tesla investor Ross Gerber, a strong supporter of Musk, said on Tuesday that Tesla needed to find a deputy for its multitasking CEO. “I think he’s finally reached a point where he’s really challenging himself. I think they need to find the right person. And quite frankly, they just don’t have that person.”

‘Minimal time’

The Tesla board has expressed concerns about Musk’s commitment to SpaceX and several smaller companies. Tesla board chair Robyn Denholm said in a 2018 email that the “minimal time” Musk was spending at Tesla was “becoming more and more problematic,” according to court documents related to his pay trial. A Tesla shareholder says the board failed in approving a $56 billion pay package for him without demanding his full-time attention.

Another board member, Ira Ehrenpreis, noted at trial that Musk was paid for results, not time spent, a view echoed by Musk in a 2021 deposition. At Tesla’s annual meeting in August, Musk responded to a question about “key-man risk” by acknowledging his colleagues, saying “We do have a very talented team here. So I think Tesla would continue to do very well even if I was kidnapped by aliens or went back to my home planet maybe.”

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Musk has proven his doubters wrong before and some early investors say they expect him to be up for the Twitter challenge. “When you get an entrepreneur that does all that he’s done, we should just be kissing his feet. The guy is awesome,” billionaire investor Tim Draper told Reuters.

But others have lost patience.

“Musk has managed to do what the bears have unsuccessfully tried for years – crush Tesla’s stock,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, a long-time Tesla bull, said in a note last week.

Ives called Twitter an “albatross,” a “distraction” and a “money pit” for Musk. “The Twitter circus show is slowly starting to impact the pristine EV brand of Tesla,” he said.





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Microsoft admits Sony has has ‘better’ exclusive games

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Microsoft has recently admitted that its rival, Sony, has “better quality” games than Xbox in a filing with UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The assertion was made on October 31, but the document was recently made public, Eurogamer noted.

Microsoft elaborated its stance, saying that Sony was “the dominant console provider” and ” a powerful game publisher”. It explained that “Sony is roughly equivalent in size to Activision and nearly double the size of Microsoft’s game publishing business.”

Read: Global regulators to target crypto platforms after FTX crash

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Comparing data, Microsoft wrote in the filing that Sony had five times as many of their 280 exclusive first- and third-party titles, on PlayStation. Besides just owning franchises like God of War and Spider-Man, Sony has signed deals with third-party publishers for exclusive rights to games.

Microsoft also claimed that console exclusives accounted for a higher percentage of global game sales for Sony than their own company. The company detailed review scores for PlayStation and Xbox, saying “the average Metacritic score for Sony’s top 20 exclusive games in 2021 was 87/100, against 80/100 for Xbox”.

CMA is conducting an in-depth investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which has raised concerns by Sony, particularly over the franchise Call of Duty, which could be made exclusive to Xbox only, if the deal goes through.

 





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Netflix is working on a ‘brand-new AAA PC game’

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Netflix is currently hiring game directors and engineers to work on a “brand-new AAA PC game” at its new Los Angeles games studio.

The project has yet to be announced by the streaming platform itself. However, as per a job listing spotted by Mobilegamer.biz, Netflix needs a game director who “will be the creative leader of one of Netflix’s first generation of internally developed original games”.

 Apart from multiple job listings, there are not many details available regarding the new project.

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Read Global regulators to target crypto platforms after FTX crash

The digital platform has previously launched some games, but they were specifically suited for mobile phones. While many users are unaware of the games on Netflix, the platform plans to venture into PC gaming and expand its audience.

 

 





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Global regulators to target crypto platforms after FTX crash

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LONDON:

The crash of FTX exchange has injected greater urgency into regulating the crypto sector and targeting such ‘conglomerate’ platforms will be the focus for 2023, the new chair of global securities watchdog IOSCO said in an interview.

Jean-Paul Servais said regulating crypto platforms could draw on principles from other sectors which handle conflicts of interest, such as at credit rating agencies and compilers of market benchmarks, without having to start from scratch.

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Cryptoassets like bitcoin have been around for years but regulators have resisted jumping in to write new rules.

But the implosion at FTX, which left an estimated one million creditors facing losses totalling billions of dollars, will help change that, Servais told Reuters.

“The sense of urgency was not the same even two or three years ago. There are some dissenting opinions about whether crypto is a real issue at the international level because some people think that it’s still not a material issue and risk,” Servais said.

“Things are changing and due to the interconnectivity between different types of businesses, I think it’s now important that we are able to start a discussion and that’s where we are going.”

IOSCO, which coordinates rules for G20 countries and others, has already set out principles for regulating stablecoins, but now the focus is turning to platforms which trade in them.

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In mainstream finance there is functional separation between activities like broking, trading, banking services and issuance, with each having its own set of conduct rules and safeguards.

“Is it the case for the crypto market? I would say most of the time not,” Servais said.

Crypto ‘conglomerates’ like FTX have emerged, performing perform multiple roles such as brokerage services, custody, proprietary trading, issuance of tokens all under a single roof that give rise to conflicts of interest, Servais said.

“For investor protection reasons, there is a need to provide additional clarity to these crypto markets markets through targeted guidance in applying IOSCO’s principles to crypto assets,” Servais said.

“We intend to publish consultations report on these matters in the first half of 2023,” he added.

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Madrid-based IOSCO, or International Organization of Securities Commissions, is an umbrella body for market watchdogs like the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States, Bafin in Germany, Japan’s Financial Services Agency, and the UK Financial Conduct Authority, who all commit to applying the body’s recommendations.

The European Union’s new markets in cryptoassets or MiCA framework is an “interesting starting point” for developing global guidance as it focuses on supervision of crypto operators, said Servais, who also chairs Belgium’s financial regulator FSMA.

“I think that the world is changing. We know there is some space for developing new standards about supervision of this kind of crypto conglomerates. There is an obvious necessity,” Servais said.





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