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Showing posts from January, 2021

Amazon Has A Video Game Problem

You should know Amazon as the tech giant that has its hands dipped in figuratively everything. With a major and mammoth e-commerce business, the company also has big operations in other areas such as movie streaming (Prime Video), game streaming (Twitch), online pharmacy (PillPack), grocery delivery (Amazon Fresh), autonomous driving (Zoox) and the likes. Amazon is a stand-out business for the fact that it's seen success in many areas. The company constantly pours billions of dollars into expansion efforts and has seen its bets reap good fruits over the years. Even with success in many areas, it appears that there's one place Amazon has had much trouble in - the development of video games. A recent report from Bloomberg  shed light on the company's troubles in the video game sector, despite spending up to roughly $500 million annually on its gaming efforts. To develop games, Amazon has spent big and hired a handful of stars in the game development sector. Its dedicated divi

2021 Q1: Blowout Quarter For Apple

This week, Apple posted its financial results for its fiscal 2021 first quarter  ended December 26, 2020. The company posted record revenues and earnings, recording over $100 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in its history. For the  fiscal 2021 first quarter , Apple posted a record  $111.4 billion in sales, compared to $91.8 billion in the same period of the previous year. The company's sales were boosted by markets outside the US, most especially China, where it grew its sales from $13.6 billion to $21.3 billion over the year. As usual, iPhone sales accounted for the majority of Apple's revenue in the quarter, coming at $65.6 billion, compared to $55.9 billion in the same quarter of the previous year. Mac sales came at $8.7 billion, iPad sales at $8.4 billion, Wearables, Home and Accessories at roughly $13 billion, and Services at $15.8 billion. Northern and Southern America accounted for the highest of Apple's sales, followed by Europe, Greater China, and

Founder Ryan Smith Makes Bank From Qualtrics IPO

You may know Ryan Smith as the tech entrepreneur who sealed a deal to purchase the NBA sports team Utah Jazz  in October. Smith led a group of his allies to pay $1.66 billion for the Utah Jazz, a group that includes other notable names like Mike Cannon-Brookes, the Co-CEO of Atlassian; and Ryan Sweeney, an Accel partner and longtime ally of Smith. To buy an NBA team, Smith obviously has a lot of dough. He did very well for himself when he sold Qualtrics, the survey software company he had co-founded with a few family members, for $8 billion to SAP. Then, two years later, he made the splashy Utah Jazz purchase, becoming one of the youngest ever owners of an NBA team. As it looks, Smith may have sold Qualtrics for a huge amount but still remains loyal to the company both managerially and financially. Being the company's CEO, Smith spearheaded a plan by SAP to decide to take Qualtrics public just two years after it acquired it.  Having already sold out to SAP, Smith's financial s

Universal Music Pondering 2021 IPO: Report

You may know Universal Music Group (UMG) as one of the 'big four' record labels globally, along with Warner Music, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI. If you don't, you likely know several music artists that have deals with Universal, to name a few: Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, and Billie Eilish. Universal Music is majority-owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, with the Chinese tech giant Tencent having a minority stake. Just in December, an investment group led by Tencent exercised its call option to buy a further 10% stake in Universal for a price of  €3bn ($3.6bn)  after having previously acquired 10% of the company. Now, it looks like Universal Music Group may soon be heading for the public markets, as the Financial Times reports that the record label and music powerhouse is looking to hasten up its plans for a public listing and considering listing this year, 2021, rather than in 2022 as originally planned. Reportedly, the company is making t

January 2021: Record Month For SPAC Listings

2020 saw the proliferation of special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), which are companies with no commercial operations that are formed strictly to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO) for the purpose of acquiring an existing company.  SPACs made a killing last year, with over 200 of them debuting on the global stock markets and raising tens of billions of dollars collectively. In 2020, technology companies were the main targets for SPAC mergers, with a slew of electric carmakers, enterprise software companies, fintech companies, and the likes sealing big SPAC deals in the year. Now, in January 2021, SPACs have continued their record run and raised nearly $26 billion collectively, according to Bloomberg data . That amount surpasses the previous monthly record set in October 2020 and helped fuel a record $63 billion worth of IPO share sales in this January. As SPACs caught up in 2020, lots of firms and individuals moved to launch theirs and have now gotten into

