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Showing posts from March, 2021

FTC Opposes Illumina's $8B Purchase Of Cancer Detection Startup Grail

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued to block the $8 billion purchase of cancer detection startup Grail  by Illumina, a publicly-traded genetic sequencing company.  Illumina has sought to acquire Grail, which's working on blood-based cancer detection tests, for $3.5 billion in cash and $4.5 billion in stock net of the 12% stake it already owns as an investor in Grail. To note, Grail was itself spun out of Illumina. With a legal case in the brews, the FTC argues that Illumina's planned purchase of Grail will "diminish innovation in the U.S. market" for multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests, given that the blood-based early cancer detection test that Grail is developing depends on a type of DNA sequencing that only Illumina provides. On its end, the FTC is challenging Illumina's planned Grail purchase as one that'll give it an unfair edge in the MCED test market and has thus sued to block the purchase. A trial for the case will begin on Aug. 24, 2

NBA Top Shot Parent Dapper Labs Raises $305M, Valued At $2.6B

Dapper Labs, the company behind digital collectibles sensation  NBA Top Shot and Ethereum collectibles game  CryptoKitties , has raised a big new round of funding from what's apparently a large party of sports stars, Hollywood heavyweights, and investment firms. Dapper has raised a $305 million round led by Coatue, a tech-focused investment powerhouse. Coatue was joined by others including NBA legend Michael Jordan and current stars like Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala; musician Shawn Mendes; Hollywood stars Will Smith and Ashton Kutcher; and investment firms a16z, The Chernin Group, USV, and Venrock. Indeed many people and firms chipped into Dapper's funding round and we listed just some of them. Per reports , the round values Dapper at $2.6 billion, not bad for a company at the forefront of the recent NFT craze. Dapper's NBA Top Shot offers video highlights of NBA scenes that users can trade in the form of verifiable digital collectibles known as non-fungible tokens (NF

IPO Chatter: Proptech Startup Knock

Knock, a fairly popular prop-tech startup offering people a way to buy and sell homes, is the latest company to get drawn to the center of rumors of a planned IPO. It's recruited investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise it on a bid to go public, according to a Bloomberg News report . Quoting the report, Knock is considering a plan to raise between $400 million to $500 million through an initial public offering. The prop-tech startup is also weighing a direct listing, or of course, the hot way to go public now which's a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). In an interview with Bloomberg, Knock's CEO Sean Black confirmed that his startup hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on its consideration to go public. Per chatters, Knock is aiming for a valuation in the ballpark of $2 billion on the public markets. Knock is a homebuying startup with its major offering known as Knock Home Swap, entailing lending money to customers to buy a new home while helping them sh

Market Moves: Tencent Music Kicks Off $1B Share Buyback

Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the NYSE-listed music streaming service of Chinese tech giant Tencent, has embarked on its biggest share buyback program yet with an announcement that it's been authorized to repurchase up to $1 billion worth of shares in a twelve-month period commencing March 29, 2021. Tencent Music's fresh $1 billion share buyback is more than double the company's last share buyback program of $400 million . Tencent Music began trading on the NYSE after an IPO in 2018 and has undertaken just one share buyback program since then before this one marking the second. The $1 billion share buyback announcement by Tencent Music notably comes just after the company was caught up in a massive share selloff of over $20 billion  that was triggered by a group of major banks, and the share selloff triggered significant short-term slumps in the share prices of affected companies like itself. A share buyback is basically the re-acquisition by a company of its own shar

