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Alert: Mudrick Capital Buys AMC Stock, Cashes Out Swiftly

Movie theater chain AMC Entertainment has been one of the major "meme" stocks stirred up by hype from retail investors. Its shares are up 1,150% year-to-date despite its movie theater business being battered by the pandemic. Recently, AMC announced that it sold $231mn in newly issued shares to Mudrick Capital, a New York-based hedge fund specializing in distressed assets. With the sale, Mudrick gave clout to AMC stock with great reception from retail investors. Now, it appears that Mudrick was in to make a quick buck from AMC just like the many retail investors hyping the stock. A Bloomberg report said that Mudrick sold all its AMC shares on Tuesday, the very day that the movie theater chain announced Mudrick's investment. According to the report, Mudrick Capital sold its AMC shares after concluding that the stock was 'overvalued'. Such conclusion isn't hard to come to given AMC's stock market play over the past year. It appears that Mudrick saw it fit

Games: Take-Two Buys Top Eleven Maker Nordeus For $380M

Take-Two Interactive, the gaming company behind the popular "Grand Theft Auto" and "NBA 2K" series, has bought a soccer game developer to add to its roster of games. It's bought Nordeus , the maker of the Top Eleven mobile soccer game. Take-Two's deal to buy Nordeus sums up to $378mn, of which $315mn will be paid upfront and the remaining $63mn as conditional earnouts. For the amount paid upfront, it's split into $225mn in cash and $90mn in stock. Buying Nordeus for $378mn marks a pace-setting deal for a mobile games maker based in Serbia. It's rare to hear of such a major acquisition coming from the Serbian tech and gaming industries. Nordeus's game, Top Eleven , is a top mobile soccer management game globally. Its Serbian developer claims the game has 240 million registered users. Take-Two has a reputation for expanding with acquisitions, especially in the mobile games space, and Nordeus is its latest target in that regard. Its last acquisitio

Deal: Stack Overflow Sold To Prosus For $1.8B

If you're a software developer, chances are you know  Stack Overflow , the go-to Q&A site for developers. Well, there's big news in that regard, as Stack Overflow has agreed to be bought by Prosus , the foreign holding company of South African tech giant Naspers. Prosus is paying $1.8bn to buy Stack Overflow, marking a solid exit for the thirteen-year-old company. At the price, it's Prosus's biggest investment in the world of online learning. Stack Overflow getting sold to Prosus may be good news or bad news, depending on who you ask. For Stack Overflow's shareholders, it's likely very good news, but for the developers contributing the huge stacks of content on the site, they may not be that happy. With its sale to Prosus at a price of $1.8bn, it's possible that the acquiring company would seek to recoup and justify its investment with serious monetization. In that case, there could be a paywall coming to Stack Overflow and that's not likely to sit

Deal: Etsy Buys Shopping App Depop For $1.6B

There's a new big acquisition on the block and it's that of a popular American e-commerce company buying a popular UK-based used clothing e-tailer. Don't spend much time guessing, the e-commerce company is Etsy and the used clothing e-tailer is Depop . Etsy has agreed to a deal to buy Depop for a big amount of money, and it's a pace-setting deal for the UK startup industry this year. Details Etsy will pay $1.6bn in cash to buy Depop. It's Etsy's biggest acquisition so far in its existence. Depop is a platform for buying and selling used clothing that's popular with millennials. It's just like Etsy in the sense that it doesn't sell goods of its own but is a marketplace for buying and selling between its users while it takes a cut of transactions as revenue. Depop is an ideal acquisition for Etsy given their overlap. The app is popular in the UK and the US which are also major markets for Etsy.  With a $1.6bn exit, Depop is setting a pace for e-comme

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

Deal: PE Firms KKR, CD&R To Buy Cloudera For $5.3B

Two big private equity firms have teamed up to acquire Cloudera , a publicly-traded cloud analytics company. Those two firms are KKR and  Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) , and they'll pay $5.3bn in cash to buy Cloudera from public shareholders. The Cloudera acquisition is for $16 per share, a 24% premium to the company's closing share price on Friday, the 28th of May, 2021. Cloudera's go-private deal comes four years after its IPO in 2017. A year after it went public, it merged with a rival named Hortonworks in a $5.2bn deal .  Cloudera was once a shining beacon in the cloud space but has gradually lost its shine. The Hadoop open-source data analytics framework that the company's business is based on has lost out to other rival frameworks such as Apache Spark and put a hole in its business. A struggling tech company getting bought out by private equity firms is a scenario that's been played out many times with Cloudera as the latest. As usual, the private

