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Deal: Stripe Buys Indian Fintech Startup Recko

Privately-held payments giant Stripe has ventured into India for its latest acquisition and its first in the country. It's reached a deal to buy Recko , a platform for online retailers to track and automate "payments reconciliation", a process that entails comparing accounting records against bank statements to make sure they are correct and in agreement. Stripe is buying Recko for an undisclosed amount .  Recko is a good value-add to Stripe's suite of payments software for online retailers. It'll be integrated with Stripe's platform, giving its customers another tool to make processing payments as easy as possible. Since its inception, Stripe has used strategic acquisitions to buff up its payments products keeping its customers satisfied. Its acquisitions have come from across the globe, including the US, Ireland, Nigeria, and now India. Nigerian startup Paystack was Stripe's most expensive purchase, with a $200mn price tag .   Also, Stripe has invested

Deal: Blackstone Buys Majority Stake In Spanx, At $1.2B Value

Blackstone (NYSE: BX), a private equity giant, is buying a majority stake in Spanx , the famous shapewear brand founded by female entrepreneur Sara Blakely. The deal values the brand at $1.2bn.  Blackstone is buying a majority stake, meaning over 50%, but the exact percentage it's buying isn't disclosed. Meanwhile, founder Sara Blakely will continue to hold a "significant" minority stake in Spanx, the company said .  Spanx is a major success story, the type that vaulted Sara Blakely into the ranks of America's best-known female entrepreneurs. As the story goes , she founded the brand in 2000 with an initial investment of $5,000, an investment that has multiplied dramatically. Blakely owned 100% of the brand since inception until now that she's selling to Blackstone for a lucrative sum. Under Blackstone's ownership, Spanx will continue to target high business growth, with Blakely at the helm as Executive Chairwoman. It's a usual occurrence with private

Antitrust: Facebook Fined $70M Over Giphy Takeover Probe

The UK's antitrust agency has levied a substantial fine on social media giant Facebook related to its acquisition of Giphy , the popular GIF website. It fined the company  £50.5mn ($69mn) for flouting an order requiring it to supply information related to the agency's investigation of the $400mn acquisition. The UK's  Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)  launched a  formal probe  of the Giphy deal last June. The antitrust agency challenged the deal  after probing it,  arguing that it gave Facebook an unfair advantage over rivals that also used Giphy's GIF database. It appears that Facebook failed to comply with demands from the agency's investigation and has been penalized for it. Apparently, the UK's antitrust agency required Facebook to suspend integrating its operations with Giphy's as the agency was investigating the acquisition, but Facebook had failed to indicate it did so despite multiple warnings. "This should serve as a warning to any com

Deal: Instacart Pays $350M For A Smart Grocery Cart Startup

In a bid to expand, grocery delivery giant Instacart is making its biggest acquisition yet. It'll buy   Caper AI , a New York-based startup that makes smart grocery carts and cashier-less payments tech that complement them. Instacart will pay $350mn for the startup in a combination of cash and shares. Caper AI is a startup working on exciting stuff; smart shopping carts to make the grocery buying process at brick-and-mortar stores easier and faster. Its smart carts can recognize items placed in them with the help of cameras and weight sensors, then calculate their total cost without the need for barcodes as used in most grocery stores. Payment at the counter is then made quickly with Caper's own payments platform. Caper's "AI Cart". credit: Caper Also, Caper sells what's called a "Caper Counter," a checkout system for convenience stores that uses cameras and weight-based sensors instead of barcodes to sum the total cost of items. Caper Counter. cre

