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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 Amazon.com

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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Alert: Coding Platform GitLab Files For US IPO

Catching us as a surprise late on Friday, GitLab , a popular coding platform and rival to GitHub,  has filed for an IPO in the US. GitLab is a popular code repository hosting service for software developers and is the 2nd-largest of its kind only beaten by GitHub.  While GitHub sold to Microsoft for $7.5bn three years ago, GitLab has remained independent and now is about to test the waters as a publicly-traded company. GitLab has unveiled its S-1 filing with the US SEC as is usual for companies looking to go public in the US and the S-1 document provides great insight into the GitLab's business with information not publicly disclosed before. Therefore, we'll be extracting some of the most important info from the bulky filing, mostly on its revenue stats. By the Numbers GitLab reported  $152mn in revenue in the fiscal year ended January 2021, compared to $81mn in the preceding year. In the first half of 2021, the company brought in $108mn in sales, compared to $64mn in t

Analysis: Dissecting GitLab's S-1 Filing

This week, one startup caught us off guard with a filing for an initial public offering that was unveiled late on Friday . It was GitLab , a popular code repository hosting service that's the main rival to GitHub .  GitLab recently unveiled its S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) as is usual for companies taking the IPO route on the US markets. The S-1 filing provided great insight and detail into GitLab's business with information not publicly disclosed before, and we're here to dissect some of the most important information extracted from the bulky filing. Firstly, we'll be focusing on revenue and sales numbers which is of course the primary statistic for every business. Let's start with the fact GitLab has a solid business model bringing in solid sales and growing steadily, but the company is racking up significant losses.  Business Model : GitLab makes money by charging enterprise customers for paid features and integrations of its

As Usual, Apple Unveils Array Of New Gadgets

In September of every year, there are many things to expect, but one of the most noteworthy expectations is usually the unveiling of new gadgets by Apple , the famous maker of the iPhone, iPod, iPad, i... For this year, Apple has unveiled an array of new gadgets, updates to its existing product lineup as seen most times. The gadgets include the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini ;  iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max ;  9th generation iPad  and a new iPad Mini ; and the Apple Watch Series 7 .  iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini As expected, the iPhone 13 series is a build-up on the iPhone 12 with upgrades on specs such as battery life, performance, and display. Its performance is upgraded thanks to Apple's new A15 Bionic chipset and its battery life upgraded by up to two and a half more hours per day than the iPhone 12, Apple says.  The new iPhone comes in 128GB storage at the entry-level, then upgraded levels of 256GB and 512GB. The main iPhone 13 retails for $799 while the mini version

Tobacco Giant Philip Morris Cleared To Buy Asthma Drugmaker Vectura

Irony abounds everywhere including in the business world. This time, it's such an irony that a major maker of tobacco products is forging ahead with its plan to buy a leading maker of drugs tackling asthma, a major respiratory disease for which tobacco smoke is identified as a major cause. The tobacco giant here is Philip Morris (NYSE: PM), the 2nd-biggest seller of cigarettes on Earth while the drugmaker is Vectura (LON: VEC), a British company whose specialty is making asthma inhalers. After winning a bidding war with the biggest offer of £1bn ( $1.4bn) , Philip Morris has gotten the majority vote from Vectura's shareholders (75% of them) to proceed with its acquisition, it announced . Before winning the vote from Vectura's shareholders, Philip Morris had a bidding war with the  Carlyle Group , an American private equity firm. Carlyle was the first to offer to buy Vectura before getting outbid by Philip Morris, then brought a higher offer than Philip Morris before getti

Alert: Intuit Buys Mailchimp For $12B

In what marks one of the biggest tech acquisitions of this year and one of the biggest acquisitions of a bootstrapped startup on record, Mailchimp , the popular e-mail marketing and automation platform, has been bought by financial software company Intuit for $12bn (!). Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) has confirmed that it's buying Mailchimp to make it its fifth major product suite. The other four are TurboTax for tax filing, QuickBooks accounting software, budgeting app Mint , and credit scoring service Credit Karma  that Intuit bought last year for $7bn . Mailchimp is a super-success story in many ways thanks to this acquisition. It's rare that a tech company completely bootstrapped from its start is selling for $12bn, it's actually unheard of. It marks off a sweet exit for a company founded two decades ago and is still controlled by its two founders; Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius . The $12bn deal is split into cash and stock; first, $500mn of restricted stock units for Mailchim

