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A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today

On the rise

Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund (BPF.UN-T) soared on Friday after announcing the recommencement of its monthly distribution of 6.5 cents per unit.

The Vancouver-based fund suspended the distribution in March in dealing with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Acumen Capital analyst Nick Corcoran said: “We view the recommencement of the monthly distribution, operations update, and potential special distribution as positive. Based on our estimates, the monthly distribution is at a sustainable level. A special distribution will allow BPF.UN to avoid any potential tax consequences of retaining cash in the fund.”

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU-T) ,Canada’s second-biggest oil company, increased after it told employees on Friday it would cut its workforce by up to 15 per cent over the next year and a half, and by 5 per cent in the next six months, as pandemic travel restrictions crushed crude demand, two sources confirmed to Reuters.

The sources did not have permission to speak publicly. Dirk Tolman, chair of a Unifor union local representing Suncor workers, said Suncor Chief Executive Mark Little addressed employees and said the company would need to cut expenses.

Invesco Ltd. (IVZ-N) and Janus Henderson (JHG-N) rose in the wake of activist investor Trian Fund Management LP saying on Friday that it owns large stakes in both and plans to encourage the asset managers to consider strategic options like a merger as the industry faces a wave of consolidation.

Trian said in a regulatory filing that it owns 9.9-per-cent stakes in both Atlanta-headquartered Invesco and Denver-headquartered Janus Henderson and has spoken with both firms.

The news that Trian, which has a history of investing in asset management firms, is pushing for changes at the two prominent U.S. firms lifted stock prices in pre-market trading on Friday.

Reuters reported news of the new stakes on Thursday and representatives for the companies said on Thursday that each company was committed to delivering value for shareholders.

Friday’s filing had more details, including that Trian has asked for two board seats for its co-founders Nelson Peltz and Ed Garden at Invesco.

The filing said Trian has held “constructive” discussion with Invesco’s chief executive officer Martin Flanagan and chief financial officer Allison Dukes. At Janus Henderson, Trian has spoken with non-executive chairman Richard Gillingwater and intends to speak with the board and management about strategic and operational initiatives, the filing said.

Uber Technologies Inc. (UBER-N) rose in the wake of saying on Friday New York-based private equity firm Greenbriar Equity Group would invest US$500-million in its logistics arm, Uber Freight, valuing the unit at US$3.3-billion on a post-money basis.

The ride-hailing firm said it would maintain majority ownership of Uber Freight, and use the funds to scale its logistics platform and increase product innovation.

Unlike Uber’s ride-hailing app or its food-delivery service, Uber Freight operates as a middle man in the fragmented long-haul trucking business, connecting truckers with shippers.

Michael Weiss and Jill Raker, managing partners of Greenbriar, will join Uber Freight’s board, the companies said in a statement.

On the decline

ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (ATA-T) was narrowly lower amid reports Tesla Inc. (TSLA-Q) has agreed to acquire subsidiary ATW Automation, a supplier assembling battery modules and packs for the auto industry.

ATW was on the brink of liquidation due to a slump in orders, German media reported in September.

ATS on Sept. 25 announced that certain assets and employees at one of its Germany-based units would be sold and transferred to a third party, without disclosing the name of the company.

ATS and ATW on Friday did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ATW, based in western Germany, has about 120 employees and has completed more than 20 battery production lines for international automakers, according to ATS' website.

Tesla plans to ramp up battery production significantly in the coming years and during a recent event presented innovations that it said would sharply reduce the cost of battery packs within the next three years.

Tesla Inc. (TSLA-Q) fell on Friday after it said it delivered 139,300 vehicles in the third quarter, a quarterly record for the electric carmaker.

The company slightly beat consensus estimates by Refinitiv for deliveries of 134,720 vehicles, but fell short of some of Wall Street’s most bullish forecasts, with analysts issuing a wide range of estimates.

While the broader market was down on Friday morning, Tesla shares were among the heaviest decliners.

Tesla delivered 124,100 Model Y and Model 3 units, slightly below Refinitiv consensus expectations of 128,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles combined. Some analysts had expected weaker U.S. demand for the mass-market Model 3 due to the release of the Model Y.

Including the third quarter, Tesla has delivered some 318,000 vehicles this year, putting the company under pressure to increase deliveries once more to nearly 182,000 in the fourth quarter to reach its ambitious year-end target of half a million deliveries.

Tesla’s total production in the quarter rose 76% to 145,036 vehicles compared with the previous three-month period.

Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B-T) sat down after revealing it the head of its aviation division is leaving the company as it streamlines the management team to refocus solely on business aircraft.

David Coleal is departing more than five years after joining to lead the business aircraft division. He was appointed president of Bombardier Aviation in May 2019.

Bombardier president and CEO Eric Martel says the restructuring comes as the sale of the rail division of the Quebec company to Alstom is “almost completed.”

See also: Bombardier strikes firm deal to sell rail business to Alstom at lower price

Due to the sale of Bombardier Transport to the French transportation giant, the Montreal-based company negotiated agreements with members of its senior management in the event of their departure following the transaction.

Mr. Coleal was eligible for severance pay of about US$3.1-million, which takes into account two years of salary, a bonus and other amounts related to the value of his stock options and grants.

Walmart Inc. (WMT-N) was down after saying it expects to record a non-cash loss of about US$2.5-billion this fiscal year due to the sale of its British supermarket chain Asda.

Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the billionaire brothers who founded petrol station operator EG Group, and private equity firm TDR Capital said earlier in the day that they would buy Asda from Walmart for US$8.8-billion.

Walmart earnings are expected to be diluted by about 25 US cents per share in the first full year following the completion of the transaction - expected in the first half of fiscal 2022, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Amazon (AMZN-Q) was down after it said on Thursday after the bell more than 19,000 of its U.S. frontline workers contracted the coronavirus this year, or 1.44 per cent of the total, a disclosure long sought by labor advocates that had criticized its pandemic response.

Amazon said the number is far lower than expected, given the infection rate for the general population. The company, which encouraged other companies to report comparable figures, expects it will ramp to testing 50,000 U.S. employees per day for the virus by November.

The online retailer’s news offered a rare look at the disease’s impact on a major U.S. employer, under pressure from elected officials and unions for months to close warehouses with outbreaks. Amazon instead has kept facilities open to meet a surge in demand from shoppers stuck at home, adding temperature checks, social distancing software and other procedures to keep staff safe.

Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI-Q) lost ground after revealing a delay in the release of its highly anticipated Online role-playing game World of Warcraft: Shadowlands," saying employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed some processes.

Blizzard Entertainment, a unit of Activision Blizzard, did not announce a date for the release, but said the parent company does not expect the delay to have a material impact on its financials for the year.

The expansion of one of Blizzard’s biggest labels, initially slated for release at October-end, is now in public beta testing.

Activision’s shares have gained about 39 per cent this year as it posted strong quarterly results after people turned to its other games, including Call of Duty and Diablo, to shake off lockdown boredom.

With files from staff and wires

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