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Q4 2020: Dropbox Tops $500M Quarterly Sales, Crosses $2B ARR

The online file storage and collaboration company Dropbox has posted its earnings results for the fourth and final quarter of 2020, showing milestones including topping $500 million in quarterly revenue for the first time ever and crossing a $2 billion annual recurring revenue (ARR) rate. Dropbox posted $504.1 million in sales in Q4 2020, up 13% year-over-year. The company ended the quarter with 15.48 million paying users, compared to 14.31 million for the same period last year. Though Dropbox posted record revenues, the company slipped down from three consecutive quarters of profitability to a big loss of $345.8 million in Q4 which's primarily due to a $398.2 million one-time real estate charge as Dropbox shifts its focus from in-office to remote work.  The real estate charge stems from the estimated difference over the remaining terms of Dropbox's office leases and the rent it thinks it can obtain from future sub-leases of office space that it won't require as it shifts m

New IPO Hearsay: Restaurant Payments Company Toast

The latest company to get into the center of rumors of an impending public offering is Toast , a heavily-funded developer of software and hardware used to manage operations and run payments for restaurants. The company is planning an initial public offering that could value it at around $20 billion and has held talks with banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to underwrite a listing, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal . Toast is a ten-year-old startup that's carved a lucrative market for itself providing cloud-based software for managing operational activities and payments for restaurants. The company's main service is payments processing, with its software paired with dedicated hardware, but it still offers additional services and features like payroll processing and email marketing. Toast also has a business division, Toast Capital, that lends money to restaurants signed up on its platform. Basically, the company is akin to Square or PayPal but primarily for

British Fintech TransferWise Rebrands As Wise, Ahead Of IPO

The British fintech company TransferWise has carried out a major rebrand, announcing that it'll now adopt only the second suffix of its name, Wise . TransferWise has launched a new homepage, Wise.com, and says that it'll roll over all its current customers into the domain name by next month March. TransferWise's rebrand as just Wise comes as the company has been reported to be pursuing a soon public offering. Just last month, a report from Sky News said that TransferWise had picked two major wall street banks, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, to serve as lead book-runners for a planned public offering, and it's expected that the company will list in its home base of London. That TransferWise is reported to be eyeing a soon public offering shouldn't be surprising.  Founded in 2010 as a mere money transfer service, the company has expanded rapidly into one of Europe's premier fintech companies with other services including digital bank accounts for individuals a

Roku CEO Cashes Out $270M Stake In 2021

Despite reeling from the effects of a global pandemic that has widely affected economic activities, 2021 has definitely been an excellent year monetarily-wise for some people, and mostly people from the upper economic echelons. One of such people is Anthony Wood, the CEO of the publicly-traded video streaming hardware maker Roku, who's been revealed to have sold over $270 million worth of Roku shares just two months into 2021. According to securities filings , Anthony Wood has converted units of Roku shares into hard cash to the tune of over $270 million this year, with the sales made under a pre-determined trading plan. He's precisely sold $272,632,403 worth of shares in four respective transactions just two months into 2021, the amount being more than what he sold in the whole of 2020. As Roku's founder and long-time CEO, Wood owns a big stake in the company that's worth billions of dollars. It's such that according to Forbes , he commands a personal net worth of

Carlyle Group Bets $200M On South Korea's Kakao Mobility

The American private equity giant Carlyle Group Inc has reached a deal to invest $200 million in Kakao Mobility, a South Korean on-demand transport app that's an offshoot of the domestic tech giant Kakao Corp. Kakao Mobility offers services including online taxi-hailing, bus ticketing, and shuttle reservations and is the largest of its kind mobility app in Korea. The $200 million cash infusion is the second funding round that Kakao Mobility has raised since it was formally spun off from its parent Kakao Corp in 2017. The first was a $437 million investment from the American private equity firm TPG in 2017. Carlyle Group's investment in Kakao Mobility values the company at $3.1 billion, with its Kakao bet coming from the firm's  Carlyle Asia Partners V fund. With its new capital, Kakao Mobility says that it'll pursue business growth in its existing markets and also expand into new markets. It'll leverage Carlyle Group's industry knowledge in Korea to do so. Car

