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Deal: Indian Gaming Startup PlaySimple Sold For $360M

One of India's low-key makers of casual mobile games has sold for a huge sum, spurring surprise in the industry. It's PlaySimple , which has been sold to  Modern Times Group (MTG) , a publicly-traded Swedish game company.  MTG is buying PlaySimple for an upfront amount of SEK 3.1 billion ($362mn) and then conditional earn-out payments worth  SEK 1.3 billion ($151mn). Making an aggregate of $513mn, it's one of the largest exits ever for a gaming startup in India. MTG's payment for PlaySimple is a mix of cash and stock. The $362mn upfront price tag is a very big one for a startup that raised barely $5mn in venture funding, with its last round in 2016. It happens that PlaySimple built a sustainable and solid business for itself that brought in $83mn in sales last year. PlaySimple has a portfolio of nine casual games, including popular ones like Word Trip , Word Jam , and Word Wars . It's one of the few cases of an Indian startup developing successful mobile games for

EVs: Tesla Crosses 200k+ Quarterly Delivery Milestone

Electric carmaker Tesla has crossed a major milestone in its business of car deliveries. For the first time in a three-month period, it delivered over 200,000 cars to customers, setting a record for itself. Tesla delivered 201,250 vehicles in the second quarter of 2021, compared to nearly 185,000 in the preceding quarter. In the same second quarter, the company produced 206,421 vehicles. While Tesla crossed a major delivery milestone, it slightly fell short of investor and analyst expectations with forecasts ranging from 190,000-231,000 deliveries, data polled from FactSet shows. Of the 201,250 vehicles Tesla delivered, the vast majority as usual (199,360) were Model 3 and Y vehicles while Model S and X made up a minority (1,890). The Model S and X are the higher-end Tesla models so are usually produced much less. Tesla is continuing to build up its production capacity, with new factories under construction in Texas and Germany. Currently, it has two car-churning factories in the US

Crypto: Thai SEC Files Criminal Complaint Against Binance

Binance, the world's biggest crypto exchange by volume, appears to be facing even more regulatory scrutiny after its recent woes in the UK where it was restricted from operating in the country. This time, it's from Thailand , whose Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a criminal complaint against the company. Thailand's SEC has lodged a criminal complaint  claiming Binance is operating in the country without the required license and thus is violating its laws and subject to criminal sanction. The complaint was lodged with the Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECD) of the Royal Thai Police. According to Thailand's SEC, Binance had failed to meet a deadline for responding to an earlier warning from the agency that it was operating a digital asset exchange without a license and needed to get one. At that, a criminal complaint could cause troubles for Binance in the country. According to Thailand's constitution, Binance's violation makes it liable

Exec Pay: Big Payday For Incoming Amazon CEO Andy Jassy

In two days' time, the famous Jeff Bezos will be stepping down from his longtime role as Amazon's CEO and hand over to his lieutenant Andy Jassy . Jassy is transitioning from the head of Amazon Web Services, the company's big cloud division, to the head of the whole Amazon, a much bigger company. If there's one thing a major leadership transition can bring, it's anxiety for someone like Jassy, but we see that he's gotten a big pay package to soften that anxiety and make us not worry much for him.  In a filing , Amazon said it'll grant Jassy 61,000 shares of stock that'll vest over a ten-year period. At the company's current share price ($3,511) , those shares are worth around $214mn . They could even be worth much more if Amazon's stock price moves higher over the ten-year period. Jassy's pay package is in line with the CEOs of other big tech companies like Google parent Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft. The CEOs of these companies are no stran

SPAC: US DOJ Probing EV Startup Lordstown Motors

In the latest episode of the saga with electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors , it's now facing an investigation from the US Justice Department for possible fraud. The pilot of this saga were  fraud accusations from short-seller Hindenburg this March and has made for an interesting series since that time. The Justice Department's investigation into Lordstown Motors was first reported by The Wall Street Journal . It's being handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and is in its early stages, the report said. With big ambitions, Lordstown Motors went public last year through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that added $675mn to its cash coffers to fund commercial production of its planned electric truck. But fast forward a few months after and Lordstown warned that it didn't have sufficient cash to fund production, weighing down investor hopes. The warning from Lordstown opened up a storm of backlash that despite raising hundreds o

