M&A appears to have been a major theme this past week. At Sophic, we believe M&A could be a positive catalyst for small cap Canadian innovation stocks in the fall. Additionally, consensus expectations are for capital markets activity to accelerate in that period. In Canada, theScore, a pioneer in sports media and now the sports betting space, which we covered as equity analysts on the sell side, announced it was was being acquired for US$2 billion in a cash and stock deal. Sophic client, Nanotech Security Corp was acquired by Meta Materials for approximately $90 million, and HIRE Technologies, also a Sophic client announced it was acquiring, Leaders and Co., along with a loan facility and concurrent financing. In the USA, Square will acquire Australia’s Afterpay for US$29 billion, Marvell Technology will acquire Innovium in all-stock deal valued at US$1.1 billion. At the same time, U.K. is considering blocking Nvidia’s US$40 billion Arm deal on national security grounds.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Penn National Gaming to acquire Score Media and Gaming (SCR-TSX, SCR-NASDAQ), creating North America’s leading digital sports content, gaming and technology company.
Penn National Gaming, Inc. and Score Media and Gaming, Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Penn National will acquire theScore, a leading digital media and sports betting and technology company, for approximately US$2.0 billion in cash and stock. Jay Snowden, President and Chief Executive Officer of Penn National, commented, “We are thrilled to be acquiring theScore, which is the number one sports app in Canada and the third most popular sports app in all of North America. theScore’s unique media platform and modern, state-of-the art technology is a powerful complement to the reach of Barstool Sports and its popular personalities and content.” https://bwnews.pr/2X2qTdY
Nanotech Security Corp.(Sophic Client, NTS-TSXV,NTSFF-OTCQX) acquired by Meta Materials for approximately $90.8 million.
Nanotech Security Corp., a leader in the development of secure and visually memorable nano-optic security features used in the government and banknote and brand protection markets, entered into a definitive arrangement agreement with Meta Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: MMAT), a developer of high-performance functional materials and nanocomposites, pursuant to which META will indirectly acquire Nanotech for $1.25 per common share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $90.8 million on a fully diluted basis. https://bit.ly/2WZUc0L
HIRE Technologies HIRE Technologies (Sophic Client, HIRE-TSXV) to acquire Leaders and Co., Consulting in Governance and Leadership Inc., announces $5.0 million loan facility and up to $3.0 million concurrent financing.
Leaders is an innovative and trusted executive search firm with clients across Canada, strong national and international alliances, and a leading Diversity and Indigenous recruitment practice. https://bit.ly/3xuGAa6
Body and Mind Body and Mind Inc. (Sophic Client, BAMM-CSE, BMMJ-OTC) has management agreements and option to acquire two Illinois entities that each win a Chicago conditional license in Illinois dispensary lottery.
Body and Mind Inc., a multi-state operator, announced that it has management agreements with each of NMG IL 1, LLC (“NMG IL 1”) and NMG IL 4, LLC (“NMG IL 4”) and the option to indirectly acquire all of the membership interests in each of NMG IL 1 and NMG IL 4 pursuant to a convertible credit facility between BaM’s subsidiary, DEP Nevada, Inc. (“DEP”) and each of NMG IL 1 and NMG IL 4, and membership interest purchase agreements between DEP and the members of NMG IL 1 and NMG IL 4, subject to obtaining all required local and state regulatory authorization. https://bit.ly/3Cpkk59
Voyager Digital (VYGR-CSE, VYGVF-OTCQX) acquires leading global cryptocurrency payment processing company, Coinify.
Voyager Digital Ltd. announced the acquisition of Coinify ApS, a leading cryptocurrency payment platform with a global user base in over 150 countries. The acquisition accelerates Voyager’s international expansion and Voyager’s capabilities into the payment space so that customers will soon be able to make payments directly from their digital asset accounts. The Coinify acquisition also fast-tracks Voyager into the business-to-business payment space. https://bit.ly/3AjbFQc
Tantalus (GRID-TSX) announces overnight marketed public offering.
