Jul 11, 2017

Warren Buffett gets competition for Oncor

AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File

Hedge fund Elliott Management said it is putting together a superior offer to Berkshire Hathaway Energy's $18 billion bid for the bankrupt parent company of electric grid giant Oncor, of which Elliott is the largest creditor.

  • Why it matters: Oncor is the largest electric utility in Texas, and one of the country's largest power transmission companies. Plus, the spectacle of Paul Singer vs. Warren Buffett (getcha popcorn ready).
  • Bottom line: "The offer... would be a rare challenge to Buffett, who avoids auctions for companies and has told his investors he does not like to participate in bidding wars. But even without a competing bid, Buffett's deal faces a difficult road securing the approval of a bankruptcy court judge without Elliott supporting it." – Jessica DiNapoli, Reuters

Go deeper

Inside hackers' pivot to medical espionage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A wave of cyber-spying around COVID-19 medical research is once more demonstrating the perils of treating cybersecurity as a separate, walled-off realm.

Driving the news: U.S. officials recently announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the United States for data on a potential COVID-19 cure or effective treatments to combat the virus. Additionally, “more than a dozen countries have redeployed military and intelligence hackers to glean whatever they can about other nations’ virus responses,” reports the New York Times.

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.