GM Pledges Carbon Neutrality By 2040

The American automaker General Motors is the latest big automaker to make a big carbon neutrality pledge, announcing a plan to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040. Most of GM's carbon neutrality plan will come from the production of all-electric vehicles. The company says it plans to have 30 all-electric models in production by 2025 and have 40% of its American cars be battery-electric by the same year. As part of its plan, GM says that it'll source 100% renewable energy to power its US sites by 2030 and global sites by 2035. The company says it's already the 10th largest purchaser of renewable energy in the world. GM has said that it'll invest $27 billion in developing electric and autonomous vehicles from 2020 through 2025. The company apparently has its eyes set on a future that'll see the increased adoption of electric vehicles. “General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, gr

Xiaomi Sues US After Investment Blacklist

Just a short while after the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi was placed on a blacklist by the former Trump administration that sought to bar US investors from buying shares of the publicly-traded company, Xiaomi has now filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Defense and Treasury department, challenging and seeking to reverse the US government's order. In its suit , the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen are named as defendants, the two of them being freshly appointed by the Biden administration with less than two weeks on the job. Xiaomi is challenging the Trump-issued executive order against the company, arguing that requiring US investors to divest all their Xiaomi shares by the 14th of January, 2022 as stipulated will hurt the company by cutting off its access to US capital markets and also American investors with big Xiaomi stakes like BlackRock, Vanguard Group, and State Street Corp. Xiaomi was placed on a blacklist by the Trump administration ove

Salesforce Bets On OwnBackup, Company Valued At $1.4B

Salesforce Ventures, the constantly deal-making corporate venture arm of the software giant Salesforce, has done its latest big deal, this time by co-leading a $167.5 Million funding round for OwnBackup, a five-year-old startup that's developed a data protection and backup platform built on the Salesforce stack. As known, Salesforce regularly backs companies whose businesses are built on its platform and sometimes even acquires them outright. Its corporate venture arm co-led the OwnBackup round along with Insight Partners and Sapphire Ventures, with participation from existing backers Innovation Endeavors, Vertex Ventures, and Oryzn Capital. It was only six months ago that OwnBackup closed a funding round of $50 million. Now, six months later, it's raised a splashy $167.5 million round and a valuation of $1.4 billion from the round to match. Now, OwnBackup has raised a total of $267.5 million in venture funding in its five years of existence. OwnBackup has built a strong busin

Edtech Company Nerdy To Go Public Via SPAC Merger

Nerdy, an ed-tech company that operates the popular Varsity Tutors  online tutoring marketplace, is the latest technology company to head for a public listing through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The company has announced that it's sealed a deal to merge with TPG Pace Tech Opportunities (NYSE: PACE), a SPAC affiliated with the private equity juggernaut TPG. From its merger, Nerdy will be handed up to $750 million in cash, consisting of $450 million held in trust by TPG Pace, forward purchase agreements of $150 million, and another $150 million from a fully committed private-investment-in-public-equity (PIPE) round. The PIPE round includes investors such as Koch Industries, Learn Capital, and Franklin Templeton. Nerdy's merger will value the company at $1.7 billion post-money. It's expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021. Nerdy is a company that's over a decade old whose online learning platform, Varsity Tutors, offers acces

New SPAC Merger: Electric Carmaker Faraday Future

Faraday Future is the latest electric carmaker to seal a deal to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The company has reached an agreement to merge with the SPAC Property Solutions Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ: PSAC) and raise roughly $1 billion from the deal, money that'll be used to fund its operations.  You may remember Faraday Future as the once seemingly high-flying electric carmaker that got its wings clipped by severe financial issues . The company had debuted a few concept vehicles in 2015 and planned to launch a production vehicle in 2017 but got plagued by financial and operational issues. Now restructured and under new leadership, Faraday Future is apparently betting that it can succeed with its plan to produce electric vehicles and has garnered enough investment interest to the tune of a billion dollars on the public markets.  With its merger, the company will get $230 million in cash held in trust by  Property Solutions Acquisition Corp