UK Online Used-Car Dealer Cazoo Rides Into $7B SPAC Merger Deal

Cazoo, an online used-car sales startup operating in the UK, has reached an agreement to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) founded by American billionaire investor Dan Och in a deal valuing it at $ 7 billion. Cazoo, a barely three-year-old startup, is merging with AJAX I, a SPAC listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: AJAX). Through the merger, Cazoo is getting $805 million of cash held in trust by AJAX I, plus an $800 million PIPE round coming from investors including BlackRock, Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Fidelity, and Mubadala Capital. A barely three-year-old startup sealing an exit with a valuation of $7 billion on the public markets wildly signals booming times for the stock markets. Though it's existed for a relatively short time, Cazoo is a fast-growing startup that says it expects revenue in 2021 to approach $1 billion. Though with rapidly rising revenues, Cazoo doesn't seem to be currently profitable and hasn't disclosed whethe

New York State Launches "Vaccine Passport" App

The state of New York led by Governor Andrew Cuomo has moved to launch a "vaccine passport" offering an easy way for residents to share their Covid-19 vaccination or negative test status in accordance with state guidelines. The aim of the app, named Excelsior Pass , is to provide an easy way for organizers of mass gatherings to verify the status of their attendees in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Excelsior Pass was developed by New York state in partnership with IBM, whose blockchain platform forms the basis of the app. It works by having a secure QR code which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to get proof of vaccination or Covid-19 negative test results to permit entry for customers. The Excelsior Pass isn't that complex, being similar to a mobile airline boarding pass. Just as in the case of a boarding pass, New York state residents can either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior P

Autonomous Delivery Startup Nuro Adds Toyota, Chipotle As Investors

Nuro, a well-funded self-driving startup launched by ex-Google veterans, has said that it's raised new funding from investors including restaurant chain Chipotle and Woven Capital, a growth-stage fund launched by a subsidiary of Japanese automaker Toyota. The new investments in Nuro came as part of a $500 million Series C  that the company embarked on last year. It adds Chipotle as a strategic investor in Nuro and means we could see food from Chipotle getting delivered by Nuro's self-driving robots sometime in the future. With backing from an offshoot of Toyota, Nuro also has a new strategic investor in the Japanese automaker.  Nuro's new investments came on the heels of the company securing a commercial deployment permit for its autonomous delivery robots in the state of California. The permit has allowed Nuro to operate commercially in two countries near its headquarters in the California Bay Area and the company says it'll soon start delivering there with a yet-unn

TikTok Owner ByteDance Makes Big Gaming Purchase, Hires CFO

ByteDance Technologies, the high-flying Chinese technology startup that owns a suite of apps including the popular TikTok, has made a major gaming acquisition that is the company's biggest acquisition yet, paying a reported $4 billion to buy mobile game developer Moonton. Moonton is a Chinese mobile game studio that's best known for its multiplayer online battle arena game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang . It was founded just seven years ago and now has seen a big exit with a sale to ByteDance. Per publicly-known information, Moonton is known to have raised just a small amount of venture funding, making its reported $4 billion sale price very lucrative for its shareholders. Its sale signals ByteDance having big ambitions venturing into the gaming world. As it made a big gaming acquisition, ByteDance also announced the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer poached from Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. Shou Zi Chew, who served as Xiaomi's CFO from 2015 to 2020 will become B

Crypto Firms, Chainalysis Raise Mega Rounds

Two of the latest companies in the crypto-sphere to raise a big round of funding are two well-known names, blockchain analysis company Chainalysis and cryptocurrency exchange and wallet . Chainalysis has announced that it's raised a new funding round of $100 million valuing it at $2 billion, while has raised a new round of $300 million valuing it at $5.2 billion. Both funding rounds add to the crypto funding frenzy that's been seen in the past year. Chainalysis's $100 million round was led by Paradigm, a crypto-focused investment firm launched by Coinbase co-founder Fred Erhrsam. Other participants in the round included Lee Fixel's Addition and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff via his firm TIME Ventures. The $100 million round for Chainalysis came barely four months after the company closed a previous round of the same exact amount. The company says it's seen exceptional growth over the past year and increased its annual recurring revenue

