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IPO: An Ambitious Psychedelics Startup Debuts With Fanfare

An ambitious startup working on psychedelic drugs with hopes of treating mental health issues has made its way onto the public markets. That startup, ATAI Life Sciences , listed on the Nasdaq exchange   (ticker "ATAI")  on Friday, the 18th of June, and saw its share price close up nearly 30% that day. ATAI Life Sciences is the brainchild of a German billionaire entrepreneur,  Christian Angermayer , who made a fortune founding a biotech company and then investing in tech startups.  ATAI is in the ambitious territory, looking to develop psychedelic drugs to treat mental health conditions. It's a field still in its infancy and with many regulatory hurdles to cross. As it's structured, ATAI is a holding company for various psychedelic startups pursuing treatments for mental illnesses. When it was privately held, it raised over $360mn of venture funding and used it to buy several startups to house under its umbrella.  Now with its IPO, ATAI raised $225mn more to continue

Deal: Bill Ackman's SPAC To Buy 10% Of Universal Music

Following confirmation of deal talks earlier this month,  Pershing Square Tontine Holdings , a SPAC formed by famous activist investor Bill Ackman, has officially signed a deal to buy 10% of Universal Music Group (UMG), a "big four" record label.  Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH) will buy the 10% stake from Universal's current owner, the French media conglomerate Vivendi . The purchase values the major record label at €35 billion ($41.6bn). Shortly after PSTH buys its stake, Vivendi plans to list Universal Music on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange towards the end of September. With the deal, PSTH will become a UMG shareholder along with parent firm Vivendi and China's Tencent. The structured deal is unusual for special-purpose acquisition companies like PSTH. Normally, a SPAC would merge with a single company by buying a certain percentage of it with its cash and combining its equity, but in PSTH's case, it'll buy a stake in Universal and then ro

Markets: Ex-Tesla President Sells Stock Worth $270M

A former high-ranking executive of electric carmaker Tesla is reaping large monetary rewards for his time at the company. He's converted enough Tesla stock to cash that could last a generation or two. Jerome Guillen , a former president of Tesla's Heavy Trucking division, has sold shares worth $274mn over the past two weeks, SEC filings show. He left Tesla this very month after an eleven-year stint at the company. According to SEC filings, Guillen sold Tesla shares in three successive blocks worth $129mn, $90mn, and $55mn. He got those shares from options he exercised, the price he paid for those options being unknown to the public. Executives like Guillen are usually granted stock options that give them the right to purchase company shares at discounted prices and turn around to sell them at higher market prices if they wish. Guillen joined Tesla in 2010, the very year the company went public. Since then, the company's market cap has surged from $1.7bn to $600bn.  As of 20

Biotech: Covid Vaccine Maker BioNTech Tackles Cancer

In biotech news today, the maker of a successful Covid vaccine based on mRNA technology is hoping to replicate that success for cancer, yes cancer. That vaccine maker is BioNTech , the German company that made the Covid vaccine mass-produced by strategic partner Pfizer. BioNTech has begun Phase 2 trials of a cancer vaccine it's made named BNT111 . The first out of 120 trial subjects has been dosed with the vaccine to see if it'll work.  At that, it seems that BioNTech is very ambitious such that shortly after making a Covid vaccine it's hoping to replicate that success with a cancer vaccine. For reference, there are currently only two vaccines approved by the US FDA to tackle certain types of cancer. BNT111  is a vaccine candidate targeting  Advanced Melanoma  in humans. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that begins in the cells that control the pigment of the human skin.  For the trial, BioNTech has gotten approval to enroll 120 patients across the EU, UK, US, and Austral

Spotlight: This Startup Wants To Read Your Mind, Really

Today, we'll be doing something quite rare which is spotlighting a startup. It's rare that we do that, but this is a startup we think is very important to know about. The startup is Kernel , one working on a human brain-machine interface. Kernel was founded by Bryan Johnson , a serial entrepreneur. He founded payments company Braintree which sold to PayPal for $800mn in 2013, and with a fortune gotten from that sale, he parlayed it into building an ambitious startup. Kernel has built a helmet that frankly speaking, reads people's minds. But chill, it's not as dystopian as it sounds, it reads brain signals that are crucial to the work of neuroscientists and researchers. Below is a picture of Kernel's bulky, buggy-looking, costly (price: $50k) helmet loaded with sensors to read signals from the human brain; Credit: Kernel Kernel initially worked on neural implants in the brain to harvest tons of data but faced so many difficulties there and pivoted to that helmet (na

