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Showing posts with the label SPAC

Alert: Palantir Goes On SPAC Investing Spree

In our constant quest of tracing signals on the stock markets, we've picked up one subtle signal in the world of special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), and it involves Palantir , the publicly traded data analytics company and a hot stock in its right. It happens that Palantir has gotten keen on investing in SPAC deals, at least six in less than three months. The latest deal was the merger of British telehealth startup Babylon Health which Palantir committed to invest in as part of a PIPE round. Before Babylon Health, Palantir had agreed to invest in the SPAC deals of Wejo , a British automotive data startup;  Lilium , a German air taxi company; Sarcos Robotics , a maker of industrial robots;  Celularity , a clinical-stage biotech company; and drugmaker Roivant Sciences . Palantir's focus on SPAC deals is unique among strategic investors, mainly for the fact that it's betting on more established companies that are often already valued in the billions of dollars. Pa

Bill Ackman's SPAC Confirms Talks With Universal Music

If you're familiar with special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), chances are you known Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, a SPAC formed by billionaire activist investor Bill Ackman. Pershing Square, PSTH for short, is the biggest SPAC on the markets after raising $4bn from its IPO last July.  After lots of merger speculations, Bill Ackman has confirmed discussions for a PSTH deal that's unlike the SPAC deals we're accustomed to.  Normally, a SPAC will merge with a single company by buying a certain percentage of it with its cash and combining their equity, but in PSTH's case, it's in talks to buy a stake in record label Universal Music Group (UMG) and rollover cash left in the SPAC into a separate publicly traded entity that would then seek another merger target. PSTH raised $4bn from investors and then $1.6bn from Ackman's Pershing Square hedge fund making a total of  $5.6bn  on its hand. From this $5.6bn, $4.1bn will be used to purchase UMG shares whil

Markets: Investor Chamath Forms 4 Biotech SPACs

The Chamath has struck again. To the unaware, that Chamath is Chamath Palihapitiya who's known for debuting special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). After launching six SPACs on the public markets, he's filed to launch four more and this time for the biotech industry.  Chamath's firm, Social Capital, in partnership with hedge fund Suvretta Capital Management has formed four SPACs targeting to raise $200mn each. They go by serial names  Social Capital Suvretta I-IV  with the respective tickers DNAA, DNAB, DNAC, DNAD. The four SPACs will list on the Nasdaq stock market. By their filings, they'll seek mergers in the biotech industry, an area with a lot of hot startups right now making potential targets. After getting merger targets for four of his listed SPACs, Chamath didn't slow down to incorporate four more to list on the markets. For the new SPACs, his firm Social Capital switched partners from London-based VC firm  Hedosophia to American hedge fund  Suvret

SPAC: Investor Chamath Makes Bank From SoFi Market Debut

Chamath Palihapitiya is a name that rings bells in the world of special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). That's because he's like the biggest SPAC promoter out there and has participated in over a dozen SPAC deals. Personally, he's launched six SPACs on the public markets. One of Chamath's SPACs just completed a merger with fintech company SoFi and the merger was a successful one that saw SoFi's shares rise by over 10% on the first day of trading. That merger delivered a windfall for Chamath worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Precisely, Chamath's personal stake in SoFi is north of 33 million shares, according to an SEC filing. With SoFi closing up trading on Tuesday at $22.65, those shares are worth about $750mn. Chamath's personal shares in SoFi were gained as part of the shares usually granted to SPAC sponsors like him. Such sponsor shares, typically 20% of common stock, have proved lucrative for SPAC promoters like Chamath who don't even ha

SPAC: Auto Data Startup Wejo To Go Public In $800M Deal

It's yet another day with another SPAC merger. This time, it's Wejo , an automotive data startup backed by investors including automaker General Motors. Wejo has agreed to a deal to merge with Virtuoso Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:VOSO). Wejo is a startup that collects automotive data from manufacturer sensors and sells it as a package to companies looking to gather insights for their businesses. It's a British startup, making it stand out as one of the few startups from the UK to get a SPAC deal. Details: Wejo's SPAC deal values the startup at $800mn including debt. It'll get $330mn in gross proceeds from the merger, consisting of $230mn from Virtuoso and a $100mn PIPE round led by existing investors General Motors and Palantir. For the $100mn PIPE round, Wejo says it's holding talks with unnamed strategic investors that could add $25mn to it.  Following the close of the merger, Wejo will have an estimated $300mn of cash and $32mn of debt. The cash balance is amp

SPAC: Fintech Startup Acorns To Go Public In $2.2B Deal

A major savings-investing app serving Millenials in the US market is the latest in a long line of fintech startups going public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company. That startup is Acorns , a banking app with over 8 million users. Merger Details Acorns has agreed to merge with Pioneer Merger Corp. (NASDAQ: PACX). The merger terms value the nine-year-old fintech startup at $2.2bn. Acorns' merger comes with a private placement round from a mix of institutional investors including BlackRock, Wellington Management, and TPG's The Rise Fund. Following its close, Acorns will be a public company with a $450mn cash balance. Acorns' merger is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021. Highlights Acorns is a banking app targeting everyday consumers. It offers a way for users to save money with dedicated debit and credit cards as well as invest spare change from purchases into index funds. On the investing side, Acorns has over $3bn under management.