Deal: Scopely Buys Sony's GSN Games For $1B

Scopely , a top-ranking mobile gaming startup, is expanding its business with a new major acquisition. It's buying GSN Games , a mobile gaming division of entertainment giant Sony, for the sum of $1bn. GSN Games makes popular social casino games such as Bingo Bash and  Solitaire TriPeaks . Social casino games are a genre where gaming studios can extract much revenue if they do it right, and GSN is one of the top contenders in the genre. Scopely will pay $1bn for GSN Games, half of it with cash and the other half with its shares, making Sony a minority shareholder in the mobile gaming company. It's said that Scopely's valuation has climbed to $5.4bn taking into account the shares it'll hand over to Sony as payment. That compares to a $3.3bn valuation when the company raised funding last year.  With GSN, Scopely is stepping up its business substantially by the way of a strategic acquisition. It's a strategy the mobile gaming startup is used to, having made 5 acqui

Deal: Australia's Aristocrat To Buy Playtech For $3.7B

The online gambling industry is hot this year, with billion-dollar deals now a frequent occurrence. The latest billion-dollar deal is Playtech , a London-listed online gambling company, selling to Aristocrat Leisure , an Australian gambling machine manufacturer. Playtech was founded in 1999 by Israeli entrepreneur Teddy Sagi . However, he sold off all his shares  in the company in 2018 and won't profit from this deal. Don't cry for him though, he made other shrewd investments that bestowed him with a net worth nearing $6bn ( Forbes estimate ). Aristocrat (ASX: ALL) has agreed to buy Playtech (LON: PTEC) in a deal worth £2.7bn ($3.7bn). The Australian firm will pay $2.9bn to buy all outstanding Playtech shares and assume $800mn of the firm's debt. It's paying 680 pence in cash per Playtech share, a 58% premium to the company's share price before the announcement. Following the announcement, Playtech's share price jerked up, expectedly. It rose 57% on Monday to

Deal: Walgreens Invests $5.2B In VillageMD, Now Majority Owner

Walgreens Boots Alliance , the giant American pharmacy chain, is doubling down on its investment in one of its healthcare peers; the primary care chain VillageMD . After a previous investment last year, Walgreens is investing an additional sum in VillageMD that'll make it the primary care chain's majority owner. Walgreens has agreed to invest $5.2bn in VillageMD, upping its stake from 30% to 63%. It'll become the primary care chain's majority owner and guide it under its belt to open hundreds of primary care clinics co-located with Walgreens drugstores across the US. The investment is really strategic, giving Walgreens majority ownership in the firm that'll operate most of the primary care clinics attached to its stores. We can refer to it as "full-stack healthcare", where you visit a Walgreens-owned clinic and get prescriptions to buy drugs at a Walgreens pharmacy, though we're aware not everyone is comfortable with one company having that much cont

Deal: Mindbody Buys Fitness Startup ClassPass

Mindbody , a leading maker of software for managing gyms and fitness studios, is buying one of the hot startups in its industry. It's buying ClassPass , a popular subscription platform for widespread gym access and online fitness classes. Mindbody will buy Classpass for an undisclosed amount . The company, owned by private equity firm Vista, also announced a strategic $500mn investment along with its ClassPass deal. The acquisition was all with privately held shares, Mindbody said. ClassPass is a celebrated startup in the fitness space. It began as a simple website to book fitness classes with registered studios but morphed into a subscription platform for access to such studios and their fitness classes, with many users paying recurring fees as a steady revenue source.  ClassPass was valued at $1bn from a funding round last year. Given the acquisition's pricing terms weren't disclosed, we can't say for sure if it was higher or lower than the $1bn mark, but for a hint,

Deal: IAC Buys Meredith's Magazine Business For $2.7B

IAC , a tech and media conglomerate run by mogul Barry Diller, is buying the magazine publishing operations of  Meredith Corp , a publicly traded media conglomerate. Meredith has a roster of popular American magazines that include  People  and Better Homes & Gardens . IAC will pay $2.7bn to buy Meredith's magazine business and merge it with its own Dotdash digital publishing business. Together, they'll form a digital-cum-print publishing giant with over $1bn in annual sales. The combined company will be named Dotdash Meredith . Though $2.7bn sounds big at face value, IAC is buying Meredith's magazine operations on the cheap, not surprising given the general decline of print media in this era. For contextual purposes, Meredith had  $3.2bn to spend  to buy Time Inc , a major magazine publisher, just three years ago, but it's now offloading its entire magazine operations for less than that amount.  For IAC's Dotdash, combining with a magazine publisher is a very s

