☕️ Jho Low offered RM1.5 bil to settle charges against him, AGC says rejected all offers
Stamp duty exemptions for first time homebuyers. China: GDP growth decelerated, massive data breach linked to Alibaba's cloud division. Jimmy Choo x Sailor Moon collab. GSK spinoff USD40 bil Haleon.
Thousands of Malaysians enjoy our newsletter. Subscribe now and stay informed for FREE!
1. MARKET SUMMARY
“If you raise the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out”
- The response of Jim Sinegal, the founder of giant US retailer Costco (market cap: USD231.6 bil) to its CEO when he told the founder he needed to increase the price of the hot dog. Launched in 1985, the price of the hot dog and soda combo has remained at USD1.50. Adjusted for inflation 37 years later in 2022, the price would be more than 3x above USD4.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
550 women in the US represented by law firm Slater Slater Schulman are suing ride-hailing giant Uber over allegations of sexual assault by drivers on its platform. Another 150 potential cases are actively investigated.
USD13,196 (RM58,590) - British fashion brand Jimmy Choo revealed a limited-edition, fuchsia-coloured boots to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Japanese manga Sailor Moon. The franchise has generated over USD13 bil in merchandise sales worldwide.
More than 270,000 cancelled bookings due to the pandemic have been successfully compensated by Air Asia X in the form of travel vouchers worth RM409.4 mil (approximately RM1.5k per booking). Cash refunds are not allowed due to the legal process of its restructuring, it said previously. If you received the refund, what’s the haircut to the face value of your tickets?
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Former attorney general (AG) Tan Sri Apandi Ali said in an interview with The Edge that he had been contacted by the fugitive financier Low Taek Jho’s (Jho Low) counsel – law firm Kobre & Kim – to facilitate meetings with the Malaysian government, to repatriate siphoned monies from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). The representatives from the law firm met with current AG Tan Sri Idrus Harun at the end of May this year.
According to sources who were aware of these meetings, Jho Low had offered RM1.5 billion to the Malaysian government to settle the charges against him. That’s approximately 10% of the amount Jho Low is sued for – Low is facing a USD3.78 billion (about RM15.85 billion) suit filed by 1MDB and its four subsidiaries.
However, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) rejected the offers from Jho Low. Smart move. FYI, Settlement does not equate to an admission of guilt. What is a settlement? Read more about it here.
The motorcycle accident because of suspected illegal racing in Penang has claimed four lives while three were severely injured. Northeast district police chief, ACP Soffian Santong, said initial investigations found the accident occurred after several motorcyclists lost control of their motorbikes and collided. NSFW snippet of the accident below:
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy), Mustapa Mohamed, said the government is taking measures to save public expenditure by postponing or not continuing any project that has yet to commence. The savings would be channelled for the welfare of the people. Another effort the government is taking is to cut operating expenses as it plans to save at least 5% from the remaining operation allocation for 2022. No mentions of salary reduction of ministers, though.
Bon-Odori happened over the weekend and drew an estimated 35,000 visitors. Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Katsuhiko Takahashi, said the 46th Bon Odori Festival is a testimony of the cordial bilateral relationships enjoyed by the two countries for many years. Thankfully, a few extremist jokers didn’t manage to ruin the fun. Also, no PAS members were sighted in the photos.
If you’re about to be a first-time homeowner, you are entitled to a stamp duty exemption! Prime Minister Ismail Sabri announced the Keluarga Malaysia Home Ownership Initiative (i-MILIKI) for first-time homebuyers – stamp duty exemption for sales and purchase agreements of properties completed between June 1 to December 2023. Homes valued at RM500,000 and below will enjoy 100% exemption, while properties over RM500,000 to RM1 mil will get 50%.
Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said SOCSO has suspended the payments for the Hiring Incentive Programme (PenjanaKerjaya) amounting to RM423 million because of bad apples. Working alongside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), SOCSO found that certain employers had made false claims and misappropriated these funds. Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan did not deny the involvement of individuals from MIC.
