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Showing posts from April, 2019

Eric Schmidt And Diane Greene To Step Down From Alphabet Board

Eric Schmidt Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Alphabet has announced that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and ex-Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene will not seek re-elections to its board after the expiration of their current tenures on the 19th of June 2019. This entails Schmidt and Greene are stepping down after 18 years and 7 years on the company's board respectively. Schmidt who ran Google from July 2001 to April 2011 will continue as technical advisor to Alphabet. Alphabet made this announcement while also announcing a new board member, Robin Washington, who notably serves as CFO of Gilead Sciences and is also a board member at Salesforce. She previously served in a number of executive positions at PeopleSoft and as CFO of enterprise software company Hyperion Solutions. Diane Greene Photograph by Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech Greene stepped down as CEO of Google Cloud January this year to be replaced by ex-Oracle executive Thomas Kurian

Altice Pays $200 Million For Cheddar

image: Cheddar Altice USA has agreed to acquire Cheddar, the digital media company known for its millennial-focused news network available on lots of streaming networks and some cable systems. The cable operator is paying $200 million for Cheddar, with an acquisition expected to close in the next two months. Cheddar will be added to Altice's news offerings which include the News 12 and i24NEWS networks. Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg will join Altice USA to now lead its news division, consisting of Cheddar itself and the News12 and i24NEWS channels. Cheddar -- known for its flagship newscast on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange -- broadcasts 19 hours of live news via two networks each day. The company's viewership is most concentrated on ages 25-34. Cheddar also operates CheddarU, a closed-circuit network spanning 1,600 screens in public spaces at 600 college campuses. Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg (left) and Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei image: Altice Ched

UiPath Raises $568 Million At $7 Billion Valuation

UiPath CEO Daniel Dines image: UiPath Robotic process automation (RPA) company UiPath has raised $568 million in Series D funding at a $7 billion post-money valuation. Coatue Management led the round, with participation from Dragoneer, Wellington, Sands Capital, funds advised by T. Rowe Price, and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Alphabet's CapitalG, Accel, IVP, and Madrona Venture Group. New York-based UiPath has grown its employee count to more than 2,500, a 16x increase from when it closed Series A funding in April 2017. The company says its annual recurring revenue (ARR) has grown to over $200 million, having exceeded 400,000 users of its RPA software worldwide. As of recent, UiPath has attracted new customers like Google, Duracell, McDonalds, Uber, The US Navy, Virgin Media, and Orange. The company has now raised $1 billion in total funding according to Crunchbase data . (Second from left) Coatue Management founder Philippe Laffont Photograph by Kevin Molon

Samsung Records 60% YoY Drop In First Quarter Profit

Samsung Electronics CEO DJ Koh image: Samsung Samsung Electronics has posted its financial results for the first quarter of this year, recording 52.4 trillion Korean Won ($45 billion) in revenue and 6.2 trillion Korean Won ($5.4 billion) in profit for the period. This is down 60% from last year's first quarter profit, attributable to a drop in memory chips prices and slowed display sales. Yet, Samsung said the newly launched Galaxy S10 logged strong sales. Samsung's Display unit turned a quarterly loss, citing lowered demand for flexible displays and increasing market supplies for large displays. For its smartphone division, profitability declined year-on-year despite strong sales of the Galaxy S10. Samsung cites softer demand in the overall smartphone market and a revamping of its product line-up as a reason for this. DJ Koh presents the Samsung Galaxy Fold at this year's Galaxy Unpacked event. The launch of the Galaxy Fold has been delayed after reports