Markets: Doughnut Chain Krispy Kreme Files For IPO

Krispy Kreme, the popular global doughnut chain, has filed for a US IPO. The company has unveiled its S-1 filing with the US SEC, showing its plans to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange.  This isn't the first time that Krispy Kreme is heading for the public markets. It was a public company from 2000 to 2016 before getting bought out by its current owner JAB Holding Company. JAB is a German family-controlled conglomerate. After five years under private ownership, Krispy Kreme is now set to start trading on the Nasdaq stock market again. Before its takeover, the company had some operational and financial issues, with sales falling low after a few years of outsized demand.  Here, we're breaking down some of the most important bits gotten from Krispy Kreme's S-1 filing, mostly on its revenues. Details Krispy Kreme had $1.1bn in sales in its most recent fiscal year ended January 3, 2021. That was up compared to $959mn in 2019 and $796mn in 2018. It's such that Krispy Kreme&

China Electronics E-Tailer Aihuishou Files For US IPO

A top online marketplace for used electronics in China is set to soon hit the US public markets. It's  Aihuishou , a company backed by investors including China's JD.com.  Aihuishou has filed for an IPO on the US markets. It's set to list on the New York Stock Exchange.  From its F-1 filing with the US SEC, great insight is provided into  Aihuishou's business with information publicly disclosed for the first time. Here, we're breaking down some of the most important bits from the filing. By the Numbers Aihuishou made 4.9bn Chinese yuan ($770mn) in revenue in 2020, compared to 3.9 billion yuan ($610mn) in 2019. As an online marketplace for used electronics, the company primarily makes money by taking a cut from sales transactions made on its platform. Aihuishou isn't profitable on a net basis, reporting a net loss of 471mn yuan ($74mn) in 2020, down from 705mn yuan ($111mn) in 2019. With a history of losses over the past three years, Aihuishou has sustained its

Turkish E-Commerce Firm Hepsiburada Files For US IPO

The second-biggest e-commerce company in Turkey has filed for an initial public offering in the US. The company is Hepsiburada.com , formally known as D-Market Elektronik Hizmetler ve Ticaret AS. Hepsiburada has filed for an IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The filing comes after the company more than doubled its sales in 2020 compared to 2019, as the Covid pandemic led to a massive surge in online shopping. Here, we're breaking down some of the most important stats gotten from Hepsiburada's F-1 filing with the US SEC. By the Numbers In 2020,  Hepsiburada earned 6.4bn Turkish liras ($750mn) in revenue. 2020 was a very good year for the company thanks to the surge in online shopping, wherein it more than doubled its revenue from 2.6bn  Turkish liras  ($307mn) in 2019. Hepsiburada isn't profitable on a net basis, reporting a net loss of 475mn  Turkish liras ($56mn) in 2020. At least, the company's fast-growing sales justify such a loss which isn't that big relative

Earnings: Sales Soar For China's Meituan

Meituan, a fast-growing "super-app" in China, has dropped its latest earnings report for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. The report showed soaring sales at the company, with quarterly revenue more than doubling over the year. In its report, Meituan touted China's effective measures to contain the Covid pandemic as a focal point of its strong business in the first quarter of 2021.  Meituan is a "super app", a term fondly used to refer to single apps covering lots of services. In Meituan's case, its app covers online retail, food delivery, travel, logistics, advertising, and its likes.  Details Meituan reported $5.8bn in revenue in Q1 2021, up 121% year-over-year. The high growth came thanks to heavy investments that Meituan is making to expand its business, and as such, the company's net loss widened to $752mn compared to $266mn in the previous year. Meituan's business was propelled by the growth of its food delivery and hotel booking and travel se

