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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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Okta Buys Cloud Security Startup Auth0 For $6.5B

A very big new acquisition has happened in the tech industry, with Okta (NASDAQ: OKTA), the publicly-traded cloud identity and access management software provider, announcing an agreement to buy Auth0, a fellow cloud identity software provider, for a price of $6.5 billion to be paid all with shares. A $6.5 billion exit for Auth0 marks a major win for the startup scene in Seattle, the tech hub where Auth0 is based and also a major win for the company's backers and investors. Auth0 last raised venture funding last year in July with a $120 million Series F round that valued the company at $1.9 billion. Now, it's about to sell for more than triple that amount. Auth0 has raised more than $330 million in total venture funding, with investors including the likes of Salesforce Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Telstra Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and DTCP. Salesforce Ventures led Auth0's most recent $120 million Series F round. With its acquisition of a fellow cloud identity a

John McAfee Indicted For $13M Crypto "Pump And Dump" Scheme

In October last year, John McAfee who's a controversial entrepreneur best known for founding the cybersecurity powerhouse bearing his last name McAfee was indicted for tax evasion by US authorities  with accusations of earning millions of dollars from cryptocurrency schemes and failing to report income and pay taxes as required to the US government. Now, it appears that McAfee is facing even more charges from US authorities, with the District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) having just announced  further indictments of him for fraud and money laundering coming from alleged crypto "pump and dump" schemes. McAfee along with an associate, Jimmy Watson, are accused of hyping and promoting certain cryptocurrencies on social media in order to artificially inflate their prices without disclosing that McAfee owned large quantities of the promoted crypto and intended to profit from his promotion. McAfee, Watson, and other unnamed associates are alleged to have p

Peter Thiel Cashes Out Big From Palantir

After taking his data analytics and mining company, Palantir, public last year, it seems that Peter Thiel is keen on cashing out significantly from his stake in the company after getting an opportunity to do so on the public markets.  Thiel founded and helped build Palantir from the ground up into a data analytics powerhouse with annual sales of over $1 billion.   Palantir stayed as a private company for 17 years before hitting the public markets. According to regulatory filings and records , Peter Thiel has sold over $780 million of Palantir shares since the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in September 2020.  Thiel's largest single sale transaction was an offloading of 20 million shares for $504.8 million on the 19th of February, 2020. His second-largest was the sale of 23 million shares in a transaction netting around $236 million on the 30th of September, 2020, which was the very day Palantir began trading on the NYSE. Altogether, Thiel has netted mor

New SPAC Deal: Bitcoin Mining Startup Cipher

The latest technology company to join the flurry of SPAC mergers is Cipher Mining, a newly-formed US-based bitcoin mining startup that's an offshoot of Bitfury, a leading maker of bitcoin mining hardware that's based in the Netherlands. Cipher Mining Inc will merge with Good Works Acquisition Corp (Nasdaq: GWAC) in a deal valuing the bitcoin mining startup at $2 billion. The SPAC will be anchored by a $425 million PIPE round committed by investors including Fidelity, Morgan Stanley (via its subsidiary Counterpoint Global), and Cipher's parent Bitfury. Bitfury will contribute a $50 million investment to the PIPE round that's structured as purchase credits for equipment and services from it for Cipher Mining. The SPAC merger will hand over $595 million in gross proceeds to Cipher Mining, consisting of the $425 million PIPE round and $170 million of cash held in trust by Good Works Acquisition Corp. Upon completion of the SPAC merger, the investors in Cipher's PIPE rou

Deal: Twilio Bets $750M On Mobile Comms Provider Syniverse

Twilio, the publicly-traded cloud communications company, has sought to strategically team up with an old-guard provider of mobile and wireless communications technology named Syniverse, with a formal business partnership just  announced between both parties that'll see Twilio invest up to $750 million for a minority stake in Syniverse under its terms. Twilio has agreed to invest up to $750 million in cash for a minority stake in Syniverse, buying the stake from the company's current owner which is the private equity firm Carlyle Group. The partnership between Twilio and Syniverse will see both companies enter into a major business partnership that entails a wholesale agreement whereby Syniverse will process, route and deliver application-to-person (A2P) messages originating and/or terminating between Twilio’s customers and mobile network operators. On Syniverse's end of the deal, the company is getting a business boost by providing services for Twilio which is one of the

