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Showing posts from February, 2021

2020: DraftKings Reports Strong Revenue Growth

DraftKings, a popular sports betting site in the US, has reported its earnings results for what's its first fiscal year as a publicly-traded company after going public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) last year. It reported $322 million in 2020 revenue, up 98% from the previous year. DraftKings' annual revenue soared high in 2020 compared to the past year as it capitalized on a stronger betting market spurred by the legalization of online sports betting in more American states for growth. The company also did well getting new customers in existing legalized sports betting markets in the US. For example, the state of Tennessee formally legalized mobile and online sports betting on the 1st of November, 2020 and saw DraftKings immediately swoop into the market. In just the first two months operating in the state, DraftKings processed over $300 million in bets, its earnings report noted. In 2021, DraftKings held successful launches in the states of

SoftBank Settles Suit With WeWork Founder Adam Neumann

The Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank has reached a settlement for a legal fight with the founder of WeWork, the office leasing company that counts as one of its biggest investments and was the subject of a  financial and operational saga that saw SoftBank record a big  $4.6 billion loss on the company and moved to buy it up in order to try to stabilize it. After the WeWork saga which saw the company's founder Adam Neumann ousted, he moved to sue SoftBank claiming entitlement to a deal where SoftBank initially laid out plans to buy up $3 billion of WeWork stock from shareholders of which nearly $1 billion would have gone to Neumann but later backed out of its plans. Now, after a fairly lengthy legal battle, SoftBank has announced that it's reached a settlement with Adam Neumann as well as WeWork's board in a Delaware court. Officially, the terms of the settlement weren't disclosed, but a Financial Times report  says it entails SoftBank committing to purchase

IPO Chatter: Hot Cybersecurity Startup SentinelOne

The latest company to get into the center of chatters and rumors of an imminent public listing is SentinelOne , a Mountain View-based cybersecurity startup that's made a mark as one of the hottest of its kind with investor attraction. SentinelOne is preparing for a soon public listing that could value it at more than $10 billion and has begun interviewing banks for potential roles in its public listing, according to a report from Bloomberg . It's said that SentinelOne could list even as soon as this very year. SentinelOne is part of a cohort of technology startups that have brought artificial intelligence to the field of cybersecurity, using AI to detect and protect companies from cybersecurity threats and breaches. The company has roots in Israel, a major cybersecurity hub, and was founded in 2013. SentinelOne has been a hot startup for venture backers, drawing around $700 million in private funding of which a majority was raised just in the past two years. The Mountain View

Exec Pay: Coinbase CEO Earned $60M In 2020

The popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase recently released its S-1 filing to the SEC in preparation for a public offering that's expected to come soon, with the S-1 filing providing a peek into its financials and operational stats with information not publicly known before. The core information to have been revealed by Coinbase's S-1 filing is that the company is very profitable, posting a net income of $322 million on $1.28 billion in revenue in 2020. The popular crypto exchange swung from a $30 million loss in the previous year 2019 and grew its annual revenue from $533.7 million to $1.28 billion over the year. Among the noteworthy disclosures to have come from Coinbase's S-1 filing is that the company's founder and CEO Brian Armstrong pulled in a big compensation package of nearly $60 million in 2020, precisely $59.5 million.  Brian Armstrong's $59.5 million pay package consisted of a base salary of $1 million, stock options awards of $56.7 million, and $1.

VC Firm Bessemer Raises $3.3B, Adds Amazon's Jeff Blackburn As Partner

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Bessemer enture Partners has made new major moves that include adding $3.3 billion of capital to its investment coffers and appointing Jeff Blackburn, a long-time top Amazon executive and lieutenant of Jeff Bezos who just recently announced his departure from Amazon, now as a partner at the venture firm. Bessemer raised $3.3 billion with two separate funds, the first a fund named BVP XI  that raised $2.475 billion and the second a fund named  BVP Century II that raised $825 million. The majority of the new funds will be used for early-stage investments consistent with Bessemer's practice of starting with seed and Series A rounds for companies and then following up with late-stage investments. Bessemer now counts Jeff Blackburn as a Partner, with Blackburn joining the firm after a 22-year career at Amazon where he rose to become one of the company's highest-ranking executives. Before announcing his departure just this month, Blackburn served