Deal: JPMorgan Buys UK Robo-Advisor Nutmeg

US-based banking giant JPMorgan has ventured into Europe to make a new major fintech acquisition. It's bought Nutmeg , an online wealth manager that's one of the biggest in the UK. Though JPMorgan didn't announce the price of its acquisition, a report from The Wall Street Journal   puts it at about $1bn. At that, it's a major exit in the UK's fintech startup scene. Nutmeg is a Robo-advisor managing investments digitally for many clients. It has 140,000 clients with a collective £3.5bn ($4.8bn) of assets under management. With Nutmeg, JPMorgan is making a play to shore up its retail banking business in the UK. Its acquisition precedes the bank's plans to launch a standalone digital bank brand in the UK later this year. Nutmeg is a testament to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon saying last year that the bank would be “much more aggressive” in searching for acquisitions to add capabilities. At the reported $1bn price tag, Nutmeg's acquisition would be JPMorgan's bi

Defense Tech Startup Anduril Raises $450M, Valued At $4.6B

Anduril Industries, a defense tech startup founded by the creator of Oculus VR, has raised a big new round of funding with a big valuation to match. It's raised a $450mn Series D round  that values it at $4.6bn post-money, more than double its last private valuation of $1.9bn . Individual investor Elad Gil led the funding round for Anduril and was joined by others including 8VC, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, and D1 Capital Partners. With the round, Anduril has now raised a total of $700mn in venture funding. Anduril was founded by Palmer Luckey, the creator of Oculus VR which Facebook paid $2.3bn to buy in 2014. Luckey founded the defense tech startup after leaving Facebook on controversial terms  in 2017. Anduril makes gadgets for law enforcement and the military in the US and UK, some of which are classified. On the public front, its best-known products include a custom, unique-looking surveillance drone as seen below; Anduril Ghost 4 drone. The Ghost 4 drone pictured ab

Alert: Investor David Tepper Is Bullish On Oil Stocks

One of the biggest hedge fund managers out there has made it clear that he's bullish on the oil industry even as the industry has fallen out of favor with many investors. That person is David Tepper of  Appaloosa Management , who may be best known as the owner of the Carolina Panthers NFL team. Speaking at the Robin Hood Investors Conference on Wednesday, Tepper said he was bullish on oil stocks because they are the cheapest equities by any measure due to many people hating them.  Tepper is very right on many people hating oil stocks. They've largely fallen out of favor due to perceived dim prospects as more people gravitate towards cleaner sources of energy. It isn't that oil companies have stopped selling billions worth of oil barrels, but many worry for their future when the industry is facing a pushback like never before. In Tepper's case, he sees people shying away from oil equities as a good opportunity to buy. For example, he mentioned  Occidental Petroleum Corp

Antitrust: US DOJ Sues To Block Major Insurance Merger

The US Justice Department under President Biden has taken up its first major corporate antitrust case, in the insurance industry. It's sued to block the proposed merger of  Aon and  Willis Towers Watson , two of the "big three" insurance brokers. Aon and Willis Towers agreed to a deal to combine in March 2020. The merger value was $30bn at the time the deal was announced but would be worth $34bn today.  Both companies are two of the world's three largest insurance brokerages by revenue and their combination would obviously reduce competition in the global market. Aon is based in the US and Willis in London.  The US DOJ is not having it with the planned merger and has sued to block the deal. It charges that it'll "reduce that vital competition and leave American customers with fewer choices, higher prices, and lower quality services." The DOJ is challenging the merger despite certain divestitures that Aon and Willis Towers have agreed to in connection

Moves: Microsoft Names CEO Nadella As Board Chairman

There's been quite a change in the leadership of software giant Microsoft, though not a shocking change. It's that the company's CEO Satya Nadella has now been appointed  as the Chairman of its board and will run both roles concurrently. Nadella's appointment as Microsoft's chairman makes it the first time in two decades that the company's chairman will also be its CEO. The only person to have done that before is founder Bill Gates , who stepped down as chairman in 2014, the same year Nadella was appointed CEO. Nadella is succeeding John Thompson as Microsoft's Chairman in a role he held since 2014. Thompson will remain on the company's board as the lead independent director. Nadella's appointment signals high confidence in his leadership by Microsoft's board. It's unsurprising, as the company has prospered very much under his leadership. For reference sake, Microsoft's current market cap of $1.9 trillion is 5x its market cap in 2014, th