Tantalus announced that it has priced its previously announced overnight marketed public offering of common shares (the “Offering”) of the Company (the “Common Shares”). Pursuant to the Offering, the Company intends to issue Common Shares at a price of $2.25 per Common Share (the “Offering Price”) for gross proceeds of up to $10 million. https://bit.ly/3AgUX3N
Deveron (FARM-TSXV) announces private placement financing.
Deveron Corp. announced a non-brokered private placement financing for gross proceeds of $3,500,000 through the issuance of 5,384,615 units in the capital of the Company (the “Units”) at a price of $0.65 per Unit (the “Offering”). Each Unit is comprised of one common share in the capital of the Company (each, a “Common Share”) and one-half of one whole Common Share purchase warrant (each whole warrant, a “Warrant”). Each Warrant entitles the holder thereof to acquire one Common Share at a price of $0.85 per Common Share for a period of two (2) years from the date of issuance. https://bit.ly/3xnYQlG
WorkJam secures US$35 million to fuel growth of frontline worker platform.
Montréal software startup WorkJam has secured US$35 million in growth financing from Silver Lake Waterman to support the expansion of its go-to-market initiatives. Silver Lake Waterman is part of Silver Lake, a global investment firm based in California that focuses on providing growth capital to later-stage growth companies in tech and tech-enabled industries. Silver Lake Waterman provides late stage, pre-initial public offering growth investments. https://bit.ly/2Vv8shA
Hootsuite nabs conversational AI startup Heyday in $60 million deal to further social commerce push.
Hootsuite has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot startup Heyday in a $60 million deal that further expands Hootsuite’s push into e-commerce and customer service software. Heyday is Hootsuite’s second acquisition this year, following the purchase of automated messaging platform Sparkcentral. That deal marked Hootsuite’s move into customer support through online messaging, while the Heyday acquisition allows Hootsuite to tap into social media-based e-commerce. https://bit.ly/3lByI4z
Yaletown Partners raises $130 million in first close of Innovation Growth Fund II.
Vancouver-based Yaletown Partners has secured the first close for its second Innovation Growth Fund (IGF II), raising $130 million to support Canadian software and artificial intelligence (AI) startups that reduce emissions. IGF II is Yaletown’s fourth fund to date and the firm is aiming to raise a total of $200 million. IGF II follows Yaletown’s first Innovation Growth Fund, which closed in 2018. The capital comes from global pension funds, financial institutions, family offices, foundations, and a network of tech entrepreneurs. Some of the fund’s key investors include PSP Investments, BDC Capital, Ontario Capital Growth Corporation, and Alberta Enterprise Corporation. With the latest raise, Yaletown’s active funds now exceeds $375 million. https://bit.ly/3ytUwml
Ontario commits $109 million towards Telesat’s race to launch low-earth-orbit satellite network.
Telesat is set to receive $109 million from the Ontario government to support the Canadian satellite company’s race to launch a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite network, which pits it against the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. The financing secures Ontario dedicated high-speed satellite bandwidth for local internet service providers on Telesat’s network. The $109 million from Ontario follows a $400 million commitment from Québec and a $600 million commitment from the Government of Canada for Telesat’s network. The satellite communications company is currently working to launch an LEO satellite network, called Telesat Lightspeed, putting the company founded in 1969 against Musk’s Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper. Ottawa-headquartered Telesat is one of the largest global satellite operators, with its geostationary (GEO) satellites providing services to TV broadcasters, internet service providers, and government networks. Telesat began working on LEO satellites in the last five years, which have much lower latency (signal travel time between Earth and the satellites) compared to current communications satellites, allowing for faster internet speeds. Telesat is expected to launch its first LEO satellites in the next few years, with Ontario noting the network will go into service in the first half of 2024. The timeline is notable as Musk’s Starlink has the first-mover advantage with satellites already launched and operations in the United States and parts of Canada. However, Telesat is betting on its decades of experience to win the space race. As Telesat moves closer to its own launch, the company is also in the process of raising capital to finance the expensive task. In addition to its government funding, Telesat has been working to close more financing for its LEO network. Earlier this year, the company raised US$500 million in a secured notes offering towards that end. It plans to go public on the Nasdaq later this year, with hopes to list on a Canadian stock exchange as well. https://bit.ly/3yxumyP
Deloitte Canada acquires Clockwork to strengthen SAP consultancy business.