Velodyne Lidar's Founder Ousted, Fights Back

Velodyne Lidar, the leading maker of lidars for autonomous vehicles in the US, is in the midst of a leadership tussle that's seen its founder and biggest shareholder David Hall pushed out from his position of Chairman at the company along with his wife Marta Hall who held the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Velodyne. David and Marta Hall were pushed out from Velodyne after a board investigation that brought accusations of the couple behaving "inappropriately" and acting without "respect, honesty, integrity and candor” when interacting with other officers and directors at Velodyne as claimed by the company's board. As they were pushed out, Velodyne named a new Chairman and another new board director. In response to his ouster, Velodyne founder David Hall put out a press statement  accusing his company of staging a "boardroom ambush" to reprimand him and his wife "based on an opaque, secret investigation into baseless, unfounded claims".

German Shoe Maker Birkenstock Sells To Private Equity Firm L Catterton

The American-French private equity firm L Catterton is back with yet another big deal in the fashion industry after leading a $115 million investment round for Rihanna's Savage X Fenty brand just a few weeks ago. The firm has just announced an agreement to buy a majority stake in Birkenstock, a well-known German shoemaker that was founded 25 decades ago. L Catterton is buying a majority stake in Birkenstock along with some affiliates including Financière Agache which is the family holding company of LVMH boss and European fashion titan Bernard Arnault. Arnault is a major investor in L Catterton whose company LVMH and personal holding company Groupe Arnault hold a collective 40% stake in the private equity firm so it's no surprise that he's chipping into the Birkenstock deal. The price that L Catterton is paying for a majority stake in Birkenstock isn't formally disclosed, but a report from Reuters citing sources   familiar with the deal says it values Birkenstock at 

AT&T Sells DirecTV Stake To Private Equity Firm TPG

AT&T, the American telecoms giant and parent company of mass media giant WarnerMedia, has reached a deal to sell a stake in one of its most notable properties, satellite broadcaster DirecTV, to private equity firm TPG. AT&T and TPG have agreed to a business deal that'll see both parties establish a new company to control AT&T’s U.S. video business unit consisting of the DirecTV , AT&T TV , and U-verse video services. AT&T will hold a 70% stake while TPG gets the remaining 30% stake in the new company to be formed as DirecTV's parent. The deal agreed between both companies values DirecTV's new parent at $16.25 billion. Notably, AT&T is taking a big loss from its DirecTV deal with TPG given that it paid $48.5 billion excluding debt for the broadband satellite provider in 2014. Now with a deal valuing the business at $16.25 billion, it's apparent that AT&T is taking a big loss from its DirecTV business in what's a testament to the decline

Airbnb, DoorDash Post First Earnings Results

After going public in 2020, the online rentals company Airbnb and food delivery company DoorDash have respectively posted their first earnings results as public companies, with both showing healthy growth though with increasing losses. Airbnb In Q4 2020 which was Airbnb's first quarter as a publicly-traded company, it reported $859 million in revenue, down 22% from $1.1 billion in Q4 2019. The yearly drop wasn't unexpected as the global travel and rentals market is still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. In Q4, Airbnb reported a huge net loss of $3.9 billion which mostly came from a $2.8 billion stock-based compensation expense that the company recorded after its IPO and also an $827 million non-cash 'mark-to-market adjustment' charge related to Airbnb share purchase warrants. For clarity, mark-to-market adjustment refers to the accounting practice of adjusting the value of an asset to reflect its value as determined by current market conditions. Due to