Deal: AppLovin Buys Twitter's MoPub For $1B

AppLovin , a publicly traded ad-tech company, is buying MoPub , a mobile ad platform owned by social media giant Twitter. AppLovin will pay Twitter $1.05bn in cash for the platform in a strategic deal for both companies. For AppLovin, having MoPub would boost its business in the ad-tech space, while for Twitter, selling MoPub frees the company to focus on its core social media offerings, or at least that's the way CEO Jack Dorsey puts it .  Twitter paid $350mn to buy MoPub back in 2013 as a ramp to build its custom online ad platform. Now, it appears MoPub has delivered a good bang for the buck both by helping build Twitter's ad business and getting sold for 3x the price it was bought for eight years later. AppLovin, MoPub's acquirer, is an ad-tech platform for mobile app developers to monetize their apps. Founded just in 2012, it's built a rapidly-growing business that brought in  $1.5bn in revenue in 2020. AppLovin held an initial public offering (IPO) this April t

Markets: US Chipmaker GlobalFoundries Files For IPO

GlobalFoundries , an American semiconductor manufacturer owned by Abu Dhabi-based investor Mubadala , has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US. The filing counters rumors that Intel was in talks to buy the chipmaker for $30bn, as it's opted to remain independent but publicly traded. GlobalFoundries was previously the semiconductor manufacturing business of AMD, the now-renowned high-end chipset maker. Back in 2008, when AMD was still a lesser-known company, it spun off its semiconductor manufacturing business and sold it in a series of transactions to Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala, the last in 2012. Mubadala is a sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Under its guidance, GlobalFoundries has expanded thanks to strategic acquisitions and business deals. GlobalFoundries has filed an F-1 document with the US SEC as expected for a company under foreign ownership seeking to go public. The document provides great insight into the company's business with

Deal: Qualcomm, SSW To Buy Sweden's Veoneer For $4.5B

Chipmaking giant Qualcomm has emerged as the winning bidder for Veoneer (NYSE: VNE), a Swedish company that makes hardware and software systems for automated and assisted driving. The company beat out Magna , the Canadian auto parts giant, to emerge with the winning bid. In July, Magna agreed to buy Veoneer for $3.8bn in cash . However, Qualcomm submitted a higher offer of $4.5bn a month after Magna's agreement, beating the Canadian company's price considerably.  Expectedly, Veoneer shareholders have accepted the higher offer and agreed to a sale to Qualcomm. But there's a catch, Qualcomm won't buy Veoneer solely but is partnering with a New York-based investment firm, SSW Partners , for the deal. As the deal is structured, SSW Partners will first buy Veoneer for $4.5bn including debt and then sell part of the company to Qualcomm while it retains another part. The part that'll be sold to Qualcomm is the Arriver  business, Veoneer's subsidiary working on autom

Markets: Zoom Walks Back On $15B Five9 Deal

Zoom , the video-conferencing software giant, has walked back on what could have been its biggest acquisition to date. It's terminated its plan to buy Five9, a cloud-based call center software provider, for $14.7bn,  all with Zoom shares. Zoom announced that it terminated the acquisition because it didn't obtain enough support from Five9 shareholders to proceed. It's not surprising because Zoom's stock has dropped 26% from the day it agreed to buy Five9 till now, and given the deal was all with shares, the implied $14.7bn price tag also dropped by 26% to about $11bn, making shareholders reject it. Typically, Zoom could have bumped up the offer either with shares or a cash component if it was keen on buying Five9, but it didn't do so for unclear reasons. It could be because the acquisition wasn't just facing shareholder scrutiny but also scrutiny  from a US government committee  on national security concerns. The national security concern stemmed from Zoom'