IPO: Romanian Software Company UiPath Unveils S-1

After filing confidentially for an initial public offering (IPO) in December, UiPath, the high-flying robotic process automation (RPA) startup, has now unveiled its S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), giving a peek into its financials with information not publicly known before. With its S-1 filing made, UiPath is set to begin trading soon on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "PATH". As to financials, UiPath's S-1 filing shows $608 million revenue for its most recent fiscal year ending January 31, 2021. In the previous year, the company made $336 million in revenue. UiPath isn't profitable, showing net losses of $92 million and a much higher $520 million in its most recent fiscal year and the one before that respectively. Most of UiPath's revenue comes from its 'Licenses' segment, that is selling licenses for the use of its software to corporations. The second-highest segment after that is grouped as "Maintenan

Official: WeWork To Go Public With $9B SPAC Deal

Pertaining true to recent rumors , SoftBank-owned office leasing company WeWork has sealed a deal to become publicly-traded through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It's announced that it's merging with BowX Acquisition Corp in a deal valuing it at $9 billion. BowX Acquisition Corp is a SPAC sponsored by investment firm Bow Capital Management and is advised by retired basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. It raised $420 million from its IPO in August last year. With its merger, WeWork is getting $483 million of cash held in trust by BowX plus an extra $800 million PIPE round committed by investors including Fidelity, BlackRock, Starwood Capital Group, and Insight Partners. Totally, it'll get $1.3 billion of cash proceeds from its merger. WeWork's past has definitely not been forgotten, being the poster child for excessive startup exuberance  under the leadership of its former CEO Adam Neumann who was then ousted by the company's board led by

Sports E-Tailer Fanatics Raises $320M, Doubles Valuation To $13B

Fanatics, the popular online retailer of sports merchandise, has raised a new funding round of $320 million that values it at $12.8 billion, per CNBC . The round more than doubled the company's valuation from $6.2 billion as of its last round now to nearly $13 billion. Fanatics' new round came from a mix of investors including private equity firm Silver Lake, Franklin Templeton, Fidelity Investments, Neuberger Berman, Thrive Capital, and Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball is a major sports merchandise partner of Fanatics so it's no surprise that chipped cash into the company's $320 million round. Per CNBC , Fanatics' global sales are up 30% year over year and the company expects to surpass $3 billion in sales this year. It's then ideal that the sports merchandise e-tailer has sought new funds to double down on expanding. With its new round, Fanatics has now raised a total of $2.4 billion in venture funding, and that makes it one of the highest-funded

News Corp Pays $275M To Buy Newspaper Investor's Business Daily

News Corp, the mass media giant chaired by Rupert Murdoch of Fox News fame, has moved to buy Investor's Business Daily, a fairly popular American newspaper and news website covering the global stock market and business activities.  News Corp is paying $275 million to buy Investor's Business Daily from O’Neil Capital Management, an asset management firm that's owned the paper for a long time. The firm is chaired by William J. O’Neil who's himself the founder of the paper. As part of News Corp,  Investor's Business Daily will be housed under Dow Jones, a News Corp subsidiary that also operates the famous Wall Street Journal . It's an ideal acquisition for Dow Jones which's a leading global provider of business news and information. Investor's Business Daily, IBD for short, owns business website which's a digital outlet generating the most revenue for the company. It's monetized primarily with subscriptions, subscriptions that News Cor

Zillow Co-Founder Spencer Rascoff Has A New Billion-Dollar Startup

Spencer Rascoff is a well-known serial tech entrepreneur with several successes to his name. Early in his entrepreneurial career, he founded, an internet travel startup that sold to InterActiveCorp (now IAC) for nearly $700 million. He then co-founded Zillow which grew to become the leading online real estate platform in the US. Rascoff stepped down from Zillow in April 2020 and apparently still had the entrepreneurial bug biting him hard despite his previous successes. He moved to form two new companies, tech news site dot.LA and real estate startup Pacaso , which's where it gets interesting. Barely five months after launching, Pacaso has said that it's raised a $75 million equity round  valuing it at an unprecedented $1 billion. Take note that this is a startup that's existed for only five months.  Pacaso said it closed a $75 million equity round alongside a $1 billion debt round for its business. The equity round was led by VC firms Greycroft and Global Foun