UK Probes Uber's Autocab Acquisition

The UK's antitrust agency is back again with another probe into an American tech company looking to tie up with one of its own, this time Uber's acquisition of Autocab, a startup that develops booking and dispatch software for taxi operators. Uber reached a deal to buy Autocab in August 2020 for an undisclosed sum. Now, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said that it's investigating Uber's proposed acquisition of Autocab to see if it'll result in "substantial lessening of competition" in the UK transport market. Given that Autocab is based in the UK, opposition from the country's antitrust agency could sour Uber's proposed acquisition. As it works, the UK's antitrust agency has begun the first phase of its investigation into Uber's Autocab deal. It'll then conduct its probes and decide if it'll proceed into a second and final phase of its investigation. Under stipulated laws, a company facing the first phase o

Brazilian Digital Bank Nubank Raises $400M, Valued At $25B

Nubank, a digital banking company based in Brazil that's made its mark as one of the biggest in the Latin American market, has raised a new Series G funding round of $400 million that values it at a whopping $25 billion.  The Series G round came from a mix of new and existing investors including Singapore's GIC, Invesco, Ribbit Capital, Dragoneer, and Sequoia Capital. With it, Nubank has now raised a total of $1.2 billion in venture funding since it was founded. With a $25 billion valuation, Nubank appears to now be the highest-valued digital banking startup worldwide, speeding past American and European peers such as Revolut, Chime, and N26. It's very notable that the highest-valued digital banking company globally emerged from Latin America, a region that's not known to house a technology industry as big as that of other regions such as North America and Europe. Nubank has succeeded very well as a digital banking service since it was launched seven years ago. It's

Coinbase To Hold Direct Listing

In December, the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase confirmed that it had confidentially filed for a public listing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Now in a new announcement , the company has said that it'll hold a direct listing, meaning it'll sell shares directly to the public without getting help from intermediary banks. Coinbase's move to hold a direct listing comes just a few weeks after the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) approved a plan to let companies raise capital through direct listings . As of now, only a few tech companies have taken the path of direct listings, such as Palantir, Slack, and Spotify. Coinbase is one of the most prominent tech IPOs expected this year. Founded in 2012, it's made its mark as the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the US and one of the biggest globally. With a confidential filing already submitted, it's expected that a public S-1 filing will be released soon that'll give a deeper peek into Coi

Next SPAC Merger: WeWork?

WeWork is the famous et infamous office leasing company that was once seemingly high-flying but saw its wings got clipped once it attempted to hold a public listing. Having faced funding and operational issues, WeWork got bailed out by its biggest investor, SoftBank, which took control of the company and installed a new leadership team with hopes of turning things around. Now under a new CEO, Sandeep Mathrani, it seems that WeWork may be looking to test the public markets once again, this time through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).  WeWork has fielded merger talks from a few SPACs including BowX Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ:BOWX) and another unnamed suitor, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal .  BowX Acquisition is a SPAC affiliated with the investment firm  Bow Capital Management and has the basketball star Shaquille O’Neal as an adviser . According to the Journal, deals being fielded by WeWork could value the company at $10 billion. Although th

Workday Buys Danish Startup Peakon For $700M

Workday, the publicly-traded HR software company, has reached a deal to buy Peakon, an employee feedback platform. The company will pay $700 million in cash for Peakon, a press statement notes. A $700 million exit marks a big one for Peakon, a startup that's backed by $68 million in venture funding. It represents the second-biggest acquisition that Workday has ever made in its history. Obviously, a software platform for employee feedback fits very well into Workday's market of HR software. Since its inception, Workday has expanded significantly with acquisitions, more than a dozen of them. The company's biggest purchase was when it paid $1.55 billion for Adaptive Insights in 2018. Peakon is notably a European company based in Denmark. As such, a $700 million exit is one of the biggest startup exits to emerge from Denmark. Peakon is mainly backed by European investors such as Atomico, EQT Ventures, and Balderton Capital. Workday's purchase of Peakon is expected to be c

