CHINESE LITHIUM GIANT BUYS RIGHTS TO ARGENTINE DEPOSIT
Ganfeng Lithium, the Chinese company ranked as the world’s biggest lithium producer by market capitalization, has agreed to buy Argentine mining company Lithea for $962 million.
The deal hands Ganfeng rights to two brine deposits capable of producing the lithium carbonate essential to the batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs).
The two deposits will deliver 30,000 to 50,000 tons of lithium annually, Ganfeng estimates.
The world is seeing a contest to tie up lithium supplies as global demand for EVs is surging while gasoline prices set records. Controlling the supply of lithium, as China does now, will bring dominance in a key industry over the next several decades.
Lithium prices have skyrocketed 400 to 700 percent since spring 2021, according to various estimates, which we noted in “EV Sticker Shock Sets In as Battery Materials Costs Soar” (5 Jul 2022).
Goldman Sachs has predicted that lithium’s price will fall as producers respond to relentless demand.
However, others dispute Goldman’s optimism.
The spike in demand for EVs is outpacing both the pace at which lithium can be produced from existing deposits and the length of time it takes to bring new mines into production, analysts have pointed out.
As we reported in “Lack of Lithium Makes EV Boom Unsustainable, Supplier Says” (26 Apr 2022), “There simply isn’t going to be enough lithium on the face of the planet, regardless of who expands it and who delivers it,” Stuart Crow, chair of Australian mining company Lake Resources, said in a Financial Times interview. “It just won’t be there.”
UNITY SOFTWARE BUYS IRONSOURCE FOR $4.4 BILLION
Unity Software, which provides services to video game developers, will buy ironsource Ltd. for $4.4 billion in stock.
Unity provides a technical infrastructure for game developers; ironsource develops software for publishing games across various kinds of devices.
The union comes as the broader tech industry’s equity values have fallen, sparking layoffs and making some companies less expensive and more ripe for takeover.
Amazon has frozen hiring, Google has said it will slow its addition of new workers, and Microsoft is trimming its payroll.
Unity shed 4 percent of its workforce in June.
The tech sector’s financial slump is due in part to declines in digital advertising, a field in which ironsource specializes.
Video Gaming “is the only industry I’m aware of where the consumer loves the ads,” Unity CEO John Riccitiello told The Wall Street Journal.
Consumers are expected to spend $203.1 billion on video games this year, 5.4 percent more than in 2021, according to data service Newzoo BV.
DUFRY PLANS TO BUY CATERER AUTOGRILL
Dufry, the Swiss company operating 1,700 airport retail shops in 60 countries, will buy Autogrill, an Italian business that advertises itself as “the leading global operator in food and beverage services for travelers.”
Autogrill employs 30,000 workers in more than 3,500 airports, train stations, and highway stops in 30 countries.
First, Dufry will acquire the 50.3-percent stake in Autogrill held by the Benetton Italian fashion family. The Benettons will then become Dufry’s largest shareholder.
Next, Dufry will make an offer for the rest of Autogrill’s outstanding shares, offering a choice of either 0.158 of a share or €6.33 for each one.
The offer values Autogrill at between €2 billion and €2.2 billion.
In 2019, both Dufry and Autogrill were looking for ways to expand.
Then COVID arrived, shutting down the world’s travel industry and sinking the companies’ annual revenues by 70 and 60 percent, respectively.
The two found each other as the COVID crisis eased and travelers were back in the skies and on the road.
“This was the combination that made the most sense of all the ones that were looked at,” a person familiar with the Benetton family’s thinking told the Financial Times.
The new entity will operate 5,500 retail shops at 1,200 airports and highway sites, the two companies estimate.
BANKSTERS: ANZ BUYS SUNCORP BANK
Racking up the biggest banking sector deal since the Panic of ’08, ANZ the one of the top four Australian Banksters made a $3.3 billion deal to take control of Suncorp’s banking division.
As the Bigs keep getting bigger, as Financial Times reported, “ANZ’s acquisition of Suncorp could herald further deals with smaller regional lenders including Bendigo Bank, Adelaide Bank and the Bank of Queensland,” and “NAB completed a A$1.2bn takeover of Citigroup’s consumer business in Australia last month.”