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Markets: US SEC Takes Aim At Chinese IPOs

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a swipe at Chinese initial public offerings (IPOs) after regulatory hiccups in China have affected many Chinese stocks listed on US markets and American stockholders holding them. The SEC has issued new guidance on Chinese companies seeking to list shares in the US, requiring them to make certain disclosures to investors or otherwise refrain from listing in the US markets. First of all, usually, Chinese companies listing in the US don't actually sell shares of the operating companies but that of shell companies with contractual relationships with the operating companies. These shell shares, known as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) , are used to circumvent restrictions on foreign ownership of Chinese shares imposed by the country's government. Now, the SEC in a statement has made it clear that Chinese companies seeking to list in the US must provide clear descriptions of the shell operations involved in such listing

Israeli Fraud Detection Startup Riskified Files For US IPO

Riskified , a fraud detection startup serving e-commerce companies, is the latest tech company that's filed for an initial public offering (IPO). The Israeli company has unveiled an F-1 filing with the US SEC as required for foreign companies seeking to list in the US. Riskified provides fraud detection software to online retailers that use it to help curtail fraudulent transactions. The niche of fraud prevention in online retail is one that's birthed many successful companies, Riskified being one of them. In its IPO, Riskified is offering 17.3 million shares at a price point between $18 and $20, implying proceeds of between $315mn-$350mn. Additionally, the company's co-founder and current CTO Assaf Feldman is selling 200k shares in the offering to get between $3.6mn-$4mn. Riskified is targeting a valuation upwards of $3bn from its public offering. As usual, a company's IPO filing provides great insight into its business with specific information on its revenues. Let&

Markets: India's Paytm Files For $2.2B IPO

Paytm , India's foremost fintech startup, has filed for a big IPO on the country's domestic exchanges. According to draft papers filed with India's market regulator on Friday, the company is planning to raise up to 166 billion rupees ( $2.2bn ) in an initial public offering. Half of the money Paytm plans to raise from its IPO will be from selling new shares to add to the company's coffers while the other half will be from existing shareholders selling stakes.  Paytm's major shareholders include SoftBank (18.7%), China's Ant Group (30.3%), Elevation Capital (17.65%), and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. With over $4bn raised, Paytm is one of India's biggest-funded startups. It was valued at $16bn from its last funding round. Another major Paytm shareholder is founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma with a roughly 15% stake. According to the draft papers, One97 Communications, Paytm's parent firm, has a solid business bringing in solid revenues, though the

Markets: Fave Yogurt Maker Chobani Set For US IPO

Chobani , a popular and favorite yogurt maker for many in the US, is clearing its path towards a public listing that'll likely happen soon. The company has said that it's filed a confidential draft registration statement for an IPO with the US SEC, implying that its public listing is around the corner. Chobani is a one-of-a-kind success story that's remained in the control of its founder for a long time. The company was founded in 2005 by Hamdi Ulukaya , a Turkish immigrant to the US with a family history of dairy farming. Ulukaya launched Chobani in 2005 by taking a government loan to buy a factory that was being vacated by Kraft Foods. He bought and retooled the factory together with some former Kraft employees and saw Chobani's brand of thick, strained yogurt become the best-selling of its kind in the US. Chobani has remained controlled by its founder Hamdi Ulukaya (and some employees) since its launch. The company's only known external shareholder now is the H

Markets: Retail Giant Authentic Brands Files For IPO

Authentic Brands Group , a parent firm to many popular retail and consumer brands, has filed to hit the US public markets. It's unveiled an S-1 filing with the SEC showing its intent to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Authentic Brands is a parent firm to more than 50 consumer brands, including retailers Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers, and even the Sports Illustrated magazine. Founded in 2010, it's the ideal private equity play where Authentic had access to big funding to buy up and consolidate many retail and consumer brands. Since its start, Authentic has spent over $2.5bn on acquisitions, financed by big-name investors including BlackRock, General Atlantic, and Simon Property Group, the three of which each owns a stake of over 5% in the company. With its consolidation, Authentic Brands built a strong business for itself with $489mn in sales for 2020, up slightly from $480mn in the previous year. On a net basis, the company is very profitable, with a $211mn profit

Markets: Food Giant Dole Files For IPO

Hold up, one of the biggest suppliers of food on the planet Earth has filed for an initial public offering on the US markets. It's  Dole plc , the combination of two food giants - America's  Dole Food Company and Ireland's Total Produce . Dole Food and Total Produce announced plans to merge this February and said an IPO on the US markets was a condition of the merger. Now, it's fulfilling that condition by filing to list on the New York Stock Exchange, whereas the merger will be completed later this month before the listing of the combined company. Together, Dole Food and Total Produce "Dole plc" represent a global food giant with sales of $9bn and gross profits of around $700mn last year. Judging by those figures, that's a solid business prepared to hit the public markets. Dole Food on its own tried going public in 2017 and had already filed an S-1 before calling off the public listing a year later. It called it off after acquisition talks with a Belgi

