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Total refinery in Germany. Photo: Andia/UIG via Getty Images

Oil-and-gas giant Total on Thursday announced a joint venture with the Tianneng Group, a Chinese battery maker, to expand production in China.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of oil majors' deepening forays into energy storage tech with vehicle and power grid applications.

  • And oil giants — including Shell, BP and Total — are moving into electric vehicle-related businesses more widely with investments in EV charging companies, battery startups and more.

Driving the news: Total said its battery subsidiary Saft, which it acquired in 2016, will have a 40% share of the lithium-ion battery partnership with Tianneng. Electric bikes, electric vehicles and power storage are all target markets, they said. They did not provide information on the deal's value.

What they're saying: Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said in a statement that the move will give Saft "access to China’s booming battery market as well as highly-competitive mass production capacity to accelerate its growth."

  • "This is a first strategic move driven by Total, following the acquisition of Saft in 2016, to grow Saft's activity in China, the world’s largest renewables market, as well as in the [energy storage solutions] segment as an essential component to the large scale development of intermittent renewable energies," he said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Behind GameStop's latest stock surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Back in focus: The meme stock trade.

By the numbers: GameStop finished up 19%, after a wild day that saw shares spike as much as 80%.

AT&T spins off U.S. video business via deal with TPG

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

AT&T is spinning off three of its video services, including its satellite TV brand DirecTV, to create a new standalone video company called New DIRECTV.

Details: The company will be jointly owned by AT&T and private-equity giant TPG. AT&T will retain a 70% stake and TPG will own 30% of the firm.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Ex-USA Gymnastics coach dies by suicide after being charged with human trafficking

John Geddert. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The body of John Geddert was found on Thursday, just hours after the former USA Gymnastics coach was charged with 24 counts of criminal misconduct, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

What they're saying: “My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved," Nessel said in a statement.