IPO: Key Takes From Robinhood's S-1 Filing

Yesterday on Thursday was the day one of the most anticipated IPOs of this year came to fruition. It was the day Robinhood, the popular stock and crypto trading app, unveiled its filing for an IPO . The trading app has had many eyes on it since it began making waves circa 2017 and more so in the past year, especially for its role in the "meme stock" saga . Robinhood claims to have "democratized investing" with its seemingly gamified trading app targeted at retail investors. At that, it's provided an easy way for small, retail investors to get in on the stock markets, but has also made it easy for such retail investors to trade risky assets to their potential detriment. Robinhood may both be a blessing and curse, depending on who you ask. In this piece, we're combing through Robinhood's SEC paperwork  to pick out some bits that may be interesting to you, and trust us, Robinhood's paperwork has many interesting bits. First of all, the company is earmar

IPO: PUBG Maker Krafton Cuts Down Offering Size

Krafton (formerly Bluehole), the South Korean developer of the hit game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) , has cut down the size of shares it's selling in its initial public offering on the Korean markets. It's cut down its target from the equivalent of $5bn at the top range now to $3.8bn, ending a bid for what could have been the biggest IPO in South Korea. In a revised filing to Korean regulators, Krafton indicated it had cut down its IPO size and also removed valuation comparisons to firms like Warner Music Group and Disney after it drew criticism for being over-reliant on one product, PUBG , for revenue and therefore not as diversified as those firms. PUBG, the popular 'battle royale' game, makes up the vast majority of Krafton's revenue, 96.7% in the first quarter of this year. Reading the writing on the wall that it's risky to be over-reliant on one product, Krafton has invested in other games and ventures but its efforts are yet to pay off. On its

Deal: EU Clears AMD's $35B Takeover Of Xilinx

Chip giant AMD has secured unconditional approval from the European Union for its proposed $35bn takeover of chip rival Xilinx, clearing the way for the deal to go through. The EU's antitrust union gave the approval stating that it had not found any issues with the deal after a preliminary review. The conditions of AMD's fast EU approval are in contrast to that of its main rival Nvidia which has faced close regulatory scrutiny trying to complete its proposed $40bn takeover of chip designer Arm. Separate probes into that deal have been opened by the EU and the UK, where Arm is based. "The proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area given the absence of horizontal overlaps and vertical relationships between the activities of the companies," the EU's antitrust agency said about the AMD-Xilinx deal. AMD is buying Xilinx, a publicly-traded company, in an all-stock deal valued at $35bn. The acquisition will make AMD a tough

Alert: Trading App Robinhood Files For IPO

Robinhood, the popular stock trading app, has filed for its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO). It's unveiled its SEC paperwork just a day after it agreed to pay a $70mn fine  to settle accusations of misconduct from regulators. Robinhood has unveiled its S-1 filing with the SEC, giving a peek into its business with information not publicly disclosed before. The company made $959mn in revenue for 2020, more than triple from $277mn in 2019. In 2020, it made a small net profit of $7.4mn, compared to a $107mn net loss in 2019. For its IPO, Robinhood is earmarking up to 35% of the shares for retail investors in its app. It'll be one of the few moments retail investors get to buy into a company at its IPO price.  Unveiling its filing for an IPO just after it agreed to settle a major regulatory case for $70mn seems like that was the hurdle Robinhood was just waiting to go through to kick off its IPO process. That particular case was from the US Financial Industry Regulatory

Markets: Fitness Startup Xponential Files For IPO

A fitness startup that's built a strong business for itself in just four years of existence by way of acquisitions is about to exit on the public markets. It's Xponential Fitness , a franchise owner of boutique fitness brands including Club Pilates and CycleBar . Xponential has filed for an IPO with the US SEC. It intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with the trading symbol "XPOF". Rumors have it that Xponential planned a public listing for last year but called off its plans after the Covid pandemic battered in-person fitness businesses. Now, its IPO plans are official and likely to go through. From its SEC paperwork , Xponential revealed it has sold a cumulative 3,371 franchise licenses in North America since 2017. Also, it had ten franchise studios internationally and master franchisees contractually obligated to sell licenses for 693 more studios internationally, as of March-end. From the above figures, it can be deduced that Xponential has a sol

Crypto: Cathie Wood's ARK Invest To Co-Launch Bitcoin ETF

Ark Invest, the famous 'contrarian' investment firm founded by Cathie Wood, has proposed to co-launch a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The proposal was made known with a recent filing to the US SEC. Ark Invest is teaming up with  21Shares , a Swiss-based crypto company, to launch an ETF that will track the performance of Bitcoin. As it's structured, 21Shares is the one launching the ETF while Ark is assisting with marketing and validation.  To note, the US SEC hasn't approved any Bitcoin ETF despite 8 filings to it before Ark's own. It's uncertain if Ark's own will get approval. The new ETF proposed by Ark and 21Shares is named "ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF". As an exchange-traded fund, it won't be buying or selling any bitcoin directly but will make investments in assets tied to the performance of the cryptocurrency, such as Coinbase and the  Grayscale Bitcoin Trust which are two of Ark's current major holdings. Ark's Cathie Wood i