IPO: Key Takes From Robinhood's S-1 Filing

Yesterday on Thursday was the day one of the most anticipated IPOs of this year came to fruition. It was the day Robinhood, the popular stock and crypto trading app, unveiled its filing for an IPO . The trading app has had many eyes on it since it began making waves circa 2017 and more so in the past year, especially for its role in the "meme stock" saga . Robinhood claims to have "democratized investing" with its seemingly gamified trading app targeted at retail investors. At that, it's provided an easy way for small, retail investors to get in on the stock markets, but has also made it easy for such retail investors to trade risky assets to their potential detriment. Robinhood may both be a blessing and curse, depending on who you ask. In this piece, we're combing through Robinhood's SEC paperwork  to pick out some bits that may be interesting to you, and trust us, Robinhood's paperwork has many interesting bits. First of all, the company is earmar

IPO: PUBG Maker Krafton Cuts Down Offering Size

Krafton (formerly Bluehole), the South Korean developer of the hit game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) , has cut down the size of shares it's selling in its initial public offering on the Korean markets. It's cut down its target from the equivalent of $5bn at the top range now to $3.8bn, ending a bid for what could have been the biggest IPO in South Korea. In a revised filing to Korean regulators, Krafton indicated it had cut down its IPO size and also removed valuation comparisons to firms like Warner Music Group and Disney after it drew criticism for being over-reliant on one product, PUBG , for revenue and therefore not as diversified as those firms. PUBG, the popular 'battle royale' game, makes up the vast majority of Krafton's revenue, 96.7% in the first quarter of this year. Reading the writing on the wall that it's risky to be over-reliant on one product, Krafton has invested in other games and ventures but its efforts are yet to pay off. On its

Alert: Trading App Robinhood Files For IPO

Robinhood, the popular stock trading app, has filed for its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO). It's unveiled its SEC paperwork just a day after it agreed to pay a $70mn fine  to settle accusations of misconduct from regulators. Robinhood has unveiled its S-1 filing with the SEC, giving a peek into its business with information not publicly disclosed before. The company made $959mn in revenue for 2020, more than triple from $277mn in 2019. In 2020, it made a small net profit of $7.4mn, compared to a $107mn net loss in 2019. For its IPO, Robinhood is earmarking up to 35% of the shares for retail investors in its app. It'll be one of the few moments retail investors get to buy into a company at its IPO price.  Unveiling its filing for an IPO just after it agreed to settle a major regulatory case for $70mn seems like that was the hurdle Robinhood was just waiting to go through to kick off its IPO process. That particular case was from the US Financial Industry Regulatory

Markets: Fitness Startup Xponential Files For IPO

A fitness startup that's built a strong business for itself in just four years of existence by way of acquisitions is about to exit on the public markets. It's Xponential Fitness , a franchise owner of boutique fitness brands including Club Pilates and CycleBar . Xponential has filed for an IPO with the US SEC. It intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with the trading symbol "XPOF". Rumors have it that Xponential planned a public listing for last year but called off its plans after the Covid pandemic battered in-person fitness businesses. Now, its IPO plans are official and likely to go through. From its SEC paperwork , Xponential revealed it has sold a cumulative 3,371 franchise licenses in North America since 2017. Also, it had ten franchise studios internationally and master franchisees contractually obligated to sell licenses for 693 more studios internationally, as of March-end. From the above figures, it can be deduced that Xponential has a sol

Alert: Trading App Robinhood Fined $70M By Regulators

Robinhood, the popular stock trading app, will pay a record-setting $70mn fine levied by regulators against a stockbroker. The company has been fined that amount by the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for systemwide outages during crucial trading periods and misleading communication and trading practices. Robinhood will pay $57mn as an upfront penalty and make $13mn in restitution to some customers who lost money due to systemwide outages at some points. If you remember, Robinhood caught a lot of flak for serial outages at certain points of high trading activity on the markets. Also, Robinhood was accused by FINRA of providing false and misleading communication to customers regarding how they could trade, such as the risk of loss they faced when trading options, how much cash they had in their accounts, and if they faced margin calls. A case FINRA singled out was that of a Robinhood user who committed suicide  last year after seeing a large negative net balance on