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

Markets: Software Startup Sprinklr Files For IPO

A software startup coming from the "Silicon Alley" in New York City is about to hit the public markets. That startup is Sprinklr , a SaaS platform designed to help enterprises monitor and interact with customers, i.e a customer experience platform. Sprinklr has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC for an IPO. It's on track to list on the New York Stock Exchange.  As usual, the S-1 filing provides great insight into Sprinklr's business with information not publicly known before, mostly on its revenue stats. We've broken down some of that information here to make it an easy read. By The Numbers Sprinklr made $387mn in revenue in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2021. It made $324mn in the year before. Though with fast-growing revenue, Sprinklr isn't profitable on a net basis. It reported a net loss of $41mn in 2021 and $39mn in the previous year. In the three months ended April 30, 2021, Sprinklr brought in $111mn in sales. The bulk of Sprinklr's revenue

Analysis: Salesforce Drops Q1' 21 Earnings Report

CRM software giant Salesforce has unveiled its latest quarterly earnings results for its fiscal 2022 first quarter, in actuality the quarter ended April 30, 2021. “We had the best first quarter in our company’s history,” CEO Marc Benioff noted. For the first time ever, Salesforce provided the quarterly revenue breakdown for two of its biggest acquisitions, MuleSoft and Tableau Software. That breakdown offers clues about what's about to be Salesforce's biggest acquisition, its $28bn purchase of Slack. By The Numbers Salesforce had $6bn in revenue in the quarter, up 23% year-over-year. Net income was $469mn. Out of $6bn, MuleSoft and Tableau Software respectively brought in $380mn and $285mn in revenue, with MuleSoft's up 49% year-over-year.  Salesforce bought MuleSoft for $6.5bn in 2018 and Tableau for $15.7bn in 2019. Tableau and MuleSoft are its first and second-biggest acquisitions to date, about to be eclipsed by the Slack deal which hasn't yet closed. The high p

Medical Social Site Doximity Files For IPO

An under-the-radar but very successful social networking site for doctors is about to hit the public markets. It's Doximity , a site billed as the "LinkedIn for Doctors". It's filed for an initial public offering on the US markets. As expected for domestic companies holding an IPO, Doximity has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC. The filing provides great insight into Doximity's business, showing that of an under-the-radar but very successful and profitable company. We're pointing out some of the most important bits from Doximity's S-1 filing, beginning with its revenue details. Revenue Details In its most recent fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, Doximity made $207mn in revenue and a net income of $50mn. In the previous year, it made $116mn and a net income of $29mn. Doximity has been profitable in its past three fiscal years, a rarity among many tech companies going public today. It has also been fast-growing, with revenues growing from $86mn in 201

China's Full Truck Alliance Files For US IPO

The biggest on-demand trucking startup in China, Full Truck Alliance , has filed for an initial public offering on the US markets. The company, also known as the Manbang Group, has unveiled an F-1 filing with the US SEC as required for foreign companies listing in the US. Full Truck Alliance (FTA) has filed to list on the New York Stock Exchange. As usual, the company's F-1 filing provides great insight into its business with information not publicly disclosed before, and we're pointing out some of that here. To start, Full Truck is a platform connecting shippers and truckers on-demand. It makes money by taking a cut of the shipping deals transacted on its platform. By the numbers: FTA made $396mn revenue in 2020, compared to $379mn in the previous year. It's largely not profitable on a net basis, reporting a $532mn net loss in 2020. FTA claims to be the world's largest on-demand digital freight platform. By its reporting, it fulfilled $27bn worth of orders in 2020 and

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: Investor Thomas Tull Makes Bank From Figs IPO

Earlier this month, Figs, a medical apparel startup,  filed for an IPO . It just completed its debut on the public markets and now trades on the New York Stock Exchange, with a valuation of $4.6bn.  Figs' IPO represents a very successful one for an eight-year-old direct-to-consumer startup. It built a major name for itself as a maker of fancy and fashionable medical apparel, though it's drawn some controversy for that. Before Figs' IPO, it was a privately-held startup backed by investors including Thomas Tull , a billionaire media mogul who made his fortune founding Legendary Entertainment. Legendary is a movie financier and producer with many popular titles including the Godzilla series. After selling Legendary for $3.5bn in 2016, Tull parlayed his fortune into major investments in startups, and Figs was one of his investments. He bought a majority stake in Figs with a $65mn investment in 2017. The stake was bought via his firm Tulco Holdings . With a majority stake, T

