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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

Deal: Blackstone Buys Tech Publisher IDG For $1.3B

Private equity firm Blackstone has moved to acquire one of the oldest publishers of magazines for the tech industry. That publisher is the International Data Group (IDG) , the owner of Computerworld , PC World , and TechHive among others. Blackstone will pay $1.3bn to buy IDG from its current owner, a fellow private equity firm but based in China. That firm is Oriental Rainbow, a subsidiary of China Oceanwide Holdings Group. Along with its media business, IDG also has strong data and research businesses and it seems that is Blackstone's target for the purchase. Of course, legacy media businesses are generally on the decline so it doesn't seem like Blackstone will be betting on IDG's media business for growth. From its data business, IDG makes money from recurring subscriptions bringing in stable revenue. Such stability is an attraction to private equity firms like Blackstone that would often work their financial maneuvers to get value from their portfolio companies. With

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

Markets: LinkedIn Spinout Confluent Files For IPO

Confluent, a data software company spun out of LinkedIn, has filed for an initial public offering. It has unveiled its S-1 filing with the US SEC, showing its plans to list on the Nasdaq stock market. Confluent sells software that developers can use to quickly move around data for use inside applications. Its software is based on the open-source Apache Kafka framework. Confluent started inside of LinkedIn where the Apache Kafka framework was developed. It spun out of the Microsoft-owned company in 2014. Many companies have built strong businesses around open-source software and Confluent is the latest in that prospect. Its S-1 filing shows that of a healthy company with fast-growing revenues. By the Numbers Confluent had $237mn in revenue in 2020, up from $150mn in 2019. In the three months ended March 31, 2021, the company had $77mn in sales, up 51% year-over-year. Confluent isn't profitable on a net basis but at least has fast-growing sales to justify its losses. It reported res

Alert: Activist Investor Elliott Battles Dropbox

The vulture has struck again, and this time the vulture is Elliott Management, the activist hedge fund known for picking fights with tech companies including Jack Dorsey-led Twitter. This time, the target is Dropbox, which Elliott has bought a big position in, The Wall Street Journal reports . According to reports, Elliott has built a stake of more than 10% in Dropbox, making it the biggest shareholder after CEO Drew Houston. That stake is sufficient to start a fight with the company's leadership. It was sort of the writing on the wall that Dropbox would be a target for activist investors. The company's stock price has stayed stagnant since it became public in 2018, now trading at around $28 compared to its market debut price of $29. Dropbox's stagnant stock is a result of low investor zeal. The company's main business of cloud hosting and collaboration is a commoditized space with many competitors including deep-pocketed ones like Google and Microsoft that are able to

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.

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Alert: Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Indicted On Fraud Charges

The founder of embattled electric car startup Nikola Corp. has been formally indicted on fraud charges by the US Justice Department months after resigning from the company. Trevor Milton by name, he's been accused of securities and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud and mislead investors. Milton is accused of misleading investors by making false statements regarding Nikola's products and capabilities. Notably, most of the investors allegedly misled were on the retail side. The DOJ alleges that Milton made false claims regarding "nearly all aspects" of Nikola's business. Milton founded Nikola in 2014 and led it through a public listing via a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) last year. The DOJ threw an apparent jab at SPACs in his indictment, asserting that he made 'many' of his false and misleading claims  during a period where he would not have been allowed to do so under rules that govern traditional IPOs were he

Earnings: AMD Doubles Revenue, Triples Profit

In this earnings season, companies all over are dropping their latest quarterly results and we're here equally reporting on them. We've touched on social media companies Snap Inc and Twitter , electric carmaker Tesla , and iPhone maker Apple . Now, the next is chipmaker AMD Inc . AMD has dropped its earnings for the second quarter of 2021, showing strong prospects as revenue doubled year-over-year and net income more than tripled.   Details AMD posted $3.9bn in revenue in Q2, up 99% year-over-year and 12% from the preceding quarter. For the same period, the company's net income was $710mn , up 352% year-over-year and 28% from the preceding quarter. Doubling its revenue and nearly quadrupling net income indicates AMD has a strong yet fast-growing business. It's bound to grow even more as the company is set to complete its acquisition of rival chipmaker Xilinx . AMD makes money selling high-performance chipsets used in computers, consoles, data centers, and the likes

Antitrust: Amazon Fined $900M By EU For Privacy Violations

Tech behemoth Amazon is for the nth time in the crosshairs of the European Union (EU). The latest saga in that arena is that Amazon has been fined a record-breaking amount for alleged privacy violations, according to an SEC filing from the company. Amazon has been fined the sum of €746 million ($888mn) by the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) for not complying with data privacy laws. It's the largest fine imposed under Europe's data protection law.  The fine originates from the CNPD accusing Amazon of processing customers' personal data in violation of the EU's famous-cum-infamous General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.  In June, it was reported ( WSJ )  that the Luxembourg data protection agency had sanctioned Amazon's privacy practices and proposed a fine topping $425mn to the EU's other two-dozen or so national data protection authorities. Now, it appears that the final fine is much larger than that.  Before now, the bigges