Twitter Aims To Double Annual Sales By 2023 End

The popular social networking company Twitter has announced plans indicating that it has its eyes set on growing its user base and, in turn, revenue base in the forthcoming years.  In a recent SEC filing , Twitter noted that it's targeting to at least double its annual revenue from $3.7 billion in 2020 to $7.5 billion in 2023, with its plans propelled by a complementary target of growing its monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) count to 315 million by the end of 2023. Twitter's growth target was formally announced at the company's 2021 Analyst Day event where it pitched itself to investors and public market stakeholders with the aim of encouraging positive investor sentiment towards Twitter. As it looks, the social media company got positive attraction from investors with the announcement of its revenue doubling aim as Twitter's stock shot up by over 5% during trading on Thursday. Over the past few years, Twitter has recorded healthy growth but that not on par with ot

Cloud Platform DigitalOcean Unveils S-1 Filing For An IPO

The latest technology company to speed up on the route onto the public markets is DigitalOcean , a popular cloud infrastructure provider for developers and enterprises.  The company has unveiled its S-1 filing for a public listing with the US SEC and given a peek into its finances and business operations with information not publicly known before. DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure and hosting provider for developers and enterprises to deploy their apps and online services. Though based in New York, the company operates data centers spread across the globe.  As indicated by its S-1 filing, DigitalOcean pulled in $318.4 million in revenue in 2020, compared to $254.8 million in the previous year, 2019. The company's annual sales grew by over 100% from $203 million in 2018 to roughly $318 million in 2020. Though, DigitalOcean isn't profitable and hasn't been in the past successive years, posting respective losses of $43.6 million, $40.4 million, and $36 million in 2020, 2

Crypto Company Coinbase Unveils S-1 Filing For Direct Listing

After confidentially filing for a public offering in December, the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has now unveiled its S-1 filing  with the US SEC to the public, giving a peek into the company's financials and operational information not publicly known before. Coinbase's S-1 filing shows $1.28 billion in revenue in 2020, more than double its $533.7 million revenue in 2019. The crypto exchange is very profitable with a net income of $322.3 million in 2020, compared to a $30.4 million loss in 2019. With its just-revealed financial stats, it should then be no surprise that investors were recently reported to have driven up the market value of Coinbase, which was valued at $8 billion from its last formal financing round, to over $100 billion in a private market share sale ahead of the company's listing. As it is, technology stocks have been hot as of late and generally seen great favor from public market investors. The crypto markets have been even hotter, with Bitc

Taiwan's Foxconn To Build Cars For EV Company Fisker

After becoming a public company last year through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), electric carmaker Fisker has taken a bold and crucial step towards its planned manufacturing of electric cars with a partnership with Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing powerhouse famously known for assembling Apple's iPhones. Fisker has announced a partnership with Foxconn that'll see the Taiwanese manufacturing giant build electric cars bearing Fisker's name with projected annual production volumes of 250,000+ units. The vehicle to be manufactured by Foxconn will be Fisker's second electric vehicle and hasn't yet been unveiled. Fisker says that the new electric vehicle to be built by Foxconn is planned to go into production by Q4 2023, roughly a year after the scheduled launch of Fisker's first vehicle, the Ocean SUV . Already, over 12,000 reservations have been booked for the Ocean SUV, wherein Fisker has grand plans to get into a competitive elect

New SPAC Merger: Air Taxi Startup Joby Aviation

Every new day or so brings new SPAC mergers and today's new merger happens to be Joby Aviation , a maker of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft, a.k.a air taxis. Joby has announced an agreement to merge with Reinvent Technology Partners (NYSE:RTP), a SPAC formed by a group including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus. With its merger, Joby will become a public company trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Joby's merger deal values the company at $6.6 billion. Through the merger, the company will get roughly $1.6 billion in cash proceeds consisting of $690 million held in trust by the SPAC it's merging with, an extra $835 million from a private placement, and then a $75 million convertible note purchase from the ride-hailing company Uber that's being made under the terms of a  recent deal of Uber selling its flying taxi business to Joby . Joby's $835 million private placement will come from investors inc

