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Showing posts from August, 2021

Deal: PayU Owner Prosus Buys India's BillDesk For $4.7B

In the Indian tech world, there's something big to celebrate today. It's that an Indian fintech company is getting acquired for a sum marking one of the biggest exits of recent times in the country's tech industry. It's BillDesk , a payments processing company, getting acquired by Prosus , the parent firm of payments company PayU . Prosus has agreed to buy BillDesk for the sum of $4.7bn . It'll then merge it with its PayU business division, making its payments business stronger than ever.  This is the 2nd big acquisition by Prosus in recent months after it agreed to buy Stack Overflow, the famous Q&A site for software developers, for $1.8bn in June. It's apparent that Prosus is keen on spreading its wings. Prosus is a holding company for various tech businesses and with no core operations of its own, akin to a private equity firm. It's, in fact, a holding firm for the foreign portfolio of  Naspers , a South African tech giant best known for its lucra

Markets: Fintech Startup Remitly Files For IPO

Remitly , a fintech startup focused on cross-border remittance payments, has charged ahead on the IPO train. The company has unveiled an S-1 document for an IPO with the US SEC, showing its intention to list on the Nasdaq exchange. Remitly is focused on cross-border remittance payments between developed countries like the US where people tend to immigrate to and developing or underdeveloped nations where people tend to migrate from. It's very useful for immigrants looking to send money to their home countries that they earn working abroad. Right now, Remitly supports cross-border payments from 17 countries to over 115 countries, transacting in about 75 currencies. That's a niche that the company has built on since its inception. In a large fintech market, focusing on a niche like Remitly can build a big business, as proven with the company's financials. Its S-1 filing shows  $257mn in revenue in 2020, double the previous year. In the first six months of 2021, the company

Deal: Fintech Firm Buys EV Startup, Yes

In the American stock markets, many strange things happen. It may be meme stocks with excessive valuations (AMC, GameStop), strange penny stocks (that single restaurant worth $100mn ), or an electric car startup that became more valuable than Ford before it came crashing down ( Nikola ). Today, the strange thing in the stock markets is an acquisition. It's that a company originally focused on financial-tech services is using its stock to buy an electric vehicle startup. The buyer here is Ideanomics , a public company that's changed its name several times in recent years apparently pursuing whatever business was in vogue. Ideanomics is buying  VIA Motors , a Utah-based startup that's working on electric commercial vehicles. The deal is worth $630mn, split into $450mn of Ideanomics stock (NASDAQ: IDEX) upfront and $180mn as potential earnouts. Before we go further, let's have a brief look at Ideanomics and its rocky history.  It was founded back in 2004 under a differe

Markets: CRM Startup Freshworks Files For US IPO

Freshworks , a startup that's built a big business in the space of providing software for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), has filed for an initial public offering on the US markets. Notably, it's a startup based in America but of Indian origin. Freshworks was started by  Girish Mathrubootham , an Indian entrepreneur, back in his country. It began as Freshdesk , a help desk software suite, before renaming as Freshworks when it began making other customer support tools. As a top provider of CRM software, 11-year-old Freshworks has built a strong business for itself. Its S-1 filing with the SEC shows that the company brought in $250mn in sales in 2020 and $169mn in the first six months of 2021. Though, the company has mostly been loss-making, not unusual with certain types of fast-growing startups. Freshworks reported a $58mn net loss in 2020 and $10mn in the first six months of 2021. Compared to its revenue, that seems on the par for fast-growing startups and not st

Markets: BNPL Firm Affirm Partners With Amazon, Shares Soar

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of ' buy now, pay later (BNPL) ' services in online retail, with such services offering relatively easy and cheap loans for people to buy stuff online. Globally, the BNPL revolution is being led by Affirm , a US company; Klarna , a Swedish company; and Afterpay , an Australian company. In the US, Affirm is the leading BNPL lender. It financed $4.6bn in online purchases in 2020 and expects to finance over $7bn this year. The company held its IPO in January. Affirm mostly makes money by charging online retailers to use its BNPL service rather than with interest payments from users like traditional lenders. This enables the company to offer interest rates as low as 0% and also not charge late payment fees like traditional lenders. Now, Affirm has just gotten a good boost to its business by partnering with none other than e-commerce giant Amazon . It was announced on Friday that Affirm would soon be a payment option for