Markets: Private Equity Firm Vista Forms 2 SPACs

Vista Equity Partners, a major tech-focused private equity firm, appears to have followed many firms of its kind to take interest in the market for special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). It's prepared paperwork for two SPACs, as hinted at by filings to the SEC. There have been two SPACs documented with the US SEC,  V-Acquisition I Corp. and V-Acquisition II Corp. , that trace back to Vista. In both linked filings, the business address listed is "401 Congress Avenue Suite 3100 Austin, TX 78701", the exact same address as Vista's Texas headquarters. Also, both SPACs are incorporated in the Cayman Islands, a usual incorporation territory for Vista's past funds. Both of these, along with the "V" names widely point to both SPACs being affiliated with Vista, an affiliation that we spotted by chance. The two SPACs are barely incorporated and haven't filed for their respective IPOs. They were both registered with the SEC on the 29th of April, 2021.

SPAC: EV Charger Maker Tritium To Go Public In $1.2B Deal

A company that makes fast chargers for electric vehicles is the latest one in the much-hyped EV industry that'll go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). That company is Tritium , an Australian company that'll debut on the US public markets. Tritium has agreed to merge with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation II (NASDAQ: DCRN). The merger values the EV charger maker at $1.2bn. From the merger, Tritium will get gross proceeds of $403mn. Unlike most mergers, all of those proceeds will come from the SPAC, with no accompanying private placement.  The merger will provide an exit for Tritium which was founded two decades ago by some veterans of the e-mobility industry, specifically former members of a solar car-racing team at a time when electric cars weren't in vogue. Tritium makes DC fast-charging hardware for electric cars, including electric pumps the size of big refrigerators. It supplies automakers including Ford and Volkswagen

SPAC: Mobile Game Studio Jam City To Go Public In $1.2B Deal

A major mobile game developer in the US has sealed a deal to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company. That game developer is Jam City , one behind hit titles including  Cookie Jam and Panda Pop . Merger Details Jam City has agreed to merge with DPCM Capital, Inc. (NYSE: XPOA) to become a publicly traded company. DPCM is a SPAC formed by former Uber executive Emil Michael. It raised $300mn from an IPO in October 2020. As agreed, Jam City's merger values the mobile games studio at $1.2bn. The merger will see Jam City get $300mn held in trust by DPCM Capital plus a $100mn PIPE round from private investors. From that money, Jam City will pay $175mn to buy Ludia, a Canada-based mobile game developer. Also, part of Jam City's SPAC proceeds ($88mn) will provide liquidity to an early investor named Austin Ventures. All-in, Jam City will have roughly $115mn of cash at hand after the merger. Revenue Stats Jam City's  investor presentation  indicates bo

SPAC: E-Scooter Startup Bird To Go Public In $2.3B Deal

It seems that the SPAC boom is gradually coming back after getting its wings clipped by an accounting crackdown from the US SEC. Just this week, there have been big SPAC merger deals including biotech startup Ginkgo Bioworks ($15bn) and online mortgage provider Better ($7.7bn) . Now, there's another big SPAC deal to add to this week, that of electric scooter sharing network Bird. Bird has agreed to merge with  Switchback II Corporation (NYSE: SWBK) to become a public company. Details: Bird's merger terms value the e-scooter startup at $2.3bn.  From the merger, Bird is getting  $316mn of cash held in trust by  Switchback II Corporation plus  a $160mn PIPE round led by asset manager Fidelity. After the merger, Bird will add $428mn of net cash proceeds to its current balance sheet of $667mn drawn from venture capital investments. Bird made hay as a pioneer e-scooter network to raise over $800mn in venture funding to fund its fast-growing operations. According to its investor p