Vector Maker Anki Shuts Down

Anki CEO Boris Sofman image: TechCrunch / Flickr Anki, the San Francisco based robotics startup behind popular consumer robots like Vector and Anki and backed by nearly $200 million in funding according to Crunchbase data  is shutting its doors and laying off its entire staff. Recode first reported this on Monday. According to its report, CEO Boris Sofman -- at a teary all-hands meeting - told Anki's staff (close to 200 employees) that they would be terminated on Wednesday and paid a week of severance. The report also says Sofman had earlier told employees that the company was scrambling to find more funding after a new financing round receded at the last minute. This isn't a small shut-down as Anki said last fall it had "approached" $100 million in 2017 revenue and expected to surpass that figure in 2018. Anki's leadership had previously told employees that it was looking after acquisition interest from companies like Comcast, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Apple Defends Pulling Of Parental Control Apps

image: Apple Apple has made an official statement blaming its removal of several parental control apps from the App Store on privacy and security concerns, after a piece from The New York Times  generated attention over fears of Apple restricting competition. According to research from NYT and app-data firm Sensor Tower, Apple has restricted or removed at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded parental-control and screen-time apps on the App Store. Among those affected is OurPact, the top parental control app with more than three million downloads on the App Store. Apple pulled the app from the App Store in February, putting a hold on what accounted for 80% of OurPact's revenue according to the New York Times article. Apple says the parental control apps affected made use of a "highly invasive" technology called 'Mobile Device Management (MDM)' which gives a third party control and access over a device and its sensitive information. Apple CEO Timothy Don

Comparing The BMW M121 And P48 Engines

BMW P48 Turbo engine image: BMW BMW has launched a new powerful engine -- the P48 -- that will make its debut in the BMW M4 DTM race-car when this season's Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) kicks off at the start of May. The new engine works thanks to BMW Turbo Power, an initiative that kicked off some 50 years ago. Just like the P48, BMW debuted the M121 engine 50 years ago. But despite the long time difference, both engines are similar in some ways. They: Are both straight Have four-cylinder engines with a two-litre capacity  Have turbo chargers Have sensitive engine components that must be protected by a heat shield from the heat emitted by the turbo charger Come with a mechanical injection pump that supplies the engine with fuel BMW M121 Turbo engine image: BMW (Left-Right) BMW M121 Turbo engine and BMW P48 Turbo engine image: BMW On the other hand, there are notable differences between both. Components like the wet sump, boost valve, fa

Verkada Raises $40 Million At $540 Million Valuation

(Left-Right) Verkada founders Filip Kaliszan, James Ren, Benjamin Bercovitz and Hans Robertson image: Verkada Verkada -- an enterprise video security startup that counts the co-founder of Meraki (acquired by Cisco for $1.2 billion in 2012), Hans Robertson among its founding team -- has raised $40 million in Series B funding co-led by Sequoia and Meritech at a $540 million valuation.  Existing investors First Round Capital and Next47 also participated in the round. Verkada previously raised $15 million in Series A funding April last year. The company says it has now has more than 1,000 clients, including more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies. In simple terms, Verkada sells an end-to-end video security system that enables users monitor cameras on a centralized platform. The company's custom cameras offer up to 120 days of built-in storage and can also send footage to the cloud for back-up. Verkada's end-to-end video security system image: Verkada Verkada d

PayPal To Take $500 Million Stake In Uber

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman Photograph by Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech Ahead of an IPO , Uber and PayPal have reached an agreement to extend their global payments partnership, with the latter agreeing to invest $500 million in the ride-hailing company. PayPal is paying $47 per share for a $500 million stake in Uber, giving the company a valuation of $78.8 billion. This purchase is similar to one made by Salesforce in video-conferencing company Zoom ahead of its just recent public market debut. Salesforce invested $100 million in Zoom before the company debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market. PayPal's Uber investment was announced by CEO Dan Schulman in a LinkedIn post  and also made known in Uber's S-1 filing . Uber COO Barney Harford image: Uber Schulman's post said both companies "intend to explore future commercial payment collaborations,", including working on Uber's digital wallet. Not much was made known in the announcement. Ub

More Details From Slack's S-1 Filing

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield image: Slack Slack has officially filed to go public via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. As usual, a company's S-1 filing reveals several key details about its operations. A  previous article  made note of some stats revealed by Slack in its filing like revenue, amount of users, amount of paying customers, executive compensation, and stakes held by VC funds. But there's more info in Slack's S-1 filing. They include: $180.8 million cash and cash equivalents held (as of January 31, 2019) $8.8 million committed so far to The Slack Fund, a VC style fund it holds 52% voting interest in. The Slack Fund was established in partnership with Kleiner Perkins, Spark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, Index Ventures, and Social Capital who are all also investors in Slack $10.1 million total invested in 46 companies from The Slack Fund $157.5 million R&D spend for the year ended January 31, 2019, compared to $141.3 milli