Earnings: Product Recalls Drag Peloton To Losses

Peloton , the household name in connected fitness equipment, has dropped its latest earnings report for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. In Peloton's own fiscal calendar, this was its fourth and final quarter of 2021, marking the end of a fiscal year. Peloton's earnings report shows that the company swung back from relatively small losses to bigger losses, mostly caused by a recall of all its treadmill machines for safety concerns this May. Peloton had to recall them after reports of injuries and even one death from children pulled underneath the treadmill without the usual safety features to prevent such incidents. For its recall saga, Peloton reported a high net loss of $313mn in the quarter ending June, compared to an $8.6mn loss in the preceding quarter. Also, year-over-year revenue growth fell from 141% in the preceding quarter now to 54%. The company reported $937mn in sales for the period. It wasn't unexpected that the recalls, coupled with other situations suc

Alert: EV Startup Rivian Files Confidentially For IPO

Rivian , an electric car startup that's raised boatloads of venture money, appears to now have its eyes set on the public markets to raise even more. The startup, backed by investors including Ford and Amazon , has confidentially filed for an initial public offering. Usually, before a company goes public, it submits a confidential S-1 document having in-depth information about its operations, before the document is reviewed by regulators and then made public at a chosen date. In Rivian's case, it's just submitted the draft confidential filing so we won't be getting much-anticipated info about the hot EV startup's business yet. Rivian seems like the most-watched American electric car startup, with hopes of being a challenger to the likes of Tesla and GM. With big ambitions and promises, the company has raised nearly $11bn from investors, including $2.5bn just last month , despite having not mass-produced its vehicles. In its pipeline, Rivian has two electric cars;

Apple CEO Tim Cook Gets $750M Stock Payout, Sells Abruptly

At this time of the year, many people may have things to celebrate for as well as companies. For Apple , the famous iPhone maker, this week marked its 10-year anniversary under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook , who took the reins after the late Steve Jobs passed away in 2011. Now, marking a ten-year anniversary is obviously a thing for CEO Cook to celebrate, but he has even much more to toast to - big dough . Just this week, he received a stock payout worth in excess of $750mn , a very large one by CEO pay standards. Cook received over 5 million Apple shares on Thursday as part of his vesting pay package, shares worth about $750mn at Apple's current share price. The massive stock award is the last tranche of a vesting pay package that he was given when he took over as CEO in 2011. Interestingly, Cook didn't waste time selling the shares he was given. Filings show that he sold around 5 million shares on Thursday, the same day his payout came in, netting around $752mn after sell

Deal: News Site Politico Sells To Germany's Axel Springer

Politico , a famous news website covering the world of politics, is getting sold to a media conglomerate based in Europe. The buyer is Axel Springer , the German media conglomerate which is Europe's largest digital publisher. Axel Springer has agreed to buy Politico LLC , which includes the Politico news website, the Protocol tech news website, and Politico Europe , a site covering European politics. Politico Europe is a joint venture between Politico and Axel Springer that the latter will now be acquiring fully. Officially, the price of the acquisition wasn't announced, but rumors began circulating last week that Politico was in talks to be bought for $1bn , about 5x its yearly revenue. If so, this makes Politico's purchase one of the most expensive digital media deals as of late. Politico was launched in 2007 as a project of  Robert Allbritton , a heavyweight in the mass media industry. Allbritton has since then served as the site's publisher and will continue to d