Under New CEO, Intel To Spend $20B Building Two New Chip Fabs

Shortly after recruiting Pat Gelsinger from VMware to be its new CEO , chipmaking giant Intel has announced plans  to spend $20 billion building two new semiconductor fabrication plants "fabs" in the state of Arizona.  The new fabs are aimed at boosting the company's manufacturing capacity locally in the US, whereas the US has over the past years lost a significant percentage of its chip manufacturing capacity to other countries such as China. Intel will spend $20 billion building its two new fabs over the next three years with plans for both to have become operational sometime in 2023. The company's plan puts it in major competition with Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC which's also building a semiconductor fab in Arizona. Likewise, Korea's Samsung is also building one in Texas. With its new fabs, Intel aims to boost manufacturing capacity for its own processors in the 7nm range and smaller. The company has also detailed plans to create a new division called 'Int

Big Startup Funding Rounds: Ro, GoPuff, Airwallex, And More

This year has been a spectacular one regarding big funding rounds for startups. It's a year when you just sleep for a night and lo and behold wake up to the news of big funding rounds that were announced just in the few hours you slept. Just on Monday in this new week, several $100 million+ rounds for startups were announced, with some rounds amounting to around $100 million and others going to as high as over $1 billion. In this piece, we present to you a summary of the biggest new funding rounds of this week. They include; Ro - Ro, an online pharmacy startup, has raised $500 million in Series D funding that values it at $5 billion. It's now raised a total of nearly $900 million in outside funding with the addition of the new round. GoPuff - Food, snacks, and alcohol delivery app GoPuff has raised a whopping $1.15 billion  in a new funding round valuing it at $9 billion, double its valuation from a previous round five months ago. GoPuff's new round came from a mix of ne

"Rigged Tax Code": Zoom Pays $0 Federal Income Tax On $660M Annual Profit

Zoom, the popular video-conferencing platform, was one of the major beneficiaries of the pandemic as millions around the globe became dependent on video calls to stay connected and carry out their jobs. 2020 was a wild year for Zoom, wherein its annual pre-tax profit soared from just $16 million to $664 million in the span of 12 months. For that year, the company reported $2.7 billion in revenue, over 4x its revenue in the previous year. Now, it's been revealed that Zoom only had to cough out a relatively minute sum to the US taxman despite its year of record profits. The company paid $0 in federal income taxes and only $5.7 million in total taxes to the US government in 2020, an effective tax rate of just 0.8% on its profits even though the corporate tax rate was 21% for 2020. It's not that Zoom broke the law or evaded taxes to reduce its federal income tax bill to nothing and total tax bill to $5.7 million. What the company did was take advantage of a legal loophole by compen

Serial Lawbreaker: Amazon Faces 3rd Wage Theft Fine In 3 Months

  Yet again, Jeff Bezos's e-commerce giant Amazon is in hot water with regulators for messing with the wages of its workers, in this case its drivers. The company is set to pay a fresh $8.2 million penalty in a class action settlement for wage violations, as indicated by a court settlement notice  for eight former Amazon delivery driver contractors in the Seattle area in Washington state. The $8.2 million fine is yet another entry into the long list of fines that Amazon will pay as penalties for apparent wage theft, coming just a week after the state of California fined the company $6.4 million  for failing to pay overtime and and offer rest breaks to over 700 contracted delivery drivers in Southern California between 2018 and 2020. Shortly before California's fine, Amazon also agreed to pay a $62 million fine levied by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  for pocketing delivery drivers' tips. Tracing back to other years, the company has numerously landed in hot water with r