Slack Files To Go Public

Slack CTO Cal Henderson Photo by Seb Daly / Web Summit via Sportsfile Slack has filed to go public via a direct listing on the NYSE, adding to the list of expected IPOs this year that includes other notable names like Uber and Fastly . The company is planning to list Class A common stock directly on the public markets just like Spotify did last year . As always, Slack's S-1 filing revealed some key stats previously not public information about the company. They include: $400.6 million revenue for the year ended January 31, 2019, up from $220.5 million in 2018 and $105.1 million in 2017 $138.9 million loss for the year ended January 31, 2019, compared to $140 million in 2018 and $146.9 million in 2017 88,000 paying customers customers in 2019, compared to 59,000 in 2018 and 37,000 in 2017 575 paying customers (more than $100,000) in 2019, compared to 298 in 2018 and 135 in 2017 More than 450,000 third-party apps currently used by organizations on Slack More than 36% of

Carbon Seeking Up To $300 Million In Funding

Carbon CEO Joseph DeSimone Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Collision via Sportsfile According to a piece from Pitchbook , 3D printing startup Carbon is seeking up to $300 million in Series E funding that could value the company at $2.5 billion, up from a previous $1.7 billion valuation . The company has already scooped up some $422 million in funding according to Crunchbase data . Founded in 2013, Silicon Valley based Carbon manufactures 3D printers and makes other hardware and software for the 3D printing industry. The company partners with customers like Aptiv, Adidas, Proterra, Ford, Delphi, and Oracle to develop custom 3D solutions for their industries. For an example, it recently partnered with sports equipment manufacturer Riddell to 3D print custom football helmet liners. A Carbon 3D printer image: Carbon Carbon is backed by the likes of Baillie Gifford, Emerson Collective, Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake Kraftwerk, GE Ventures, Adidas (via its VC arm Hydra Ventu

Magic Leap Raises $280 Million From Japan's Docomo

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz Photograph by Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech Magic Leap has raised $280 million in funding from NTT Docomo, Japan's largest mobile operator, and partnered with the company for use of its products in Japan. Docomo will be the exclusive telecom partner of Magic Leap in the country and work together with the company to create a media platform that'll utilise Magic Leap devices and Docomo's planned 5G network. Magic Leap and Docomo will also collaborate to customize the AR device manufacturer's operating system for the Japanese market. Magic Leap is getting access to Docomo's 70 million customer base as part of this partnership. The company says the partnership also furthers the realization of "Magicverse", its planned virtual world that harnesses  the field of augmented reality. Magic Leap chief marketing officer, Brian Wallace Photograph by Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech Magic Leap has now r

Starry Raising Up To $125 Million At $870 Million Valuation

Starry founder and CEO Chet Kanojia Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech According to a Delaware stock authorization filing unearthed by Pitchbook , Starry -- a wireless broadband internet service startup that offers its service to consumers for $50 a month -- is raising up to $125 million in Series D funding that could value it at $870 million post-money (if Starry raises the full intended amount). This is in addition to more than $160 million already raised by Starry since its launch in 2016. The Boston based company is backed by investors including Tiger Global, KKR, Fidelity, IAC, Firstmark Capital, and Quantum Strategic Partners. In the past year, Starry expanded outside its home market of Boston into NYC, LA, Denver, and DC. An illustration of how Starry Internet works image: Starry Starry claims its $50 per month bundle offers customers up to 200 Mbps download/upload speed, and a no-data caps, no-contract, no-hidden fees plan. The company deve

