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Five9 shareholders reject Zoom bid / Merck COVID-19 drug passes phase 3 / FAA reviewing Blue Origin letter

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Five9 shareholders reject Zoom bid.

NEWS IN BUSINESS: Five9 shareholders reject Zoom bid.

Zoom’s $14.7B acquisition bid for cloud contact center, Five9, was rejected by Five9 Inc.’s shareholders. 

The all-stock deal would have been Zoom’s largest acquisition to date. Zoom acquired machine translations company Kites in June and security software company Keybase in May 2020, both for undisclosed amounts.

Five9 shareholders were concerned about Zoom’s growth potential because its shares have fallen over 25% since the agreement was initiated.

With the all-stock deal, shareholders would have received a ~13% increase in the value of their shares at the time of the agreement.

Zoom was hoping to use the deal to expand its product offering outside of video and audio communications products and enter the $24B contact-center market.

Five9 will continue its business relationship with Zoom, providing the video communication company customer contact center services.

Zoom stock jumped 4% in premarket trading after the news, while Five9 fell 1.4%. Both stocks were up in Friday trading.

Zoom out (no pun intended):

Last month, the USDOJ asked the FCC to delay Zoom’s planned acquisition of Five9 so that the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Service Sector “Team Telecom” can review the application as a matter of national security.

Zoom has a research and development center in China.

Merck COVID-19 drug passes phase 3

NEWS IN BUSINESS: Merck COVID-19 drug passes phase 3

In its latest study, Merck announced its COVID-19 drug, made in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 50%.

 The drug, Molnupiravir, if approved, would be the first oral antiviral medication to treat COVID-19.

Molnupiravir works by preventing the coronavirus virus from replicating itself in the body.

The latest study, phase 3, had 775 patients from over 170 locations, including Brazil, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United States.

The patients were unvaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19.

They also had at least one underlying factor that made them a greater risk of developing several COVID-19 symptoms: heart disease, obesity, and over age 60.

 Merck is planning to seek an emergency use authorization from the FDA.

If approved, the U.S. would pay Merck $1.2B for 1.7 million doses of Molnupiravir.

Merck is conducting another worldwide phase 3 study to see how the drug works in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in a household.

FAA reviewing Blue Origin letter

The FAA is reviewing a letter sent by a former Blue Origin employee claiming the space company prioritizes speed over safety as it builds its rockets. 

The letter, signed by over 20 current and former employees of Blue Origin, also alleged a toxic work environment, employees being forced to sign NDAs, and noted instances of sexual harassment. The FAA said it is investigating the safety allegations, noting it takes such matters very seriously.

The letter was published on the Lioness website on Thursday.

Blue Origin released a statement standing by its safety record and stating that the former employee, Alexandra Abrams, was dismissed in 2019 after repeated warnings relating to federal export control issues.

Abrams claims executives at Blue Origin are more concerned with “competing with other billionaires, and making progress for Jeff Bezos” than the safety of the rockets.

In July, Bezos went to space with three other individuals in the first crewed flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket ship.

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