Markets: Clickbait Giant Outbrain Files For IPO

Do you remember those bizarre ads you see below articles at many news sites you visit? that's if you don't use ad-blocking software anyways. For those that remember, we have news for you, one of the major peddlers of those ads will soon start trading on the public markets. The clickbait giant Outbrain , one of the two major ad-tech networks serving those bizarre ads (the other is Taboola), has filed for an IPO. It'll soon list on the Nasdaq stock exchange. If you think there isn't much money to be made peddling clickbait, you may be in for a surprise. Outbrain's S-1 filing shows the company made $767mn as revenue in 2020, and $687mn in 2019. In just the three months ended March 31, 2021, it made $228mn . On a net basis, Outbrain is currently profitable. It reported a $10.7mn net income in the three months ended March and $4.4mn in 2020. Surely, clickbait ads are a good business, notwithstanding our collective annoyance with them. With net profitability, Outbrain

Markets: Language Learning App Duolingo Files For IPO

Duolingo , that popular app for learning languages that trails you with ads everywhere you go on YouTube, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO). The company has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC showing its intent to list on the Nasdaq stock market. Duolingo filed for an IPO after wrapping up a year that was very favorable to its business. It happens that the pandemic of 2020 drove people more towards mobile apps and Duolingo, a mix of learning and gaming, was a major beneficiary of it. From its S-1 filing, Duolingo shows that its annual sales rose from $71mn in 2019 to $162mn in 2020. That 129% jump is a testament to the recent year being a very good one for the company. On a net basis, Duolingo isn't profitable, though its net losses are usually small relative to its revenue. The company reported a net loss of $15.8mn in 2020, compared to $13.6mn in 2019. Duolingo reports having 39.9 million monthly active users and 9.5 million daily active users at the end of Marc

Hedge Fund Perceptive Forms 5th SPAC To Raise $130M

Perceptive Advisors, a major hedge fund focused on life sciences investments, has launched what is its 5th special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in succession to raise $130mn from an IPO. The fifth SPAC,  ARYA Sciences Acquisition V , recently unveiled an S-1 filing for an IPO. It's seeking to raise $130mn by selling 13 million shares for $10 apiece. ARYA Sciences Acquisition is the umbrella under which Perceptive has launched its SPACs since it got into the game in 2018, two years before the SPAC boom of 2020. Its SPACs have raised hundreds of millions and merged with biotech outfits including  Cerevel Therapeutics , a company treating neurotic diseases, and  Nautilus , a human proteomics company. The size of Perceptive's SPACs has usually been $100mn-$200mn and this fifth one is no exception with $130mn, or $150mn if an over-allotment option is fully exercised.  Like all of its SPACs, this fifth one will seek a life sciences company as a merger target. Perceptive is one

Markets: Mortgage Startup Blend Labs Files For IPO

One of the hottest fintech startups in the current markets is headed for a public listing soon. That startup is Blend Labs , a company that provides tools used by financial institutions to automate the process of issuing mortgage loans. Blend closed a funding round that valued it at $3.3bn early this year. Now, some months later, the company has unveiled an S-1 filing for an IPO with the US SEC. The final size of its share offering hasn't yet been set. As usual, we'll dig into Blend's S-1 filing for some important bits on its business, particularly on revenue figures. Details Blend brought in $96mn in revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020. That revenue was up 89% from the previous year. On a net basis, Blend isn't profitable, reporting a $75mn net loss in 2020 and $81mn in the year before that. But at least, it has high revenue growth rates to rationalize those losses. Blend's business model is based on charging customers, usually financial institutions, fo

IPO: UK Fintech Startup Wise Set For Direct Listing In London

One of the foremost fintech startups from the UK has officially announced plans to hold a direct public listing in the country. That startup is Wise (formerly TransferWise), mainly a cross-border payments service. Wise has said it plans to hold a direct listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). It did so with a regulatory filing . At that, it'll be the first major company to hold a direct listing on the London markets.  In a direct listing, a company doesn't raise fresh capital from investors and existing shareholders can immediately sell their shares on the open markets, without the usual lockup period limitations of a traditional IPO. Direct listings are fairly new globally, only tested by a few companies in the US. In the UK, it's even unheard-of, with Wise being the first to muddle those waters. As expected with direct listings, Wise's trading debut will be based on an auction, with investors, rather than with bank underwriters in a traditional IPO. The company&#

Database Software Startup Couchbase Files For IPO

A database software startup with a business built on the open-source model has filed for an IPO in the US. That startup is Couchbase Inc , which provides an eponymous NoSQL cloud database used by developers.   Couchbase has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC for a public listing. The listing would mark a solid exit for the startup which was founded exactly a decade ago.  Couchbase has built a business for itself providing additional services to its eponymous open-source database software package. Such a business based on open-source software has been repeated successfully many times, though it carries the risk of a downturn if that software gets out of fashion, as has also been seen many times. As usual, we'll point out some important information from Couchbase's S-1 filing, mostly on its revenue figures, right here. Details Couchbase had $103mn in revenue in its most recent fiscal year ended January 31, 2021. In the preceding year, it brought in $83mn in sales. The compan

