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December 2017

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Kojima recently revealed the icon of Kojima Productions on Twitter

Hideo Kojima, one of the legendary game developer in the world of gaming today, announced the development of his new game in collaboration with Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) after his controversial departure from his long time employer, Konami Corp (OTCMKTS:KNMCY). The developer, who is known for taking his sweet time in making any game, has been silent on the details of his upcoming game and recently, the character behind his new studio’s logo was revealed.

Kojima recently revealed the picture of Ludens on his official Twitter account which is the name given to the mascot behind his new Kojima Productions logo. The tweet mentions that Ludens is the “new icon of Kojima Productions” and Hideo Kojima describes his suit as an “extra-vehicular activity (EVA) creativity suit”. The picture shows Ludens wearing the said suit while he holds the Kojima Productions flag in all its glory.

Kojima also explained the ambitions he has for his new studio and the following statement was revealed about his next game: “We’ll deliver THE NEW PLAY in THE NEW FUTURE with the cutting-edge equipment, technology, & the frontier spirit.”

As of now, there are not many details available for Kojima’s new endeavor other than the fact that the game is going to be exclusively on the PlayStation 4. The scarcity of details regarding it is probably due to the lack of any significant progress to share. Since Kojima has a habit of taking time with the development of any game, it might be long before we actually see anything worth the hype from the new game. Those of you wondering about the game’s release date, expect at least three years from now if past history is considered.

Stay tuned to this space for more on Hideo Kojima’s upcoming game.

Alphabet’s Waymo reveals Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans only a day after the project announcement

Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Waymo with its partner, Fiat Chrysler, since May reveals almost 100 self-driving minivans. The minivan fleet has been specifically modified so that it can be tested in California, Arizona, and Michigan. This is the first time the company has managed to work with an automaker to create the self-driving vehicles.

The minivans will be seen on roads next year according to blog post made by the CEO of Waymo, John Krafick, on Sunday. The autonomous minivans consist of new computers, better sensors, and other system updates. Sensors can be seen on the front and the back of the vehicle. Fiat modified that structure, powertrain, and the exterior of the vehicle.

This was a fresh start for Alphabet to announce Waymo, it was rumored to kill its self-driving car project entirely a while ago. These rumors have been proven the complete opposite. Waymo and Fiat will be seen on the roads very soon, possibly in 2017. Waymo and Fiat are using their individual’s sources and strength to manufacture the best possible self-driving cars out there.

The CEO of Waymo, Joh Krafcik said, “The Pacifica Hybrid will be a great addition to our fully self-driving tests fleet. FCA’s product development and manufacturing teams have been agile partners. Enabling us to go from program kickoff to full vehicle assembly in just six months. They’ve been great partners, and we look forward to continues teamwork with them as move into 2017.”

Some of the prototypes of these minivans have gone through tests already, which include the ‘extreme weather’ tests that last for 200 hours. The tests were conducted in California at the company’s own track and even Fiat’s test areas in Arizona and Michigan.

Tesla stock abruptly shakes off negative sentiments and recovers some of its loses from Solar merger deal

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) announcement to acquire its struggling, sister company SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) hit the Street like a lightning bolt last week. While Tesla bulls greeted the news with reservations, the bears found an opportunity to take a jab at Elon Musk, CEO at Tesla and Chairman at SolarCity, for his “no-brainer” proposal.

The shares of the automaker declined dramatically, more than 14% over the last year trading session and hit a roughly four-month low of $187.87 during early trading hours on Monday. Though, in the afternoon, the shares suddenly went into a ‘Ludicrous’ mode and accelerated by about $10. By 3:14 PM EDT, the shares were trading up 1.2% at $195.47.

Almost every Street analyst criticized the move over various reasons, including more cash burn, different business model and target markets, capital market and financial risks, and limited synergies. Though one true Tesla loyalist, Trip Chowdry of Global Equities Research, applauded the automaker for such “industry-creation activity” and urged his clients to buy the stock on weakness.

The Wall Street Journal published a report earlier today, indicating that Mr. Musk’s fans can save Tesla-SolarCity merger deal given the visionary leader’s reputation. The report said that most key outside Tesla shareholders are not new to the shares, as six of the seven largest investors (excluding Mr. Musk) have stake in the company for no less than three years and own more than two-third of the company.