Deal: Eutelsat Snubs Takeover Bid From French Tycoon Patrick Drahi

It appears that Patrick Drahi , the French telecoms tycoon, is continuing his acquisition spree around the globe shortly after  buying a $3.1bn stake in British carrier BT . But this time, his latest acquisition attempt hit a wall by being rejected. Drahi's latest acquisition attempt is Eutelsat , a French satellite operator listed on the Euronext Paris exchange. It's among the top five global satellite operators in terms of revenue. Eutelsat just confirmed with a press statement  that it had received an offer from Drahi but rejected it. Though Drahi's proposed price tag for Eutelsat wasn't formally disclosed, a Bloomberg report  said it was for 2.8 billion euros ($3.2bn) . Drahi is known for shrewd dealmaking in the telecoms and cable industries, so it's not a surprise he pursued acquiring Eutelsat. He built up his telecoms empire primarily with highly-leveraged acquisitions through his Altice corporation, enough to give him a fortune estimated at $9bn by Forbe

Deal: PE Firm Vista Buys UK Software Firm Blue Prism For $1.5B

Vista , an American private equity firm, has sealed its latest buyout deal for a company based in the UK. It's agreed to buy Blue Prism , a firm that makes Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software, for £1.1bn ($1.5bn) . Under deal terms, Vista will pay £11.25 in cash per share of Blue Prism, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LON: PRSM). Once completed, the company will be taken off the public markets into Vista's hands. The $1.5bn deal value represents a 35% premium to Blue Prism's market cap just before it was announced. Notably, Vista says it plans to merge Blue Prism with one of its portfolio companies, Tibco Software , once it acquires it. The private equity firm bought Tibco for $4.3bn in 2014. As it shows, Vista wants to consolidate both companies into one bigger firm that it hopes to exit for a higher value than they were purchased in future time. Merging companies with similar businesses is not new for Vista as the firm has done that in the past with

Deal: Endeavor Buys Sports Gambling Firm OpenBet For $1.2B

Endeavor Group Holdings (NYSE: EDR), a media and sports conglomerate that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) league, is making a new big acquisition. It's agreed to buy OpenBet , a British company that makes software for sports gambling operators.  Endeavor will pay $1.2bn to buy OpenBet, split into $1bn in cash and $200mn of stock. It's buying OpenBet from  Scientific Games Corporation , a publicly-traded gambling company that bought it in 2017 as part of its $630mn acquisition of NYX Gaming . Divesting an asset bought as part of a $630mn deal in 2017 for $1.2bn four years later represents a very good return on investment for Scientific Games. The acquisition is strategic to strengthen Endeavor's position in the sports betting ecosystem. Right now, the company's main business in that area is IMG Arena , a provider of live-streamed sports video and data feeds to sportsbook operators around the globe. With OpenBet, the business will be complemented with sof

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Deal: Mindbody Buys Fitness Startup ClassPass

Mindbody , a leading maker of software for managing gyms and fitness studios, is buying one of the hot startups in its industry. It's buying ClassPass , a popular subscription platform for widespread gym access and online fitness classes. Mindbody will buy Classpass for an undisclosed amount . The company, owned by private equity firm Vista, also announced a strategic $500mn investment along with its ClassPass deal. The acquisition was all with privately held shares, Mindbody said. ClassPass is a celebrated startup in the fitness space. It began as a simple website to book fitness classes with registered studios but morphed into a subscription platform for access to such studios and their fitness classes, with many users paying recurring fees as a steady revenue source.  ClassPass was valued at $1bn from a funding round last year. Given the acquisition's pricing terms weren't disclosed, we can't say for sure if it was higher or lower than the $1bn mark, but for a hint,