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

Redfin To Buy Online Rentals Company RentPath For $608M

Redfin, the publicly-traded online real estate brokerage, has sealed a deal to buy RentPath, a company that owns a handful of popular online rentals properties including Rent.com , Rentals.com , and  ApartmentGuide.com . Redfin will pay $608 million in cash for RentPath, buying it from its current owners which are the private equity firms TPG Capital and Providence Equity Partners. The recent years have been turbulent for RentPath, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year in February and then agreed to a $588 million takeover from the real estate software and analytics giant CoStar Group. However, CoStar backed out from the takeover deal in December 2020 after the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued to block the sale, with both companies now haggling over a breakup fee  that RentPath says it's entitled to. After its failed proposed sale to CoStar, RentPath has now gotten a slightly bigger $608 million takeover offer from Redfin and accepted it.  Redfin pitches its purcha

Zillow Founder Spencer Rascoff Forms 3rd SPAC To Raise $250M

Spencer Rascoff, the co-founder of the online real estate listings giant Zillow, has made his mark as one of the major beneficiaries of the boom of special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). He launched his first SPAC and raised $350 million in October 2020, and then a second aiming to raise $250 million earlier this month. Now, Rascoff is back with a third SPAC seeking to raise $250 million from an initial public offering (IPO). The third SPAC,  Supernova Partners Acquisition Company III , has filed with the US SEC to raise $250 million by selling 25 million shares for $10 each. Each share unit consists of one share of common stock and one-fourth of a warrant, exercisable at $11.50.  As expected, Supernova Partners Acquisition Company III will seek to merge with a technology company. With the expertise of Rascoff in this space as a serial entrepreneur along with that of his two other partners, private equity veterans Michael Clifton and Robert Reid, it's highly probable that t

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

CrowdStrike Buys London Startup Humio For $400M

CrowdStrike, the publicly-traded cybersecurity company, has made a new big acquisition, this time one from the UK startup sector with a deal to buy Humio , a startup that makes software used for log management and monitoring for security purposes. CrowdStrike will pay $400 million for Humio in a deal that's expected to close at the end of Q1 2021. The $400 million price tag for Humio will mostly be paid with cash while equity awards with CrowdStrike stock account for the rest. The exact split between cash and stock for the deal isn't disclosed. A $400 million exit for Humio marks a big and notable one for the UK startup scene, where exits of this size aren't often seen as in the US. More so, Humio is a barely five-year-old startup founded in 2016, making a $400 million sale to CrowdStrike very lucrative given its short period of existence. Humio is a venture-backed startup that's raised some $32 million in outside funding. Its investors include the likes of Accel and De

Q4 2020: Baidu's Non-Ad Revenues Sprouts Up

Baidu is the Chinese search engine giant that's known as 'China's Google', and just like Google, most of the money made by the Chinese tech giant has come from online advertising. However, the company has in recent years invested heavily to diversify its revenues beyond online advertising, also like Google has done, and has now begun seeing its investments reap fruits. Baidu just posted its quarterly results for the fourth and final quarter of 2020, showing $4.6 billion in revenue that was driven significantly by the rise of its non-advertising businesses. 2020 was the year of the Covid-19 pandemic which negatively affected Baidu's advertising revenue stream while its other businesses increased sales by 52%. Baidu's other businesses include cloud hosting, artificial intelligence software, and the provision of software for connected vehicles. The company has spent billions of dollars in recent years to boost its prowess in those newer markets. In Q4, Baidu posted