SPAC: Mortgage Startup Better To Go Public In $7.7B Deal

A startup offering home mortgages online is going public in a big merger deal with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). That startup is, one that funded $24bn worth of mortgages on its platform in 2020 alone. was a major beneficiary of the hot US real estate market that came with the pandemic last year. It's in fact that it funded almost five times the mortgages it did in 2020 than in the previous year 2019. Details: has agreed to merge with Aurora Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: AURC) and become a publicly-traded company. The terms of the merger values Better at $7.7bn on a post-money equity basis. From its merger, Better is getting $220mn of cash held in trust by Aurora Acquisition Corp. plus a $1.5bn PIPE round led by SoftBank, a major investor in Better before now.  Out of the total $1.7bn cash that Better will get from its merger, $950mn will be paid out to its shareholders while it's left with $778mn for general corporate purposes. Be

Sam Altman's SPAC Cuts Fundraise Target From $1B To $400M

A special-purpose acquisition company co-founded by former Y Combinator CEO Sam Altman has cut its large fundraising target by over half, at a time of lowered activity in the SPAC market brought about by an accounting crackdown from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This March, Altman along with investor Michael Klein formed an SPAC named  Altc Acquisition Corp with a target to raise $1bn from an IPO. Now, that target has been cut down by much to $400mn, as indicated by an amended SEC filing . The 60% cut in Altc's fundraising target points to a SPAC market no longer with heightened investor enthusiasm after a crackdown from regulators. The SEC recently issued a warning on accounting practices by SPAC sponsors, particularly on stock warrants, and also on the legal risks of the brash forward-looking statements often issued by SPACs to their shareholders. Apart from the SEC's crackdown, there's also been concerns of too many SPACs chasing too few potential t

SPAC: Biotech Startup Ginkgo Bioworks To Go Public In $15B Deal

A biotech startup based in Boston is going public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in one of the biggest such deals. That startup is Ginkgo Bioworks , which has agreed to merge with a SPAC in a deal valuing it at $15bn. Details: Ginkgo Bioworks has agreed to merge with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SRNG). The terms of the merger value Ginkgo at $15bn on a pre-money basis. With the merger, Gingko will go public with $2.5bn in cash proceeds, consisting of $1.7bn from  Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. and a $775mn PIPE round committed by investors such as Cathie Wood's  Ark Invest and Counterpoint Global, an offshoot of Morgan Stanley. With a $15bn valuation, Ginkgo is one of the biggest SPAC deals to come out of the recent boom of SPAC mergers. It'll see Ginkgo go public 13 years after its founding and roughly $800mn in venture funding raised over that period. Highlights: Ginkgo was founded in 2008 by scientists from MIT.

LinkedIn, Zynga Founders Launch 4th SPAC To Raise $220M

The formidable duo of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus have moved to launch their fourth special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), even at a time when new SPAC launches have cooled down due to an accounting crackdown from the US SEC. Hoffman and Pincus have formed their fourth SPAC, or blank-check company as they're fondly called. The SPAC is named  Reinvent Technology Partners X and has filed to raise $220mn from an initial public offering.  Like their three previous SPACs, Reinvent Technology Partners X is looking to merge with a technology company, a domain where Hoffman and Pincus have much sway. Two of Hoffman and Pincus's prior SPACs have already struck merger deals to take public Joby Aviation, an air taxi company, and Hippo, an insurance startup. Joby and Hippo were valued at $6.6bn and $5bn respectively according to their deal terms. After a successful career where they founded two major technology companies, Hoffman and Pincus have recen

SPAC: Lodging Startup Sonder To Go Public In $2.2B Deal

Sonder, a lodging startup that's a famous rival to Airbnb, has agreed to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It's one of a few hot SPAC deals to be announced recently after a noticeable slump in the number of SPAC deals caused by an accounting crackdown from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Details: Sonder will merge with Gores Metropoulos II (NASDAQ: GMII), a SPAC sponsored by private equity billionaires Alec Gores and Dean Metropolous. The merger is for an agreed pro-forma enterprise value of $2.2 billion and over $700 million of net cash to be in Sonder's coffers at closing. From the merger, Sonder is getting $450 million of cash held in trust by  Gores Metropoulos II.  A further $200 million in PIPE proceeds have been committed by investors including BlackRock, Moore Capital Management, Fidelity, and The Gores Group which's the sponsor of the SPAC that Sonder is merging with. The merger is expected to be com

SPAC: Record $40B Merger Deal Sealed By Singapore's Grab

Pertaining true to rumors, Grab, a Singapore-based ride-hailing giant dominating Southeast Asia, has officially agreed to a deal to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).  This time, Grab isn't like other mergers as the $39.6 billion  pro forma equity value that it's negotiated makes the merger the biggest one to date. Deal Details: Grab is merging with Altimeter Growth Corp. (Nasdaq: “AGC”) and will start trading on the Nasdaq exchange with the symbol "GRAB" after the merger.  From its merger, Grab will receive roughly $4.5 billion in gross cash proceeds with most of it coming from a $4 billion PIPE round led by a $750 million commitment from Altimeter Capital, the very sponsor of the SPAC it's merging with.  Grab's merger is not just the biggest ever SPAC deal but is also expected to mark the biggest US equity offering by a company in Southeast Asia. It sets Grab on the global stage outside Southeast Asia where it doesn'