Earnings: Chipmaker Nvidia On A Tear

One of the world's best-known chipmakers, Nvidia, has dropped its latest quarterly earnings results, and it shows that of a company on a tear financially. Nvidia reported record sales in the quarter ending May 2, 2021, pulled up by its strong business of selling chips for gaming hardware and data centers. By The Numbers: For the first quarter ending May 2, 2021, Nvidia reported $5.7bn in sales, up 84% year-over-year and 13% from the previous quarter. Gaming chips brought in roughly half of its sales with $2.8bn while Data Center chips pulled in $2.1bn. Save for gaming and data centers, Nvidia also has a strong business of selling chips for automobiles and professional visual rendering. Its revenue from those sectors respectively came at $372mn and $154mn.  Auto sales stayed flat year-over-year while professional visualization rose 21%. Nvidia reported a record net income of $1.9bn in the quarter. Forecast: For its next quarter, Nvidia is forecasting $6.3bn in revenue, plus or minus

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

Deal: Amazon To Buy MGM Studios For $8.5B

E-commerce giant Amazon has agreed to buy one of the biggest names in Hollywood, MGM Studios . It's the film studio behind the popular James Bond series, nearly a century old in existence. Amazon has agreed to buy MGM Studios for a price of $8.5bn. It marks the e-commerce giant's second-biggest acquisition after it bought Whole Foods for $14bn in 2017.  With MGM, Amazon is coughing up much money to strong-arm its media business. MGM has a very recognized content library including the James Bond and Tomb Raider series that'll boost the prowess of Amazon Studios by a great deal. As Amazon itself notes, the secret sauce of buying MGM is "the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team".  MGM's content library now to be owned by Amazon will do much for its Amazon Prime Video streaming business. With exclusivity of many popular films, it'll be a key customer attraction for Amazon's vid

Markets: IAC Spins Off Vimeo As A Separate Public Company

Internet conglomerate IAC has completely spun off one of its prized properties, video site Vimeo , into a separate publicly-traded company. The deal was completed five months after IAC announced its intent to spin off the video site. Now, Vimeo is a separate public company run independently from IAC with its own board of directors. It's led by CEO Anjali Sud, now one of the few female CEOs of an American public company. Vimeo's market debut wasn't so receptive on the part of investors, with its stock falling down nearly 10%. It slid from $47.15 a share at the opening to $44 at market close on Tuesday. At its current share price, Vimeo has a market cap of about $8bn. Vimeo is one of the major public company spin-offs to come from IAC, the eleventh in number. IAC in its history has spun off separate public companies including online dating giant Match Group and travel site Expedia. Vimeo is a popular video site offering video hosting, marketing, and creation tools to profess

Big Tech: D.C. Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

With the eyes of many US lawmakers on "Big Tech", the top lawyer of the capital city of the US has filed an antitrust lawsuit against one of the 'Big Tech' companies - Amazon .  The Attorney General of Washington, D.C., Karl Racine, has filed a formal antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that its pricing practices lead to higher costs for consumers and limit choice in America's online retail market. The lawsuit against Amazon centers on how it negotiates with third-party sellers on its platform. The D.C. AG alleges that the fees Amazon charges third-party sellers, up to 40% in some cases, end up getting passed on to consumers in the form of price increases causing higher-than-normal costs. The lawsuit also singles out Amazon's known practice of restricting third-party sellers on its platform to offer their same goods on other platforms at lower prices, with penalties incurred if violated. Such practice is termed anti-competitive. With Amazon known to do

Jobs: Peloton To Open $400M US Factory

The pandemic of last year brought about many economic changes, with some companies getting battered on one end and some getting stronger on the opposite end. One such company that got stronger is Peloton , the maker of connected fitness equipment that's built a very loyal following. It was such that Peloton found it hard to keep up with the demand for its products as more people turned towards in-home fitness during the pandemic. With that, the company had to rush to build up its manufacturing operations and bought a fitness company named Precor with strong manufacturing capabilities. Now, Peloton is making its manufacturing operations stronger with the building of its first dedicated factory in the US, the company has announced . It'll be built in the state of Ohio, a major manufacturing hub in its right. Peloton has committed $400mn to build the factory in Wood County, Ohio. It'll be referred to as the  Peloton Output Park (POP) , having over a million square feet of man