Lidar Startup AEye to Go Public Via SPAC Deal

As it looks, lidar startups have been major merger targets for special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) over the past year, with a handful of them having sealed deals to go public through SPAC mergers (e.g. Ouster , Luminar , Velodyne, and Aeva ). Now, the latest lidar startup to join that cohort is AEye , a venture-backed lidar maker based in Dublin, California. AEye has sealed a deal to merge with CF Finance Acquisition Corp. III (Nasdaq: CFAC), a SPAC sponsored by the financial services giant Cantor Fitzgerald. The merger is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year. Under the terms of its merger, AEye will be handed over $230 million in cash held in trust by  CF Finance Acquisition Corp. III, and has also secured a $225 million private-investment-in-public-equity (PIPE) funding round that'll bring its total cash haul to $455 million,  a round that'll see participation from investors including GM Ventures, Intel Capital, and Hella Ventures. Following

Stock Trading App Public.com Raises $220M, Valued At $1.2B

In an era of heightened stock trading from retail investors, it seems that the companies really doing good in this era are those selling shovels in a gold rush. This very month, the popular stock trading app Robinhood raised a single funding round of $3.4 billion  after reeling from the GameStop short squeeze saga . Now, another stock trading app has followed Robinhood's lead to raise a big new round. Public.com, a stock trading app for retail investors that launched only eighteen months ago, has announced that it's raised a new $220 million Series D round that values it at $1.2 billion. The round comes just two months after the company raised a $65 million Series C round and on the heels of it hitting a milestone of 1 million users according to its stats. A mix of big-name investors chipped into the $220 million round, including Tiger Global, electronic duo The Chainsmokers’ Mantis VC, superstar actor Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Inspired Capital, Aglae Ventures, and YouTube sta

US DOJ Seeks More Info On Salesforce's Slack Purchase

In December 2020, Salesforce reached a landmark deal to buy the workplace collaboration software company Slack for a whopping $27.7 billion, marking the company's biggest-ever acquisition since its inception. Although agreed to, the Slack purchase hasn't been completed, still subject to customary due diligence and regulatory approval. Now, it appears that US regulators are gazing into Salesforce's mega-deal to buy Slack with deeper eyes, with the United States Justice Department now demanding that both Salesforce and Slack provide "additional information and documentary material" related to their merger. The demand came from the Justice Department's Antitrust division. Demanding for additional information related to a business deal in what's usually referred to as a “Second Request” isn't out of the norm, but usually signals higher-than-normal scrutiny of a deal. Even, with a $27.7 billion acquisition on the table, it's likely to be expected. Sale

SpaceX Raises $850M, Valued At $74B: Report

Over the past few months, rumors have abounded that SpaceX was tapping into the market for new funds, despite having closed a $1.9 billion round, its largest single round ever, just in August last year. Now, it appears that those rumors have been substantiated, with CNBC reporting that SpaceX has raised a new round of $850 million that values the company at $74 billion. For its report, CNBC cites "people familiar with the financing". It's said that SpaceX raised its new funds by selling shares for $419.99 apiece, seemingly a nod to the $420-per-share Tesla takeover saga that got Elon Musk in hot water with regulators in 2018. SpaceX's last known funding round in 2020 valued it at $46 billion, so it appears that the company's valuation has now shot up by about 60% in less than a year. The new reported round comes a few months after SpaceX made history by being the first private company to send astronauts into orbit to the International Space Station (ISS). Spa

Warren Buffett Goes In On Verizon, Trims Apple Stake

Warren Buffett's investment giant Berkshire Hathaway has made a big investment in the telecoms giant Verizon, with its latest 13-F filing revealing that it holds an $8.6 billion stake in the company. Berkshire reports holding 147 million Verizon shares, a position it built up over the past year. Notably, Berkshire had secured permission from regulators to not disclose a position that it was building up in two mystery companies in the third quarter of 2020, and this was done to postpone the disclosure until the entire positions had been built in order to prevent other investors from rushing in to follow Berkshire's lead and drive up the price. Now, the two 'mystery' companies Berkshire hadn't disclosed appear to have been Verizon and the oil giant Chevron. It holds 147 million Verizon shares worth $8.6 billion and 48.5 million shares in Chevron worth $4.1 billion. As Berkshire built up a big stake in Verizon, the investment conglomerate trimmed its stake in the tech