Alert: GM Boosts EV, AV Investment To $35B

America's biggest automaker, General Motors (GM) , has once again boosted its monetary commitment towards the development of electric and autonomous vehicles. It now says it'll spend a whopping $35bn on that from 2020 through 2025, a 75% increase from its commitment prior to the pandemic. In March last year, GM first said that it'll spend $20bn on EVs and AVs from 2020 through 2025. Then, in November, it increased its commitment to $27bn. Now, it's been topped up with another $8bn, implying a major commitment on the company's part. The high spending would fund GM's ambitious plan to have made 30 new electric vehicles globally from 2020 through 2025. Like many global automakers, the company has seen the clear writing on the wall that electric cars represent the future of the auto market. Also, developing autonomous vehicles is very important strategically for an automaker looking for future prospects. In that regard, GM has its Cruise self-driving division, wh

SPAC: EV Battery Startup Solid Power To Go Public In $1.2B Deal

There have been many SPAC deals coming from the electric vehicle industry and it's obvious that it ain't stopping. The latest deal to come from that end is Solid Power , a startup working on solid-state batteries for EVs that has automakers Ford and BMW as investors. Solid Power has agreed to merge with a SPAC named Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III (NASDAQ: DCRC). As expected, it'll start trading on the Nasdaq market following the merger. Terms of the merger value Solid Power at $1.2bn. From the deal, the startup will get $350mn of cash held in trust by DCRC and then a $165mn PIPE round from investors including chemicals giant Koch Industries.  The merger announcement comes shortly after Solid Power raised a $130mn private round co-led by BMW and Ford. The two automakers are strategic investors and partners to the company. Notably, Solid Power is a pre-revenue company. It's been focused on R&D so far in its nine years of existence and doesn't e

Aviation: US, EU End Boeing-Airbus Subsidies Dispute

Shortly after this year's G7 Summit , the United States and the European Union have reached a truce in a 17-year-long fight over aircraft subsidies to Airbus on the European side and Boeing on the US side. Airbus and Boeing are the foremost manufacturers of commercial airplanes today, with Airbus on the European side and Boeing on the American side. The US and EU have long been at loggerheads over them with accusations on each end of illegally subsidizing their aligned aircraft companies. The aviation dispute between the US and EU for 17 years marked the longest-running dispute in the history of the World Trade Organisation  (WTO), under which complaints were logged. Now, it appears to be resolved. On the resolution terms, the US and EU have each agreed to provide R&D funding for their aligned aviation companies through a transparent process that'll be open to both. Also, they've agreed to not give specific support, like tax breaks, to their own producers that'll

PUBG Maker Krafton Files For $5B IPO In South Korea

A top gaming company from South Korea has filed for an IPO that could break records in the country. That company is Krafton (formerly called Bluehole), the maker of the  PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) franchise. PUBG as it's fondly called is an online multiplayer "battle royale" game that's popular around the globe. It was the preceding popular battle royale game to Epic's Fornite  in the US. Krafton has filed for an initial public offering on the South Korean markets. Its offering size is listed as between $4.1bn-$5bn, with $5bn on the higher end being a record-breaking number for the Korean markets. For context, the biggest IPO by a Korean company had an offering size of $4.6bn. It was that of e-commerce company Coupang this March that set the record. Now, just a few months later, it looks like that record may be broken. According to its filing, Krafton had 1.7 trillion won ($1.5bn) in revenue and an operating income of 774 billion won ($693mn) in 20

SPAC: Short-Seller Hindenburg Targets DraftKings

Hindenburg Research is a short-selling focused investment firm known for going after public companies with serious allegations. Lately, it's become the Darth Vader hunting after SPAC deals, and it's proven that once again by going after the first company that tested this new era of SPAC mergers. Hindenburg has published allegations targeting sports betting company DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG) , more so the betting company named SBTech that it combined with in a 3-way-merger with a SPAC in 2020. As usual, Hindenburg has taken a short position in the company. Hindenburg's accusations center on SBTech allegedly enabling money laundering and illegal gambling activities with its software. SBTech provides backend software that powers gambling sites. In its statement, Hindenburg alleged that SBTech makes money from enabling online gambling in markets where that is illegal and works to hide this fact from investors. It pointed fingers at a subsidiary of the company called  BTi/Core