American Drone Maker Skydio Raises $170M, Valued At $1B+

Skydio, an American startup that makes autonomous drones, has closed a new funding round of $170 million that values it above $1 billion. The round was led by the famous venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing backers Next47, IVP, and Linse Capital, plus a new investor UP.Partners. Andreessen Horowitz led the new Series D round for Skydio from its Growth Fund, and with it, Skydio has now raised a total of over $340 million in external funding and then with a $1 billion+ valuation that makes it the highest-valued drone startup in the US. It seems that Skydio has drawn wide investor attraction after the US government placed China's DJI on a blacklist last year. DJI made its mark as the biggest drone maker globally and the largest in the US market but got placed on a government Entity List last year that barred American companies from supplying it with components. The blacklist was instituted by the former Trump administration due to alleged ties to

Carmaker Volvo To Go Fully Electric By 2030

The latest global automaker to commit to transitioning to a fully-electric production output in the future is Swedish carmaker Volvo, which has announced plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030. By then, the company says it intends to have phased out any car in its portfolio with an internal combustion engine, including hybrids, and transition to producing fully electric cars. The announcement of Volvo's grand plan comes a year after the company launched its first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge , around the globe, and with just one fully electric car in its product portfolio now, it's apparent that the automaker would need to put in hard work to achieve a fully-electric portfolio in nine years time. To work towards its goal, Volvo has announced that it'll roll out 'several' additional electric car models in the coming years, the word several making the number indistinct. The Swedish automaker is aiming for fully electric cars to make up half of

Jay-Z's Tidal Sells To Payments Company Square In $300M Deal

It seems that this is the season of deals for rapper-cum-businessman Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter as just barely two weeks after he reached a deal to sell half of his premium champagne brand to luxury goods giant LVMH, he's reached yet another deal to sell one of his main business ventures, the music streaming app Tidal. Tidal has agreed to be taken over by Square, the payments company led by Jack Dorsey who's more popular for his role as the CEO of Twitter. In a statement , Square said it'll pay the sum of $297 million in a mix of cash and stock to acquire a "significant majority ownership" stake in Tidal leaving the remaining minority stake will be held by Tidal's artist shareholders. The exact percentage that Square is buying in Tidal isn't disclosed but it's definitely over 50% given it's a majority stake. With Square's statement of acquiring a "significant majority ownership", one can guess somewhere between 50%-80% of the com

Smart TV Maker Vizio Files To Go Public

Vizio, a well-known maker of smart TVs and other complementary equipment such as soundbars, has filed an S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a public listing, seeking to do so for the second time after having previously filed to go public in 2015 but later withdrew its plan in lieu of a $2 billion sale agreement to a Chinese company that unfortunately didn't pan out. The market for technology IPOs has been very hot as of late and it seems that Vizio is coming in at the right time to capitalize on that hotness. A popular maker of smart TVs, Vizio has sold over 80 million TVs and 11 million soundbars since the company's inception, as indicated in its S-1 filing. The company sold 7.1 million TVs in 2020 alone. Vizio has strong revenues and is profitable, reporting $102 million in net income on over $2 billion in revenue in 2020. In the previous year, 2019, Vizio reported a net income of $23 million on $1.8 billion in revenue. Most of Vizio's revenue c

New SPAC Deal: Home Insurance Startup Hippo

Amid a flurry of SPAC mergers as of late, the latest technology company to tap into the boom and reach a deal to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is Hippo, a home insurance startup that makes use of satellite imagery and smart home sensors to gauge and offer better home insurance policies. Hippo will merge with Reinvent Technology Partners Z (NYSE:RPTZ), a SPAC formed by the respective founders of LinkedIn and gaming company Zynga, Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus. Hippo will merge with  Reinvent Technology Partners Z in a deal that'll hand it over $230 million of cash held in trust by the SPAC, plus a $550 million PIPE round to be led by existing investors  Dragoneer, Lennar, and Ribbit Capital. The PIPE round will value Hippo at $5 billion. Following the merger's completion, Hippo expects to have $1.2 billion of cash at hand, fueled by the funds from its SPAC deal plus venture funding that it's already raised. A hot insurance startup, Hippo has raised o