Hotel Giant Marriott's CEO Dies Aged 62

Arne Sorenson, the CEO of the hotels and hospitality giant Marriott International, has passed away aged 62, the company has announced . He passed away while still holding the job of President and CEO of Marriott on the 15th of February, 2021, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago. Marriott had earlier announced that Sorenson would temporarily reduce his schedule as the company's head to facilitate more demanding treatment for his pancreatic cancer. He apparently later succumbed to the ailment and passed away as a result. Sorenson made his mark as Marriott's CEO by expanding the hospitality giant with the $13-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016. He took up the CEO role at Marriott in 2012 as its first  CEO to not come from the  Marriott family dynasty and the hotel giant's third CEO throughout its nearly ten-decade history. Sorenson first joined Marriott in 1996  after being personally recruited by Bill Marriott, son of Marriott’

Warner Music Buys Stake In Saudi Record Label Rotana Music

The record label giant Warner Music Group (WMG) has purchased a stake in Saudi Arabian music label Rotana Music, which is owned by the billionaire businessman Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud as part of his entertainment company Rotana Media Group. Rotana is known to be the largest entertainment company in the Arab World and was acquired by its Saudi business tycoon owner back in 2003. The exact stake that Warner Music has purchased in Rotana isn't disclosed along with the financial details of the deal. The deal is targeted at expanding Warner Music's presence in the Middle East and North African region, where Rotana has a handful of famous artists signed. Rotana Music has stars under its roster such as Mohamad Abdo of Saudi Arabia and Amr Diab of Egypt. The music label is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and has other branches in Jeddah, Dubai, Kuwait City, Beirut, and Cairo. Warner Music Group officially launched a Middle East division in 2018, covering 17 markets across the

2020: Palantir Posts $1.1B Revenue, $1.17B Loss

The data mining and analytics company Palantir (NYSE:PLTR) has posted its first annual earnings as a public company for the year 2020, reporting $1.1 billion in revenue and a net loss of $1.17 billion. Revenue for the year was up 47% compared to the previous while losses went up by more than 100% over the year.  2020 was Palantir's first year as a publicly-traded company, as the company debuted on the public markets with a direct listing in September. Palantir began trading at $10 per share and now trades at about $29-per-share, and investors are apparently confident in the company's prospects and bestowed it with a market cap of over $50 billion as a result. By numbers, Palantir isn't profitable with $1.17 billion in losses last year. But actually, most of the company's reported loss is due to stock-based compensation for employees and not hard cash, implying that it has a strong business behind the scenes.  In the fourth and final quarter of 2020, Palantir posted a ne

Luxury Car Brand Jaguar To Go All-Electric By 2025

In what's the latest sign of legacy automakers preparing for a future where electric cars are the norm, the premium and luxury car brand Jaguar has announced that it'll become an all-electric brand by 2025, precisely four years from now. The all-electric push is part of Jaguar's parent company Jaguar Land Rover's plan to become a net-zero carbon business by 2039. Already, Jaguar has a fully-electric car on the market, the  Jaguar I-Pace SUV , and has sold over 40,000 units of the vehicle. However, its sister brand Land Rover currently has no fully-electric vehicle on the market but has now said that it'll produce its first in 2024. Although the Jaguar I-Pace SUV has sold over 40,000 units, it appears to have struggled to thrive in a market with hefty competition from other automakers. Also, the Jaguar I-Pace SUV is actually manufactured by an external contractor and not Jaguar itself, meaning that the luxury brand's just-announced plan to become all-electric soo

CoStar Pumps CoreLogic Bid To $6.9B

The real estate software and analytics giant CoStar has pumped up its bid for data provider CoreLogic to $95.76 and 0.1019 shares of CoStar per CoreLogic share, summing up to a total price of $6.9 billion. The pumped-up bid comes after CoStar earlier made a bid to buy CoreLogic for $6.7 billion  but got rebuffed for a lower-priced offer ($6 billion) from the private equity firms Stone Point Capital and Insight Partners. Now, CoStar is apparently hoping that adding $200 million to its earlier $6.7 billion bid will entice CoreLogic and its shareholders to sell to it and not the private equity firms that the company has already reached an agreement to sell to. Obviously, CoStar is not happy that CoreLogic is rebuffing it for a lower-priced deal and has penned a letter  to CoreLogic's shareholders asserting that the company's agreement to sell to private equity groups "indicates a failure to appropriately value the synergies of our [CoStar's] proposal as a strategic bidder

