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Showing posts from April, 2021

Big Pay: Palantir CEO Alex Karp Gets $1.1B Payday

America is the land of many things, including very enormous CEO pay. CEOs of publicly-traded companies in the US are known for outsized paydays coming mostly from stock compensation, with just-recent examples including the former CEO of T-Mobile getting a $137 million severance pay  and the CEO of crypto exchange Coinbase earning $60 million in 2020 . Now, an even bigger CEO paycheck upstaging the two above examples by far has arrived. It's that of the CEO of Palantir, Alex Karp, who got a whopping $1.1 billion payday in 2020, as revealed in the company's proxy filing . The pay comprised mostly of options and stock awards, precisely $798 million in options and $296 million in stock awards that'll begin vesting in August 2021 up until August 2032. In 2019, Karp earned $12 million in his role as CEO. His outsized pay of $1.1 billion came in the year that Palantir listed on the public markets and to good investor sentiment that's currently seen its market cap soar to over

Earnings: Amazon Crushes It On Sales, Profit In Q1' 21

E-commerce giant Amazon rounded up a very strong year in 2020 as the pandemic forced a lot of reliance on online commerce to make up for lost physical commerce. In fact, the company reported its first-ever quarter with over $100 billion in sales  in Q4 2020. After a fiscal blowout in 2020, the first quarter of this year 2021 was even more of that for Amazon as indicated by the earnings results just disclosed by the company for that period. It reported record revenue and profit like never seen before. By the numbers: Amazon reported $108.5 billion in revenue, up 44% year-over-year. By our analysis, it's the highest year-over-year revenue growth rate reported by Amazon in the span of a decade and the second-highest in two decades. It's impressive that Amazon can maintain very high revenue growth like this even as it gets mammoth revenues. As to profit, Amazon disclosed a record net income of $8.1 billion in Q1' 21, buoyed by its much profitable cloud-computing division calle

Indian Food Delivery Startup Zomato Files For IPO

A major startup from India is set to soon debut on the public markets in its home country, that startup being Zomato, a popular domestic food delivery service. It's filed with the Indian market regulator for an initial public offering, with its filing as usual giving a delve into the company's business with information not publicly known before. Zomato plans to raise $1.1 billion from its IPO as indicated in its filing. The company's not new to raising huge amounts by having already raised over $2 billion in venture funding privately. A Zomato IPO had been on the rumor mill over the past year and has now been proven certain by the company. Zomato's revenue stats was indicated by the company in its local Indian rupee currency ( as displayed below). We've converted the bits we touched on to dollar rates for better clarity. Zomato's filing reports the equivalent of $184 million in revenue between  April 1 and December 31, 2020. It's not profitable, reporting a

Earnings: Shopify Reports Upsized Revenue, Profit In Q1' 21

It's the season where publicly traded companies are reporting their financial results for the first quarter of this year 2021 and many such companies have done that. We've reported on Snap Inc , Tesla , and Google parent Alphabet  this week and we're adding another today on e-commerce company Shopify. Shopify reported record revenue in Q1' 21 that was more than double that of the same quarter last year. Total revenue for the quarter almost hit $1 billion, precisely $989 million. It's a testament to the e-commerce boom of the past year as the pandemic spurred a vast surge in online commerce. For the quarter, Shopify reported a record net income of $1.3 billion that's even more than its revenue for the quarter. If you're startled by that then you're right as there's a catch to it being that the profit was booked from Shopify's equity stake in Affirm, a 'buy now, pay later' company that debuted on the public markets in January.  By accounti

SoftBank Makes Big Biotech Bet On UK Startup Exscientia

Once again, Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank has proven that it's a fan of the biotech industry with a major investment in the sector, and the latest testament to its likeliness of the sector is Exscientia, a UK startup using AI to accelerate drug discovery that has just completed a $225 million Series D round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. SoftBank led Exscientia's Series D round and was joined by a host of other big-name participants including BlackRock, Mubadala, Farallon Capital, and American pharmaceuticals giant Bristol-Myers Squibb.  SoftBank didn't just stop at leading Exscientia's round but committed an additional $300 million in equity funding that could be drawn at the company's discretion. This signals having a lot of confidence in the company. Exscientia is part of a crop of companies that have emerged in recent years to put to use the rapid development and improvement of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies in the drug developm

Earnings: Google Cloud Sales Up, Losses Down In Q1' 21

  It's the season of earnings reports and one company not missing out on the celebration is Alphabet, the parent firm of search giant Google. It's unveiled its earnings results for the first quarter of this year 2021, giving a strong delve into the financials for its latest quarter.  Generally, Alphabet did well with $55.3 billion in revenue in Q1' 21, up 34% year-over-year. Net income came at $17.9 billion, compared to $6.8 billion in the same quarter last year. From Alphabet's earnings, one main standout we're focusing on here is the fast-growing Google Cloud division. Established in 2008 which's two years after cloud leader Amazon got into the game, Google Cloud has worked its way into the third-largest cloud provider globally after Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Azure platform. In Q1' 21, Google Cloud's sales grew stronger than ever while its losses went down, a sign of good business. It reported $4 billion in revenue compared to $2.8 billi