Cashing Out: Carvana CEO's Dad Sells $3.6B Of Stock

Carvana is an online American used-car retailer that's grown fast and furiously since its founding barely nine years ago. For example, it now has a market cap of $57bn  that's 22x  the market cap the company IPOed at in 2017. Carvana's wild stock growth has been driven by wild business growth, such that the company posted $5.6bn in sales in 2020 compared to $859mn in 2017 when it went public. For this growth, the company has wildly rewarded investors that put in money early and more so the founding family that controls it - father and son duo Ernest Garcia II and Ernest Garcia III . As stocks enjoy great growth, it's normal that executives and founders with big stakes in a company would want to sell some shares and get cash to diversify their holdings, but selling too much can raise eyebrows and this is the case of Ernest Garcia II, the father of Garcia III who's the CEO of Carvana. It turns out that Garcia II has sold Carvana shares to the tune of $3.6bn over t

Markets: Microsoft Plans $60B Stock Buyback, Raises Dividend

In the stock markets this week, Microsoft the tech giant is among the biggest movers and shakers with actions very favorable to its shareholders. It's announced a very large stock buyback program as well as raised its quarterly dividend for shareholders. Microsoft has said it's approved a share buyback program of up to $60bn for an indefinite amount of time, meaning it can prolong for as much as possible but on the other hand get terminated at any date. The move came just on the heels of some US lawmakers proposing to enact a tax on corporate buybacks though it's not certain that both events are related. Before now, the last buyback program Microsoft announced was for $40bn in September 2019. In the two preceding years before that (2017-2019), the company spent $36bn on share buybacks.  Along with its latest buyback, Microsoft has also hiked its quarterly dividend by 6 cents or 11% over the previous level. Such a dividend hike and a bigger share buyback are like sugar

Markets: Zoom's $15B Five9 Deal Hits A Hurdle

This July, Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM), the famous video-conferencing software company whose fortunes escalated during the pandemic, inked its first big acquisition with Five9 (NASDAQ: FIVN), a company that makes software to manage contact and customer support operations online.  The agreement was for Zoom to buy Five9 for $14.7bn paid fully with the acquirer's stock, but now that deal appears to be hitting a hurdle; Since the acquisition agreement, Zoom's stock has fallen by 20% and shrunk the value of its offer. In fact, Five9's shares now appear to be trading at a value above the value of Zoom's offer with the 20% drop taken into account, casting the deal in doubt. Unsurprisingly, an influential advisory firm known as  Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is  cautioning against the deal and advising Five9 shareholders to reject it. The firm presses that Five9 shareholders would be exchanging their stock for “a more volatile stock whose growth prospects have become le

SoftBank Cuts Stake In Korean E-Commerce Giant Coupang

It's just another day where SoftBank is making a billion-dollar transaction. SoftBank is a Japanese tech conglomerate that's probably the biggest investor in the tech industry worldwide. Both directly or via its mammoth investment funds, it holds stakes in various tech companies and startups globally that are collectively worth tens of billions of $$$. This time, the transaction from SoftBank is that it's cut its stake in Coupang , a South Korean e-commerce giant in which it was an early investor. Coupang became publicly-traded this year and has thus given SoftBank a chance to convert paper shares into hard cash. SoftBank recently sold $1.7bn worth of Coupang stock on the open markets, a recent filing with the SEC shows. SVF Investments, a subsidiary of SoftBank incorporated in the UK, sold 57 million Coupang shares each for a price of $29.7, making $1.7bn in total. The transaction took place on Tuesday, the 14th of September. Despite cashing out $1.7bn, SoftBank still r

Deal: Goldman Sachs Buys Digital Lender GreenSky For $2.2B

It's another big deal in the digital lending space in the span of a few weeks. GreenSky (NASDAQ: GSKY), a specialty digital lender for home improvement services, is getting acquired by banking giant Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) for $2.2bn . Goldman has confirmed that it's acquiring GreenSky in an all-stock transaction worth $2.2bn. Obviously, it's a strategic acquisition for the banking giant to strengthen its position in the consumer lending market. Per deal terms, GreenSky shareholders will receive an equivalent of $12.11 in Goldman shares for each Class A common stock of GreenSky they hold. The deal values GreenSky at $2.2bn, inclusive of a $446mn adjustment tied to taxes. While big at face value, purchasing GreenSky for $2.2bn isn't a blockbuster deal but rather a lifesaver for a company that went public in 2018 at a value nearly double that figure. GreenSky was valued at $4bn with its IPO when it began trading at $23  but lately had been trading around $6 . Goldman