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Showing posts with the label Moves

At KKR, Historic Private Equity Barons Step Down

Two of the godfathers of modern-day private equity investing, Henry Kravis and George Roberts  of the famous leveraged buyout firm  KKR (NYSE: KKR), have handed in the reins by stepping down as Co-CEOs from their firm. Replacements have been named for them, effectively . Henry Kravis and George Roberts, together with the late Jerome Kohlberg, pioneered America's industry of "leveraged buyouts (LBO)" where Wall Street firms bought companies using borrowed money, with the companies themselves used as collateral for debt and their future profits used to pay it down.  LBOs built a reputation as a form of "ruthless" capitalism that continues to this day, because of some strong-arming tactics by which Wall Street firms chased after them. This tainted reputation made LBO firms rebrand to what we currently call private equity firms. At KKR, Kravis and Roberts' landmark deal was acquiring RJR Nabisco , a tobacco and food giant, for $25bn , mostly borrowed money,  in

EVs: Tesla Relocates HQ From California To Texas

Electric carmaker Tesla is moving its headquarters away from California to the state of Texas. The company made this known in its latest annual shareholder meeting .  That Tesla is relocating its HQ to Texas isn't much of a bombshell. It has been, in fact, major speculation for a while that was spurred by the carmaker's CEO Elon Musk relocating from California to Texas last December . California and Texas are two states where Tesla has enormous operations, though California takes the crown for seeing Tesla grow from a small startup into a carmaking giant. Tesla's California factory was the most crucial to its success, where it cranked up its manufacturing prowess at the smaller stage in preparation for bigger things to come. Though it's relocating, Tesla says it'll retain its vast manufacturing and sales operations in California and continue to expand. "To be clear we will be continuing to expand our activities in California," CEO Musk said. "Our inte

Moves: Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer To Step Down

There's a major leadership change at the social media giant Facebook, Inc . The company's long-time Chief Technology Officer (CTO), in the person of  Mike Schroepfer, is stepping down from his role. His departure plans were made known in a recent SEC filing . Schroepfer will leave the CTO role by next year but won't leave Facebook entirely. He'll be transitioning to the role of " Senior Fellow " at the company, a position that seems to have been created just for him as he'll be the first to adopt it.  When he steps down, Schroepfer will be replaced by a star engineer at Facebook named  Andrew Bosworth , the company's current vice president of augmented and virtual reality. Bosworth is a crucial leader for Facebook's hardware development and R&D efforts and a known close confidant of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. As Bosworth takes up the CTO role, he'll be switching from leading just Facebook's hardware team of 10,000+ employees to both the hard

Moves: Yahoo, Yes, Names A New CEO

Let's tell you a short story; in the online world, there was a time wherein a company named Yahoo ruled on the earth. It was a giant in its right, having the most market share of search and web portals before a newer incumbent named Google encroached on its turf and displaced it to become king.  The above story is a true one, but while it's written like an ancient tale, the timeline where it happened wasn't even that long ago, it was during the late 1990s to the early 2000s when the internet was still a fairly new thing Straight to the point, a once-dominant Yahoo was displaced by Google and thus is now a shadow of what it used to be. But, even the shadow of a displaced giant has some value such that the remnant of Yahoo combined with the remnant of AOL , another fallen tech giant, recently sold to a private equity firm for $5bn . Apollo   Global Management was the private equity buyer.  As Apollo has just completed acquiring Yahoo from its previous owner, Verizon Commun

China: Founder Steps Back From Daily Business

It's a notable day today in the Chinese tech industry. It's a day where one of the country's biggest tech giants is making a major leadership change. It's , an e-commerce giant in the country, announcing that its founder and longtime CEO Richard Liu is stepping back from handling day-to-day operations and will now focus on longer-term projects like an executive chairman. Richard Liu founded in 1998 and has grown it into the equivalent "Amazon of China". He himself is fondly called the "Jeff Bezos of China" so maybe he's just mimicking the footsteps of his American counterpart who stepped back from the CEO role this year. But, Liu will maintain the role of CEO even as he steps away from daily operations. In accordance with the change, has appointed a new President for its business. He's Lei Xu , and is switching to become's overseeing President from his role as CEO of one of the company's divisions; JD R