Earnings: Tesla Reports Record Revenue, Profit In Q1' 21

Electric carmaker Tesla has released its earnings results for the first quarter of this year 2021, showing record sales and profits. It reported $10.4 billion in revenue, up 74% year-over-year, and a net income of $438 million which's over 26 times its net income in the same quarter last year. The revenue and profit stats disclosed by Tesla marks the highest-ever in the company's existence. It's a testament to a growing market for electric vehicles that Tesla has gotten a stronghold on. In Q1 2021, Tesla produced just over 180,000 vehicles and delivered just slightly under 185,000 vehicles to customers. Out of the number delivered to customers, Model 3 and Model Y vehicles accounted for the vast majority with 182,870 deliveries while Model S and Model X, the more premium ones, made up a much smaller 2,020 deliveries. Tesla's sales for the quarter were boosted by the market in China in which it's established a large factory capable of producing up to 450,000 cars an

Like Uber, Rival Lyft Sells Off Self-Driving Business

The main rival of ridesharing heavyweight Uber in the US, Lyft, has followed Uber's footsteps with the sell-off of its self-driving business to an outsider. It's sealed a deal to sell its self-driving business to a subsidiary of Japanese automaker Toyota. Woven Planet Holdings, a subsidiary of Toyota, will pay $550 million in cash to takeover Lyft's self-driving division. Out of that amount, $200 million will be paid upfront while the remaining $350 million gets split into payments over a five-year period. Lyft's deal with Toyota mimics that of its main rival Uber which agreed to a deal to sell off its self-driving business to a well-funded startup named Aurora. Unlike Uber, however, Lyft's sell-off is structured as one where it'll receive a cash payment for the sale and hand off the unit rather than taking an equity stake in the acquiring company as Uber did. When Uber sold its self-driving business to Aurora, it came out with a 26% ownership stake in the com

Moves: Ex FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Lands Cushy Wall Street Job

In a move that demonstrates the "revolving door" between politics and business still being wide open, Ajit Pai, the former chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Trump's administration, has landed a cushy job as a Partner at a leading private equity firm. Ajit Pai has taken a Partner position at Searchlight Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm with over $8 billion under management. His appointment comes just a few months after leaving the FCC following the administration change from Trump to Biden. Pai was at the FCC for nine years, first as a Commissioner nominated by Barack Obama then spent five years in that role before becoming Chairman of the commission appointed by Trump. Pai's tenure at the FCC was rocked by him overseeing the rollback of some net neutrality rules set in place under the Obama administration. That doing earned him a lot of opposition to the extremity of even a death threat . Another landmark event unde

Big Pay: T-Mobile's Ex-CEO John Legere Got $137M Severance

In modern America, big corporate paydays on the scale not often seen in many other countries doesn't seem to be rare, with CEO pay for public companies at a record high . One such payday happened to be clinched by the former CEO of telecoms giant T-Mobile US who's John Legere. In a recently unveiled filing by T-Mobile with the US Securities and Exchange Commission  (SEC),  it's revealed that John Legere pocketed around $137 million in severance pay when he left the CEO position at T-Mobile in April 2020. This big pay was further garnished with $600,000 in salary and $50,000 in reimbursement for legal fees for working from January till April. Legere's $137 million severance pay was bestowed after he completed T-Mobile's landmark merger deal with competitor Sprint just on the cusp of him leaving the company. The merger was the culmination of Legere's 8-year term as CEO with the last two spent battling for the merger to pull through amidst high antitrust scrutiny.

Deal: Affirm Buys Fintech Startup Returnly For $300M

After going public early this year, 'buy now, pay later' company Affirm has made its first acquisition as a publicly-traded company with the purchase of Returnly, a startup that handles payments collections for product returns for online retailers. Affirm is paying $300 million in cash and stock to buy Returnly making it its biggest acquisition yet. It was already an investor and shareholder in Returnly before striking a deal to acquire the company this past week. Returnly handles online returns and post-purchase payments for direct-to-consumer brands selling online. For the basics, it offers customers shopping with its merchants' instant store credit if they buy an item and decide to return them rather than wait long for cash refunds from the merchant itself. The instant store credits given to shoppers make them more likely to purchase another item from the merchant while waiting for their cash refund which's deposited once a return is confirmed by the merchant. For t