Law: Headspin Co-Founder Indicted On Fraud Charges

The co-founder of a startup once valued at over a billion dollars by VCs has been charged with fraud for misleading the VCs that poured money into the company. It's  Manish Lachwani , co-founder and former CEO of Headspin , a mobile app testing startup. Lachwani was simultaneously indicted by the US Justice Department  (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission  (SEC). It's alleged that he lied to investors in order to raise tens of millions of dollars (which he did) and partly enriched himself in the process. Prosecutors accuse Lachwani of falsifying sales figures of his startup in order to elicit investors. For example, he allegedly lied to investors that Headspin had $95mn in sales from its inception in 2015 through the first half of 2020 and a cumulative net income of $3.7mn in that same period. But, on auditing, the real numbers were $26mn in sales and a cumulative net loss of $16mn rather than a profit. Because of his alleged misleading, investors poured tens of mi

Markets: Eyewear Retailer Warby Parker Files For IPO

A certain startup known for its chic brand of eyewear is charging ahead with its plans to debut on the public markets. It's Warby Parker , a brand that's won many customers in the eyewear space since it was founded about a decade ago. Warby Parker has unveiled its S-1 filing for an initial public offering, clearing the way for its imminent Wall Street debut. It's holding a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, meaning it's  bypassing intermediary banks to  sell its shares directly to the public, a path that's become favored among startups of this era. As usual with S-1 filings, it provides a great insight into Warby Parker's business with info that's been shielded from the public before now. Here, we're extracting some insight from the bulky filing to break it down into clearer bits, mostly on the company's revenue stats. By the Numbers Warby Parker's business was having a good time of steady growth before the Covid pandemic of 2020 in

Deal: Pfizer Buys Cancer Drugmaker Trillium For $2.3B

Pfizer , the pharmaceuticals giant best known at this time for its Covid vaccine, is continuing to make moves in other segments apart from the coronavirus. It's freshly acquiring a company that's working on drugs targeting certain forms of cancer. Pfizer has agreed to acquire  Trillium Therapeutics , a Nasdaq-listed clinical-stage biotech company. Based in Canada, Trillium is working to make drugs to treat cancers, with two drug candidates in its pipeline but none yet past the trial stage. Pfizer will pay $18.50 per share to acquire Trillium, a 118% premium to the company's average closing price over the past 60 days. The acquisition values Trillium at $2.3bn , excluding a small stake that Pfizer already owns in the company. As it looks, Pfizer is betting on Trillium to up its game in the oncology (cancer-study) business. It's a sector that brought in $11bn in sales for Pfizer in 2020, about a quarter of its sales for the year. Pfizer is apparently betting that Tril

Markets: Spotify Will Spend $1B On Stock Buybacks

Music streaming giant Spotify  is embarking on a fresh stock buyback program to presumably bump up its stock. It's initiated a new buyback program that'll run from 2021 to 2026. Spotify will spend a total of $1bn to repurchase its shares over the next five years. The buyback will run from August this month to April in 2026. This is the second buyback of the exact size that Spotify is making, after doing its first in 2018, the same year it became a public company. Over the past year, Spotify's stock (NYSE: SPOT) has dropped from a peak of $387.44 to about $217 right now, a 44% drop. With this data, it makes sense that the company is deploying some cash to repurchase its shares, given it's buying low. Public companies spending big sums to buy back shares isn't new. It's done as a way to return money to shareholders as well as boost the prices of their individual shares over the buyback period. Theoretically, by limiting the number of shares in circulation, there&#

SPAC: Topps' $1.3B Merger Deal Craters

Topps , a major sports trading card company, has lost its merger deal with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), after it lost its trading card partnership with a major sports league.  Topps has terminated its merger agreement with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II (Nasdaq: MUDS), shortly after the Major League Baseball (MLB) said that it won't renew its trading card partnership with Topps when its current contract expires in 2022. Topps and the MLB have been long-time partners for up to 70 years so the termination of their partnership represents a significant blow to Topps' business. Now, the MLB is expected to give its trading card business to Fanatics , a modern sports retail company. After the news of its MLB saga broke, Mudrick Capital immediately moved to cancel its merger agreement with Topps. The two firms had previously agreed to merge in a deal valuing Topps at $1.3bn. Topps' merger termination is a souring point for the general SPAC market, whi