Tether Fined $41M For Lying About Fiat Reserves

Tether Limited , the organization behind the eponymous Tether (USDT) stablecoin, has been fined a substantial sum for lying about the fiat reserves backing its stablecoin. It was fined $41mn by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). According to the CFTC's press release , Tether lied to customers that it had sufficient dollar reserves to back every issued USDT token whereas it did not for a long period of time. Over a 26-month sample period from 2016 through 2018, the CFTC said Tether only had sufficient dollar reserves for all its tokens 28% of the time, whereas it lied that it was "fully-backed" all the time. Also, the CFTC said Tether failed to disclose to customers that it had unsecured receivables and non-fiat assets in its supposed cash reserves. The organization further lied to customers that it would undergo routine, professional audits of its reserves but has failed to do any, the CFTC said. For its violations, the CFTC fined ordered Tether to pay a

Deal: Scopely Buys Sony's GSN Games For $1B

Scopely , a top-ranking mobile gaming startup, is expanding its business with a new major acquisition. It's buying GSN Games , a mobile gaming division of entertainment giant Sony, for the sum of $1bn. GSN Games makes popular social casino games such as Bingo Bash and  Solitaire TriPeaks . Social casino games are a genre where gaming studios can extract much revenue if they do it right, and GSN is one of the top contenders in the genre. Scopely will pay $1bn for GSN Games, half of it with cash and the other half with its shares, making Sony a minority shareholder in the mobile gaming company. It's said that Scopely's valuation has climbed to $5.4bn taking into account the shares it'll hand over to Sony as payment. That compares to a $3.3bn valuation when the company raised funding last year.  With GSN, Scopely is stepping up its business substantially by the way of a strategic acquisition. It's a strategy the mobile gaming startup is used to, having made 5 acqui

Microsoft CEO, Other Execs Bag Annual Pay Raises

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has raised the annual pay package of its Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella , the company's latest proxy statement reveals. Nadella enjoyed a substantial pay raise along with several other Microsoft executives. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, Nadella's compensation was $50mn , up 13% compared to the previous year. The lucrative pay package was split into a $2.5mn base salary, $33mn of stock awards, a $14mn cash bonus, and $110k in "other" compensation. Nadella's pay raise was in line with other Microsoft executives, including President Brad Smith and CFO Amy Hood. They each got annual pay raises in the 20% ballpark compared to 2020. The reported pay packages of Microsoft's top executives for the fiscal year is as follows; Satya Nadella (CEO) - $50mn. Amy Hood (CFO) - $23.5mn Brad Smith (President and Chief Legal Officer) - $20.5mn Jean-Philippe Courtois (Executive Vice President) - $17mn Christopher Young (Executive Vice

Deal: Instacart Pays $350M For A Smart Grocery Cart Startup

In a bid to expand, grocery delivery giant Instacart is making its biggest acquisition yet. It'll buy   Caper AI , a New York-based startup that makes smart grocery carts and cashier-less payments tech that complement them. Instacart will pay $350mn for the startup in a combination of cash and shares. Caper AI is a startup working on exciting stuff; smart shopping carts to make the grocery buying process at brick-and-mortar stores easier and faster. Its smart carts can recognize items placed in them with the help of cameras and weight sensors, then calculate their total cost without the need for barcodes as used in most grocery stores. Payment at the counter is then made quickly with Caper's own payments platform. Caper's "AI Cart". credit: Caper Also, Caper sells what's called a "Caper Counter," a checkout system for convenience stores that uses cameras and weight-based sensors instead of barcodes to sum the total cost of items. Caper Counter. cre

Apple Unveils New MacBook Pros, AirPods

Tech giant Apple has added a new set of products to its roster, including new MacBook Pro laptops and AirPods unveiled at a Tuesday online event.  Apple also unveiled new chipsets for the new MacBook Pros, the M1 Pro and M1 Max . MacBook Pros Apple unveiled two MacBook Pros, a 14-inch and 16-inch model. Both will come with the first chipsets designed by Apple specifically for a MacBook Pro, delivering high performance, expectedly.  Apple has brought back the HDMI port and SD card reader to the new MacBook Pro, in addition to three Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect peripherals. Removing the HDMI port and SD card reader in MacBooks had generated significant complaints by some Apple users, but it appears they'll be pleased again if they get the new MacBook Pros. Other shared features of the new MacBook Pros include; A 1080p front camera. MagSafe magnetic chargers. Six-speaker sound system. Fast charging - 50% charge in 30 minutes, Apple claims. Touch bar replaced by function keys. One

