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Markets: India's Oyo Files For $1.2B IPO

One of India's premier startups, Oyo , has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) to be held locally. According to draft papers filed with India's market regulator, it plans to raise about 84.3 billion rupees ($1.2bn) in its IPO. Oyo is a hotel aggregator and booking site. It manages hotels and other types of residential properties on behalf of its owners, setting them up with its brand and technology and then taking a cut of the accommodation fees as revenue. Founded in 2013, Oyo has grown rapidly to become one of India's biggest startups, and along the way, it has raised over $4bn in venture funding. It's now set to raise even more money with an IPO to be held in India. Though, there have been questions regarding Oyo's growth and its business viability in the long term. For example, last year, a New York Times report  alleged shoddy tactics that drove Oyo's growth, such as working with unlicensed hotels and guesthouses and withholding payments from hote

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

Markets: Indian Insurtech Startup PolicyBazaar Files For IPO

PolicyBazaar , an Indian insurance-tech startup, has filed for an initial public offering on the country's domestic markets. It recently submitted documents to the market regulator in India, showing its intention to raise a substantial sum with a public debut. PolicyBazaar is an online insurance services aggregator and comparator. Basically, it's a marketplace for choosing and buying insurance plans, with the company making money from leads generation and fees charged for policy sales on its platform. Filed papers indicate that PolicyBazaar's IPO size is the equivalent of $809mn. Out of that, $504mn is sought to be raised by PolicyBazaar for itself while the rest ($305mn) will be existing investors in the company selling their shares. Also, the company indicated that it may consider raising about $100mn in a pre-IPO round. Among the existing investors selling include SoftBank , which plans to sell shares worth over $250mn , and PolicyBazaar's founders who plan to sell

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

Deal: India's Flipkart Raises $3.6B, Valued At $38B

Flipkart, India's foremost local e-commerce company, has raised a big new round of funding from a mix of new and existing investors. The company said it's raised $3.6bn at a valuation of $37.6bn post-money. The fresh funding for Flipkart was led by GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and Walmart. Other participants included Tencent, Tiger Global, Franklin Templeton, and the Qatar Investment Authority. The roughly $38bn post-money valuation that came with the round is about 50% higher than Flipkart's last valuation of $25bn when it raised a funding round led by Walmart last year. To note, Walmart owns the majority of Flipkart after it paid $16bn for a 77% stake in 2018. The fresh $3.6bn cash infusion will come in handy for Flipkart as it competes vigorously with Amazon in India. Amazon is hell-bent on expanding in India and is spending big to do so. Already, it's cornered a great deal of the country's e-commerce market, with a sha

India's Mphasis Said To Head For $3B Buyout

A group of American private equity firms, namely Brookfield, Carlyle, Bain Capital, and Permira, have initiated due diligence for a deal to acquire Mphasis, the publicly-traded Indian IT services company, the Indian news outlet Economic Times reports , citing "people aware of the matter". According to the Economic Times, the four aforementioned private equity firms are competing with each other for a final deal to buy out Mphasis, which is itself controlled by the American private equity firm Blackstone Group. The publicly-traded Mphasis is being pursued for a $3 billion buyout that would mark Blackstone's biggest exit in India and notably a landmark deal for an American private equity firm in the Indian technology sector, the Economic Times reports. Mphasis has an ownership history that has involved several American firms. First, the IT company Electronic Data Systems (EDS) bought a controlling stake in Mphasis in 2006 and itself then sold to the tech giant  Hewlett-Pac

India's Pine Labs Tops $2B Valuation

Pine Labs, one of the biggest Indian fintech companies, has said that it's raised a new round of funding from the American hedge fund Lone Pine Capital at a valuation of over $2 billion. The exact size of the round wasn't disclosed but a report from the  Economic Times pegs it at between $75 million to $100 million. Before now, Pine Labs was known to have raised over $250 million in venture funding. Its valuation was placed at over $1 billion when the payments company Mastercard made a strategic investment into it earlier this year, and that valuation now appears to have doubled in the same year. Pine Labs is one of the biggest fintech companies in India and Asia at large, providing online payments solutions to over 150,000 merchants across Asia and the Middle East. The company provides point-of-sale and consumer lending solutions to merchants across Asia, mostly from India, and has carved out a high share of the region's fintech market for itself. Pine Labs is known to be