SAP Buys Signavio, Reportedly For $1.2B

The German software giant SAP has made its first acquisition of 2021, Signavio, a German enterprise software company. The price of the acquisition wasn't formally disclosed, but a Bloomberg report  pegged it at up to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion). Signavio makes process management software for companies to keep track of their daily workflows. It's a decade-old company, backed by $230 million in venture funding. Its backers include DTCP, Apax Digital, and Summit Partners. Signavio is the first acquisition by SAP this year and a big one given its reported price of $1.2 billion. It's acquisition comes just as SAP is spinning off one of its biggest acquisitions, Qualtrics, into a separate publicly-traded company. SAP paid $8 billion for Qualtrics in 2019 and has seen fit to take it public two years later. Notably, Qualtrics was already on its way to a public offering before SAP acquired it. SAP's Signavio purchase is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

Squarespace Confidentially Files For An IPO

Just a few months after appointing its first Chief Financial Officer , the website building and hosting company Squarespace has said that it's filed confidentially for an initial public offering (IPO). The company has confidentially submitted a draft registration statement for an IPO to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). With a confidential filing made, a public filing should be expected soon and then a final debut on the public markets. Squarespace is assumedly going to debut on the public markets this year 2021, after a few years of rumors of the company looking to go public. Squarespace was launched in its current form in 2004 and has remained in private hands ever since. Over the years, the company has raised  nearly $300 million in venture funding, with most of that coming from a single $200 million secondary round that the company closed in 2017. That round came entirely from General Atlantic. Squarespace is set to go public at a time when investor sentiment t

Solar Financing Company Loanpal Raises $800M+

Loanpal, a San Francisco-based company that provides financing and point-of-sale payment solutions for residential solar installations, is the latest company in the solar energy industry to raise a big round. It's announced that it's raised its first external funding round of over $800 million led by NEA and WestCap Group, with participation from the likes of Brookfield Asset Management and Riverstone Holdings. As part of the terms of the funding, Loanpal has gotten two new board members - Laurence Tosi of WestCap Group and Scott Sandell of NEA. Loanpal, formerly Paramount Equity, is a major solar lender in the US. As reported by the company, it dishes out $200 million in loans for residential solar projects each month and claims to be responsible for over 30% of all new residential solar loans in the US. The loans facilitated by Loanpal comes from a consortium of banks and financial institutions. Since it rebranded as Loanpal in 2018, the company says that it's funded rou

The First Private ISS Mission Seems Near

The International Space Station (ISS) is a modular space station in low Earth orbit that's famous across the globe. Every day, it travels around the globe, able to circle the whole Earth in the span of roughly 93 minutes. The ISS is governed by intergovernmental treaties and agreements, with the US at the forefront. Dozens of astronauts and cosmonauts as well as a few space tourists have gone to the ISS since it was launched in its current form in 1998. All of the missions to the ISS have been governmental and organized by the space agencies of various countries like the US, Russia, Japan, and Canada. Now, it appears that the first private mission to space is near, with the aerospace company Axiom Space having just announced  its private crew of four people that'll man the first private mission proposed to fly to the ISS.  The four people include an American, a Canadian, and a former Israeli Air Force pilot as passengers, and the fourth being Michael López-Alegría, a Spanish-Am

EV Battery Startup Sila Nano Raises $590M

Sila Nano, a startup that's working on batteries for electric cars, has raised a fresh funding round of $590 million led by the investment firm Coatue. Other participants included existing backers 8VC, Sutter Hill Ventures, T. Rowe Price, Bessemer Venture Partners, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The new round values Sila Nano at $3.3 billion post-money and adds up the total amount of venture funding the company has raised to nearly $900 million.  With its new funds, Sila Nano says it'll kick off the development of a new North American 100 GWh plant to produce silicon-based anode materials for batteries for its automotive customers.  With partnerships with automakers like BMW and Daimler, Sila Nano aims to start production at the plant in 2024 and have its batteries running in cars by 2025. Sila Nano has set its sights on developing batteries for electric cars that are better than the ones we currently have. As known, battery technology is very crucial to the adop

Shell Buys UK EV Charging Network Ubitricity

The British-Dutch oil giant Shell has announced that it's reached a definitive agreement to buy Ubitricity, the largest public electric vehicle charging network in the UK with over 2,700 charge points. The company is paying an undisclosed price to buy Ubitricity in its entirety. As it seems, even oil giants like Shell have seen the writing on the wall that renewable energy leads the future. The company, famous for pumping nearly 4 million barrels of oil each day, has moved to buy a major  electric vehicle charging network to strengthen its position in the renewables market. Shell already operates a large network of petrol filling stations for automobiles in the UK and abroad. With the rise of electric vehicles, it's apparent that the need for public charging stations will continue to rise to fill in the gap for petrol filling stations. Shell has apparently adjusted its strategy towards that and now moved to acquie a major  electric vehicle charging network in Europe. Ubitricit