Comcast Reportedly In Talks To Sell Hulu Stake To Disney

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Photograph by Noah Berger/Fortune Global Forum Just after AT&T sold back its 9.5% stake in Hulu to the company for $1.43 billion, Comcast is reportedly in talks to sell its 30% stake in the video streaming service to Disney (a majority shareholder in Hulu). The report comes from CNBC  which says Comcast is now weighing the pros and cons of selling its stake now rather than later. The 9.5% stake sold back to Hulu recently at a $15 billion valuation is set to be split between Disney and Comcast, unless Disney gets hold of the entire company. After Comcast agreed to acquire NBCUniversal in 2011, the company was barred from having influence  in Hulu's strategy. This went on till 2018 when the decree phased out. Hulu Chief Financial Officer Elaine Paul image: Hulu But just as Comcast was due to have a say, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and got its 30% stake in Hulu in addition to its previous 30% stake, making it a majority sha

Coursera Raises $103 Million Series E

Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Coursera has announced it has raised $103 million in Series E funding led by education focused company Seek Group, with participation from existing investors NEA and Future Fund. A TechCrunch article  says the company is now valued at 'well over' $1 billion, citing a source close to Coursera. Coursera says its user base has grown from 26 million to 40 million since it last raised funding in 2017. It now has 3,200 courses and 310 specializations available on its platform. Coursera has partnered with top learning institutions like the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins, and Columbia University to offer courses to its users. Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch The company not only meets individual needs but also has an enterprise solution users by more than 1,800 companies to educate their employees. Coursera is backed by other

Samsung To Invest $116 Billion In Chip Businesses Through 2030

HS Kim, President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Division, Samsung Electronics image: Samsung Samsung has announced it's investing 133 trillion South Korean Won ($116 billion) in its chip businesses through 2030, with plans to create 15,000 jobs in research and development to strengthen its tech. Out of the total, 73 trillion South Korean Won (nearly $64 billion) is geared for domestic R&D while the remainder 60 trillion South Korean Won (roughly $52 billion) is set for investments in domestic infrastructure. Samsung has been a powerhouse in the chip manufacturing scene, with its prowess enabling it debut products like the Galaxy Fold , Galaxy A80 ,  Galaxy A50 and A30 and a collection of wearables recently. The Korean company recently kicked off mass production of 5G chipsets , a market competitor Intel recently opted out of . image: Samsung This investment commitment comes a few days after Samsung announced it's delaying the launch of the Galaxy Fold

Getaround Acquires Drivy For $300 Million

Getaround CEO Sam Zaid image: Drivy Getaround has announced an acquisition of Drivy -- a carsharing service operating in six European countries -- for $300 million. With this acquisition, Getaround is expanding internationally from the U.S. for the first time, now operating in 300 cities across the U.S. and Europe. Both companies have more than five million users between them. Paris headquartered Drivy has presence in France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and the U.K. It offers a similar carsharing service just like Getaround does in the U.S. This merger creates a leading carsharing company on a global scale. Post-acquisition, Drivy CEO Paulin Dementhon will remain in his role, heading Getaround's operations in Europe. Drivy's executive team will also remain in their roles. Getaround CEO Sam Zaid (left) and Drivy CEO Paulin Dementhon image: Drivy Drivy currently employs 130 people in officies in Paris, London, Barcelona and Berlin. The company says it

Ford Invests $500 Million In Rivian

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe (left) and Ford Chairman Bill Ford image: Ford Just a while after raising a $700 million round led by Amazon, Rivian Automotive -- an electric vehicle manufacturer expected to launch its first vehicle in 2020 -- has raised $500 million from Ford and agreed to work together to develop a new electric vehicle for the Detroit based auto manufacturer using its modular platform. Ford's president of Automotive, Joe Hinrichs will be joining Rivian's board as part of this investment. Ford intends to develop an electric vehicle based on Rivian's platform in addition to its plans to develop a portfolio of EVs. The company has already confirmed two fully electric vehicles -- a Mustang-based crossover and an electric version of the F-150 pickup -- in the works. Rivian itself is working on two electric vehicles -- a five-passenger pickup and a seven-passenger SUV -- that it aims to deliver beginning late next year. Rivian battery modules being teste

SoFi Reportedly In Talks For $500 Million Round From Qatar

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto U.S. Army photo by Michelle Eberhart According to a Bloomberg piece , SoFi is in talks to raise $500 million from the Qatar Investment Authority and other investors, citing four persons familiar with the matter. The report says the funding would value SoFi at an amount similar to the $4.3 billion valuation it garnered after a $500 million investment in 2017. Investors were said to be asking for more protections should SoFi raise money or get acquired for a lower price tag in the future, in order to raise at the same valuation. Terms of the deal haven't been finalized and are subject to change. SoFi has raised $1.9 billion in total equity funding so far. The company originated $3.6 billion in loans in the first quarter of 2018, up 27% from the same period in 2017. image: SoFi Investors in SoFi include Softbank, Silver Lake Partners, DCM Ventures, Third Point Ventures, Manhattan Venture Partners and RSC Capital.