Mobile App Monetization Company ironSource To Go Public With $11B SPAC Deal

Just that moment when you start to chill after taking a break from writing about numerous SPAC merger deals, there's that new one to always pop up and crash the break, and that new one today is ironSource, a mobile app monetization company based in Israel. ironSource has announced an agreement to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by private equity firm Thoma Bravo. It'll merge with Thoma Bravo Advantage (NYSE: TBA) in a deal valuing it at $11.1 billion. Thoma Bravo Advantage raised $1 billion from an initial public offering (IPO) in January, money that'll now be handed over to ironSource with its merger, plus a $1.3 billion PIPE round committed to the company by a mix of investors including Tiger Global, Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Wellington Group, investment firm Fidelity, and hedge fund Baupost Group. From its merger, ironSource will get $2.3 billion of cash proceeds, marking one of the biggest SPAC deals of the past year. ironS

Newly-Public Lidar Company Luminar Heads For China's Auto Market

Luminar Technologies, a company making lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles that went public through a much-talked-about SPAC merger a few months ago, has added another major lidar supply deal to its package of contracts, this time with a Chinese automaker that's known to be the biggest in the country by the name SAIC Motor. Luminar has entered into a strategic partnership with SAIC Motor that'll see it supply lidar hardware and the accompanying autonomous driving software for a new line of SAIC electric vehicles dubbed R . The contract will kick off next year, 2022, and it's noted that targets exist for Luminar to supply lidars for SAIC's entire vehicle lineup needing it. With its partnership with SAIC, Luminar will open its first office in China in Shanghai, the same city where SAIC is based. From there, the Chinese automaker will provide local support for Luminar as it gets into a foreign market it hasn't been into before. For the new R brand electric car unveil

iBuying Startup Offerpad To Merge With Zillow Co-Founder's SPAC

Offerpad, a real estate tech startup focused on iBuying, has sealed a deal to be taken public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and not just any SPAC but one formed by a co-founder of Zillow which's one of the biggest real estate tech companies globally. Offerpad has announced an agreement to merge with Supernova Partners Acquisition Company (NYSE: SPNV) and start trading on the public markets as a result. Supernova is a SPAC formed and led by Spencer Rascoff, a serial tech entrepreneur who's the co-founder and former CEO of Zillow. Offerpad's SPAC merger agreement values the six-year-old startup at $3 billion. The merger will hand over $650 million of gross cash proceeds to the startup, split into $403 million held in trust by Supernova and $250 million in additional investment commitments from firms including national homebuilder Taylor Morrison Home Corp and asset management giant BlackRock. Offerpad will be the second iBuying startup to

Deal: TPG's Rise Fund Invests $200M In Airtel Africa's Mobile Money Arm

The Rise Fund, a $5 billion impact investment fund formed by private equity giant TPG in partnership with Irish singer Bono and tech entrepreneur Jeff Skoll, has made its latest bet with a $200 million investment in the mobile money division of Airtel Africa plc. Officially, The Rise Fund will pay $200 million for a 7.5% stake in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV, which's the holding company for Airtel Africa's mobile money operations. The investment values Airtel Africa's mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt-free basis. Airtel Africa announced The Rise Fund's investment in its mobile money arm with a filing to the National Stock Exchange of India . Following The Rise Fund's investment, Airtel Africa will continue to retain a majority stake in its mobile money business while the fund holds a 7.5% minority stake. With that, Airtel Africa notes that it's still in discussions with other unnamed potential investors to sell up to 25% of its mobile money

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Market Moves: Squarespace Unveils S-1 For Direct Listing

Squarespace, the popular web building and hosting company, has unveiled its S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company had before now  filed confidentially for a public listing  this January and raised funding valuing it at $10 billion in March. As usual, the S-1 filing gives a peek into Squarespace's business and financials with information not publicly known before. In Squarespace's case, it paints a picture of a rapidly growing company with a history of profitability, the latter of which's a rarity among the recent crop of public listings from the startup world. Squarespace has been profitable for the past three years even as it grew rapidly. From 2018 to 2020, the company's annual revenue grew from $390 million to $621 million while it maintained profitability in the tens of millions. In 2018, 2019, and 2020 respectively, Squarespace reported a profit of $43 million, $58 mi