Ed: Music Mogul David Geffen Gives $150M To Yale University

A multi-billionaire who made his fortune starting as a music mogul has made a hefty donation to an Ivy League college that was already very rich to start with. He's David Geffen , who made his fortune selling his eponymous Geffen Records for $550mn in the 1990s and multiplied it with a string of savvy bets. David Geffen has donated $150mn to Yale University's School of Drama. It's one of the largest donations in the college's history, a college whose endowment already stood at $31bn  before the donation. With Geffen's donation, the sought-after Yale School of Drama will now be 100% tuition-free beginning with the 2021-22 academic year, the college says. As a caveat for the big donation, that particular School of Drama will now be called David Geffen School of Drama . This donation seems to be Geffen's second-biggest to higher ed after the $400mn+ he's given to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Geffen, a college dropout, infamously faked ha

Alert: Trading App Robinhood Fined $70M By Regulators

Robinhood, the popular stock trading app, will pay a record-setting $70mn fine levied by regulators against a stockbroker. The company has been fined that amount by the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for systemwide outages during crucial trading periods and misleading communication and trading practices. Robinhood will pay $57mn as an upfront penalty and make $13mn in restitution to some customers who lost money due to systemwide outages at some points. If you remember, Robinhood caught a lot of flak for serial outages at certain points of high trading activity on the markets. Also, Robinhood was accused by FINRA of providing false and misleading communication to customers regarding how they could trade, such as the risk of loss they faced when trading options, how much cash they had in their accounts, and if they faced margin calls. A case FINRA singled out was that of a Robinhood user who committed suicide  last year after seeing a large negative net balance on

Markets: Clickbait Giant Outbrain Files For IPO

Do you remember those bizarre ads you see below articles at many news sites you visit? that's if you don't use ad-blocking software anyways. For those that remember, we have news for you, one of the major peddlers of those ads will soon start trading on the public markets. The clickbait giant Outbrain , one of the two major ad-tech networks serving those bizarre ads (the other is Taboola), has filed for an IPO. It'll soon list on the Nasdaq stock exchange. If you think there isn't much money to be made peddling clickbait, you may be in for a surprise. Outbrain's S-1 filing shows the company made $767mn as revenue in 2020, and $687mn in 2019. In just the three months ended March 31, 2021, it made $228mn . On a net basis, Outbrain is currently profitable. It reported a $10.7mn net income in the three months ended March and $4.4mn in 2020. Surely, clickbait ads are a good business, notwithstanding our collective annoyance with them. With net profitability, Outbrain

Markets: Language Learning App Duolingo Files For IPO

Duolingo , that popular app for learning languages that trails you with ads everywhere you go on YouTube, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO). The company has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC showing its intent to list on the Nasdaq stock market. Duolingo filed for an IPO after wrapping up a year that was very favorable to its business. It happens that the pandemic of 2020 drove people more towards mobile apps and Duolingo, a mix of learning and gaming, was a major beneficiary of it. From its S-1 filing, Duolingo shows that its annual sales rose from $71mn in 2019 to $162mn in 2020. That 129% jump is a testament to the recent year being a very good one for the company. On a net basis, Duolingo isn't profitable, though its net losses are usually small relative to its revenue. The company reported a net loss of $15.8mn in 2020, compared to $13.6mn in 2019. Duolingo reports having 39.9 million monthly active users and 9.5 million daily active users at the end of Marc

Alert: Facebook Notches $1T Market Cap For First Time

On the markets today, there's been a major event. It's that social media giant Facebook Inc has crossed a $1 trillion market cap for the first time ever, just after a US judge dismissed an antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the company. Shortly after the dismissal, Facebook shares rose up nearly 5% to surpass a market cap of $1 trillion for the first time ever. It's a testament to frothy markets favoring Facebook, whose business has continued to soar despite major regulatory scrutiny the company is grappling with. For reference, Facebook reported  $26.2bn in revenue in the three months ended March 31, 2021. This was up 48% from the same period in 2020. The company stayed put on bringing in wads of cash from advertising on its Facebook and Instagram properties, which make up the vast majority of its sales.  Joining the $1 trillion club, Facebook can congratulate itself for being in an exclusive club. Only a few other companies have crossed th