Jyoti Bansal's Harness Raises $60 Million Series B

(Left-Right) Harness CEO Jyoti Bansal and Chief Revenue Officer Jason Eubanks image: Harness Harness - a DevOps startup founded and led by Jyoti Bansal, notably the former CEO and founder of app monitoring company AppDynamics which sold to Cisco for $3.7 billion in 2017 -- has raised $60 million Series B funding led by Alphabet's GV, IVP, and ServiceNow Ventures, with participation from existing investors Menlo Ventures and Unusual Ventures (a VC firm co-founded by Bansal). The company was valued at $500 million with this round according to a Techcrunch piece . Harness has now raised some $80 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data . The company says it'll make use of this new funding to expand investment in R&D and scale is engineering, sales, and customer success teams. Since launch, Harness has attracted customers like SoulCycle, Bank of Santander, Home Depot, McAfee, and Beachbody. image: Harness In simple terms, Harness makes of machine

Facebook Hires Top Attorney Jennifer Newstead As General Counsel

Jennifer Newstead image: Facebook Facebook has announced it has hired Jennifer Newstead, the Legal Adviser to the United States Department of State, as its general counsel, replacing Colin Stretch who announced his planned departure from Facebook July last year. Stretch will stay at Facebook through summer to aid the transition. Newstead earlier in her career served in some senior roles in the U.S. government, including as a Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, General Counsel of the Office of Management and Budget, and an Associate White House Counsel. She has quite a history, having helped bring about the U.S.A. Patriot Act according to a 2002 press release . Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg image: Facebook The Patriot Act is an Act signed into law by former U.S. President George W. Bush in October 2001 in response to the September 11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks . It involved the permission to use make use of surve

KeepTruckin Raises $149 Million Series D At $1.25 Billion Valuation

image: KeepTruckin KeepTruckin -- a San Francisco based provider of fleet management software for the trucking industry -- has raised $149 million in Series D funding led by Greenoaks Capital, with participation from existing investors Index Ventures, Alphabet's GV, Scale Venture Partners, and IVP. This round brings the total raised by KeepTruckin to $228 million and values it at $1.25 billion, as confirmed by CEO Shoiab Makani to TechCrunch . KeepTruckin -- whose software is used on more than 250,000 vehicles -- says it'll use the funds to fuel its growth via hiring, investing in hardware, furthering advancements in machine learning, and building partnerships. The company doubled its global headcount across seven offices in the past year and says software from its App Marketplace are now used in more than 130,00 trucks.The company's fleet management system help with tasks like navigation, maintenance, and fuel management. image: KeepTruckin September last y

Samsung Delays Launch Of Galaxy Fold

Samsung Electronics CEO, DJ Koh holds a Galaxy Fold image: Samsung Samsung has delayed the launch of the Galaxy Fold, the foldable smartphone it unveiled in February amid reports of breakdowns during tests ahead of an official launch previously scheduled for the 26th of April. Samsung says initial findings from the assessment of report issues on the phone's display showed that the breakdowns could be linked to impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. The company also said there was an instance where substances founded inside the device affected the performance of its display. "We will take measures to strengthen the display protection. We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold." Samsung said in a statement. Samsung Galaxy Fold image: Samsung The company says some reviews showed "how the device needs further improvements

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Pokémon Go Creator Niantic Raises $300M, Valued At $9B

