BlackRock forges a new bond with big oil

BlackRock has made a name for itself and many conservative foes in recent years by embracing environmental, social and corporate governance considerations — known as ESG — in its decisions, and arguing that other companies should do the same.

So the investment giant’s decision on Monday My name is Amin NasserCEO of the Saudi oil company Aramco, to its board of directors sounds like a major reversal, despite his claims that the move does not conflict with its commitments on environment, society and governance.

Nasser leads the largest oil producer in the world, Aramco produced 13.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day last year. He will succeed Badr Al-Saad, Director General of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, on the Board of Directors of BlackRock.

Does the date mark a turning point for BlackRock on the climate? Larry Fink, the company’s CEO, spent years saying that the ESG principles were critical business considerations. This approach drew criticism from conservative politicians who attacked BlackRock for adhering to what they called “wake up” policies, and many officials in red states pulled billions in their assets from its coffers in retaliation.

Mr Fink said last month he had stopped using ESG, It’s called a “weapon.”But he added that the company continues to push companies to take steps to decarbonise. In announcing Mr. Nasser’s appointment, BlackRock emphasized its “understanding of the global energy industry and drivers of the transition towards a low-carbon economy.”

But Mr. Nasser criticized decarbonization efforts. While the Kingdom announced several clean energy initiatives, including a $1.5 billion Energy Transition FundMr. Nasser questioned the current efforts to reach a low carbon future.

“The current transition plan is frankly flawed,” he said last year. “It doesn’t really deliver. What we need is a perfect, realistic transition plan.”

Mr. Nasser also strengthened BlackRock’s relations with Saudi Arabia At a time when controversy escalated over the Kingdom’s record in the field of human rights. The initial PGA Tour deal involving LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed rival competition, has renewed scrutiny of the country as it pours money into Western companies.

Mr. Fink backed out of the Kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative conference in 2018 after the murder of Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but he returned the following year and has since Defend doing business with the state.

Extreme heat affects the northern hemisphere. Parts of Europe and the southern United States are expected to see record highs, with consequences for human health and economic activity. As China faces sweltering heat, John Kerry, the US climate envoy, met with the country’s prime minister to urge him to cooperate in the fight against climate change.

Microsoft and Activision reportedly plan to extend the deadline for their deal. Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of the video game company Not set to close on Tuesday As expected, the two parties are negotiating a settlement with the British antitrust regulator, according to Bloomberg. The Competition and Markets Authority, which had previously moved to block the deal, has set an August 29 deadline for the talks.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren urges the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Tesla. The Massachusetts Democrat called on the agency to vet potentials.Conflict of interestmisappropriation of company assets ”and more,” citing reports about Elon Musk bringing Tesla employees to work at Twitter after he bought the social network. She indicated that the move may have violated labor laws and was not properly disclosed to investors.

American companies win some relief from a global tax deal. Under new rules negotiated by the Treasury Department, US corporations Now until 2026 Before other countries started imposing new taxes on corporations that were thought to have paid too little in the United States. The revised agreement provides more certainty for businesses, but the Biden administration still struggles to comply with the agreement to avoid losing out on taxes.

As screenwriters and actors — including celebs like Jason Sudeikis and Kevin Bacon — marched in sit-down lines on Monday, media moguls began to sweat over the reality of Hollywood’s two-headed strike.

The studios insist they can get through the downtime that has largely brought American film and television productions to a standstill. But there is a growing fear that if it stretches out for just over a month, their business could suffer severely.

The countdown to Labor Day looms. Three Studio Chairs told The Times Hollywood could sit idle until early September without major long-term business damage. TV studios continue to file contingency plans in the fall: CBS has become the latest On Monday, announcing a lineup consisting of “Yellowstone” reruns, reality shows, and games.

But a longer strike would likely mean major delays to projects scheduled for next year, threatening to make 2024 a ghost town for content. And the TV giants can survive on lists largely built on the likes of “Survivor” and “The Golden Bachelor” only for so long.

The costs of a prolonged strike are becoming clearer. While media executives have suggested that they could use the downtime to cut costs, including by ending some expensive production deals, these benefits would be short-lived. Media pole Barry Deller recently explained For “Face the Nation” Indirect Effects of an Extended Strike:

“You’ll notice that subscriptions are being taken away, which will reduce the revenue of all the movie companies, the TV companies, and the result is that there will be no shows. And at the appointed time the strike is settled, and you want to go back, there won’t be enough money. So it will be for this in The reality is devastating effects, if not settled soon.”

MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson noted that US studios could suffer if platforms like Netflix turn to overseas content producers to produce new films and shows. “It’s as if the United Auto Workers have gone on strike, and all of a sudden you see more cars from Japan and Germany on the road,” he told the Times.

Mr. Diller has already proposed a solution. “As a goodwill measure, both top-earning executives and actors should cut their salaries by 25 percent to try to narrow the difference between those who are highly paid and those who are not,” he told Face the Nation. On Monday, a group representing studios in labor talks said that before the strike, its members had offered to participate A billion dollars worth of franchises on wages and benefits, as well as restrictions on their use of artificial intelligence.

It is unclear if that will be enough, with all sides acknowledging that the battle lines are tight.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are celebrating after a federal judge last week gave the digital currency industry a partial win over the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Although in 2020 the agency accused Ripple of failing to register its XRP token as a security, the judge ruled that XRP was not a security in all contexts. It wasn’t a complete victory, but Ripple and its allies claim it’s a huge achievement anyway.

The case was seen as pioneering the future of cryptocurrency in the United States Amidst the SEC’s aggressive enforcement action against the industry. Gary Gensler, the head of the agency, has repeatedly argued that most digital tokens are securities, though crypto firms protested that this approach was trying to regulate them from existence rather than giving clearer rules.

What is the judge’s ruling? When XRP was sold to institutional investors, the token was considered a security because investors relied on Ripple’s assurances that its value would rise. But when it trades on secondary exchanges, retail investors do not have the same expectations, so XRP has not been considered a security in this context.

Industry executives hope the ruling has set a useful precedent. Coinbase, for example, is betting that the decision bodes well in its battle against the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has accused it of selling unregistered securities.

But securities law experts aren’t celebrating. “The decision goes against what securities law should do.” Arguing that retailers should have more Protection from supposedly more sophisticated institutional investors.

Tyler Gelach, a former SEC attorney who now heads the Healthy Markets Association, said the ruling created an “enormous loophole” for many companies, even outside of cryptocurrency. “This decision is my real-life nightmare scenario,” he said.

– the number of Taylor Swift albums at the top of the charts, more than ever before by a woman after the singer passed Barbra Streisand’s record of 11.

The big event for Wall Street earnings will come on Wednesday, when Goldman Sachs will report its second-quarter results. The questions — and frustrations — revolve around its stock slump, its tumultuous foray into retail banking, including its acquisition of buy-now-pay-later GreenSky, and the future of its CEO, David Solomon.

Here’s what DealBook will see:

How big of a good deal will Goldman take with GreenSky? The bank announced it was exploring selling the company, which it bought last year for $2.2 billion, as part of its curtailment of Solomon’s large consumer payment. But the bids came in far short of expectations.

What is the future of our partnership with Apple? It is said that the bank in conversations to offload business to American Express, despite Goldman’s public support for the alliance. “It’s a very strong partnership where there are a lot of opportunities,” Mr. Solomon said in October.

Are more layoffs planned? The bank has cut jobs this year, and there are reports that the cost cuts have not been completed. (The bank recently resumed its historic practice of dumping underperformers.) Internally, there is concern that Goldman Sachs will nominate far fewer bankers for the directors category this year. As one banker told DealBook: “I don’t know if I’m going to get a promotion — or get fired.”

What about profits? Investors will focus on the average return on equity. The goal is to get to 14 to 16 percent on this key measure of profitability. reports It suggests it could come in much lower (Goldman itself has publicly lowered expectations in a breach of tradition), further evidence that the bank is lagging behind Wall Street heavyweights like JPMorgan Chase.

Will Goldman say more about hiring Tom Montague? The company said last month that it had chosen the former CEO of Bank of America and Goldman to join its board.

Mr. Montague has a reputation for aggressive risk management. But his appointment caused an uproar inside and outside Goldman, given Solomon’s efforts to wean the bank off its old boys’ club reputation.

Will Suleiman talk about his future? He seems to want the naysayers to know that Goldman’s board really has his back. But Wednesday brings a big test, as many Wall Street watchers expect the bank to do so Failed delivery – A scenario that Goldman Sachs has leaked in recent weeks to reduce expectations.



  • Donald Trump and his allies plan to increase his presidential powers if he wins the 2024 election. (The New York Times)

  • It is said that US regulators will release them New banking rules Next week that will fix capital rules. (bloomberg)

  • “Jerome Powell’s privileged job market is back. Can he keep it?” (The New York Times)

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