Antitrust: UK Objects To Nvidia's $40B Arm Acquisition

The antitrust agency of the UK government is challenging the acquisition of Arm Holdings , a chip designer, by American chipmaker Nvidia . It's a significant challenge given that Arm is headquartered in the UK and could see the deal stalled as a result. Nvidia is in the process of buying Arm for the sum of $40bn . It signed a binding agreement for that last September. In a statement , the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Nvidia buying Arm raises "serious competition concerns." The agency says its main concern is Nvidia restricting access to Arm's intellectual property by its rivals if it gets hold of the company, which seems to be a valid concern given Nvidia's major rivals license Arm's chip designs to make their chips. The UK government also noted concerns of loss of competition that could lead to more costly or lower-quality chip products in the industry if Nvidia absorbs Arm Holdings. To address the concerns, Nvidia offered the UK&#3

Antitrust: FTC Opens New Case Against Facebook

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is back with an amended antitrust lawsuit against Facebook Inc after its first against the social media giant got s truck down by a judge .  Now, the FTC is accusing Facebook of conducting an "illegal buy-or-bury scheme" rather than "innovate" to maintain its dominance in the social media sphere. Simply put, the FTC is placing a mark on Facebook's acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp , two of the company's biggest services. In its amended lawsuit, the FTC alleges that Facebook violated federal antitrust laws with its respective acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014. The agency claims that Facebook circa 2011 lacked the acumen to solidify its business in the face of a transition towards the mobile market and thus bought rivals that had succeeded where it failed, allegedly in violation of antitrust laws. With its current dominance in the social media market, the FTC claims Facebook has a monopoly in t

Markets: Hedge Fund RenTech Loads Up On AMC Stock

In the "meme stock" era, the two forerunning stocks are GameStop , the electronics retailer, and AMC Entertainment , a movie theater chain. These two stocks have been darlings of retail stock traders over the past year and have seen their values soar high to a point of apparent disconnection from their fundamental financials. It appears that one legendary investment fund is interested in AMC, none other than Renaissance Technologies (RenTech) , a quant hedge fund that's famous for being one of the best-performing funds in modern history. RenTech uses quantitative techniques to fish out for trends and signals in the securities markets and then place its bets. The legendary hedge fund was founded by Jim Simons , a former NSA codebreaker and MIT math professor, and now billionaire worth an estimated $25bn ( Forbes ). In its latest 13-F filing showing the breakdown of its US stock market holdings at June end, it's shown that RenTech loaded up on AMC stock during the cou

Markets: Saudi Government Raises Stake In Activision Blizzard

As gaming giant Activision Blizzard is in muddy waters for allegations of “constant sexual harassment” and gender discrimination against some of its female workers, it happens that a certain investor in the company is doubling down by purchasing more shares - the Saudi government , hmm. The Saudi Public Investment Fund, the main sovereign wealth fund of the state, bought more shares in Activision Blizzard in this year's second quarter, filings show. It's strengthened its position among the gaming giant's top shareholders, now clocking in the top 5. According to the PIF's latest 13-F filing , it raised its stake in Activision by 13% in Q2, now having 37.9 million shares that sum up to a 4.9% stake in the company. The stake is worth $3.2bn at current prices. Since late July when a California state agency sued Activision alleging harassment and discrimination against female staff, the company's stock has slipped a bit, going from sub-$90 on the day of the allegatio

EVs: US Launches Probe Into Tesla Autopilot Crashes

Regulators in the US have launched a formal probe into the " Autopilot " driver-assist function of electric carmaker Tesla  after a series of reported crashes while the software was in function. The probe was opened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which identified at least 17 people injured and 1 dead in crashes where Tesla's Autopilot software was in function. The probe covers all Tesla's current models, an estimated 765,000 cars. "The investigation will assess the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation," the agency said. Tesla's Autopilot assisted driving software has been a major selling point of the electric carmaker to its many customers, but there have been concerns of Tesla marketing it with misleading claims, mostly regarding the Autopilot name which kind of implies the vehicle could drive on its own while it actu