Earlier this year, the largest investor in the group, Fidelity Investment, said that a solar company would be hand-in-hand with the automaker’s technology. Additionally, Mr. Musk has full confidence that the shareholders of both the company will approve the merger proposal.

Apart from the report, other news that could positively effect Tesla shares include filing of six new trademarks to sell solar products under the Tesla brand, sales of tax credits worth $20 million to MGM Grand Casino, and the Chinese governments intension to remove cap for foreign carmakers on joint-ventures.

The judge covering the Fitbit-Jawbone trade dispute has invalidated some of Jawbone’s patents, improving the outlook for Fitbit

Last week, Fitbit Inc. (NYSE:FIT) scored against Jawbone in the ongoing trade dispute when the judge covering the case ruled against some of Jawbone’s patent claims by declaring them invalid. Jawbone had previously filed a case against competitor Fitbit, claiming that the wearable technology maker had infringed multiple patents. It was trying to get the company’s products blocked from being imported in the US. Fitbit countersued, and both companies are bound to face similar repercussions if found guilty.

Jawbone’s patent infringement claims were found invalid, according to court documents, as they did not provide any innovative concept and instead sought monopoly over the very idea of collecting sleep and health data. The abstract nature of the some of those patents and the conclusion that they simply purport the use of computers for what used to be human activity is what made the infringement claims ineligible in court.

The development reflects a victory for Fitbit, which has been dealing with Jawbone’s patent infringement accusations as it stole trade secrets from the company by poaching its employees. As for Jawbone, which entered the wearable market five years back and failed to make much of a mark in it, the litigation is a chance to monetize off of Fitbit’s success. However, the two patents which have been dismissed represent a small subset of the many claims Jawbone has raised. Fitbit still has to contend with the accusation that it stole Jawbone’s trade secrets as well as the allegation that Fitbit used aggressive hiring tactics to damage the company’s business, contacting about 30% of Jawbone employees. Meanwhile, Fitbit also sued Jawbone for patent infringement in Federal Courts, including one in San Fransciso, over the technology used in its devices. 

Fitbit is currently the leader in the wearables segment with close to a 30% market share as it competes with larger rivals like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), whose competing product, the Apple Watch, has managed to gain only a 15% share of the wearable market. The company has rebounded from a tough year into 2016 with two new watches each of which sold one million units within a month of their release in March.

The analyst believes that SolarCity Corp has several positive catalysts

SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) shareholders are more than just happy to have found their company inches away from potential acquisition by Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA). After a go ahead from its board of directors Tesla has now officially placed a bid for stake in SCTY which implies valuation of about $27.42 to $29.45. Given the recent stock price, this provides a potential upside of about 14%, but in Ben Kallo’s view, SCTY might be worth a tad more.

Ben Kallo, analyst at Baird, believes the stock is going to keep performing strongly in the next few years and will establish its dominance in the market. The company’s cost cutting structure and efficiency is currently outpacing the industry and it’s expected to continue to hold its market share as a rooftop solar panel installer. The analyst expects the financials to move towards betterment and make the balance sheet far more presentable. Despite requiring multiple fund raising rounds in order to facilitate the financial needs.

Analyzing prospects from this point onwards, there are several positive outcomes that are more than probable. The first scenario is acquisition by Tesla for the current proposed bid of $27.42 to $29.45, second scenario involved a round of negotiations with Tesla and sealing the deal at a higher valuation, third scenario includes a third party being introduced into the fray and competing with Tesla over SCTY acquisition and lastly cancellation of merger in its entirety by rejecting the bid. Regardless of the outcome, SolarCity investors should rest easy as the stock is likely to post strong growth in long term.

Ben Kallo reaffirmed the company’s buy rating and a price target of $37. The analyst opinion for the stock has five Strong Buy, three Buy, nine Hold and one Underperform rating. The stock now trades at a price of $24.56.

The primary candidate for the deal might be JAC Capital, as it has strong relations with the company’s management

NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ: NXPI) is a semiconductor manufacturer based in Eindhoven. The Netherlands based company was incorporated in 2006, and in the recent turn of events, it has shown willingness to liquidate its standard products business. FBR views this whole process as a net positive in favor of NXPI.