Genting Singapore Ltd is said to be in talks with MGM Resorts International for a possible merger & acquisition deal. Its shares jumped by 7.3% in early trading on Friday, valuing it at USD6.8 bil. Genting Singapore, which is 53% owned by Genting Bhd, operates Resorts World Sentosa – the island off Singapore’s southern coast, which features
A casino with more than 550 gaming tables, over 2,400 slot machines and other electronic games
Universal Studio Singapore theme park
Adventure Cover Waterpark
Covid-19 in Malaysia is on the rise again – the CovidNow portal showed the country recorded 5,230 new cases of Covid-19 last Friday. Be mindful, remember to practice good hygiene and wear masks when indoors and in crowded places. Stay safe!
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Saudi Arabia is arbitraging crude oil prices — sells its own production to the world at higher market prices and imports Russian oil, which is sold at a discount, for domestic use. The Middle East kingdom and the world’s largest exporter of oil, has more than doubled its Russian oil import as it relies on crude oil to generate electricity.
The impact of China’s zero-Covid policy is starting to show weakness in its growth - its Q2 GDP growth decelerated to 0.4% from a year earlier, the slowest growth since the data series began in 1992 apart from the 6.9% contraction in Q1 2020 due to the initial Covid-19 shock. The first half recorded GDP growth of 2.5% and is unlikely to meet the government’s full-year growth target of 5.5%.
British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will spin off its consumer healthcare unit Haleon, making it the London Stock Exchange’s largest new listing in more than a decade that will value the company at GBP40 bil (RM210.96 bil). The new company owning brands like Sensodyne, Panadol and Theraflu, generates annual revenue of about GBP10 bil.
GSK, which owns 68% of Haleon, will trim down its stake to 6% and the remaining 32% is owned by US pharma giant Pfizer, which intends to sell its stake. If GSK succeeds in selling its stake, that’s about GBPGBP25 bil it will take home. Not only that — about GBP10 bil in debt of GSK’s debt will be absorbed by Haleon. Double win for GSK - cashing out + lowering its debts.
Not-so-good times for Alibaba:
China’s massive data leak involving the personal information of more than 1 billion Chinese residents can be traced back to Alibaba’s cloud division. Authorities have summoned its cloud division’s executives for investigation.
The company is slashing a third of its staff in its in-house deal team from more than 110 people to about 70, as a regulatory crackdown in China led to a sharp fall in dealmaking.
Also, not-so-good times for crypto:
Celsius Network, the troubled crypto lender, in its bankruptcy filing, shows a USD1.2 bil hole in its balance sheet. It has USD4.3 bil in assets vs liabilities of USD5.5 bil.
NFT marketplace giant OpenSea announced it will lay off 20% of its workforce, affecting 230 employees.
The UK issued its highest level of warning - red extreme heat, declaring a national emergency as the heatwave originating from north Africa spreads across Europe. The highest recorded temperature in UK was 38.7C in 2019 and could hit 40C this time around.
Former US President Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, has died at age 73. She is the mother to the 3 of Trump’s oldest children — Ivanka, Donald Jr and Eric. Her death was due to “blunt impact injuries” after she was found unconscious in her home. Police ruled out murder and classified her death as an “accident”.
MalaysiaSingapore — the preferred hub for global investment funds:
Alberta Investment Management Corp (Aimco), the USD129 bil Canada pension and government fund investment manager, is considering Singapore over Hong Kong to set up its first office in Asia to expand its private equity portfolio.
Harvard University endowment, the largest academic endowment in the world with USD53.2 bil assets under management, is setting up a Singapore office to expand its portfolio in the region.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
July 17 was National Ice Cream Day (in the US). Ever wondered who created ice cream?
The sky in Antarctica has turned pink caused by the afterglow effect of aerosols released by the volcano eruption in Tonga on 15 Jan 2022 that can stay in the atmosphere for months causing lights to bend and scatter. For the curious, scientific minds, earn more here on this phenomenon. The image below is unedited.
A Ukrainian cargo plane carrying 11 tonnes of munition and weapons crashed in Greece, killing all eight crews. Video shows the plane was on fire before it crashed.