Crypto Exchange Binance Restricted From Operating In UK

Regulators in the UK have warned that Binance, the popular crypto exchange, isn't allowed to legally operate in the country, shortly after regulators in Japan did the same. The warning came from the country's  Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which contests that Binance isn't permitted to undertake any regulated activities in the country. According to the FCA's statement , Binance is offering UK users trading services via its Binance.com website despite not being permitted to undertake any regulated activities in the country without the agency's approval. The FCA said that no entity as part of the wider Binance Group  holds any form of authorisation, registration or licence to conduct business in the country. This implies that Binance is operating in a regulatory grey area there, with users bearing all the risk if anything goes wrong. On Friday, a day before the UK's FCA issued its warning, a similar agency in Japan issued the same warning. The country's

Law: J&J To Pay $230M To Settle Opioid Case

Johnson & Johnson is a name that's largely recognizable to many people. The medical products and pharmaceuticals company has its name directly branded on many consumer-facing products and some not so directly.  While Johnson & Johnson has been famous for its medical products, it's also been infamous for certain controversies in there, such as a $2.2bn fine levied for false marketing of its products in 2013 and another $4.7bn penalty  in 2018 for claims of its talcum powder products causing cancer. Now, J&J is back with another settlement, this time for opioid products. The company has agreed to pay $230mn to settle a case in New York concerning its role in the opioid epidemic. It'll pay that sum over the course of nine years to the state of New York. The settlement stems from a case filed by New York's Attorney General Letitia James against several opioid manufacturers and their distributors in 2019. Among those sued in that case were J&J and the inf

EVs: VW To Stop Selling ICE Cars In Europe By 2035

German automaker Volkswagen has said it'll stop selling combustion engine cars in the whole of Europe by 2035 as it turns its attention towards electric vehicles. The statement came from a board member of the company speaking to the local  Muenchner Merkur newspaper. The board member in person was  Klaus Zellmer , previously the head of Porsche Cars North America. He said Volkswagen will stop selling combustion-engine vehicles in Europe between 2033 and 2035, with the US and China to come "a little later". The stated plan falls in line with European countries working hard to phase out the sale of combustion-engine vehicles to meet climate targets. Some like the UK have banned the sale of gasoline cars by 2030. This is not the first time we'll hear commitments towards electrification from Volkswagen. The German carmaker has said it plans to launch around 70 all-electric car models by 2030, backed up by tens of billions of dollars of investment. Volkswagen has its e

Alert: PE Firm KKR Gets Into The Single-Family Rentals Game

It seems that asset management firms with wads of cash have set their sights on buying up rental properties to the dismay of local and individual landlords. Just recently, it was Blackstone with its $6bn purchase of a major single-family home landlord, and now it's fellow private equity firm KKR , which is forming a new single-family landlord backed by its wads of cash. KKR has formed My Community Homes , a Miami-based firm that plans to buy and manage rental houses across the US. The PE firm will provide cash to My Community Homes from its real estate and private credit funds, Bloomberg reports . KKR has already been a major player in the US real estate market, but not usually in the arena of rental homes. In fact, the firm's real estate division has $28bn in assets under management. Over the past year, asset management firms like KKR have been flush with cash from a bull market and sought new ways to deploy it. It seems real estate, rental homes at that, has been a new fron

Hedge Fund Perceptive Forms 5th SPAC To Raise $130M

Perceptive Advisors, a major hedge fund focused on life sciences investments, has launched what is its 5th special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in succession to raise $130mn from an IPO. The fifth SPAC,  ARYA Sciences Acquisition V , recently unveiled an S-1 filing for an IPO. It's seeking to raise $130mn by selling 13 million shares for $10 apiece. ARYA Sciences Acquisition is the umbrella under which Perceptive has launched its SPACs since it got into the game in 2018, two years before the SPAC boom of 2020. Its SPACs have raised hundreds of millions and merged with biotech outfits including  Cerevel Therapeutics , a company treating neurotic diseases, and  Nautilus , a human proteomics company. The size of Perceptive's SPACs has usually been $100mn-$200mn and this fifth one is no exception with $130mn, or $150mn if an over-allotment option is fully exercised.  Like all of its SPACs, this fifth one will seek a life sciences company as a merger target. Perceptive is one