BlackRock, Temasek Team To Launch $600M Climate-Focused Fund

BlackRock and Temasek, two investment giants of which the former is American and the latter is a sovereign fund of the Government of Singapore, have teamed up to form a big investment fund that'll focus on climate change-centric and green investments. The new fund is named Decarbonization Partners and just like its name suggests will seek out deals for companies working on carbon reduction cum sustainability technologies.  Initially, BlackRock and Temasek have committed $600M to Decarbonization Partners, and the firm as a separate entity has a target to raise $1 billion for its first fund including capital from its anchors BlackRock and Temasek. With the focus on sustainability and climate change growing day by day, it's usual that institutional investors with big loads of capital have turned their ever-deal-seeking eyes towards the sector.  BlackRock's longtime CEO Larry Fink is one of the fore-running business executives pressing for action on climate change globally. Ear

IPO: Drug Discovery Firm Recursion Pharma Debuts On Markets

Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a company using machine learning to hunt for new drugs and therapies for ailments, has raised $436 million from an initial public offering (IPO) and begun trading on the public markets. It sold roughly 24.2 million shares for $18 each to raise that amount. Recursion Pharma filed for an IPO last month in March. Debuting at $18 per share on the markets, it closed trading on Friday up more than 70% at $31.34, giving it a market value of over $5 billion. A seven-year-old company, Recursion is part of a group of companies that emerged in the past few years to harness the rapid development and improvement in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies in recent years and apply them to drug discovery. Recursion uses AI and machine learning to help discover new drugs. Its customers are primarily pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer, which has a collaborative agreement with it to seek new drugs for fibrotic diseases. Bayer bought a $50 million stake i

Coinbase Insiders Cash Out Big On Market Debut

After its recent debut on the public markets, several major shareholders of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase have apparently seen fit to cash out big sums of their stakes collectively amounting to billions of dollars. Among such insiders include Coinbase's founder and CEO Brian Armstrong and early VC investors Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures (USV). Brian Armstrong, Coinbase's CEO, sold around 750,000 shares in three separate transactions and netted $292 million from the sales, as indicated by an SEC filing . The sale represents less than 2% of his total holdings in the company. Just like Armstrong, Coinbase's other co-founder Fred Ehrsam sold 298,789 Class A shares at a weighted-average price of $374.72 and netted $112 million. He sold shares on Coinbase's Wednesday debut at prices ranging from $318.67 to $422.76. Coinbase's CFO Allesia Hass sold 255,500 shares at a price of $388.73 and netted roughly $99 million. It represents roughly 15% of her h

China's Luckin Coffee Gets $250M Investment After Fraud Fallout

Luckin Coffee, the once high-flying Chinese coffee chain startup that came crashing down on the heels of a major accounting fraud wherein it admitted faking revenue to the tune of over $300 million , appears to be attempting to bounce back even after its hefty troubles.  Luckin has said that it's secured a $250 million investment commitment from two Chinese private equity firms, Centurium Capital and Joy Capital, both of whom were existing shareholders of the company before committing the funding. Under their set terms, they'll purchase preferred shares of Luckin Coffee, which was delisted from the Nasdaq stock market last year and now trades over-the-counter. Centurium Capital will invest $240 million while Joy Capital is ponying up a much smaller $10 million. The new capital for Luckin is akin to a bailout that the company hopes to use to rebound its business.  Unsurprisingly, Luckin says that it'll use the new capital it just secured to help pay a hefty $180 million fin