Jeff Bezos, Drake Invest In Sports Media Startup Overtime

  A group of investors including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and famous Canadian rapper Drake have contributed to a large funding round for a sports media startup delivering widely-watched content to fans on social media. That startup is Overtime, which's announced the closing of an $80 million Series C round. Overtime produces sports content delivered to fans primarily on social media and has made a big name for itself there. It boasts an audience of almost 50 million social media followers, an audience attractive enough to advertisers enough to build a strong business. Overtime's $80 million Series C round was led by returning investor Sapphire Sport, Black Capital and a group of big names in the worlds of technology, sports, finance, and music including Jeff Bezos and Drake. Both were joined by more than 25 current and former NBA stars in the round including Trae Young, Devin Booker, Klay Thompson, and Pau Gasol. With Overtime's new round, it's now raised more than $1

Google Execs Draw Big Paydays In 2020

Google is one of the world's biggest technology companies with over $180 billion in revenue last year and its top executives have generally enjoyed big annual paydays due to that. In 2020, it was no exception to the previous years as an annual proxy filing recently filed by Google indicates big paydays for some of its top brass. In 2020, Google's listed highest-paid executive was Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler who got $66.4 million. It's the first time that Google has revealed his pay since he assumed his role in 2015. After Schindler, Google's second-highest paid executive in 2020 was its newly promoted Search boss Prabhakar Raghavan who earned cash and stock worth $55.3 million. Raghavan was promoted to his role after a Google leadership shakeup last year that brought the company's Search, Assistant, and Ads executives to report to him. Other highly paid executives at Google include its Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat who earned $51 million in 2020 a

Job Portal ZipRecruiter Files S-1 To Go Public

The latest hot technology startup to initiate moves for a public listing is ZipRecruiter, a popular online jobs portal. The company has filed plans for a direct listing, taking the path that several hot technology companies have sought to go public as of late (most recently Coinbase and Squarespace ). ZipRecruiter has unveiled an S-1 filing to the US SEC as is usual for companies planning public listings. Also, as expected, the S-1 filing provides better insight into ZipRecruiter's business with information not publicly known before. To start, ZipRecruiter is very profitable unlike many technology startups of its kind. It reported a net income of $86 million on $418 million in revenue in 2020. In the year before that, it had a small net loss of $6 million on $430 million in revenue. ZipRecruiter has very good gross profit margins, producing over $400 million in sales with about $54 million in "Cost of revenue" both in 2020 and 2019. What majorly eats into the company'

Earnings: Snap Inc Reports First Cash Flow-Positive Quarter

Snap Inc, the parent company of popular social app Snapchat, has unveiled its latest earnings report for the first quarter of 2021. Its latest earnings report covers the three months ending March 31, 2021. One key take from Snap's latest earnings is that it reported its first quarter of positive cash flow as a public company. To the layman, it means it pulled in more revenue than it spent, to the tune of $126 million. Snap reported revenue of $770 million for the quarter, up 66% compared to the prior year. The increase was spurred by bigger advertising dollars flowing into Snapchat which's how Snap Inc pulls in the lion's share of its revenue. Snap Inc still isn't profitable and has never been in its four-year history as a public company, with a net loss of $287 million in Q1 2021, but its growing sales has spurred very positive investor sentiment leading to a current market value of $90 billion which's over triple the valuation of its public market debut in 2017.

IPO: UFC Owner Endeavor Sets Terms, To Raise $500M+

Endeavor Holdings, an entertainment conglomerate best known for owning the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) league, filed for an initial public offering earlier this month. It's the second time that the company filed for an IPO, after doing so in 2019 but halting its plans later. Now, Endeavor is certainly set to go public and expected to begin trading on Wednesday, the 28th of April. It's set the terms for its IPO, as indicated by an updated SEC filing . Endeavor plans to sell 21.3 million shares priced at $23 to $24 to raise over $500 million at the mid-range. Shares of the company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "EDR". In addition to its IPO share sale, Endeavor has arranged a separate private placement to raise $1.8 billion. Out of that amount, $1.35 billion will be Endeavor's proceeds while $437 million will be proceeds for private equity firm KKR, one of Endeavor's main shareholders which's selling shares in the

Psychedelic Drugs Startup ATAI Life Sciences Files For IPO

A German startup that's betting heavily on psychedelic drugs having mainstream medical use soon has filed for an initial public offering in the US. That startup is ATAI Life Sciences, one founded by serial German entrepreneur Christian Angermayer. Backed by nearly $400 million in private funding, ATAI Life Sciences has used its large cash balance to buy up psychedelic drug candidates still in the pipeline. It even recently bought an ambitious startup that wants to use brain-computer interfaces to help treat mental health conditions. ATAI Life Sciences has submitted an S-1 filing for an IPO to the US SEC. It listed a placeholder size offering of $100 million, although that's an amount often used to estimate listing fees and is subject to change at any time. On its end, ATAI is promising investors an opportunity to buy in early into a startup at the forefront of applying psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs to potentially treat mental disorders. Whether investors buy into that

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

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

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

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

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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