Deal: Australia's Aristocrat To Buy Playtech For $3.7B

The online gambling industry is hot this year, with billion-dollar deals now a frequent occurrence. The latest billion-dollar deal is Playtech , a London-listed online gambling company, selling to Aristocrat Leisure , an Australian gambling machine manufacturer. Playtech was founded in 1999 by Israeli entrepreneur Teddy Sagi . However, he sold off all his shares  in the company in 2018 and won't profit from this deal. Don't cry for him though, he made other shrewd investments that bestowed him with a net worth nearing $6bn ( Forbes estimate ). Aristocrat (ASX: ALL) has agreed to buy Playtech (LON: PTEC) in a deal worth £2.7bn ($3.7bn). The Australian firm will pay $2.9bn to buy all outstanding Playtech shares and assume $800mn of the firm's debt. It's paying 680 pence in cash per Playtech share, a 58% premium to the company's share price before the announcement. Following the announcement, Playtech's share price jerked up, expectedly. It rose 57% on Monday to

Fast Fashion E-Tailer Lulu's Files For IPO

Lulu's , an online retailer of women's apparel, is headed towards the public markets. It's filed an S-1 document for an initial public offering (IPO), showing its intent to list on the Nasdaq exchange. As expected from S-1 filings, Lulu's has provided great insights into its business, with information not publicly disclosed before. Something very noteworthy is that the online shopping boom of this year emanating from the Covid pandemic has largely favored the company. By The Numbers For its most recent fiscal quarter, the three months ended October 3, 2021, Lulu's brought in between $105mn to $106mn in revenue. Its net income for the same period was at the $3mn-$4mn mark. The estimations are because the final, audited results haven't yet been posted. For the fiscal year ended January 3, 2021, Lulu's posted $249mn in revenue and a net loss of $19mn. It shows that the company has swung from losses to profitability this year, with the net profit of between $3m

Antitrust: Facebook Fined $70M Over Giphy Takeover Probe

The UK's antitrust agency has levied a substantial fine on social media giant Facebook related to its acquisition of Giphy , the popular GIF website. It fined the company  £50.5mn ($69mn) for flouting an order requiring it to supply information related to the agency's investigation of the $400mn acquisition. The UK's  Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)  launched a  formal probe  of the Giphy deal last June. The antitrust agency challenged the deal  after probing it,  arguing that it gave Facebook an unfair advantage over rivals that also used Giphy's GIF database. It appears that Facebook failed to comply with demands from the agency's investigation and has been penalized for it. Apparently, the UK's antitrust agency required Facebook to suspend integrating its operations with Giphy's as the agency was investigating the acquisition, but Facebook had failed to indicate it did so despite multiple warnings. "This should serve as a warning to any com

Deal: Walgreens Invests $5.2B In VillageMD, Now Majority Owner

Walgreens Boots Alliance , the giant American pharmacy chain, is doubling down on its investment in one of its healthcare peers; the primary care chain VillageMD . After a previous investment last year, Walgreens is investing an additional sum in VillageMD that'll make it the primary care chain's majority owner. Walgreens has agreed to invest $5.2bn in VillageMD, upping its stake from 30% to 63%. It'll become the primary care chain's majority owner and guide it under its belt to open hundreds of primary care clinics co-located with Walgreens drugstores across the US. The investment is really strategic, giving Walgreens majority ownership in the firm that'll operate most of the primary care clinics attached to its stores. We can refer to it as "full-stack healthcare", where you visit a Walgreens-owned clinic and get prescriptions to buy drugs at a Walgreens pharmacy, though we're aware not everyone is comfortable with one company having that much cont