Moves: Retired US Admiral Lands Cushy Wall Street Job

In yet another move demonstrating the so-called "revolving door" between government and big business, a retired four-star admiral of the US Navy has landed a cushy job as a Senior Advisor to a major financial firm. That admiral is  William H. McRaven  and the firm is Lazard . Intro  Lazard is a financial advisory and asset management firm that's a leader in its field. It's the world's largest independent investment bank, having over $235bn of assets under management.  Details McRaven has joined Lazard effective immediately as a Senior Advisor in the firm’s Financial Advisory business. It's not an unusual step for someone retiring from a top military job in 2014 now to land a top civilian job. McRaven retired as a four-star admiral in 2014, the highest rank normally achievable in the US Navy. There, he had a 37-year career that saw him command special operations forces at every level and eventually took charge of the whole US Special Operations Command.  In ea

Moves: Ex FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Lands Cushy Wall Street Job

In a move that demonstrates the "revolving door" between politics and business still being wide open, Ajit Pai, the former chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Trump's administration, has landed a cushy job as a Partner at a leading private equity firm. Ajit Pai has taken a Partner position at Searchlight Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm with over $8 billion under management. His appointment comes just a few months after leaving the FCC following the administration change from Trump to Biden. Pai was at the FCC for nine years, first as a Commissioner nominated by Barack Obama then spent five years in that role before becoming Chairman of the commission appointed by Trump. Pai's tenure at the FCC was rocked by him overseeing the rollback of some net neutrality rules set in place under the Obama administration. That doing earned him a lot of opposition to the extremity of even a death threat . Another landmark event unde

VC Firm Bessemer Raises $3.3B, Adds Amazon's Jeff Blackburn As Partner

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Bessemer enture Partners has made new major moves that include adding $3.3 billion of capital to its investment coffers and appointing Jeff Blackburn, a long-time top Amazon executive and lieutenant of Jeff Bezos who just recently announced his departure from Amazon, now as a partner at the venture firm. Bessemer raised $3.3 billion with two separate funds, the first a fund named BVP XI  that raised $2.475 billion and the second a fund named  BVP Century II that raised $825 million. The majority of the new funds will be used for early-stage investments consistent with Bessemer's practice of starting with seed and Series A rounds for companies and then following up with late-stage investments. Bessemer now counts Jeff Blackburn as a Partner, with Blackburn joining the firm after a 22-year career at Amazon where he rose to become one of the company's highest-ranking executives. Before announcing his departure just this month, Blackburn served

Velodyne Lidar's Founder Ousted, Fights Back

Velodyne Lidar, the leading maker of lidars for autonomous vehicles in the US, is in the midst of a leadership tussle that's seen its founder and biggest shareholder David Hall pushed out from his position of Chairman at the company along with his wife Marta Hall who held the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Velodyne. David and Marta Hall were pushed out from Velodyne after a board investigation that brought accusations of the couple behaving "inappropriately" and acting without "respect, honesty, integrity and candor” when interacting with other officers and directors at Velodyne as claimed by the company's board. As they were pushed out, Velodyne named a new Chairman and another new board director. In response to his ouster, Velodyne founder David Hall put out a press statement  accusing his company of staging a "boardroom ambush" to reprimand him and his wife "based on an opaque, secret investigation into baseless, unfounded claims".

GameStop's CFO To Depart, With Big Exit Package

Barely a month after a stock trading frenzy that sent the shares of video games and electronics retailer GameStop soaring high and highly volatile to then become the talk of the town, the company's chief financial officer (CFO) Jim Bell has announced his resignation from the company, with the reason behind his departure not stated. Bell who has served as GameStop's CFO for less than two years will step down from his role formally on March 26, 2021, and leave the company. He noticeably held the role of CFO for a short period and it's unclear if GameStop's recent stock market frenzy is a contributing factor to his departure. As Bell is resigning from GameStop, he isn't leaving on shaky grounds or at least monetarily-wise. According to filings, he'll be getting an upfront $15.8 million pay package when he departs, split into $2.8 million in severance and an immediate payout of restricted shares worth $13 million once he leaves.  Then, Bell could still collect an