Larry Page's Air Taxi Startup Sues Rival Archer Aviation

An air taxi startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page has initiated legal battles with one of its main rivals. The startup, Wisk Aero, is suing rival Archer Aviation, which's on its way to the public markets through a SPAC merger . Wisk Aero, a joint venture between aerospace giant Boeing and Larry Page's air taxi startup Kitty Hawk, is accusing Archer of intellectual property theft facilitated by former employees who left Wisk to work for the company.  Wisk alleges that certain former employees that previously worked for the company before heading to Archer downloaded thousands of files related to its confidential aircraft designs, component designs, system designs, manufacturing, and test data. To make its case, Wisk has centered on an aircraft design recently unveiled by Archer which's strikingly similar to a design that it developed and submitted in a confidential patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office back in January 2020. It's shown in the

UK Online Used-Car Dealer Cazoo Rides Into $7B SPAC Merger Deal

Cazoo, an online used-car sales startup operating in the UK, has reached an agreement to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) founded by American billionaire investor Dan Och in a deal valuing it at $ 7 billion. Cazoo, a barely three-year-old startup, is merging with AJAX I, a SPAC listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: AJAX). Through the merger, Cazoo is getting $805 million of cash held in trust by AJAX I, plus an $800 million PIPE round coming from investors including BlackRock, Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Fidelity, and Mubadala Capital. A barely three-year-old startup sealing an exit with a valuation of $7 billion on the public markets wildly signals booming times for the stock markets. Though it's existed for a relatively short time, Cazoo is a fast-growing startup that says it expects revenue in 2021 to approach $1 billion. Though with rapidly rising revenues, Cazoo doesn't seem to be currently profitable and hasn't disclosed whethe

Official: WeWork To Go Public With $9B SPAC Deal

Pertaining true to recent rumors , SoftBank-owned office leasing company WeWork has sealed a deal to become publicly-traded through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It's announced that it's merging with BowX Acquisition Corp in a deal valuing it at $9 billion. BowX Acquisition Corp is a SPAC sponsored by investment firm Bow Capital Management and is advised by retired basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. It raised $420 million from its IPO in August last year. With its merger, WeWork is getting $483 million of cash held in trust by BowX plus an extra $800 million PIPE round committed by investors including Fidelity, BlackRock, Starwood Capital Group, and Insight Partners. Totally, it'll get $1.3 billion of cash proceeds from its merger. WeWork's past has definitely not been forgotten, being the poster child for excessive startup exuberance  under the leadership of its former CEO Adam Neumann who was then ousted by the company's board led by

Mobile App Monetization Company ironSource To Go Public With $11B SPAC Deal

Just that moment when you start to chill after taking a break from writing about numerous SPAC merger deals, there's that new one to always pop up and crash the break, and that new one today is ironSource, a mobile app monetization company based in Israel. ironSource has announced an agreement to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by private equity firm Thoma Bravo. It'll merge with Thoma Bravo Advantage (NYSE: TBA) in a deal valuing it at $11.1 billion. Thoma Bravo Advantage raised $1 billion from an initial public offering (IPO) in January, money that'll now be handed over to ironSource with its merger, plus a $1.3 billion PIPE round committed to the company by a mix of investors including Tiger Global, Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Wellington Group, investment firm Fidelity, and hedge fund Baupost Group. From its merger, ironSource will get $2.3 billion of cash proceeds, marking one of the biggest SPAC deals of the past year. ironS

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Pokémon Go Creator Niantic Raises $300M, Valued At $9B

Niantic , an augmented reality (AR) company whose products include the famous  Pokémon Go game, has raised a big new round of funding. It's raised $300mn in funding at a valuation of $9bn. All the funding came from just one investor; Coatue , a New York-based hedge fund famous for investing in many blue-chip tech startups. With its new funding, Niantic says it'll invest in current games and new apps and expand its AR developer platform called Lightship . The company says it's set on building the "real-world metaverse," jumping on the bandwagon popularized by Facebook's parent firm, Meta.  The base for Niantic's metaverse vision is the Lightship developer platform which it launched this month. It's a platform for developers to build augmented reality apps and experiences, drawing from Niantic's tools that helped create its hit  Pokémon Go game. To draw creators to Lightship, Niantic has also set up a $20mn venture fund to invest in AR startups