Bitcoin 'Whale' MicroStrategy Files For $1B Share Sale

MicroStrategy, the foremost bitcoin "whale" of the corporate world, has filed for a share offering to raise as much as $1bn on the public markets. The filing comes barely days after the company sold $500mn worth of bonds wholly to buy bitcoin. This time around, the proceeds from MicroStrategy's share sale aren't earmarked to buy bitcoin but for "general corporate purposes", which the company though said may include buying bitcoin.  For the share sale, MicroStrategy filed a "shelf" registration with the US SEC. "Shelf" in this case means filing for a share sale up to two years before it actually takes place, with no certain intent for an immediate sale but anytime in the 2-year window when markets are optimal. This is the first time MicroStrategy is holding a dedicated share offering in years. For the large amount of cash it raised to buy bitcoin, they were all corporate bonds.   MicroStrategy's $1bn share sale just looks like the co

SPAC: Lordstown CEO, CFO Resign After Cash Woes

At electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors , two of its top executives have resigned shortly after the company warned that it didn't have sufficient cash to kick off production of its electric truck. Those two executives are CEO Steven Burns and CFO Julio Rodriguez, effective immediately. The leadership change at Lordstown follows a pattern at struggling companies. In Lordstown's case, the company says it doesn't have enough capital to fund the production of its electric truck despite raising $675mn from a SPAC merger last year. It's quite a drastic turn for Lordstown which debuted on the public markets last year with ambitious, wild promises to its investors. Even then, the company said it didn't expect to raise further capital after the $675mn from its SPAC deal but now appears to be hurting for cash. In March, Lordstown was accused of fraud by short-seller Hindenburg Research, which alleged highly faked pre-orders and undisclosed production challenges to in

SPAC: Online Grocer Boxed To Go Public In $900M Deal

Boxed , an online wholesaler of groceries and related products, is the latest tech startup going public through a SPAC merger. It's agreed to merge with  Seven Oaks Acquisition Corp. [Nasdaq: SVOK] to become a public company. Details The merger deal values Boxed at approximately $900mn, precisely $887mn. It's a solid valuation for a startup that reportedly rebuffed a $500mn acquisition offer (from grocery chain Kroger) in 2018. From its merger, Boxed will get $259mn of cash held in trust by Seven Oaks and then a $120mn PIPE round from a group of asset managers. The PIPE round includes the sale of equity ($32mn) as well as convertible bonds ($88mn).  All in, Boxed will emerge with $334mn of net cash proceeds from its merger. That's even more than the $244mn of venture funding it's raised in total as a privately-held startup. Boxed is a "big box" grocery e-tailer, that is corporate-speak for wholesales. Its platform is focused on bulk-sized shopping, whereby

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

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

Markets: Patrick Drahi Invests $3B In UK Carrier BT

A certain shrewd telecom investor has made his latest big bet by buying a big stake in a UK carrier. That investor is Swiss-based billionaire Patrick Drahi , who has bought a £2.2bn ($3.1bn) stake in the BT Group , the largest provider of broadband and mobile services in the UK. Drahi invested in BT via  Altice UK , a newly incorporated entity wholly owned by him.  Altice is the name of the telecom giant he founded and built up with a series of big, highly-leveraged buyouts of telecom outfits globally. BT appears to be the latest leveraged bet in that regard. Drahi's investment in BT gives him a minority (12.1%) stake in the publicly-traded company, unlike his usual deals where he buys majority control of telecom firms. At that, he's pledged not to launch a takeover bid for the company within six months, with some exceptions . While we aren't in Drahi's head, we can speculate that he sees the rise of 5G technology in the UK as a major catalyst that'll boost BT'

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

Deal: Blackstone Buys Data Center Operator QTS For $10B

Private equity giant Blackstone has once again made a big bet in the tech industry, this time on a major operator of data centers within North America and Europe. That operator is  QTS Realty Trust , a publicly-traded company. Blackstone has agreed to pay $10bn in cash to buy all outstanding shares of QTS on the public markets, effectively taking control of the company. It'll pay $78 per common stock of QTS, a 21% premium to the company's share price on the day it announced the deal. Blackstone's acquisition agreement with QTS includes a 40-day “go-shop” period where the data center company can seek competing bids rivaling Blackstone's offer. That window closes on the 17th of July, 2021. The $10bn price tag of Blackstone's bid sums up to 19x QTS's revenue of $539mn and several hundred times its net income of $15mn in 2020. At that high multiple, it's obvious Blackstone really wants the company. QTS was founded in 2003. It's a leading data center operato

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, 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

Markets: Zoom, Salesforce Invest In's IPO

The stock market devotees of the tech world should be aware of, an Israeli software company that filed for a US IPO last month May. After filing, 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 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.