FBR analyst, Christopher Rolland believes that NXPI has been deliberating to sell standard product business unit for a while and seeks $2 billion consideration for such. The company has received notification of interest from JAC capital, along with many Chinese holding companies. The analyst understands the only reason NXPI is still holding on to the unit is the absence of lacerative offers, which it is expecting to receive at some point in the future.

The odds of the sale of the unit are more realistic when it comes to JAC, as both the companies enjoy friendly relations. The basis of these relations can be traced back to the sale of RF division by NXPI worth $1.8 billion to JAC capital. NXP has shown interest in forming a joint venture with JAC capital in the past, and the potential of realization of such a happening remains favorable, as regulatory scrutiny against non-US based companies is rather lenient when it comes to transfer of key technologies.

Mr. Rolland summarizes that in the event of standard product business unit sale, NXPI shares will be diluted by $0.6, given that 4% of debt is paid. It will also allow management more freedom to invest in less capital intensive areas and push for more growth and profitability.

The analyst maintained his outperform rating for NXPI and kept the price target at $105. The stock closed at price of $82.74 on Friday.

Analysts at D.A Davidson upgraded their rating on Hortonworks stock from a Neutral to a Buy on the back of valuation

Hortonworks Inc (NASDAQ:HDP) stock surged more than 11%in today’s trading session, after analysts at D.A Davidson bumped their rating on the company from a Neutral to a Buy based on valuation. Shares of the enterprise software company have been on a slippery slope since the start of 2016, falling a little over 42% especially after Hortonworks announced to sell $100 million worth common stock.

Analysts at D.A Davidson maintained its $13 twelve-month price target on the stock, citing continued expansion in the company’s ecosystem. Additionally, the research firm expects Hortonworks to lower its cash burn significantly by the second quarter of fiscal year 2016.

The provider of advanced enterprise software solutions has previously posted mixed top and bottom line results for its first quarter. Hortonworks managed to generate $41.3 million in total revenues, compared to the Street’s expectations of $39.5 million. However, the company posted adjusted loss per share (LPS) of 68 cents coming in line with its consensus estimates.

In addition to muted quarterly earnings, Hortonworks also provided weak guidance for its current quarter, lowering the investor confidence on the software provider. The company expects to generate $45 million in total revenues during its current quarter, missing the Street’s estimates of $45.15 million. Analysts at Credit Suisse came to the company’s defense, reiterating their bullish stance following its weak first quarter earnings call.

Last week, analysts at JMP Securities also launched positive comments regarding future prospects of the company, reaffirming an Outperform rating along with a price target of $25. The research firm also highlighted results from its recent channel checks which indicated increased Hadoop adoption from the customers. Hortonworks stock has slumped nearly 34% in the last six months, compared to Nasdaq Composite Index which rose almost 8% in the similar time frame.

South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minster Rob Davies urges Tesla to invest in the South African market and also offer its vehicles

Given the popularity of Elon Musk, a South African-born, Canadian-American entrepreneur, and his electric vehicle (EV) company, several government officials around the world want Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) to expand its operations into their countries. The latest comments come from the Department of Trade and Industry South Africa’s head, who wants the company to bring in its electric vehicle and storage batteries.

MyBroadband reported Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, attended the 15th Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Washington DC and encouraged the company to find the possibility of establishing shop in the country. During a business breakfast session on Sunday, the minster expressed his foreign investment desires in front of investors.

Mr. Davies pointed towards the automotive programs in South Africa which already offer a lot of incentives for electric vehicle (EV) buyers. While also highlighting plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, he said that the government now understands that electrification is the future for the auto industry.

He said that the government is also working with the Independent Power Producers Programme (IPPP) on alternative energy sources, emphasizing that investors see the IPPP as one of the world’s best power purchasing program.

The one-day AGOA Forum, an annual forum that organizes on alternative basis between the US and sub-Saharan Africa, will be held today, 26 September. Last year, the forum took place in Gabon, a Central African country along the Atlantic coast. This year the forum’s theme is “Maximizing US-Africa Trade and Investment: AGOA and Beyond.”

In April, TheCountryCaller reported that Tesla has started its first Powerwall system in South Africa, after announcing plans to step into the market earlier this year. While there is no update on the delivery numbers, the market is still gradually growing.  