Niantic , an augmented reality (AR) company whose products include the famous  Pokémon Go game, has raised a big new round of funding. It's raised $300mn in funding at a valuation of $9bn. All the funding came from just one investor; Coatue , a New York-based hedge fund famous for investing in many blue-chip tech startups. With its new funding, Niantic says it'll invest in current games and new apps and expand its AR developer platform called Lightship . The company says it's set on building the "real-world metaverse," jumping on the bandwagon popularized by Facebook's parent firm, Meta.  The base for Niantic's metaverse vision is the Lightship developer platform which it launched this month. It's a platform for developers to build augmented reality apps and experiences, drawing from Niantic's tools that helped create its hit  Pokémon Go game. To draw creators to Lightship, Niantic has also set up a $20mn venture fund to invest in AR startups

Amazon, Apple Fined $230M For Reseller Collusion In Italy

Tech giants Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) have been handed sizeable fines by the Italian government following an investigation into alleged reseller collusion between both companies. Amazon was fined €135mn ($151mn) and Apple  €69mn ($78mn), totaling $229mn .  The fine was levied by the  Italian Competition Authority . According to the agency, Apple and Amazon had a contractual agreement to allow  select resellers to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon's Italian marketplace. The agency said that the selection was applied in a "discriminatory" way that violated European Union rules and affected price competition. According to the  Italian Competition Authority, at least 70% of local consumer electronics purchases are made on Amazon, making it a dominant retailer. This dominance, therefore, demands a "level playing field" for retailers that sell on Amazon's marketplace, the agency said. This is the nth time Amazon is getting in the cr

Deal: Workday Buys Ohio Startup Vndly For $510M

Workday (NASDAQ: WDAY), the famous HR/finance software vendor, has made a big new acquisition to support its platform. The company will acquire Vndly , a software platform for companies to manage contract workers. Vndly fits in well in Workday's overall software suite, and the rationale behind the purchase is clear. Vndly is an Ohio-based startup. Workday will pay $510mn to buy it, marking one of Ohio's biggest startup exits this year. Vndly has raised roughly $60mn from VCs, so a $510mn exit is very lucrative and more so for a startup founded just four years ago .  Before now, Vndly and Workday were already close allies. Vndly's platform is integrated with Workday's, with official certification to go. The Mason, Ohio-based startup is part of Workday's global network of endorsed software partners, so Workday didn't even have to look far to snatch its latest acquisition.  Vndly was founded in 2017 by two entrepreneurs,  Shashank Saxena and Narayana Surabhi .

Alt-Meat Maker Impossible Foods Raises $500M In Fresh Funding

A leading maker of plant-based meat substitutes, Impossible Foods , has obtained a fresh cash infusion from VCs. It has  raised $500mn in new funding, bringing the total amount of funding it has raised since inception to $2bn.  The latest round was provided entirely by existing investors doubling down on Impossible Foods.  Mirae Asset Global , a Korean investment firm, led the round and was joined by other unnamed existing investors.  It's evident that investors are longing for Impossible Foods, a leading brand in the nascent market for plant-based meat substitutes. There's clearly huge potential for plant-based meat substitutes, driven by an increasing vegan population and the appeal to lower the carbon footprint that spurs from meat consumption. To that end, Impossible Foods is growing rapidly. Its products can now be found in more than 20,000 retail stores, compared to 150 as of March 2020, and 40,000 restaurants globally. Over the past year, Impossible has launched in ne

Antitrust: US DOJ Sues To Block Major Sugar Industry Merger

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is freshly on the antitrust circuit, seeking to block a merger it deems detrimental to consumers. The agency has filed a lawsuit to block the sale of  Imperial Sugar , a leading American sugar producer, to rival  U.S. Sugar . The DOJ says the proposed deal will make just two sugar producers account for an "overwhelming majority" of refined sugar sales in the U.S. Southeast, U.S. Sugar being one of the two producers. This concentration of power would make consumers pay more for refined sugar, the DOJ says.  Imperial Sugar is owned by Louis Dreyfus Company, a privately-held agricultural giant based in the Netherlands. The company agreed to sell Imperial to rival U.S. Sugar for the sum of $315mn this March.  U.S. Sugar is another privately-held agricultural giant headquartered in Florida. It can produce up to 850,000 tons of sugar annually at its refinery plant in Florida, and buying Imperial would give it two more sugar plants in Kentuc