Chinese Rideshare Giant Didi Files For US IPO

It's a landmark time for the business world, as one of the biggest tech giants from China has filed for an IPO on the US markets. That giant is Didi Chuxing , China's biggest ride-hailing company just like Uber in the US. As one of the biggest privately-held tech companies in China that's only surpassed by TikTok owner ByteDance, Didi's IPO has been long-awaited. Now, the filing for that has dropped upon us like a quiet bomb. As usual, we'll be dissecting some important information from Didi's F-1 filing , especially its revenue figures. The F-1 provides long-awaited insight into the business of Didi as China's premier on-demand transportation company. Figures Didi reported $21.6bn in revenue in 2020, up 11% from the previous year. It wasn't profitable on a net basis for that year, reporting a $1.6bn net loss. However, in the first quarter of 2021, Didi declared a net income of $837mn (before certain shareholder payouts) on $6.4bn in revenue. Meanwhile,

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

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Alert: US FDA Permits First E-Cigarettes, Citing Smoker Benefits

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized its first set of electronic cigarette products, citing some benefits to their use for adult smokers trying to quit tobacco. The authorization is noteworthy for general e-cigarette products that have been tainted with scandals and controversy for their high use rate among teens.  The FDA permitted three e-cigarette products from Vuse Solo , a brand distributed by British American Tobacco (LON: BATS). Vuse is the No. 2 vaping brand in the US behind Juul, a rival currently in the FDA's crosshairs . Vuse sought permissions for 13 vape products, but 10 were denied, and only 3 were accepted. It shows the FDA's strictness in regulating vape products after locking its eyes on the sector. As it permitted its first vape products, the FDA issued strict guidelines concerning their marketing, including restricting internet, radio, and TV ads to "greatly reduce the potential for youth exposure." For a long time, vape pr

Apple Appeals Ruling Of Legal Brawl With Epic Games

Tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has filed an appeal against the court judgment of its legal battle with Epic Games , the studio behind hit video game Fortnite . The battle stemmed from Apple's 30% fee on in-app purchases made through its App Store that Epic tried to avoid by enabling sideloading of Fortnite on iOS, but got the game blocked from the App Store in retaliation. The legal brawl between Apple and Epic is one of the landmark events of the tech industry this year. Both companies played it out in court with a three-week trial in May before the first ruling of the case was issued this September. The ruling, by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez of California, was a compromise for both Apple and Epic rather than a solid win or loss for any party. For Apple, it was ordered to allow iOS apps to direct users to payment options other than its own. At the same time, Epic was found to breach its contract with Apple by enabling sideloading and ordered to restitute Apple's 30% cut on Fortnit

LG To Pay GM Up To $1.9B For Supplying Faulty EV Batteries

LG Group , the South Korean electronics and chemicals giant, is reimbursing a significant amount of money for supplying faulty batteries to one of its biggest customers, American automaker General Motors (GM) . It'll reimburse GM  up to $1.9bn  to cover the costs of the automaker's massive recall of its Chevy   Bolt electric cars containing LG batteries. Apparently, LG supplied faulty battery modules to GM for use in its Bolt EVs. These faulty batteries made all Bolts a significant fire risk that caused GM to organize a total recall, costing the American automaker a considerable sum. Because of the fault found with LG's batteries, the Korean company negotiated with GM and agreed to cover the majority of costs of the automaker's total recall. While the final recall costs haven't been set, GM has said  it'll offset $1.9bn of the $2bn in charges associated with the recall in its next quarterly report, implying LG could pay up to that amount. Separately, two LG Cor

AR Startup Magic Leap Is Back, With $500M In Funding

Not too long ago, there was a hot-cake startup that left VCs frothing at their mouths. This startup was building augmented reality (AR) headsets that promised to upend the industry. It was able to raise $3bn on the backs of its hype, but when it delivered its first product, people were greatly unimpressed . Problems came, its CEO stepped down, and the startup faded out of view....It was Magic Leap . However, Magic Leap has jerked back into the public sphere with a new milestone. The startup has announced   $500mn in fresh funding that'll be used to put final touches to its second-generation product. It appears that investors are still hopeful of the company delivering its promise despite its earlier woes. The investors that provided the fresh funding weren't named. Notably, it's not a funding round that warrants a celebration because it heavily diluted the stakes of earlier investors. The new funding valued Magic Leap at $2bn post-money , the company said, which is less

