Warren Buffett Named Greg Abel His Likely Successor At Berkshire Hathaway

Plus, Verizon sold its media group to Apollo Global Management, a top Apple analyst says there could be a foldable iPhone released in 2023, and Dell is selling its Boomi cloud integration software unit.

Stocks were higher at the open on Monday with the Dow adding 30 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 gained 0.25%, while the Nasdaq rose 0.5%.

Warren Buffett named Greg Abel as his likely successor if the billionaire were to step down. Buffett said that the Berkshire Hathaway board agrees that Abel, the conglomerate’s vice chairman of non-insurance businesses, would take over if anything were to happen to the 90-year old chief executive. Also this weekend at Berkshire’s annual meeting, Buffett said he is seeing inflation and a red hot economy. “It’s almost a buying frenzy,” Buffett said at the meeting. “People have money in their pocket and they’re paying higher prices. … We are seeing very substantial inflation. It’s very interesting. We are raising prices. People are raising prices to us and it’s being accepted.”

Verizon is selling its media group to Apollo Global Management for $5 billion, a move that will jettison once-dominant online brands AOL and Yahoo. After the close of the deal, which is expected in the second half of the year, the unit will be known as Yahoo with Guru Gowrappan remaining the chief executive officers of the media group. Verizon will keep a 10% ownership stake in the business. “Verizon Media has done an incredible job turning the business around over the past two and a half years and the growth potential is enormous,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon CEO. “The next iteration requires full investment and the right resources. During the strategic review process, Apollo delivered the strongest vision and strategy for the next phase of Verizon Media. I have full confidence that Yahoo will take off in its new home.”

Apple could launch a foldable iPhone in 2023, a top Apple analyst predicted in a note out this morning. TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he believes a foldable iPhone will reach 15 to 20 million units in 2023, with the new model featuring an 8-inch foldable OLED display, making it slightly larger than the iPad mini. “After 5G, the foldable smartphone is the next innovative selling point of high-end models,” Kuo wrote in the note, adding that Apple is poised to lead the foldable device trend which will “blur the product segmentations between smartphones, tablets, and laptops.”

Tesla shares are down more than 3% this morning on reports that the carmaker’s new plant in Germany won’t begin production before the end of next January due to delays affecting battery pack output. According to a report from the German trade magazine Automobilwoche, CEO Elon Musk gave the team in charge of the Berlin plant six more months to complete the project but limited production is likely to be moving from late 2021 into early 2022. Setting up a local manufacturing plant in Europe and building a new factory in Texas are among Tesla’s top priorities for this year, but without cars coming out of the new German plant, the company will be constrained in the midst of explosive growth in electric vehicle sales for incumbents like Volkswagen. “Of the new launches, we believe Berlin is highest priority,” said Dan Left, an analyst at Credit Suisse, adding that Europe is “ground zero for global EV inflection” and the factory in Germany would enable it to cut prices in the region.

And Dell Technologies has agreed to sell its Boomi cloud integration software unit to the private-equity firms Francisco Partners and TPG Capital for $4 billion in cash. Boomi specializes in integrating different cloud platforms for companies and was acquired by Dell in 2010, but Dell has been taking steps to shore up its debt-heavy balance sheet, recently unveiling a plan to spin off its majority stake in VMware to Dell shareholders. “Boomi has flourished as part of Dell Technologies, growing exponentially since we acquired them in 2010,” Dell vice chairman and chief operating officer Jeff Clarke said in a statement. “This proposed transaction positions Boomi for its next phase of growth and is the right move for both companies, our shared customers and partners.”

Stocks We’re Watching

Atlassian (NASDAQ: TEAM): Atlassian shares rose as much as 5.6% on Friday after the team collaboration and productivity software maker announced its fiscal third quarter results. “The Atlassian cloud platform allows us to innovate faster than ever for teams and organizations of all sizes, highlighted by our announcement of Point A,” Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian’s co-founder and co-CEO, said in the earnings release. “The Point A program fast-tracks our most promising ideas and vets early versions with our users, so customers can get value out of early products from day 1. Our new products are able to rapidly evolve thanks to our incredible R&D teams building on top of our multi-year cloud platform investment.”