GameStop's CFO To Depart, With Big Exit Package

Barely a month after a stock trading frenzy that sent the shares of video games and electronics retailer GameStop soaring high and highly volatile to then become the talk of the town, the company's chief financial officer (CFO) Jim Bell has announced his resignation from the company, with the reason behind his departure not stated. Bell who has served as GameStop's CFO for less than two years will step down from his role formally on March 26, 2021, and leave the company. He noticeably held the role of CFO for a short period and it's unclear if GameStop's recent stock market frenzy is a contributing factor to his departure. As Bell is resigning from GameStop, he isn't leaving on shaky grounds or at least monetarily-wise. According to filings, he'll be getting an upfront $15.8 million pay package when he departs, split into $2.8 million in severance and an immediate payout of restricted shares worth $13 million once he leaves.  Then, Bell could still collect an

Next SPAC Deal: EV Metals Company DeepGreen Metals?

Special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have been on a tear as of late, with 2020 and just two months into 2021 collectively drawing hundreds of SPAC listings that have raised tens of billions of dollars. With a SPAC boom, it's such that investors are betting on the use of SPACs to buy into promising companies and looking to make profits from them, and one of the industries to have drawn high positive interest from investors has been electric vehicles. Many companies in the electric vehicle industry, most recently the electric carmaker Lucid Motors , have sealed big SPAC deals and drawn a lot of attention with them. The whole industry is being propped up with electric carmakers taking the lead and complementary businesses such as battery makers and charging network companies following suit. Now, it seems that the latest company in the EV industry to be targeting a SPAC deal is DeepGreen Metals , a company that plans to produce metals with a minimal environmental impact that&#

Payments Company Square Buys More Bitcoin, Draws Big Gains

Just after the electric carmaker Tesla revealed a purchase of a whopping $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin , another publicly-traded company has seemingly followed suit, this time the Jack Dorsey-led payments company Square (NYSE:SQ) with a $170 million purchase of 3,318 bitcoins that supplements a previous $50 million purchase of the same cryptocurrency. With its newly bought bitcoin haul added to its previous, Square now holds approximately 5% of its entire cash and short-term investments in the popular cryptocurrency. In a statement, Square pitched cryptocurrencies as "an instrument of economic empowerment" as a rationale for betting big on the area. For most companies that are buying bitcoin, Square may be the least surprising as it's a payments company that draws a significant percentage of its revenue by facilitating the trading of bitcoins on its widely-used Cash App. For context, Square just posted its financial results for the full 2020 and declared $4.57 billion in

Bill Gates-Led Clean Energy Fund Raises Fresh $1B

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a clean energy-focused investment firm led by entrepreneur Bill Gates, has raised $1 billion for a new fund after deploying most of the first $1 billion fund that it raised in 2015. The new fund drew investments from big names in the business world including Shopify founder Tobias Lütke and Abigail Johnson, the CEO of American investment giant Fidelity, reports Bloomberg . Bill Gates founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BEV for short, in 2015 as part of his investment efforts to prop up the clean energy sector and raised an initial $1 billion fund from an all-star team of business titans that included Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Alibaba's Jack Ma, Bloomberg L.P. founder Michael Bloomberg, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, and India's Mukesh Ambani. In a six-year span since its launch, BEV has backed many clean energy and technology companies including notable names like QuantumScape, a maker of electric car batteries; Redwood Materials, an electric ca

New SPAC Merger: Cannabis Company Parallel

The latest privately-held company to tap into the boom of mergers with special-purpose acquisition companies as a route towards the public markets is Parallel , a cannabis company founded by an heir to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune.  Parallel will merge with Ceres Acquisition Corp , a SPAC traded on the Canadian stock market that's backed by entertainment mogul Scooter Braun. Ceres Acquisition Corp trades on the  Canadian NEO stock exchange under the ticker symbol "CERE.U". Through its merger, Parallel will get $120 million in cash held in trust by Ceres Acquisition Corp and then an additional $225 million public-investment-in-private-equity (PIPE) round that it's received commitments for. Upon the completion of its merger, Parallel says that it'll have $430 million in cash at hand. After its merger, Parallel will continue to be led by its founder and CEO William "Beau" Wrigley Jr, whose Wrigley surname rings a bell for the popular chewing gum of the s