'Buy Now, Pay Later' Firm Affirm Posts First Earnings Report

After going public with a blockbuster listing last month, the 'buy now, pay later' company Affirm (NASDAQ:AFRM) has reported its first quarterly earnings as a public company and posted strong revenues in its fiscal year 2021 second quarter. Affirm posted total revenues of $204 million in its fiscal 2021 second quarter, a 57% increase over the year. The company boosted its gross merchandise volume (GMV) up by 55% over the year to $2.1 billion in the quarter.  Affirm isn't profitable, with a net loss of $31.6 million in its fiscal 2021 second quarter. This is slightly unchanged from a $31 million net loss that it posted in the same quarter last year. Affirm is fresh off an initial public offering that raised $1.3 billion before expenses for the company, and with that, it has enough cash to withstand losses as it works to expand. During the recent quarter which marked its first quarter as a public company, the company completed a major acquisition, purchasing the Canadian &#3

GM Unveils New Chevy Bolt EVs

The American automaker General Motors (GM) is surely stepping up its electric vehicle game on the backs of its plan to spend $27 billion on electric and autonomous vehicle development from 2020 through 2025. It's just unveiled two new additions to its growing electric car lineup, a usual hatchback and a new compact SUV from its popular Chevy Bolt brand. The new electric vehicles from GM are 2022 models, meaning they'll go into production later this year. With the lineup, GM dropped a surprise with a new Chevy Bolt electric utility vehicle (EUV), essentially a compact SUV. It's the first compact SUV to come from the Chevy Bolt brand and represents GM's bigger rush into the electric vehicle market, with plans to launch 30 new EVs by 2025. GM 2022 redesigned Bolt EV (left) and Bolt EUV (right). Chevy Bolt EUV The 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV is notably the first vehicle from the Chevrolet brand to feature GM's 'Super Cruise' driver assistance system. It's similar

Khosla Ventures Forms Three SPACs To Raise $1.2B

The venture capital firm Khosla Ventures is the latest institutional investor to tap into the boom of special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) by filing for three successive SPACs to raise a collective $1.2 billion. Khosla Ventures has filed for three eponymous SPACs;  Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. ,  Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. II , and  Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. III to raise $300 million, $400 million, and $500 million respectively. The three SPACs are each seeking to raise their targeted amounts by selling tens of millions of share units for $10 each. According to their filings, Khosla Ventures' three SPACs won't focus on any particular industry when seeking merger targets. This is a bit surprising given that Khosla Ventures is primarily known for investments in the technology sector. As it seems, Khosla Ventures' SPACs will likely merge with technology companies or perhaps a few out of the many companies that it's backed as a venture capital firm.

LinkedIn, Zynga Founders Form Third SPAC To Raise $850M

The founders of the tech companies LinkedIn and Zynga, by names Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus respectively, have formed their third special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) after debuting their second only three months ago. Their new SPAC, Reinvent Technology Partners Y , has filed to raise $850 million in an initial public offering. The filing for a new SPAC from Hoffman and Pincus comes even as their two previous SPACs haven't formally announced merger deals. Though, there have been rumors of the both of them having respective merger discussions with the insurance startup Hippo and electric aircraft startup Joby Aviation. As expected, Hoffman and Pincus's new SPAC will target to merge with a technology company.  It seems that Hoffman and Pincus are each looking to make their mark in the SPAC world after having previously founded and built major technology companies. Hoffman founded LinkedIn and built it from its infancy through a blockbuster $26 billion sale to Microsoft