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

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Warren Buffett Makes A Rare Startup Bet, In Brazil

Warren Buffett is a legendary investor, one known for making a huge fortune from buying and selling stakes in many companies. Via his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has led investments in many companies across many industries. Though, in his long investing career, Buffett has largely shied away from one area - tech startups and companies. Paraphrasing his own words, it's because he "didn't understand it".  As time has progressed, Buffett has somewhat become friendly with tech investments, starting with bigger names like Apple and IBM, and then Paytm , India's premier fintech startup. Now, in his latest tech bet, Buffett's Berkshire has ventured into Brazil to the country's premier fintech startup, just like it did in India.  Berkshire has bought a $500mn stake  in Nubank , a premier neobank and the largest fintech startup in Brazil and Latin America at large. The investment is part of a $750mn round for the company at a reported valuation of $30bn.  At

SPAC: Self-Driving Startup Plus To Go Public In $3.3B Deal

An autonomous driving startup with its major operations in the US and China is the latest tech company that's set to hit the public markets through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). That startup is Plus (formerly Plus.ai), one focused on automated trucking. Plus has agreed to a deal to merge with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V (NASDAQ: HCIC) and become a public company. The terms of the merger value the self-driving startup at $3.3bn. From its merger, Plus will get $345mn of cash held in trust by HCIC and then a $150mn PIPE round from investors including BlackRock and the D. E. Shaw Group. That sums up to a cool $495mn for the company to fund its operations. The cash from its SPAC merger is crucial for Plus, as a company that plans to kick off mass production of its product this year.  Plus sells a stack of hardware and complementary software to enable automated driving for trucks. Its main customer base is truck manufacturers, such as China's F

SPAC: EV Startup Lordstown Motors Is In Trouble

You may have heard of this story before - an electric car startup launches, then makes very big promises to investors as it sought to go public through a SPAC merger. But, it later turned out that those promises were a sham. In the above short story, that was Nikola , the troubled electric car startup that was the first company to test the waters of the current SPAC boom. Now, that story is likely repeating itself with another company - Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ: RIDE) . In a recent filing to the SEC , Lordstown warned that it doesn't have sufficient capital to fund commercial-scale production of its electric truck. This is despite raising $675mn from its SPAC merger last year. With its admission of lacking capital, Lordstown is definitely in financial trouble if further investment isn't secured. The question is will investors will be willing to give it loads of cash once again? Lordstown's recent admission is just much in contrast with its sentiment at the time of its SPAC

Space: Rocket Trip With Jeff Bezos Sells For $28M

A seat on a planned short space trip by Blue Origin, the aerospace company owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has been auctioned off for a large amount - $28mn . That emerged as the winning bid from a group of 7,600 people across 159 countries. The $28mn bid was won by a yet-to-be-identified person, who will take a short trip to space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket. He/she will tag along with Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos on the trip to the edge of space. It'll be a short 11-minute trip to suborbital space and back as the first crewed mission undertaken by Blue Origin. It's a critical first space trip with humans aboard since Blue Origin was founded in 2000. The ride aboard Blue Origin's rocket is scheduled for July 20, barely two weeks after Bezos will step down as Amazon's CEO and become Chairman. It seems he has been waiting all this while to relinquish his CEO duties and take a trip to space. Blue Origin's first crewed mission is a thing of p

Covid-19: Novavax Says Vaccine 90% Effective

An American biotech firm working on a vaccine for Covid-19 has announced very positive results from its trials. That firm is Novavax , a reputed vaccine maker that began working on a Covid vaccine late last year. Novavax said its vaccine demonstrated 90.4% efficacy against Covid-19 from a sample of nearly 30k participants in the US and Mexico. At that, it plans to file for authorization with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this year. Novavax seems late to the game after successful Covid vaccines for the US have already been developed by Pfizer and Moderna. It's yet to receive authorization at a time when hundreds of millions of Pfizer and Moderna doses have already been sold in the US and abroad. Unlike Moderna and Pfizer, Novavax's Covid vaccine is protein-based rather than the mRNA technology the two companies decided to work with. The use of proteins is a long-established way of making vaccines compared to the mRNA which is new to mass production. There ap