Palo Alto Networks Posts First $1B+ Sales Quarter

The cybersecurity software giant Palo Alto Networks has posted its financial results for its most recent quarter and revealed that it topped $1 billion in quarterly sales for the first time in its history. The company posted exactly $1.02 billion in revenue for its fiscal 2021 second quarter, a record for the company. Palo Alto Networks grew its quarterly revenue over the year from $816 million to $1 billion. Though, the company's quarterly loss also grew from $73.7 million to $142.3 million over the same period. The quarterly loss amounts to $1.48 per diluted share of Palo Alto Networks, as compared to $0.75 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Forecast With rising sales, Palo Alto Networks has now raised its revenue guidance for its fiscal year 2021. It now expects annual revenues of between $4.15 billion to $4.2 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 22% and 23%. On the news of its earnings reports, Palo Alto Networks saw its shares slip down a bit d

Official: Lucid Motors To Go Public Via SPAC Route

After months of rumors of electric car startup Lucid Motors looking to go public via the route of a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), it's now officially announced an agreement to merge with Churchill Capital Corp IV (NYSE: CCIV) in a deal that'll hand it over $4.4 billion in cash for its operations and value it at $24 billion Pro-forma. A $4.4 billion cash and $24 billion-value deal isn't in the normal ranges for most SPAC mergers as it's on the high end of the deals sealed by SPACs by valuation. It should be expected in this case, though, as Lucid Motors is an electric carmaker, and investors have been very positive towards publicly-traded electric carmakers as of late. Lucid Motors is one of the most-watched electric carmakers as it looks to ramp up production and begin delivering its first vehicles this year. Led by a former top Tesla engineering executive, the company is looking to establish a foothold in the American electric vehicle marke

Footwear Startup Allbirds Adds Glossier's Emily Weiss To Board

Allbirds, a venture-backed startup that's carved a lucrative market for itself selling eco-friendly footwear, has added new board members including Emily Weiss, the founder and CEO of the popular venture-backed makeup brand Glossier. Weiss was added alongside Mandy Fields, the chief financial officer (CFO) of cosmetics brand e.l.f Beauty. With Weiss and Fields joining Allbirds' board, the eco-friendly footwear brand now counts eight members on its board. Though the new board additions may seemingly hint at cosmetics ambitions for Allbirds, the company's Co-CEO Tim Brown has clarified that it has no plans to get into that market. Likely, Weiss has been tapped for an Allbirds board position thanks to her position of founding and building a venture-backed, high-growth direct-to-consumer brand. It's notably her first board seat outside Glossier, the popular cosmetics brand she founded. Weiss built Glossier from the ground up starting from a beauty blog known as " Into

LVMH Buys Half Of Jay-Z's Champagne Brand

With a popular premium champagne brand to his name, it's likely that Jay-Z always has many reasons to pop bottles every other day. Now, he should have an even bigger reason, as he's just sold a 50% stake in his premium champagne brand  Armand de Brignac to Moet Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. After 15 years of affiliation with Armand de Brignac, Jay-Z has now likely cashed out a significant sum with a sale to LVMH, though the financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Jay-Z originally purchased a 50% stake in Armand de Brignac in 2006 and then purchased the remaining half in 2014. The premium champagne brand, famously known by its nickname "Ace of Spades" is a major premium wine seller that sold over 500,000 bottles in 2019 alone. It's been a hit in the regions of North America, Asia, and Europe. Armand de Brignac champagne bottle. With LVMH now holding an equal stake in Armand de Brignac with Jay-Z, they&#

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Alert: Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Indicted On Fraud Charges

