BlackRock Forges a New Bond With Big Oil

In recent years, BlackRock has taken environmental, social and corporate governance considerations (known as ESG) into its decision-making publicly, and argued that other companies should do the same. He also made a name for himself with many of his conservative opponents.

So the investment giant’s decision on Monday Name Amin NasserThe CEO of Saudi Arabian oil company Aramco feels like a big backlog to its board despite insisting the move is consistent with its ESG efforts.

Nasser heads the world’s largest oil producer. Aramco produced 13.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day last year. He will succeed Bader Alsaad, Executive Director of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, on the BlackRock Board of Directors.

Will this appointment represent a pivot on the climate change issue for BlackRock? The company’s CEO, Larry Fink, has long said that ESG principles are a key business consideration. The approach has drawn criticism from conservative politicians who have attacked BlackRock for its commitment to what it calls “awakened” policies, with multiple red state officials lashing out at BlackRock in retaliation. Withdrew billions of dollars from the vault.

Fink said he stopped using ESG last month. call it the “weaponized” termbut added that the company continues to encourage companies to take steps to decarbonise. And in announcing Nasser’s appointment, BlackRock emphasized his “understanding of the global energy industry and the drivers of the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

But Nasser has criticized efforts to decarbonise. Saudi Arabia has announced several clean energy initiatives so far. $1.5 billion energy transition fundNasser questions current efforts to achieve a low-carbon future.

“The current transition plan is frankly flawed,” he said last year. “We are not really seeing results. What we need is an optimal and realistic migration plan.”

Nasser also cements ties between BlackRock and Saudi Arabia It was in the midst of a growing controversy over the Kingdom’s human rights record. The PGA Tour’s provisional deal with Saudi-backed rival LivGolf has thrown new scrutiny on the country’s funneling money into Western companies.

Fink walked out of the Saudi Investments for the Future Initiative conference in 2018 after the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but returned the following year and has since defended doing business with the country.

A heat wave is hitting the northern hemisphere. Parts of Europe and the southern United States are expected to experience record temperatures that will affect human health and economic activity. As China faces sweltering heat, US climate envoy John Kerry met with the country’s prime minister to urge cooperation in the fight against climate change.

Microsoft and Activision are reportedly planning to extend the contract. Microsoft buys video game maker for $70 billion There are no plans to close on Tuesday According to Bloomberg, the two sides have negotiated a settlement with the UK’s antitrust regulator, which was expected. The competition and markets regulator, which had previously tried to block the deal, has set an Aug. 29 deadline for talks.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has asked the SEC to investigate Tesla. The Massachusetts Democratic Party “asked the agency to look into the possibilities.”conflict of interest, misappropriation of corporate assets,” citing reports that Elon Musk invited Tesla employees to work on Twitter after he bought the social network. He suggested the move violated employment laws and may not have been properly disclosed to investors.

US companies have won some relief from global tax treaties. Under new rules negotiated by the Treasury Department, American corporations remaining until 2026 Before other countries start imposing new taxes on companies deemed to pay too little in the US. The revised pact offers more certainty for businesses, but the Biden administration still struggles to comply with it to avoid tax losses.

As writers and actors, including celebrities like Jason Sudeikis and Kevin Bacon, walk the picket line on Monday, media moguls are sweating the reality of a double-headed strike in Hollywood.

Studios say they can weather the work disruptions that have halted most U.S. film and television production. But there are growing fears that their business could be hit hard if it goes beyond a month-plus.

The countdown to Labor Day is approaching. The three studio chairs told The Times that Hollywood could go on hiatus until early September without much long-term damage to the business. Television studios continue to implement contingency plans for the fall. CBS is up to date On Monday, it announced a line-up consisting of “Yellowstone” reruns, reality shows and game shows.

But a prolonged strike is likely to cause significant delays to projects slated for next year, threatening to make 2024 a ghost town of content. And the TV giants have only a limited time to survive with lineups built around the likes of “Survivor” and “The Golden Bachelor.”

The cost of a prolonged strike is becoming clear. Media executives have suggested that the shutdown could be used to cut costs, such as terminating some expensive production deals, but the benefits won’t last king Barry Diller recently outlined To “face the state” with the ramifications of an extended strike:

“In the future, viewing contracts will be terminated, film and television companies will lose revenue, and as a result, there will be no programs. So if not resolved soon, this could have a really devastating effect.”

Moffettnathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said that if platforms like Netflix turned to foreign content producers for new movies and shows, American studios could be in trouble. . “When the National Auto Workers Union goes on strike, it’s like all of a sudden there are more Japanese and German cars on the road,” he told The Times.

Diller has already proposed a solution. “In good faith, both executives and the highest-paid actors should take a 25% pay cut to close the gap between high-paid and low-paid actors,” he said. On Monday, the group representing the studio in labor negotiations said members had made offers to negotiate labor before the strike. $1 billion worth of concessions Salary and benefits, restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence, etc.

However, it is unclear whether that alone will be enough, as all sides acknowledge that the front lines have been strengthened.

Crypto fans celebrate after a federal judge gave the digital currency industry a partial victory over the SEC last week.

The agency had accused Ripple in 2020 of not registering its XRP token as a security, but a judge ruled that XRP is not a security under all circumstances. It wasn’t an outright victory, but Ripple and its allies claim it as a major achievement anyway.

The case was seen as a precursor to the future of cryptocurrencies in the US In the midst of aggressive SEC enforcement action against the industry. The agency’s chairman, Gary Gensler, has repeatedly argued that most digital tokens are securities, but crypto companies say this approach would give them clearer rules instead of trying to regulate their existence. protesting that there is

Judgment handed down by the judge: When XRP was sold to institutional investors, the token was a security because investors depended on Ripple’s claims that its value would rise. However, retail investors did not have such expectations when it was traded on secondary exchanges, so XRP was not considered a security in that context.

Industry executives hope the ruling will set a useful precedent. Coinbase, for example, is betting that the decision will have a positive impact on its fight with the SEC, which condemned the sale of unregistered securities.

But securities law experts aren’t happy. “This decision is contrary to the intent of securities law.” Hillary Allen, a professor at the American University of Washington Law School, told Dealbook that retail traders should: more Probably more protected than the more sophisticated institutional investors.

Tyler Gerash, a former SEC attorney who now heads the Sound Markets Association, said the ruling has created a “huge loophole” for many companies, even outside of cryptocurrencies. “This decision is a real life nightmare scenario for me,” he said.

— the number of Taylor Swift album She surpasses Barbra Streisand’s record of 11, making her the most ever by a woman.

The big event for Wall Street earnings comes Wednesday when Goldman Sachs reports its second-quarter results. Doubts and frustrations swirl about the company’s sluggish share price, its troubled foray into consumer banking, including its buy-now-pay-later acquisition of GreenSky, and CEO David Solomon’s future. ing.

Here’s what DealBook is looking at:

How much credit can Goldman get in GreenSky? The bank said it was considering selling the company it acquired last year for $2.2 billion as part of its withdrawal from massive Solomon consumer pressure. However, the bid was well below expectations.

What does the future hold for our partnership with Apple? The bank reportedly During negotiations Despite public support for the Goldman partnership, it ended up transferring the business to American Express. “This is a very strong partnership with many opportunities,” Solomon said in October.

Are further headcount reductions planned? The bank cut jobs this year, but some reports say the cost cuts haven’t been completed. (The bank recently resumed its historic practice of letting go of underperforming individuals.) There are internal concerns that Goldman Sachs will appoint significantly fewer bankers to the managing director class this year. As one banker told DealBook: “I don’t know if I will be promoted or fired.”

What about profit? Investors will focus on return on average equity. Our goal is to reach 14-16% on this important profitability measure. report This suggests that Goldman itself is breaking with tradition and publicly downplaying expectations, suggesting the bank is falling behind Wall Street heavyweights like JPMorgan Chase & Co. further evidence to show.

Will Goldman say anything more about the appointment of Tom Montag? The company announced last month that it had added former Bank of America and Goldman executives to its board.

Montag has a reputation for strong risk management. But Solomon’s appointment caused controversy at Goldman and beyond, given his efforts to move the bank away from its old-age club reputation.

Will Solomon talk about his future? He seems to want naysayers to know that Goldman’s board is firmly behind him. But Wednesday will bring a big test, with many Wall Street watchers expecting banks to: send notification of misfire — a scenario Goldman himself has been leaking in recent weeks to lower expectations.

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

  • U.S. regulators reportedly to announce new banking rules Capital controls will be overhauled next week. (Bloomberg)

  • “The labor market that Jerome Powell admired is back. Can he keep it?” (New York Times)

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