Mr. Davies insists that Tesla should also introduce the Model S and Model X into the country by building a retail location; however, we believe that there is not much demand for EVs in South Africa, mainly due to their high prices. South Africa could become an interesting market for the Model 3 and Model Y, but not many people will be able to afford the Model S and Model X. Additionally, the automaker requires building its charging infrastructure in the country.

Headwinds in eBay Inc’s International Market Drive eBay Down – Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley lowered ratings on eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) stock from an Equalweight to an Underweight and maintained $22.50 target price, signaling 11% downside potential. Analyst Brian Nowak noted headwinds in eBay’s international market and sluggish top-line growth, and budding negative revisions.

Investor concern lies in the e-commerce retailer’s decelerating domestic market business; domestic business accumulates approx. 40% gross merchandise value (GMV) and contributes 36% in total revenues. However, Morgan Stanley highlighted eBay’s weakening foothold in international markets. While eBay’s international market generates approx. 60% of total GMV and 44% revenue, it is likely to lose market, especially in the UK and Germany in the near future.

Considering how the UK’s and Germany’s combined international GMV is 62%, Alphawise survey holds concerning data pointing at this market share erosion. As per survey data, the UK/ Germany consumers not planning to shop on eBay have increased from 20% at 2015 start to over 60% in 2016. Also, 95% of UK buyers and 98% of Germany buyers at eBay expect flat or lower spending over the year. From this information, Mr. Nowak concluded that eBay is at risk of dip in net buyer worth as well as dollar spent per buyer.

He also mentioned that Amazon provides solid competition, reducing eBay’s uniqueness in product offering. “We now see 1%/4% negative revision risk to Street non-GAAP EPS. eBay is not an expensive stock relative to its retail or online advertising peers, but we do not view valuation alone as a catalyst….in particular with decelerating top-line growth and top- and bottom-line negative revisions to come,” he added.

Analysts’ consensus recommendation is a Hold, with mean rating of 2.51. According to a Reuters report, out of total analysts covering the stock, eight rate eBay stock a Buy, 24 suggest a Hold while none rate it as a Sell. Five analysts rated the stock an Overperform while two labeled it an Underperform. 

 

Tesla has been improving its connectivity by turning Model S and Model X fleet into Wi-Fi hotspots to connect other devices

Internet of Things is rapidly becoming widespread and is being used in almost every industry, as well as automobile, as most of the vehicles these days have Internet connectivity. Since Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was the first automobile company to provide over-the-air (OTA) software updates, it is arguable the leading innovative automaker.

Electrek reported Tesla is improving its connectivity by transforming its fleet of Model S and Model X into Wi-Fi hotspots. The move comes after the electric vehicle (EV) maker rolled out a new chip and module earlier this year that were optimized for the feature.

The publication quoted sources close to matter, saying that the company is prepared to allow its vehicles to function as Wi-Fi hotspots; though, there is no surety regarding the official release of the feature. Probably, it has to take care of some other plans before launching it.

Tesla offers an Internet data service plan for free on a four-year period which is included the vehicle’s tag price. After the period ends, a monthly service fee will be likely provided to Tesla owners. New functions should be introduced later to make flexible transition to a paid plan. The owners will indeed be able to connect via their smartphones to pay for just a data package.

Earlier in 2016, Tesla submitted an application the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use a radio frequency on a new device, a new system-in-package module with a new chip and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi hub/USB. Electrek obtained the documents recently.

The new module was rolled out with a new Qualcomm Atheros QCA6234 chip optimized for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Here’s what Qualcomm says about the chip’s connectivity direct Wi-Fi feature:

“The Qualcomm Atheros industry leading AP Mode feature allows the QCA6234 device to operate as both a station and an Access Point, enabling seamless station-to-station interconnection with all the benefits of standard infrastructure-level simplicity (no special client software or settings required), security, and power save functionality.”

The FCC document revealed that the automaker was expected to roll out the device in its cars during the first quarter of this year, when it introduced the new Model S sedan. This means that all the new vehicles on the roads now include it.

The vehicle being used as a hotspot will be really popular among Tesla owners, who will be able to use their laptops, tablets, and smartphones via the vehicle’s service plan. It will be more essential when the automaker will be ready to launch Tesla Mobility, a fully autonomous ride-sharing service that could make money for the owners.