Deal: KKR Makes $37B Buyout Offer For Telecom Italia

Private equity giant KKR (NYSE: KKR) has ventured into Italy for its latest buyout deal. The firm has offered to buy Telecom Italia (BIT: TIT), the largest telecom provider in Italy, in a deal worth  €33bn ($37bn), including debt. KKR offered 0.505 Euros in cash for each outstanding  Telecom Italia share, a 46% premium to the last closing share price before the offer. That sums up to  €10.7bn ($12bn) in cash to be paid for Telecom Italia, and including the telecom firm's large net debt of €22.5bn ($25bn) sums up to $37bn in total.  KKR's offer is non-binding and must be approved by Telecom Italia's board members and majority shareholders before the deal goes through. Approval must also come from the Italian government, which was veto power over the takeover of the formerly state-owned telecoms firm.  Telecom Italia gave no indication that it'll approve the deal. If approval is given, it'll mark one of the biggest buyout deals of a European company by an America

Cyber: Apple Sues NSO Group Over Spyware Hacks

Tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group , a controversial Israeli company that sells smartphone hacking tools and has been  implicated in the hacks and surveillance of many notable persons, including journalists, activists, and business executives, by state-sponsored actors. Apple has sued NSO Group for infecting iPhones with spyware to track users of interest. As part of the suit, the tech giant seeks a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple products. NSO Group is best known for its Pegasus spyware that can be covertly installed on mobile phones running most versions of iOS and Android. The company exploits vulnerabilities in both operating systems to introduce spyware into a phone without the user's knowledge. Pegasus was the center of a Washington Post investigation called "The Pegasus Project," revealing that the spyware was used to surveil over 1,000 identified notable individuals across countries with shoddy hu

Markets: Retail Giant Authentic Brands Scraps IPO Plans

Authentic Brands Group , a New York-based retail conglomerate, has suspended its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) after already filing an S-1 document with the US SEC. The company has instead opted to raise private funding to fund expansion in the main time. Authentic Brands Group's portfolio retail brands include apparel retailer Forever21 , men's suit maker Brooks Brothers , and department store chain Barneys New York . The company is akin to an old people's home where once-vibrant retail brands go to stay after they've gone past their peak. Authentic buys these befallen retail companies and makes money from what's left of them through licensing deals.  Over the years, Authentic has relied on hefty venture funding to assemble its constellation of old-guard brands. An IPO was supposed to raise even more money for expansion but has been set aside in favor of private funding.  Authentic is  rather selling  equity stakes to private equity firm CVC Capital

Markets: IoT Startup Samsara Files For IPO

The latest tech startup to board the IPO train is Samsara , a VC-backed startup that makes internet-of-things (IoT)-based fleet monitoring hardware and software for logistical operators. It has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC, showing its intention to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Samsara has raised nearly $1bn from VCs including Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global, and General Catalyst, with a valuation of $5.4bn from its last funding round. The company's co-founders sold a previous startup named Meraki to Cisco for $1.2bn . As expected, Samsara's S-1 filing gives a deep glimpse into the company's business with information not publicly disclosed before. The company has been rather secretive over the years, making this long-awaited information. We've extracted some important information so you don't have to, mostly the financial stuff. Samsara brought in $303mn in revenue in the nine months ended October 2021, compared to $174mn in the same

Earnings: Nvidia Is On A Tear

Chipmaking giant Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) has unveiled the financial results for its latest fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2021. The company reported a sharp rise in sales that can only be described as being on a tear. Nvidia posted $7.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 50% year-over-year . The large growth was driven mostly by the company's data center sales, which increased 55% year-over-year to $2.9bn. Similarly, Nvidia's gaming revenue rose 42% year-over-year to $3.2bn. Net income for the quarter was $2.5bn , up 4% from the same period last year. It was an outstanding quarter all-around for Nvidia, a beneficiary of the recent massive growth of the gaming industry and data center boom. Nvidia's GeForce graphics cards are very popular with gamers, and data center operators patronize Nvidia's high-performance graphics processors for artificial intelligence applications.  Save for data centers and gaming, Nvidia has other minor product lines, including automotive chip