SPAC: Record $40B Merger Deal Sealed By Singapore's Grab

Pertaining true to rumors, Grab, a Singapore-based ride-hailing giant dominating Southeast Asia, has officially agreed to a deal to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).  This time, Grab isn't like other mergers as the $39.6 billion  pro forma equity value that it's negotiated makes the merger the biggest one to date. Deal Details: Grab is merging with Altimeter Growth Corp. (Nasdaq: “AGC”) and will start trading on the Nasdaq exchange with the symbol "GRAB" after the merger.  From its merger, Grab will receive roughly $4.5 billion in gross cash proceeds with most of it coming from a $4 billion PIPE round led by a $750 million commitment from Altimeter Capital, the very sponsor of the SPAC it's merging with.  Grab's merger is not just the biggest ever SPAC deal but is also expected to mark the biggest US equity offering by a company in Southeast Asia. It sets Grab on the global stage outside Southeast Asia where it doesn'

Crypto Exchange Coinbase Fined $6.5M For False Reporting, "Wash Trading"

Coinbase, the popular cryptocurrency exchange that's on its way to a blockbuster IPO , has been fined to the tune of $6.5 million by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to settle charges of "reckless false, misleading, or inaccurate reporting" and "wash trading" by the crypto exchange. Coinbase has been ordered to pay a $6.5 million civil monetary penalty and cease and desist from any further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC regulations, as charged. Coinbase's charges of  " reckless false, misleading, or inaccurate reporting"  stems from allegations of the company failing to disclose to the CFTC as required that it was operating more than one automated trading program and trading through multiple accounts on its own GDAX trading platform (now Coinbase Pro).   The automated trading led to perceived trading and liquidity volumes that were misleading to traders and data brokers and such was illegal. For the charges of &q

Serial Lawbreaker: Amazon Faces 3rd Wage Theft Fine In 3 Months

  Yet again, Jeff Bezos's e-commerce giant Amazon is in hot water with regulators for messing with the wages of its workers, in this case its drivers. The company is set to pay a fresh $8.2 million penalty in a class action settlement for wage violations, as indicated by a court settlement notice  for eight former Amazon delivery driver contractors in the Seattle area in Washington state. The $8.2 million fine is yet another entry into the long list of fines that Amazon will pay as penalties for apparent wage theft, coming just a week after the state of California fined the company $6.4 million  for failing to pay overtime and and offer rest breaks to over 700 contracted delivery drivers in Southern California between 2018 and 2020. Shortly before California's fine, Amazon also agreed to pay a $62 million fine levied by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  for pocketing delivery drivers' tips. Tracing back to other years, the company has numerously landed in hot water with r

Morgan Stanley Bets Big On Skillz

Morgan Stanley, the well-known investment bank and financial services firm, is betting big on Skillz, a mobile gaming company that recently debuted on the public markets by the way of a reverse merger with a blank-check firm.  On the 9th of December, 2020, just a few days before Skillz completed its merger with the blank-check firm Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp, Morgan Stanley submitted a filing to the SEC that indicated it held an 18.8% stake in Flying Eagle.  With Skillz having completed its merger with Flying Eagle on Friday, Morgan Stanley's stake in the blank-check firm has been converted into Skillz stock and made it a major investor in the mobile gaming company. Skillz enjoyed a stellar debut that saw it soar high on its first day of trading. Now, the company trades at $20.92 per share with a market cap of over $7 billion. It seems that Morgan Stanley has found something very attractive in Skillz and thus secured a large stake in the company ahead of its debut. Skillz is

Jessica Alba's Honest Company Files For IPO

A consumer goods company founded by popular actress Jessica Alba is the latest company to file for a listing on the public markets. That company is The Honest Company, which was started ten years ago by a team led by Alba. With Alba's popularity, she helped steer The Honest Company into a high sphere of popularity that has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. The company sells a variety of household products with a major pitch of being eco-friendly. The Honest Company has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering. As usual, the S-1 filing gives a strong insight into the company's business with information not publicly known before. The Honest Company made $301 million in revenue in 2020, compared to $236 million in 2019. The company isn't profitable, reporting a net loss of $14.5 million in 2020 and $31 million in 2019. The Honest Company on Friday filed to sell $100 million worth of shares on the public marke