Morning Brew: OpenAI's Q* Project Raises Concerns; Amazon Set for EU Nod on iRobot Deal

Summary of news for Nov. 23

Summary
  • Summary of news for Nov. 23
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OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research lab, has been in the spotlight following internal concerns about a powerful AI discovery. Researchers at OpenAI, in a letter to the board of directors, warned of a potentially threatening AI model known as Q*. This revelation came ahead of the ouster of CEO Sam Altman and is considered one of the factors leading to his departure. The Q* AI model, which is said to have the capability to solve certain mathematical problems, signifies a leap in AI reasoning abilities, raising both interest and concern within the tech community.

Amazon (AMZN, Financial) is on the brink of receiving unconditional approval from the European Union for its acquisition of iRobot, the maker of Roomba vacuum robots. This move, pending a decision by February 14, is expected to pass without further regulatory hurdles, following the UK antitrust regulator's approval last June. Amazon's pursuit of iRobot has been closely watched, with the Federal Trade Commission also conducting an in-depth review of the transaction. The deal's progression is a significant step for Amazon in expanding its smart home ecosystem.

Visa (V, Financial) has disclosed a notable transaction by Rajat Taneja, the company's president of technology, who sold approximately 7,800 class A common shares. The sale, amounting to nearly $1.98 million, was executed at a price of $253.17 per share, according to a recent SEC filing. This transaction by a high-ranking executive is of interest to investors monitoring insider activity for potential signals about the company's financial health and future prospects.

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend is set to break sports betting records, with anticipation building around the first-ever Black Friday NFL game and classic college football rivalries. Penn Entertainment's (PENN, Financial) new ESPN Bet launch has added to the excitement, leading to a surge in sports betting app downloads. The industry is already looking at 2023 as a pivotal year, with data from the American Gaming Association indicating a strong growth trajectory for sports betting.

Stellantis N.V. (STLA, Financial) has made a strategic move by repurchasing 50 million common shares from Dongfeng Motor, with plans to cancel these shares. The transaction, valued at €934 million, is part of Stellantis' broader share repurchase program, which aims to complete a €1.5 billion buyback by the end of 2023. This deal underscores Stellantis' commitment to shareholder value and its ongoing partnership with Dongfeng Motor, which will retain a stake in the company post-cancellation.

EU lawmakers are in the process of drafting rules that would require tech giants like Alphabet's Google (GOOGL, Financial) and Meta Platforms (META, Financial) to detect and remove online child pornography. The proposed rules aim to ensure child safety without affecting end-to-end encryption. This legislative effort comes as a response to the inadequacy of the current voluntary system and is expected to be finalized in 2024, marking a significant step in the regulation of online content.

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