Footwear Startup Allbirds Adds Glossier's Emily Weiss To Board

Allbirds, a venture-backed startup that's carved a lucrative market for itself selling eco-friendly footwear, has added new board members including Emily Weiss, the founder and CEO of the popular venture-backed makeup brand Glossier. Weiss was added alongside Mandy Fields, the chief financial officer (CFO) of cosmetics brand e.l.f Beauty. With Weiss and Fields joining Allbirds' board, the eco-friendly footwear brand now counts eight members on its board. Though the new board additions may seemingly hint at cosmetics ambitions for Allbirds, the company's Co-CEO Tim Brown has clarified that it has no plans to get into that market. Likely, Weiss has been tapped for an Allbirds board position thanks to her position of founding and building a venture-backed, high-growth direct-to-consumer brand. It's notably her first board seat outside Glossier, the popular cosmetics brand she founded. Weiss built Glossier from the ground up starting from a beauty blog known as " Into

Electronics E-Tailer Enjoy Hires CFO, Hints At IPO

Enjoy Technology, an  online  electronics retailer founded by an executive who previously the head of Apple's retail business and also the CEO of retailer JCPenney, has moved to hire its first Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in what hints at plans to go public soon.  Enjoy has hired Fareed Khan as its CFO, with Khan joining the company from Parallel, a consumer goods company. Previously, Khan held respective roles as the CFO of the food giant Kellogg's and food distribution giant US Foods, which he guided through a public listing.  With Khan's experience in managing and guiding public companies as a finance head, it seems that Enjoy has hired him to help prepare it for a public listing. Enjoy is a venture-backed startup that's raised over $350 million in funding and it seems that its investors would likely be calling for an exit for their stakes in the company, wherein a public listing is one of the most common ways to do that. Fareed will oversee Enjoy's global finan

Private Equity Firm Apollo Adds Ex-SEC Chairman Jay Clayton To Board

It seems that the revolving door between top government jobs and those in the high classes of the finance industry is still open, as Apollo Global Management, a private equity giant with over $455 billion under management, has appointed Jay Clayton as Lead Independent Director of its board. Clayton is  the former Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who served under the just concluded Trump administration. Apollo created a new role for Clayton, whose appointment comes shortly after the private equity firm's co-founder and long-time face of the company Leon Black penned his resignation after an investigation regarding his ties to the late American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Black was subject to an investigation after revelations of his dealings with Epstein that involved payments from Black to Epstein to the tune of $158 million . With Black's resignation, it seems that Clayton's appointment to a newly created role of Lead  I

SoftBank Poaches Microsoft's Corporate VC Head

The head of Microsoft's corporate venture capital arm, M12, is leaving the company after being hired by the SoftBank Vision Fund, the mammoth $100 billion investment fund formed by the Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank. Nagraj Kashyap is leaving M12 to take on the role of managing partner at the SoftBank Vision Fund. Bloomberg News first reported of Kashyap's departure and new job on Monday. Joining SoftBank, Kayshap has made a significant step further in his venture capital and investment career that has spanned companies including Microsoft and the chipmaking giant Qualcomm. Before joining Microsoft in 2016 to head its corporate venture fund, Kayshap led Qualcomm Ventures for 12 years. Now, after long stints at the corporate venture arms of two tech giants, Kayshap is joining another venture arm of a tech conglomerate, this time a mammoth $100 billion fund that has deployed tens of billions of dollars into many technology companies. As a managing partner, Kayshap will over

Jeff Bezos To Step Down As Amazon CEO

In a very noteworthy move, Amazon's founder and long-time CEO Jeff Bezos has announced that he'll be stepping down from his role as CEO in the third quarter of 2021 and become the Executive Chairman of the e-commerce giant he founded. He'll be replaced by Andy Jassy, the current CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Andy Jassy has for long been considered the second in command and heir to the Amazon empire after Bezos and this has just been proven. As he steps down, Bezos says that he'll remain involved in Amazon initiatives but now spend more time on his other projects such as the aerospace company Blue Origin, newspaper The Washington Post, and philanthropic initiatives. Bezos will definitely be stepping down in grand style from the mere online bookstore he founded 27 years ago and built into a mammoth e-commerce and technology company. Taken public in 1997, Amazon is currently one of the most valuable publicly-traded companies worldwide, with a market cap of $1.7 trilli