Deal: Hyatt Buys Resort Operator Apple Leisure For $2.7B

In a major deal in the hospitality industry, Hyatt , a hotel chain giant, has agreed to buy one of the world's biggest operators of resorts and spas. It's buying Apple Leisure Group , a fellow American company specializing in luxury resorts at chic destinations. Hyatt will pay $2.7bn in cash to buy Apple Leisure from its current owners, private equity firms KKR and KSL Capital Partners . Both PE firms bought Apple Leisure from a fellow PE firm, Bain Capital, in 2017 for an undisclosed price. Now selling for $2.7bn, it seems they'll be walking away with worthy gains. By buying Apple Leisure, Hyatt is greatly upping its game in the luxury resorts market. Apple Leisure operates many resorts, precisely about 100, in 10 countries with a portfolio covering 33,000 rooms.  With it, Hyatt which also operates a high number of luxury resorts is increasing its strength in the market. Hyatt is a major hotel brand, owning both hotels of its own and franchising its name to others. But,

Deal: Delivery Hero Sells Yogiyo App To Korea's GS Retail

Delivery Hero , a German food delivery giant with operations across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, is selling its local food delivery app in South Korea named Yogiyo , which is the second-largest delivery app in the country. It's selling it for 800 billion Korean Won ($688mn) to a consortium spearheaded by GS Retail , a Korean convenience store chain. GS Retail partnered with private equity firms Permira and  Affinity Equity Partners to finance the acquisition. The convenience store chain is contributing 30% of the acquisition price tag while the two PE firms split the remaining 70%. GS Retail operates 16,000 convenience stores in South Korea and has a few dozen logistics centers offering on-demand deliveries to its customers, so it makes sense that it's buying Yogiyo from Delivery Hero to bolster its delivery business. Now, Delivery Hero isn't exiting the Korean market with Yogiyo's sale but rather scaling to higher heights. Selling Yogiyo, Korea's 2nd-larg

Markets: George Soros Sells Shares Bought During Archegos Crash

In the equities markets, the name George Soros is a force to reckon with. He's a legendary hedge fund honcho who made a big fortune with a series of investments before retiring from the hedge fund rat race and converting his fund into a family office in 2011, at a time of regulatory scrutiny  for big hedge funds. Still, the family office named  Soros Fund Management  has been active in the US markets. This year, its activity was in the spotlight as it loaded up on shares sold off in blocks during the implosion of Archegos , a secretive family office that made highly leveraged investments and then defaulted on margin calls, forcing lenders to sell its assets. At its peak, Archegos had a reported  $120bn worth of securities, mostly on borrowed money. With leverage that large, the fund's implosion caused its lender banks to lose big money, in fact over $10bn . As an opportunistic investor, Soros's family office saw it fit to buy shares on the cheap when Archegos' bank le

Intel Discloses Stake In Crypto Exchange Coinbase

In an unlikely turn of events, Intel , the chipmaking giant, has disclosed to investors that it has a stake in Coinbase , the famous cryptocurrency exchange that went public this year. The chipmaker made this known in a recent SEC filing . Intel's Coinbase investment is albeit very small, just worth about $800k as of the time of disclosure. The chipmaker owns 3,014 stock units of the crypto company. It's unclear when Intel acquired its stake in Coinbase and why. It may have done so during Coinbase's direct listing in April  or maybe after that. As to why, it may be for strategic purposes. In the tech world, companies usually invest in other companies to secure strategic partnerships or sometimes to convert their cash to equities that could increase in value. But given Intel's very small stake in Coinbase, it seems like the former, as $800k can hardly grow so big. In total, Intel disclosed having nearly $170mn worth of shares in four public companies, with Coinbase ($80

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

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

Deal: Workday Buys Ohio Startup Vndly For $510M

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

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

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

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

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

Antitrust: US DOJ Sues To Block Major Sugar Industry Merger

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

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

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

Cyber: Apple Sues NSO Group Over Spyware Hacks

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

Markets: Retail Giant Authentic Brands Scraps IPO Plans

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

Markets: IoT Startup Samsara Files For IPO

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

Earnings: Nvidia Is On A Tear

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