The founder of embattled electric car startup Nikola Corp. has been formally indicted on fraud charges by the US Justice Department months after resigning from the company. Trevor Milton by name, he's been accused of securities and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud and mislead investors. Milton is accused of misleading investors by making false statements regarding Nikola's products and capabilities. Notably, most of the investors allegedly misled were on the retail side. The DOJ alleges that Milton made false claims regarding "nearly all aspects" of Nikola's business. Milton founded Nikola in 2014 and led it through a public listing via a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) last year. The DOJ threw an apparent jab at SPACs in his indictment, asserting that he made 'many' of his false and misleading claims  during a period where he would not have been allowed to do so under rules that govern traditional IPOs were he

Earnings: AMD Doubles Revenue, Triples Profit

In this earnings season, companies all over are dropping their latest quarterly results and we're here equally reporting on them. We've touched on social media companies Snap Inc and Twitter , electric carmaker Tesla , and iPhone maker Apple . Now, the next is chipmaker AMD Inc . AMD has dropped its earnings for the second quarter of 2021, showing strong prospects as revenue doubled year-over-year and net income more than tripled.   Details AMD posted $3.9bn in revenue in Q2, up 99% year-over-year and 12% from the preceding quarter. For the same period, the company's net income was $710mn , up 352% year-over-year and 28% from the preceding quarter. Doubling its revenue and nearly quadrupling net income indicates AMD has a strong yet fast-growing business. It's bound to grow even more as the company is set to complete its acquisition of rival chipmaker Xilinx . AMD makes money selling high-performance chipsets used in computers, consoles, data centers, and the likes

Antitrust: Amazon Fined $900M By EU For Privacy Violations

Tech behemoth Amazon is for the nth time in the crosshairs of the European Union (EU). The latest saga in that arena is that Amazon has been fined a record-breaking amount for alleged privacy violations, according to an SEC filing from the company. Amazon has been fined the sum of €746 million ($888mn) by the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) for not complying with data privacy laws. It's the largest fine imposed under Europe's data protection law.  The fine originates from the CNPD accusing Amazon of processing customers' personal data in violation of the EU's famous-cum-infamous General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.  In June, it was reported ( WSJ )  that the Luxembourg data protection agency had sanctioned Amazon's privacy practices and proposed a fine topping $425mn to the EU's other two-dozen or so national data protection authorities. Now, it appears that the final fine is much larger than that.  Before now, the bigges

Deal: Qualtrics Buys CX Startup Clarabridge For $1.1B

Months after getting spun out of SAP into a separate public company, Qualtrics , a major provider of online survey software, has made a major acquisition. It's agreed to buy Clarabridge , a startup that does similar work to Qualtrics in the field fondly referred to as "customer experience (CX)". Qualtrics will pay $1.1bn all with shares to buy Clarabridge. The acquisition is a major strategic play for the company, pairing Qualtrics' customer survey business with Clarabridge's similar business of measuring customer sentiment from various sources like social media posts and customer support calls. Basically, Qualtrics is in the business of weighing customer surveys directly and Clarabridge in the business of doing so indirectly . Pairing both businesses represents a major strategic play for Qualtrics. In an investor presentation, Qualtrics said that Clarabridge has $100mn in annual revenue, implying an 11x multiple that it's paying to buy the company. That&#

Deal: Amgen Buys Biotech Startup Teneobio In $2.5B Deal

It appears that this Covid era has led to a boom for companies that work on  antibodies , which are protective proteins produced by the human immune system to tackle foreign substances, usually viruses. Antibodies are very useful in the research and treatment of viruses such as Covid. There are companies that specialize in antibodies and one of them, BioLegend , was recently bought for a whopping $5.3bn . Now, another such company, Teneobio , is getting bought for a big amount. Teneobio has agreed to be acquired by Amgen , an American biotech giant. Amgen is paying $900mn upfront for the company, then an additional $1.6bn in cash contingent on the company hitting certain milestones. It sums up to a $2.5bn deal . Teneobio is a clinical-stage biotech startup working on antibodies aimed at treating cancer, autoimmunity, and other infectious diseases. As it's still in the clinical trial stage with no viable product yet, it appears that Amgen is betting big on Teneobio's trials b