Vimeo Raises $300M, Valued At $5B+ Ahead Of Spinoff

After raising a $150 million funding round in November 2020, Vimeo, the popular video site owned by IAC, has raised another equity round of  $300 million  that values it at over $5 billion. The new round comes roughly a month after IAC announced its intention to spin off Vimeo as a separate publicly-traded company. As it seems, the new $300 million round is a verge round for Vimeo before it spins off from IAC and becomes an independent publicly-traded company. The investment comes from two firms; T. Rowe Price and Oberndorf Enterprises. It's split into two tranches: a $200 million investment at a $5.2 billion pre-money valuation and another $100 million at a $5.7 billion valuation. Before now, the $150 million round that Vimeo had announced came from two investment firms; GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund; and Thrive Capital, a well-known venture capital firm. These investors have apparently seen fit to buy into Vimeo before the video site spins off from IAC and hits the

Asian Travel Startup Klook Raises Fresh $200M

Klook, a well-known venture-backed travel startup based in Hong Kong, has raised a fresh funding round of $200 million that was led by Aspex Management, with further participation from a mix of new and existing backers including SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, Boyu Capital, and Matrix Partners China. With the new round, Klook has now raised a total of over $720 million in venture funding in its six years of existence. The valuation that came with the round wasn't disclosed, but for a hint, Klook was valued at more than $1 billion from a funding round back in 2018. Klook is a fast-growing travel startup based in Hong Kong. It's majorly a platform for people to book travels, tours, and related activities around the globe. 2020 was a year that saw global travel activity dwindle due to the Covid-19 pandemic and thus saw Klook adjust itself and began developing SaaS solutions for merchants. With Klook's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) suite, merchants and retailers have an easy way to o

RuneScape Maker Jagex Sells To US Private Equity Firm

Jagex, a British gaming studio and publisher that's best known for its  RuneScape  MMORPG game, has been sold to the American private equity firm The Carlyle Group, a press statement from the firm indicates. While the price of the sale wasn't officially disclosed, a report from The Daily Telegraph pegs the deal at $530 million+. A Jagex acquisition is a landmark one for The Carlyle Group, a well-known and major private equity firm but one that isn't known for dabbling in the gaming sector. It's in fact the first gaming studio that  The Carlyle Group has ever acquired. The Carlyle Group is a major investor in technology companies globally and has thus continued its streak with the acquisition of a major British gaming studio. Jagex in this case  is a studio with a very popular game, RuneScape, which it claims has almost 300 million player accounts and has achieved over $1 billion in lifetime revenue. Jagex employs more than 450 people in the UK. Its reported acquisitio

Chamath Palihapitiya Leads PIPE Rounds For Latch, Sunlight Financial

Chamath Palihapitiya is a venture capitalist and investor that's made a name for himself in the market for special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). He leads Social Capital Hedosophia, a venture that's debuted six successive SPACs so far and raised a total of $3.7 billion. Palihapitiya has been a prolific promoter of his own SPACs and has as well bet big on some debuted by others. He just continued his streak of bets by leading new p rivate-investment-in-public equity (PIPE) deals for two companies that recently secured SPAC merger deals; Latch , a startup that makes smart locks, and Sunlight Financial , a company that provides loans to homeowners for solar installations. On Monday, Latch and Sunlight Financial announced respective deals to go public through mergers with SPACs. Latch will merge with TS Innovation Acquisitions Corp (NASDAQ: TSIA), a SPAC sponsored by the real estate operator Tishman Speyer, while Sunlight will merge with Spartan Acquisition Corp. II (NYSE:

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Cashing Out: Jeff Bezos Sells $2.5B Of Amazon Stock