India Caps Ride-Hailing Fees At 20%

The Transport Ministry of the Government of India has issued new guidelines that limit the commissions charged by ride-hailing providers like Uber and Ola Cabs to 20%. The limit is noticeably higher than the previous 10% proposed by the Transport Ministry, wherein industry experts had warned that a 10% cap could have widely impacted the revenue and operations of ride-hailing services in India. India has also imposed a limit on the 'surge pricing' tactic usually adopted by ride-hailing services at a time of higher demand, stating that surge prices at busy times must be limited to at most 1.5 times the usual base fare. The country's Transport Ministry has also said that ride-hailing companies must provide insurance cover for drivers and limit them to a maximum of 12 daily working hours. The ruling marks a notable one for two of the biggest ride-hailing services in India, the local Ola Cabs and Uber. Notably, India accounts for an estimated 11% of Uber's annual global ride

Google's India Revenue Soars Higher

The Indian revenues of the American tech giant Google grew by a double-digit percentage to the equivalent of about $756 million in its most recent fiscal year, whereas the company pulled in the equivalent of $79.2 million in profit from the country, as indicated by filings with regulatory authorities. Revenue for the year went up by 35% while profit went up 24%. It seems that Google's increasing investment in India is paying off, whereas the company has pledged to spend $10 billion in the country over the next five to seven years. It has already fulfilled a significant part of its pledge with a $4.5 billion investment in the Indian telecom outfit Reliance Jio just this July. Also, Google is reportedly looking to buy the popular Indian social media app ShareChat for a price of up to $1 billion. Advertising revenue contributed 27% of Google India's revenues in the recent year while the rest came from technology and IT services. India's digital market is poised for huge gr

Fidelity Backs India's Nykaa

The investment giant Fidelity has backed yet another technology company, this time one from India by the name of Nykaa, which is an e-commerce site for beauty and wellness products. Fidelity backed the company by way of a secondary round wherein it purchased shares from existing shareholders in the company. Fidelity's investment provided partial exits to early investors and employees of Nykaa, which was founded seven years ago. The exact amount which the firm invested isn't disclosed. Nykaa is a major Indian e-commerce site for beauty and wellness products and recently began selling clothing. The company has grown rapidly since starting seven years ago, reporting the equivalent of $252 million in revenue for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. It further expects its annual revenue to grow by 40% this year. Nykaa was founded by an entrepreneur, Falguni Nayar, who previously headed an investment bank. The company has since huge success since its founding and raised some $146 mi

India Bans 43 More Chinese Apps

After banning dozens of apps including the popular TikTok in July, the government of India has announced a ban on 43 more Chinese apps, citing cybersecurity concerns and asserting that the apps are "engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order". The freshly banned apps span various categories including social apps, e-commerce and payments apps, dating apps, and games. They are listed in full below; AliSuppliers Mobile App Alibaba Workbench AliExpress - Smarter Shopping, Better Living Alipay Cashier Lalamove India - Delivery App Drive with Lalamove India Snack Video CamCard - Business Card Reader CamCard - BCR (Western) Soul- Follow the soul to find you Chinese Social - Free Online Dating Video App & Chat Date in Asia - Dating & Chat For Asian Singles WeDate-Dating App Free dating app-Singol, start your date! Adore App TrulyChinese - Chinese Dating App TrulyAsian - Asian Dating

DST Global Leads $200M Round For Cars24

DST Global, an American venture capital firm, has led a new funding round of $200 million for Cars 24, which is an online used car marketplace in India. The new round, which was a Series E, valued Cars24 at over $1 billion.  Along with DST Global, other participants in the round for Cars24 include Moore Strategic Ventures, Unbound, and  Exor Seeds.  The new funding comes on the heels of high growth seen by Cars24, whereas it now facilitates 2 million car sales annually. Already with a stronghold in used cars, Cars24 recently forayed into motorcycles in India and has already facilitated over 3,000 motorcycle sales in less than six months of operations. With the new round, Cars24 has now raised a total of nearly $400 million in equity funding. It's cemented its status as one of the most funded startups in India, more so one that was founded just five years ago. DST Global, the firm that led Cars24's new round, is a major venture capital firm that's backed many

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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

Alert: US FDA Permits First E-Cigarettes, Citing Smoker Benefits

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized its first set of electronic cigarette products, citing some benefits to their use for adult smokers trying to quit tobacco. The authorization is noteworthy for general e-cigarette products that have been tainted with scandals and controversy for their high use rate among teens.  The FDA permitted three e-cigarette products from Vuse Solo , a brand distributed by British American Tobacco (LON: BATS). Vuse is the No. 2 vaping brand in the US behind Juul, a rival currently in the FDA's crosshairs . Vuse sought permissions for 13 vape products, but 10 were denied, and only 3 were accepted. It shows the FDA's strictness in regulating vape products after locking its eyes on the sector. As it permitted its first vape products, the FDA issued strict guidelines concerning their marketing, including restricting internet, radio, and TV ads to "greatly reduce the potential for youth exposure." For a long time, vape pr