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Musk in Tesla privatization talks with Saudi fund; China's EV files for US IPO

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Musk in Tesla privatization talks with Saudi fund; China's EV files for US IPO

TOP NEWS

* Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk said he is in talks with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund about backing the proposed privatization of the electric-car maker. In a statement on Tesla's website, Musk said the latest meeting took place July 31, during which an unnamed managing director at the fund once again "strongly expressed support" for a deal, Musk said. "I left the July 31st meeting with no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving. This is why I referred to 'funding secured' in the August 7th announcement," the CEO said.

* Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO Inc. has applied for a $1.8 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, according to an Aug. 13 SEC filing. The Shanghai-based startup intends to list its American depositary shares under the ticker symbol NIO, although it has not yet specified the number of shares that will be offered. Founded in 2014, NIO counts Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and investment firm Hillhouse Capital Group Ltd. among its backers. It also works with Tencent and Chinese internet major Baidu Inc. on mapping and cloud services.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are working with him as financial advisers on the proposed privatization of the electric-car maker. Musk also tweeted that law firms Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Munger Tolles & Olson would serve as legal advisers on the potential deal, which is valued at about $72 billion. However, an Aug. 13 report by Reuters cited a source who said Silver Lake had not been officially hired as an adviser. The adviser was assisting Musk without compensation and also was not discussing taking part in the deal at this time.

* Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd., or DFL, the joint venture between Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and China's Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Ltd., expects to launch 20 electrified models under its four brands by 2022 as part of an expanded green 2022 plan focused on environmental sustainability. DFL said it will spend 1 billion Chinese yuan to reduce pollutants across 27 of its paint shops in the country, fully localize the manufacture of key e-components within three years and aim to achieve 30% of total sales from EV and related products by 2022.

* Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.-backed Chinese ride-hailing platform Caocao Zhuanche expects to raise up to 3 billion Chinese yuan in a new round of financing that will value the firm, which offers business rides and same-city goods deliveries using new energy vehicles, at about $3 billion, Gasgoo reported, citing people with direct knowledge of the plan. Caocao Zhuanche Chairman Liu Jinliang reportedly expects the company's series B financing round to end in October, without divulging more details. Caocao Zhuanche plans to expand into chauffeur service and car rental services, among others, in future.

REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* South Korea's Transport Ministry ordered all remaining 27,246 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG vehicles off roads as the German carmaker failed to complete timely inspections on them amid an exhaust gas circulation issue that has led to some 39 instances of fire in the country, Yonhap News Agency reported, quoting Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee's address to the nation. BMW reportedly said it will finish inspections on all 106,317 potentially affected cars, mostly its 520d sedan, by Aug. 14 but still was short of that mark as of midnight on Aug. 13.

* A Munich-based court of appeal turned down Audi CEO Rupert Stadler's request to be freed from custody due to the present "danger of obstructing justice" by Stadler, Reuters reported, quoting a court statement. Stadler was arrested in June, becoming the highest-profile automotive executive arrested in the ongoing investigation into parent Volkswagen AG's 2015 diesel emissions scandal.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Advance Auto Parts Inc. said it elevated its interim CFO Jeffrey Shepherd, a former controller at General Motors Co. Europe, as the aftermarket parts provider's new CFO. The company said Leslie Keating, executive vice president of supply chain strategy and transformation, will retire at the end of 2018. Reuben Slone, an Advance Auto board member and most recently senior vice president of supply chain at Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., will succeed Keating on Oct. 3 after stepping down from the board on the same day. Advance Auto additionally named current Executive Chairman of Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. Nigel Travis to its board.

* Advance Auto Parts increased its full-year outlook and authorized a share repurchase of $600 million on the back of reporting stronger-than-expected earnings in the 12 weeks ended July 14. The company reported an adjusted EPS of $1.97 for the second quarter ended July 14, up nearly 24.7% compared with the year-ago period. The S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus adjusted EPS estimates for the period was $1.86. The company reported an adjusted net income of $146.2 million, up 25% year over year.

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The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, Hang Seng dropped 0.66% to 27,752.93, while the Nikkei 225 gained 2.28% to 22,356.08.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.02% to 7,643.69, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.43% to 1,065.51.

On the macro front

The import and export prices report and the Redbook Index for retail sales are due out today. The National Federation of Independent Business' index of small business optimism increased to 107.9 in July from 107.2 in June.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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