Antitrust: UK Probes Facebook's $1B Kustomer Acquisition

The UK's antitrust agency has launched a probe into Facebook's latest acquisition, that of chatbot platform Kustomer Inc , which Facebook agreed to buy last November for a reported $1bn. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday, the 30th of July, released a statement  indicating it had opened an inquiry into Facebook's purchase of Kustomer, regarding if it'll result in "a substantial lessening of competition" within the market Kustomer operates in. Such probes aren't out of the norm and are routine for big acquisitions. For Facebook, it speaks to the fact that antitrust agencies are watching the company's moves, especially regarding acquisitions. To note, two of Facebook Inc's biggest products outside the main Facebook platform, Instagram and WhatsApp , were acquisitions. In fact, it's primarily acquisitions that have propelled the company's growth. As with such probes, the UK will first seek comments from the public

Hollywood: Reese Witherspoon's Media Co. Sold In $900M Deal

A media company founded by superstar actress Reese Witherspoon has sold for a large amount to a company still in its infancy that hasn't even been named yet. That company is Hello Sunshine , a media company that produces content distributed across various platforms; movies, TV shows, podcasts, et al. Hello Sunshine has been sold to a newly-formed media venture t hat's backed by investment capital from Blackstone , the private equity giant.  The venture is led by ex Disney honchos Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs .  As it is, the Blackstone-funded venture is acquiring a majority stake in Hello Sunshine from a group of external investors while anchor shareholders like Witherspoon and her founding partners will roll over and retain their equity stakes in the newly-formed venture. Officially, the deal's financial terms weren't disclosed, but a report from The Wall Street Journal says it's a $900mn deal. According to the report, the Blackstone-funded venture will pay $500mn

Earnings: Shopify Beats Estimates, Reaches Major Milestone

In this season of earnings results and we at The Techee  reporting on them, we're here with a beat on Shopify , which has released its earnings statement for the second quarter (April-June) of this year. In Q2, Shopify beat revenue expectations from analysts and as well achieved a major financial milestone by crossing $1bn in quarterly revenue for the first time. Shopify had $1.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 57% year-over-year. Net income for the same period was $897mn , most of which was due to a $778mn gain in equity investments, likely from Shopify's stake in Affirm , a major 'buy now, pay later' lender. As usual, most of Shopify's sales ( $785mn ) came from "Merchant Solutions", which groups additional services the company offers atop recurring subscriptions charged to online retailers. Sales from subscriptions came at $334mn in the quarter. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), representing the total worth of transactions made on the Shopify platform,

Alert: Square Buys Australia's Afterpay For $29B

It's a big day in the fintech world. There's been a major acquisition with a major American fintech company, Square , buying Australia's foremost fintech startup, Afterpay , a 'buy now, pay later' lender. Square has reached an agreement to buy Afterpay for a whopping $29bn , marking one of Australia's biggest buyouts. It's a big deal that a startup founded barely seven years ago is selling for $29bn.  Square will pay the $29bn all with shares. It means that shares of Afterpay, which are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange, will be exchanged for Square stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Afterpay is Australia's foremost 'buy now, pay later (BNPL)' lender in online retail. For the uninitiated, the 'buy now, pay later' business is a relatively young one providing alternatives to credit cards for consumers to shop online. It provides loans for consumers to shop online and then pay back in installments. Usually, credi

Markets: US SEC Takes Aim At Chinese IPOs

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a swipe at Chinese initial public offerings (IPOs) after regulatory hiccups in China have affected many Chinese stocks listed on US markets and American stockholders holding them. The SEC has issued new guidance on Chinese companies seeking to list shares in the US, requiring them to make certain disclosures to investors or otherwise refrain from listing in the US markets. First of all, usually, Chinese companies listing in the US don't actually sell shares of the operating companies but that of shell companies with contractual relationships with the operating companies. These shell shares, known as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) , are used to circumvent restrictions on foreign ownership of Chinese shares imposed by the country's government. Now, the SEC in a statement has made it clear that Chinese companies seeking to list in the US must provide clear descriptions of the shell operations involved in such listing