Private Club Chain Soho House Files For IPO

A unique type of company is about to hold an initial public offering (IPO) on the US markets. That company is Soho House , a private members club with locations around the globe. Membership Collective Group, the parent company of Soho House, has unveiled an S-1 filing with the SEC for an IPO. It'll be a landmark listing for a private members club founded over two decades ago. Soho House is majorly owned by American billionaire Ron Burkle. He paid £250mn  via his firm Yucaipa to buy 60% of the company in 2012. Under his ownership, the private members club has raised more funding to scale and grow. As we usually do, we'll extract some important bits from Soho House's S-1 filing, mostly on its revenue figures.  Details For its most recent fiscal year ended January 3, 2021, Soho brought in $384mn in revenue. Though that seems much, revenue went down sharply from $642mn in the previous year due to a pandemic that ravaged its in-house revenues, as many shyed away from social zo

IPO: An Ambitious Psychedelics Startup Debuts With Fanfare

An ambitious startup working on psychedelic drugs with hopes of treating mental health issues has made its way onto the public markets. That startup, ATAI Life Sciences , listed on the Nasdaq exchange   (ticker "ATAI")  on Friday, the 18th of June, and saw its share price close up nearly 30% that day. ATAI Life Sciences is the brainchild of a German billionaire entrepreneur,  Christian Angermayer , who made a fortune founding a biotech company and then investing in tech startups.  ATAI is in the ambitious territory, looking to develop psychedelic drugs to treat mental health conditions. It's a field still in its infancy and with many regulatory hurdles to cross. As it's structured, ATAI is a holding company for various psychedelic startups pursuing treatments for mental illnesses. When it was privately held, it raised over $360mn of venture funding and used it to buy several startups to house under its umbrella.  Now with its IPO, ATAI raised $225mn more to continue

PUBG Maker Krafton Files For $5B IPO In South Korea

A top gaming company from South Korea has filed for an IPO that could break records in the country. That company is Krafton (formerly called Bluehole), the maker of the  PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) franchise. PUBG as it's fondly called is an online multiplayer "battle royale" game that's popular around the globe. It was the preceding popular battle royale game to Epic's Fornite  in the US. Krafton has filed for an initial public offering on the South Korean markets. Its offering size is listed as between $4.1bn-$5bn, with $5bn on the higher end being a record-breaking number for the Korean markets. For context, the biggest IPO by a Korean company had an offering size of $4.6bn. It was that of e-commerce company Coupang this March that set the record. Now, just a few months later, it looks like that record may be broken. According to its filing, Krafton had 1.7 trillion won ($1.5bn) in revenue and an operating income of 774 billion won ($693mn) in 20

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Alert: Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Indicted On Fraud Charges

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Earnings: AMD Doubles Revenue, Triples Profit

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Antitrust: Amazon Fined $900M By EU For Privacy Violations

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Deal: Qualtrics Buys CX Startup Clarabridge For $1.1B

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Deal: Amgen Buys Biotech Startup Teneobio In $2.5B Deal

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Antitrust: UK Probes Facebook's $1B Kustomer Acquisition

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Hollywood: Reese Witherspoon's Media Co. Sold In $900M Deal

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Earnings: Shopify Beats Estimates, Reaches Major Milestone

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Alert: Square Buys Australia's Afterpay For $29B

It's a big day in the fintech world. There's been a major acquisition with a major American fintech company, Square , buying Australia's foremost fintech startup, Afterpay , a 'buy now, pay later' lender. Square has reached an agreement to buy Afterpay for a whopping $29bn , marking one of Australia's biggest buyouts. It's a big deal that a startup founded barely seven years ago is selling for $29bn.  Square will pay the $29bn all with shares. It means that shares of Afterpay, which are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange, will be exchanged for Square stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Afterpay is Australia's foremost 'buy now, pay later (BNPL)' lender in online retail. For the uninitiated, the 'buy now, pay later' business is a relatively young one providing alternatives to credit cards for consumers to shop online. It provides loans for consumers to shop online and then pay back in installments. Usually, credi

Markets: US SEC Takes Aim At Chinese IPOs

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a swipe at Chinese initial public offerings (IPOs) after regulatory hiccups in China have affected many Chinese stocks listed on US markets and American stockholders holding them. The SEC has issued new guidance on Chinese companies seeking to list shares in the US, requiring them to make certain disclosures to investors or otherwise refrain from listing in the US markets. First of all, usually, Chinese companies listing in the US don't actually sell shares of the operating companies but that of shell companies with contractual relationships with the operating companies. These shell shares, known as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) , are used to circumvent restrictions on foreign ownership of Chinese shares imposed by the country's government. Now, the SEC in a statement has made it clear that Chinese companies seeking to list in the US must provide clear descriptions of the shell operations involved in such listing