Earnings: Nike Crushes Estimates In Recent Quarter

Athletic apparel giant Nike has released its earnings report for its most recent fiscal quarter ended May 31, 2021. The report shows Nike beating analyst estimates by a large margin, with sales up 96% year-over-year. Nike brought in $12.3bn in sales in the quarter. Net income was $1.5bn , compared to a $790mn loss in the same quarter of the previous year. For the fiscal year leading up to May 31, Nike reported $44.5bn in sales , compared to $37.4bn in the previous year. From its $12.3bn quarterly revenue, the majority as usual came from Nike brand sales ($11.8bn) and a minority from Converse ($596mn). The earnings report shows that Nike has largely recovered from an earnings slump caused by the Covid pandemic last year. The company was a victim of widespread physical retail shutters that brought down sales amid the pandemic. In light of its recovery, Nike used its profits to pay dividends as well as resume a share buyback program. The company paid $1.6bn in dividends and bought bac

Markets: Mortgage Startup Blend Labs Files For IPO

One of the hottest fintech startups in the current markets is headed for a public listing soon. That startup is Blend Labs , a company that provides tools used by financial institutions to automate the process of issuing mortgage loans. Blend closed a funding round that valued it at $3.3bn early this year. Now, some months later, the company has unveiled an S-1 filing for an IPO with the US SEC. The final size of its share offering hasn't yet been set. As usual, we'll dig into Blend's S-1 filing for some important bits on its business, particularly on revenue figures. Details Blend brought in $96mn in revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020. That revenue was up 89% from the previous year. On a net basis, Blend isn't profitable, reporting a $75mn net loss in 2020 and $81mn in the year before that. But at least, it has high revenue growth rates to rationalize those losses. Blend's business model is based on charging customers, usually financial institutions, fo

Markets: Panasonic Sells Off Tesla Stake Worth $3.6B

One of the major manufacturing partners of electric carmaker Tesla has sold its large stake in the company. That partner is Japan-based Panasonic , which sold its stake for about 400 billion yen ($3.6bn), the company has confirmed . Panasonic has been a strategic partner and early investor in Tesla for a long time. It bought shares worth $30mn back in 2010, the very year Tesla debuted on the public markets. That stake alone was worth $730mn at the end of March 2020. After investing $30mn in 2010, Panasonic bought more shares in Tesla over time. Now as it's sold all of them for $3.6bn, that's a very high return-on-investment, like many have made on Tesla. Panasonic says the sale of its stake won't affect its partnership with Tesla. The electronics conglomerate is a major supplier of battery cells present in Tesla's cars. Tesla itself has been seeking to diversify its supply chain to not rely majorly on a single supplier like Panasonic. At that, the company has added new

Deal: Visa Buys Swedish Banking Startup Tink For $2.1B

A fintech startup from Sweden has made a big landmark for the country's startup scene, with an exit by way of acquisition. That startup is Tink , which is getting acquired by payments company Visa for a big sum.  Visa has agreed to buy Tink for a sum of 1.8 billion Euros ($2.1bn). It's buying the open banking platform after US regulators prevented its $5.3bn acquisition of Plaid , a company offering a similar service to Tink but in the American markets. Tink provides APIs that enable customers to link to different online banking services. It's a crucial tool serving the industry of digital banking. Currently, Tink is integrated with over 3,400 banks and financial institutions. Tink was founded in 2012. It has raised $308mn in venture funding and was valued at more than $800mn  from its last financing round. At that, a $2.1bn acquisition is a very big win for the company and its investors, as it's nearly 3x its last valuation. Tink's pricey sale to Visa strengthens

SPAC: BuzzFeed To Go Public In $1.5B Deal

In the world of SPACs, there's a new merger that isn't the usual type we're accustomed to. Usually, companies merging with SPACs are high-growth tech startups with big ambitions or more established traditional businesses. But, in this case, the new merger is BuzzFeed , yes that "click farm" BuzzFeed you know. BuzzFeed has agreed to merge with  890 Fifth Avenue Partners Inc. (Nasdaq: ENFA) and become a public company. The merger terms value the media company at $1.5bn. From its merger, BuzzFeed will get $288mn of cash held in trust by the SPAC and then a $150mn PIPE round from a group of asset managers, summing up to $438mn. A sizeable portion of the merger proceeds will finance a new BuzzFeed acquisition of Complex Networks , a media brand focused on 'youth culture'. BuzzFeed is paying $200mn in cash and $100mn in equity for the media brand. The merger is scheduled for completion in Q4 2021, upon which BuzzFeed will start trading on the Nasdaq exchange.

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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