Personal Finance Startup NerdWallet Files For IPO

NerdWallet , a popular financial information website, has unveiled its S-1 paperwork filed with the US SEC for an initial public offering (IPO). It's the latest fintech startup kickstarting a journey to the public markets at a time when investor sentiment towards public fintech companies is very favorable. NerdWallet is a popular online destination for financial advice and information pertaining primarily to Americans. It makes money from promoting financial products to its users and getting commissions when purchased, a very lucrative business, as the S-1 paperwork indicates. According to the S-1, NerdWallet has a big business that's also profitable . The company posted $245mn in revenue and a small net profit of $6mn in 2020. In 2019, it posted $228mn in revenue and a $24mn net profit.  However, in the first half of 2021, NerdWallet posted a net loss $27mn, though its revenue for the same period grew 32% year-over-year to $182mn. Basically, NerdWallet is a very solid busines

Tether Fined $41M For Lying About Fiat Reserves

Tether Limited , the organization behind the eponymous Tether (USDT) stablecoin, has been fined a substantial sum for lying about the fiat reserves backing its stablecoin. It was fined $41mn by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). According to the CFTC's press release , Tether lied to customers that it had sufficient dollar reserves to back every issued USDT token whereas it did not for a long period of time. Over a 26-month sample period from 2016 through 2018, the CFTC said Tether only had sufficient dollar reserves for all its tokens 28% of the time, whereas it lied that it was "fully-backed" all the time. Also, the CFTC said Tether failed to disclose to customers that it had unsecured receivables and non-fiat assets in its supposed cash reserves. The organization further lied to customers that it would undergo routine, professional audits of its reserves but has failed to do any, the CFTC said. For its violations, the CFTC fined ordered Tether to pay a

At KKR, Historic Private Equity Barons Step Down

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

Deal: Mindbody Buys Fitness Startup ClassPass

Mindbody , a leading maker of software for managing gyms and fitness studios, is buying one of the hot startups in its industry. It's buying ClassPass , a popular subscription platform for widespread gym access and online fitness classes. Mindbody will buy Classpass for an undisclosed amount . The company, owned by private equity firm Vista, also announced a strategic $500mn investment along with its ClassPass deal. The acquisition was all with privately held shares, Mindbody said. ClassPass is a celebrated startup in the fitness space. It began as a simple website to book fitness classes with registered studios but morphed into a subscription platform for access to such studios and their fitness classes, with many users paying recurring fees as a steady revenue source.  ClassPass was valued at $1bn from a funding round last year. Given the acquisition's pricing terms weren't disclosed, we can't say for sure if it was higher or lower than the $1bn mark, but for a hint,

Fast Fashion E-Tailer Lulu's Files For IPO

Lulu's , an online retailer of women's apparel, is headed towards the public markets. It's filed an S-1 document for an initial public offering (IPO), showing its intent to list on the Nasdaq exchange. As expected from S-1 filings, Lulu's has provided great insights into its business, with information not publicly disclosed before. Something very noteworthy is that the online shopping boom of this year emanating from the Covid pandemic has largely favored the company. By The Numbers For its most recent fiscal quarter, the three months ended October 3, 2021, Lulu's brought in between $105mn to $106mn in revenue. Its net income for the same period was at the $3mn-$4mn mark. The estimations are because the final, audited results haven't yet been posted. For the fiscal year ended January 3, 2021, Lulu's posted $249mn in revenue and a net loss of $19mn. It shows that the company has swung from losses to profitability this year, with the net profit of between $3m

Analysis: Dissecting GitLab's S-1 Filing

This week, one startup caught us off guard with a filing for an initial public offering that was unveiled late on Friday . It was GitLab , a popular code repository hosting service that's the main rival to GitHub .  GitLab recently unveiled its S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) as is usual for companies taking the IPO route on the US markets. The S-1 filing provided great insight and detail into GitLab's business with information not publicly disclosed before, and we're here to dissect some of the most important information extracted from the bulky filing. Firstly, we'll be focusing on revenue and sales numbers which is of course the primary statistic for every business. Let's start with the fact GitLab has a solid business model bringing in solid sales and growing steadily, but the company is racking up significant losses.  Business Model : GitLab makes money by charging enterprise customers for paid features and integrations of its