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has continued his routine selling of Amazon shares to fund his other escapades. For a few years now, he's had an arranged trading plan that sees him regularly sell Amazon stock worth billions of dollars. Jeff Bezos' latest sell-off is of 739,000 Amazon shares worth around $2.5bn, SEC filings show. Another separate filing indicated that he plans to sell as many as 2 million shares that could net him nearly $7bn at current prices. This latest share sell-off from Bezos is noteworthy as one of his last in his position as Amazon's CEO which he's handing off soon to a top lieutenant named Andy Jassy. Jassy is currently CEO of AWS, Amazon's very profitable cloud computing division. Usually, a CEO offloading large amounts of stock in a company he leads draws some displeasure from investors, but as Jeff Bezos would soon no longer be Amazon's CEO, it opens up opportunities to sell larger amounts of shares than usual if the desires. Amazon's

EVs: Ford, BMW Co-Invest In An EV Battery Startup

It's currently of no doubt that electric vehicles represent the future for the automobile market, and many automakers have taken heed to that. Tens of billions of dollars in spending have been earmarked for the R&D and production of electric vehicles by global automakers, with efforts spanning battery development, building new factories, charging stations et al. Now, two of the world's biggest automakers, BMW and Ford, have jointly invested in a startup working on battery technology for electric vehicles. That startup is Solid Power, a Colorado-based startup developing solid-state batteries for EVs. Details: Solid Power has raised a $130 million Series B round  co-led by Ford and BMW. The two automakers were joined by green-focused venture fund Volta Energy Technologies in the round. As part of the strategic round, Ford and BMW have expanded their joint agreements with Solid Power to develop solid-state batteries for their use. In a way, the two automakers are funding and o

Is Apple Brewing A Major Digital Health Play?

That Apple has high ambitions in the digital health space isn't foreign news to anyone following the moves of the company. In fact, its CEO Tim Cook once referred to health as Apple's “greatest contribution to mankind.” Apple's main health product is the Apple Watch for which health represents a major use case and a selling point. The latest Apple Watch series has key health features including the ability to measure ECG (electrocardiogram) and oxygen saturation level in the blood. With all its grand ambitions, the reality is that Apple is progressing very well in the digital health space but yet hasn't gotten a big foothold in it like it's done in other markets. There still exists a large gap for Apple to conquer to make waves in the digital health market and the company seems much hell-bent on covering that gap. Details: A certain revelation has come out that details Apple's grand plans in the health sector, and it's that of a UK startup working on next-ge

Big Pay: AT&T Shareholders Vote Against Execs Pay

To bring back one of our most favorite sayings, "America is the land of many things, including very enormous executive pay". Executives of publicly-traded companies in the US are familiar with very large compensation packages on a scale not seen in other countries, take recent examples including Palantir CEO Alex Karp landing a $1.1 billion payday  and former T-Mobile CEO John Legere getting a $137 million severance pay . But with all the large executive pay packages flying around, it appears that the shareholders of one public company are not okay with it and that company is telecoms giant AT&T.  Details: AT&T in a statement  revealed that the majority of its shareholders voted not in favor of the compensation of its executive officers in 2020. Just under 49% of votes were cast in favor of the compensation, leaving the remaining majority 51%, not in favor.  Last year, AT&T had large pay packages for its top brass including $21 million for CEO John Stankey and $52

Deal: Verizon Sells Yahoo And AOL To PE Firm For $5B

Telecoms giant Verizon has found a buyer for its Verizon Media Unit which includes veteran internet properties like Yahoo and AOL, and that buyer is a major private equity firm. To note, though Yahoo and AOL have long faded from their glory days, they aren't exactly dead properties but ones still with a great deal of users bringing in a few billion in revenue annually. Details: Verizon has struck a deal to sell 90% of Verizon Media to private equity firm Apollo which will pay $5 billion for it, while Verizon retains a  10%  minority stake in the business. The deal takes off many internet properties off Verizon's hands, including bigger ones like Yahoo and smaller ones like technology news site TechCrunch operating under the AOL umbrella. Though it's selling for a seemingly huge price of $5 billion, Verizon paid a combined $9 billion to buy the web properties making up its Verizon Media unit so it doesn't come out on top financially from the sale.  Verizon paid $4.4bn t