Salesforce Shuffles Leadership Team; CFO Departs

Salesforce, the cloud enterprise software giant that's on the cusp of a deal to buy Slack for $28 billion , has shuffled its leadership team as the company's long-time chief financial officer, Mark Hawkins, has announced his departure. Hawkins is stepping down from the CFO role after over six years at Salesforce and leaving the company for said retirement. Hawkins is leaving after overseeing a period of unprecedented growth for Salesforce, wherein the company's market cap has burgeoned from around $30 billion in 2014 now to over $200 billion. As CFO, he has helped steer a lot of big acquisitions that drove Salesforce's growth. Hawkins will now be replaced in his role of CFO by Salesforce's chief legal officer, Amy Weaver. He'll remain Salesforce's CFO emeritus until October 2021 before he finally departs the company. Mark Hawkins Monetary-wise, Hawkins has done very well for himself, pulling in tens of millions of dollars in compensation over his six years

Intel Has A New CEO: VMware's Pat Gelsinger

The chipmaking company Intel has chosen a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to replace its current leader Bob Swan who has held his role for two years. That new CEO is Pat Gelsinger who's famous for being the CEO of VMware since 2012. He'll now leave VMware to join Intel, a company that he previously worked at in a top position. Gelsinger is well-recognized for his leadership at VMware, during which he significantly transformed the company into a global leader in the cloud infrastructure and other related markets. During his eight-year tenure, VMware's annual revenue grew from $4.6 billion to $10.8 billion. Gelsinger isn't new to Intel as he was once the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the chipmaking company before leaving for EMC and then VMware. Now, he's coming back as the company's CEO, hoping to position it strongly in an era of transformations and improvements in the semiconductor industry. Gelsinger began his tech career at Intel and rose to become the

Gary Cohn Appointed IBM Vice Chairman

Gary Cohn, the former President of the banking firm Goldman Sachs and economic advisor to US President Donald Trump, has been appointed as the Vice Chairman of IBM, a press statement from the company notes. Cohn will join IBM's board and its Executive Leadership Team to work as an advisor to IBM's CEO, Arvind Krishna. IBM marks the seventh board position that Cohn will concurrently hold, the other six being Abyrx, Gro Intelligence, Indago, Nanopay, Starling, and Pallas Advisors. IBM particularly will mark the second major and publicly-traded company that Cohn will help guide, the first being Goldman Sachs where he served as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) from 2006-2016. He left Goldman to take up a job at the Trump White House administration in 2017 but only lasted a year and a few months there. As a highly recognized name in the finance industry, Cohn marks a noteworthy addition to IBM's team.  "I am honored to be joining IBM, one of the world's most

Qualcomm's CEO To Step Down

The chipmaking giant Qualcomm has kicked off 2021 with a leadership change that entails its six-year running CEO Steve Mollenkopf stepping down this year. Mollenkopf has announced that he's retiring from Qualcomm effective on the 30th of June, 2020, and will handover the CEO position to Qualcomm's current President Cristiano Amon. Mollenkopf  is leaving Qualcomm after six years as CEO and 26 years employed with the company and handing over to an incoming CEO that's spent 25 years at Qualcomm and is the company's current President. Mollenkopf began working at Qualcomm in 1994 as an engineer and worked his way up to the CEO position with a tenure that saw Qualcomm strengthen itself as a leader in chipmaking for smartphones. He was also instrumental in diversifying Qualcomm from mobile into newer segments like IoT and Autos. Under  Mollenkopf, Qualcomm notably sparred with  Apple in a legal battle that ended in a lucrative settlement of at least $4.5 billion . He also fac

VMware Sues Ex-COO Who's Now Nutanix's CEO

The cloud software giant VMware has filed a lawsuit against Rajiv Ramaswami, its former Chief Operating Officer (COO) who took up the job of CEO at a competing cloud company, Nutanix, just this December. VMware has filed a suit in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara, against Ramaswami, alleging "material and ongoing breaches of his legal and contractual duties and obligations to VMware." VMware claims that Ramaswami secretly met with executives and board members of Nutanix in preparations to take up the job of CEO for "at least two months" before he left VMware and at the same period wherein he worked to shape VMware's strategic direction. VMware says that Ramaswami didn't disclose his meeting with Nutanix executives and board members which posed a conflict of interest given that Nutanix is a rival to VMware. "Mr. Ramaswami demonstrated poor judgement and had a clear and extended period of conflict of interest," VMw

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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

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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

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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