South Korean E-Commerce Giant Coupang Files For US IPO

The South Korean e-commerce giant and Amazon archnemesis Coupang has filed for an initial public offering in the US, paving the way for a blockbuster tech listing to come from the country likely this year. Coupang has unveiled its S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an IPO, noting its intention to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol "CPNG". Coupang is the biggest online retailer in South Korea, offering a service that provides quick deliveries of millions of items to households just like Amazon. Often dubbed the "Amazon of Korea", Coupang is a ten-year-old company that leveraged its locality to conquer the e-commerce market in South Korea to a number 1 position and has thrived very well since. From its S-1 filing, Coupang indicates that it posted sales of $12 billion in 2020, nearly double its sales of $6.3 billion in 2019. The company has grown astronomically over the past few years, multiplying annua

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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

Workday (NASDAQ: WDAY), the famous HR/finance software vendor, has made a big new acquisition to support its platform. The company will acquire Vndly , a software platform for companies to manage contract workers. Vndly fits in well in Workday's overall software suite, and the rationale behind the purchase is clear. Vndly is an Ohio-based startup. Workday will pay $510mn to buy it, marking one of Ohio's biggest startup exits this year. Vndly has raised roughly $60mn from VCs, so a $510mn exit is very lucrative and more so for a startup founded just four years ago .  Before now, Vndly and Workday were already close allies. Vndly's platform is integrated with Workday's, with official certification to go. The Mason, Ohio-based startup is part of Workday's global network of endorsed software partners, so Workday didn't even have to look far to snatch its latest acquisition.  Vndly was founded in 2017 by two entrepreneurs,  Shashank Saxena and Narayana Surabhi .

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

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is freshly on the antitrust circuit, seeking to block a merger it deems detrimental to consumers. The agency has filed a lawsuit to block the sale of  Imperial Sugar , a leading American sugar producer, to rival  U.S. Sugar . The DOJ says the proposed deal will make just two sugar producers account for an "overwhelming majority" of refined sugar sales in the U.S. Southeast, U.S. Sugar being one of the two producers. This concentration of power would make consumers pay more for refined sugar, the DOJ says.  Imperial Sugar is owned by Louis Dreyfus Company, a privately-held agricultural giant based in the Netherlands. The company agreed to sell Imperial to rival U.S. Sugar for the sum of $315mn this March.  U.S. Sugar is another privately-held agricultural giant headquartered in Florida. It can produce up to 850,000 tons of sugar annually at its refinery plant in Florida, and buying Imperial would give it two more sugar plants in Kentuc

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

Chipmaking giant Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) has unveiled the financial results for its latest fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2021. The company reported a sharp rise in sales that can only be described as being on a tear. Nvidia posted $7.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 50% year-over-year . The large growth was driven mostly by the company's data center sales, which increased 55% year-over-year to $2.9bn. Similarly, Nvidia's gaming revenue rose 42% year-over-year to $3.2bn. Net income for the quarter was $2.5bn , up 4% from the same period last year. It was an outstanding quarter all-around for Nvidia, a beneficiary of the recent massive growth of the gaming industry and data center boom. Nvidia's GeForce graphics cards are very popular with gamers, and data center operators patronize Nvidia's high-performance graphics processors for artificial intelligence applications.  Save for data centers and gaming, Nvidia has other minor product lines, including automotive chip

Cyber: Apple Sues NSO Group Over Spyware Hacks

Tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group , a controversial Israeli company that sells smartphone hacking tools and has been  implicated in the hacks and surveillance of many notable persons, including journalists, activists, and business executives, by state-sponsored actors. Apple has sued NSO Group for infecting iPhones with spyware to track users of interest. As part of the suit, the tech giant seeks a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple products. NSO Group is best known for its Pegasus spyware that can be covertly installed on mobile phones running most versions of iOS and Android. The company exploits vulnerabilities in both operating systems to introduce spyware into a phone without the user's knowledge. Pegasus was the center of a Washington Post investigation called "The Pegasus Project," revealing that the spyware was used to surveil over 1,000 identified notable individuals across countries with shoddy hu

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