Deal: Qualtrics Buys CX Startup Clarabridge For $1.1B

Months after getting spun out of SAP into a separate public company, Qualtrics , a major provider of online survey software, has made a major acquisition. It's agreed to buy Clarabridge , a startup that does similar work to Qualtrics in the field fondly referred to as "customer experience (CX)". Qualtrics will pay $1.1bn all with shares to buy Clarabridge. The acquisition is a major strategic play for the company, pairing Qualtrics' customer survey business with Clarabridge's similar business of measuring customer sentiment from various sources like social media posts and customer support calls. Basically, Qualtrics is in the business of weighing customer surveys directly and Clarabridge in the business of doing so indirectly . Pairing both businesses represents a major strategic play for Qualtrics. In an investor presentation, Qualtrics said that Clarabridge has $100mn in annual revenue, implying an 11x multiple that it's paying to buy the company. That&#

Deal: Amgen Buys Biotech Startup Teneobio In $2.5B Deal

It appears that this Covid era has led to a boom for companies that work on  antibodies , which are protective proteins produced by the human immune system to tackle foreign substances, usually viruses. Antibodies are very useful in the research and treatment of viruses such as Covid. There are companies that specialize in antibodies and one of them, BioLegend , was recently bought for a whopping $5.3bn . Now, another such company, Teneobio , is getting bought for a big amount. Teneobio has agreed to be acquired by Amgen , an American biotech giant. Amgen is paying $900mn upfront for the company, then an additional $1.6bn in cash contingent on the company hitting certain milestones. It sums up to a $2.5bn deal . Teneobio is a clinical-stage biotech startup working on antibodies aimed at treating cancer, autoimmunity, and other infectious diseases. As it's still in the clinical trial stage with no viable product yet, it appears that Amgen is betting big on Teneobio's trials b

Antitrust: UK Probes Facebook's $1B Kustomer Acquisition

The UK's antitrust agency has launched a probe into Facebook's latest acquisition, that of chatbot platform Kustomer Inc , which Facebook agreed to buy last November for a reported $1bn. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday, the 30th of July, released a statement  indicating it had opened an inquiry into Facebook's purchase of Kustomer, regarding if it'll result in "a substantial lessening of competition" within the market Kustomer operates in. Such probes aren't out of the norm and are routine for big acquisitions. For Facebook, it speaks to the fact that antitrust agencies are watching the company's moves, especially regarding acquisitions. To note, two of Facebook Inc's biggest products outside the main Facebook platform, Instagram and WhatsApp , were acquisitions. In fact, it's primarily acquisitions that have propelled the company's growth. As with such probes, the UK will first seek comments from the public

Hollywood: Reese Witherspoon's Media Co. Sold In $900M Deal

A media company founded by superstar actress Reese Witherspoon has sold for a large amount to a company still in its infancy that hasn't even been named yet. That company is Hello Sunshine , a media company that produces content distributed across various platforms; movies, TV shows, podcasts, et al. Hello Sunshine has been sold to a newly-formed media venture t hat's backed by investment capital from Blackstone , the private equity giant.  The venture is led by ex Disney honchos Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs .  As it is, the Blackstone-funded venture is acquiring a majority stake in Hello Sunshine from a group of external investors while anchor shareholders like Witherspoon and her founding partners will roll over and retain their equity stakes in the newly-formed venture. Officially, the deal's financial terms weren't disclosed, but a report from The Wall Street Journal says it's a $900mn deal. According to the report, the Blackstone-funded venture will pay $500mn

Earnings: Shopify Beats Estimates, Reaches Major Milestone

In this season of earnings results and we at The Techee  reporting on them, we're here with a beat on Shopify , which has released its earnings statement for the second quarter (April-June) of this year. In Q2, Shopify beat revenue expectations from analysts and as well achieved a major financial milestone by crossing $1bn in quarterly revenue for the first time. Shopify had $1.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 57% year-over-year. Net income for the same period was $897mn , most of which was due to a $778mn gain in equity investments, likely from Shopify's stake in Affirm , a major 'buy now, pay later' lender. As usual, most of Shopify's sales ( $785mn ) came from "Merchant Solutions", which groups additional services the company offers atop recurring subscriptions charged to online retailers. Sales from subscriptions came at $334mn in the quarter. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), representing the total worth of transactions made on the Shopify platform,

Alert: Square Buys Australia's Afterpay For $29B

It's a big day in the fintech world. There's been a major acquisition with a major American fintech company, Square , buying Australia's foremost fintech startup, Afterpay , a 'buy now, pay later' lender. Square has reached an agreement to buy Afterpay for a whopping $29bn , marking one of Australia's biggest buyouts. It's a big deal that a startup founded barely seven years ago is selling for $29bn.  Square will pay the $29bn all with shares. It means that shares of Afterpay, which are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange, will be exchanged for Square stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Afterpay is Australia's foremost 'buy now, pay later (BNPL)' lender in online retail. For the uninitiated, the 'buy now, pay later' business is a relatively young one providing alternatives to credit cards for consumers to shop online. It provides loans for consumers to shop online and then pay back in installments. Usually, credi

Markets: US SEC Takes Aim At Chinese IPOs

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a swipe at Chinese initial public offerings (IPOs) after regulatory hiccups in China have affected many Chinese stocks listed on US markets and American stockholders holding them. The SEC has issued new guidance on Chinese companies seeking to list shares in the US, requiring them to make certain disclosures to investors or otherwise refrain from listing in the US markets. First of all, usually, Chinese companies listing in the US don't actually sell shares of the operating companies but that of shell companies with contractual relationships with the operating companies. These shell shares, known as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) , are used to circumvent restrictions on foreign ownership of Chinese shares imposed by the country's government. Now, the SEC in a statement has made it clear that Chinese companies seeking to list in the US must provide clear descriptions of the shell operations involved in such listing