Deal: Workday Buys Ohio Startup Vndly For $510M

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Amazon, Apple Fined $230M For Reseller Collusion In Italy

Tech giants Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) have been handed sizeable fines by the Italian government following an investigation into alleged reseller collusion between both companies. Amazon was fined €135mn ($151mn) and Apple  €69mn ($78mn), totaling $229mn .  The fine was levied by the  Italian Competition Authority . According to the agency, Apple and Amazon had a contractual agreement to allow  select resellers to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon's Italian marketplace. The agency said that the selection was applied in a "discriminatory" way that violated European Union rules and affected price competition. According to the  Italian Competition Authority, at least 70% of local consumer electronics purchases are made on Amazon, making it a dominant retailer. This dominance, therefore, demands a "level playing field" for retailers that sell on Amazon's marketplace, the agency said. This is the nth time Amazon is getting in the cr

Antitrust: US DOJ Sues To Block Major Sugar Industry Merger

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Alt-Meat Maker Impossible Foods Raises $500M In Fresh Funding

A leading maker of plant-based meat substitutes, Impossible Foods , has obtained a fresh cash infusion from VCs. It has  raised $500mn in new funding, bringing the total amount of funding it has raised since inception to $2bn.  The latest round was provided entirely by existing investors doubling down on Impossible Foods.  Mirae Asset Global , a Korean investment firm, led the round and was joined by other unnamed existing investors.  It's evident that investors are longing for Impossible Foods, a leading brand in the nascent market for plant-based meat substitutes. There's clearly huge potential for plant-based meat substitutes, driven by an increasing vegan population and the appeal to lower the carbon footprint that spurs from meat consumption. To that end, Impossible Foods is growing rapidly. Its products can now be found in more than 20,000 retail stores, compared to 150 as of March 2020, and 40,000 restaurants globally. Over the past year, Impossible has launched in ne

Deal: KKR Makes $37B Buyout Offer For Telecom Italia

Private equity giant KKR (NYSE: KKR) has ventured into Italy for its latest buyout deal. The firm has offered to buy Telecom Italia (BIT: TIT), the largest telecom provider in Italy, in a deal worth  €33bn ($37bn), including debt. KKR offered 0.505 Euros in cash for each outstanding  Telecom Italia share, a 46% premium to the last closing share price before the offer. That sums up to  €10.7bn ($12bn) in cash to be paid for Telecom Italia, and including the telecom firm's large net debt of €22.5bn ($25bn) sums up to $37bn in total.  KKR's offer is non-binding and must be approved by Telecom Italia's board members and majority shareholders before the deal goes through. Approval must also come from the Italian government, which was veto power over the takeover of the formerly state-owned telecoms firm.  Telecom Italia gave no indication that it'll approve the deal. If approval is given, it'll mark one of the biggest buyout deals of a European company by an America

Earnings: Nvidia Is On A Tear

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Cyber: Apple Sues NSO Group Over Spyware Hacks

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Markets: Retail Giant Authentic Brands Scraps IPO Plans

Authentic Brands Group , a New York-based retail conglomerate, has suspended its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) after already filing an S-1 document with the US SEC. The company has instead opted to raise private funding to fund expansion in the main time. Authentic Brands Group's portfolio retail brands include apparel retailer Forever21 , men's suit maker Brooks Brothers , and department store chain Barneys New York . The company is akin to an old people's home where once-vibrant retail brands go to stay after they've gone past their peak. Authentic buys these befallen retail companies and makes money from what's left of them through licensing deals.  Over the years, Authentic has relied on hefty venture funding to assemble its constellation of old-guard brands. An IPO was supposed to raise even more money for expansion but has been set aside in favor of private funding.  Authentic is  rather selling  equity stakes to private equity firm CVC Capital

Markets: IoT Startup Samsara Files For IPO

The latest tech startup to board the IPO train is Samsara , a VC-backed startup that makes internet-of-things (IoT)-based fleet monitoring hardware and software for logistical operators. It has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC, showing its intention to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Samsara has raised nearly $1bn from VCs including Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global, and General Catalyst, with a valuation of $5.4bn from its last funding round. The company's co-founders sold a previous startup named Meraki to Cisco for $1.2bn . As expected, Samsara's S-1 filing gives a deep glimpse into the company's business with information not publicly disclosed before. The company has been rather secretive over the years, making this long-awaited information. We've extracted some important information so you don't have to, mostly the financial stuff. Samsara brought in $303mn in revenue in the nine months ended October 2021, compared to $174mn in the same