Germany's SAP Fined $8M For Violating Iran Sanctions

SAP, the German software giant, has agreed to pay a fine in the US for violating sanctions imposed by the country on conducting business in Iran. It'll pay over $8 million in fines after admitting to handling thousands of exports of its software to Iran violating US law. Details: SAP admitted to exporting US-origin software to Iran beginning in 2010 up until 2017. The exports including delivering software upgrades and patches more than 20,000 times to Iranian users and offering Iranian users access to US-based cloud services. As charged, executives at SAP were aware that the company didn't have geolocation protections to block downloads of its US-origin software in Iran and turned a blind eye to the situation.  SAP was also charged with neglecting to put in place adequate export control for cloud services made by some US-based companies that it acquired and integrated into its software suite. For the charges, SAP admitted guilt and reached a  Non-Prosecution Agreement with the

IPO: Cybersecurity Startup Darktrace Debuts On UK Markets

A major cybersecurity startup from the UK has held an initial public offering (IPO) and debuted to positive investor fanfare on the domestic public markets. That startup is Darktrace, a fast-growing cybersecurity startup founded by a team of mathematicians in collaboration with British intelligence agencies in 2013. Darktrace sells cyber-defense software that's claimed to harness artificial intelligence in spotting and managing cyber threats. It listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol "DARK". By the numbers: Darktrace debuted to positive investor fanfare that saw its shares soar by 40% on its first day of trading. It raised £143 million ($198m) from the public float at a valuation of £1.7 billion ($2.3bn) which soared to almost £2.4 billion ($3.3bn) on its debut trading day. Darktrace's IPO prospectus reports $199 million in revenue in its most recent fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. This was up from $137 million in the previous year, 2019, and $79 mill

Earnings: Pfizer Rakes In Cash From COVID Vaccine

Pfizer, one of the few pharmaceutical companies worldwide to produce an approved Covid-19 vaccine, has unveiled its earnings report for the first quarter of this year. As usual, the report provides a solid peek into the company's financials and with very noteworthy nuggets this time around. One key nugget from Pfizer's earnings report is that the company brought in $3.5bn in revenue from its Covid-19 vaccine in Q1' 21. It made up nearly a fourth of the company's total $14.6bn revenue for the period. The Covid vaccine was the biggest single source of revenue for Pfizer in the quarter. It's definitely a good time for the company in that regard, as it elected to keep the profit from the sale of its vaccines unlike some of its competitors which volunteered to waive off any profit-seeking from their vaccines. Unlike some of its competitors also, Pfizer didn't take money from the US government to fund the development of its vaccine under the Trump administration'

Earnings: Covid Vaccines Deliver Big Sales, Profit For Moderna

Moderna was among the few biotech companies that saved the day with the development of an emergency-authorized vaccine to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a breakthrough for the company, which was before then a cancer-fighting moonshot with minimal revenues and no working product. Being a publicly-traded company, Moderna is mandated to release quarterly earnings reports to the public and it has done so this time around, releasing its financial results for the first quarter of this year 2021. Moderna's latest earnings report shows that of a company that saw big success from its Covid vaccines, as it reported record revenue and its first-ever net profit as a public company. By the numbers: Moderna made $1.9bn in revenue in Q1' 21, compared to a paltry $8mn for the same quarter in 2020. The revenue came wholly from Covid vaccine sales in the US and foreign markets. Moderna reported a huge net income of $1.2bn in the quarter, compared to a net loss of $124mn for the same perio

Court Docs: Fortnite Maker Epic Made $15B In 2018-2020

Fortnite maker Epic Games is having a court battle with Apple over the latter's App Store practices and that battle has led to several documents coming out of the shadows with valuable information about Epic Games not publicly known before.  Among the information revealed in court proceedings between Epic and Apple is the sheer scale of Epic's revenue largely gotten from its hit game Fortnite . Official documents indicate that Epic Games made respective annual sales of $5.6bn, $4.2bn, and $5.1bn in 2018, 2019, and 2020, summing up to just shy of $15bn. Epic's revenue in 2018 and 2019 was revealed in financial documents made public as part of its court battle with Apple while its revenue for 2020 was separately revealed in a court testimony by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. The vast majority of Epic's revenue comes from Fortnite while its other products like the Unreal Engine and the Epic Games Store bring in a minority of revenues. Specifically, Fortnite brought in $5.5bn a