Alert: FDA Approves New Alzheimer's Drug From Biogen

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted a landmark approval for a new drug to treat Alzheimer's , a neurologic disorder that affects millions worldwide. It's the first medication cleared by US regulators to treat the ailment in two decades. The drug granted clearance is  Aduhelm made by Cambridge-based Biogen. It's a branded name for  Aducanumab , a medication that works by removing sticky deposits of a protein called amyloid beta found in the brains of early Alzheimer's patients, with the hopes of reducing the ailment's buildup. As a note, Aduhelm is not a cure for Alzheimer's, but a way to attack what is believed to be an underlying cause in the disease in its early stages. It can't be used to tackle Alzheimer's that has already progressed to later stages. Aduhelm will cost $56k per year to patients.  The FDA clearance for Aduhelm came despite objections from many in the scientific and medical community, where there has been a fierce

Alert: Roblox Faces Major Lawsuit Over Music Rights

Shortly after a very successful public listing, gaming platform Roblox now has a formidable obstacle to face. It's getting sued by a group of music publishers alleging exploitation by their music being used on the Roblox platform without permission or payment. The music group suing Roblox includes Universal Music Publishing, Big Machine Records, and popular DJ Deadmau5. They're represented by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and seeking at least $200mn in damages. The major allegation against Roblox is that it sells its users the option to insert virtual music players into games they create and that play copyrighted music by artists without compensating writers and copyright holders.  As such, the NMPA asserts that Roblox is enabling piracy with its user base, which skews towards young kids. “Roblox actively preys on its impressionable user base and their desire for popular music, teaching children that pirating music is perfectly acceptable,” the complaint s

Fintech: Sweden's Klarna Raises $640M, Valued At $46B

  Klarna, Europe's premier "buy now, pay later" financing startup has closed a big new round of funding. It's confirmed a $639mn financing round valuing it a whopping $45.6bn. The financing round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, a new investor in the company. Other existing investors including Adit Ventures and WestCap Group also chipped into the round. With a $46bn valuation, Klarna has taken the top spot as the most valuable privately-held tech startup in Europe, according to CB Insights data . Globally, it's the second-most valuable, only beaten by American payments processor  Stripe . A company based out of Sweden, Klarna has built itself into the leading "buy now, pay later" provider globally, beating out Afterpay in Australia and Affirm in America. The company reported $1.1bn in net revenue on a gross merchandise volume of $53bn in 2020. After conquering many markets in Europe, Klarna's major focus is now in the US, where it launched i

Markets: Zoom, Salesforce Invest In Monday.com's IPO

The stock market devotees of the tech world should be aware of Monday.com, an Israeli software company that filed for a US IPO last month May. After filing, Monday.com recently had a successful market debut, with two big names chipping in cash to invest. The two big names are Zoom , the popular video-conferencing software company, and CRM software giant Salesforce . They each bought Monday.com shares worth $75mn at its IPO price and got a modest paper profit as the company soared 15% on its first trading day. Soaring 15%, the $75mn of shares each bought by Salesforce and Zoom produced a one-day gain of $11.6mn. It's a benefit of being a strategic investor whereas it got to purchase shares at the floor IPO price like the bankers underwriting the listing. Though, the shares purchased by Zoom and Salesforce are subject to lock-up restrictions and can't be sold for a period of 180 days. It means the profit is only on paper for now and could get reversed at the whims of the market.

Crypto: MicroStrategy Offers More Junk Bonds To Buy BTC

There's been one company at the forefront of promoting bitcoin use in the corporate world - MicroStrategy . It's bought a few billion dollars worth of bitcoin, financed by its own cash flow as well as borrowings on the bond market. Now, MicroStrategy is back again on the bond market to raise cash to buy bitcoin. This is despite its own indication of expecting to report an impairment loss of $285mn  in its next earnings report due to fluctuation in the price of bitcoin that it holds. MicroStrategy is selling $500mn worth of high-yield bonds, fondly called junk bonds, to buy bitcoin. The bonds are senior notes due by 2028, with an annual interest of 6.125%. MicroStrategy apparently is dazzled with bitcoin, such that after selling $1.6bn worth of bonds last year to buy it, it's back on the block to sell $500mn more. In fact, it originally planned to sell $400mn but topped $100mn more at the last minute. Buying bitcoin is how MicroStrategy has drawn the attention of many inves