Deloitte Canada is acquiring systems, applications, and products (SAP) consulting firm Clockwork, as it looks to bolster its SAP consultancy business in Canada. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Through the acquisition of Clockwork, Deloitte aims to improve its SaaS solution deployment, cloud migration, and custom application development capabilities. According to Deloitte, Clockwork brings the company “technical capabilities, seasoned leaders, and critical capacity across SAP and Cloud.” https://bit.ly/3jtlkge
Maple and Headspace team up to improve mental health outcomes in exclusive Canadian partnership.
Maple, one of Canada’s most trusted brands in telemedicine and a leading virtual care platform, is proud to announce an exclusive partnership with Headspace, a global leader in mindfulness and meditation. This offering, unique in Canada, will provide Maple users with access to guided meditations, mindfulness practices, and wellness education to complement the primary and mental health specialist care already available through Maple’s integrated platform. https://bit.ly/3xrN35W
Apple, Affirm to join on Buy Now, Pay Later for Canadian purchases.
Apple Inc. and Affirm Holdings Inc.’s PayBright are planning to launch a “buy now, pay later” program for Apple device purchases in Canada, stepping up the iPhone maker’s ambitions to offer more financial services. The companies plan to debut the initiative this month at Apple’s online and physical retail stores in Canada, according to a message sent to Apple retail employees in the region, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The service will let iPhone, Mac, and iPad buyers in Canada pay for purchases over 12 or 24 months instead of in-full at the time of the transaction. Apple told staff it will offer the program interest-free for a limited time after the launch. https://bloom.bg/2TZLAGh
SpaceX and a Canadian startup plan to launch a satellite that will beam adverts into space.
Anyone can buy pixels on the satellite’s screen with dogecoin. Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC), a Canadian startup that provides technology services, exclusively told Insider that it’s making space advertising possible with the help of SpaceX. Samuel Reid, CEO and co-founder of GEC, said the company is in the process of building a satellite, called a CubeSat. One side of the satellite will have a pixelated display screen where the advertisements, logos, and art will appear, Reid said. The company plans to load the CubeSat on to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which will take it into orbit and release it before the rocket reaches the moon. Once in orbit, a selfie-stick attached to the side of the CubeSat will film the display screen. This footage will be livestreamed on YouTube or Twitch so anyone can tune in to watch the satellite’s screen, Reid said. https://bit.ly/3AloQ36
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Analyst ‘buy’ ratings are at a nearly 20-year high as bullish sentiment sweeps markets.
Bullish sentiment among Wall Street analysts is at a nearly two-decade high as equities markets continue to soar, according to Morgan Stanley data compiled by the Financial Times. The data covers the largest 1,000 US-listed stocks and shows “buy” ratings at levels not seen since 2002, when US law was amended to crack down on conflicts of interest for securities analysts. https://bit.ly/3CleYIh
Robinhood investors file to sell nearly 100 million shares.
Robinhood shareholders including early backers NEA, Ribbit Capital and Index Ventures are selling up to 97.9 million “HOOD” shares one week after the stock-trading app debuted on the Nasdaq, according to a company filing. Shares of Robinhood tumbled as much as 15% to US$59 on the news. The company’s stock closed at US$70 a share Wednesday after a particularly volatile day of trading that saw Robinhood shares leap more than 100% from its US$38 IPO price. Robinhood will not receive any proceeds as part of the stock sale. Investors are selling shares that were issued as part of a convertible note in February 2021, when Robinhood turned to its venture capital investors for an emergency infusion of capital to shore up its balance sheet after retail investors organized on social media to bid up certain consumer stocks. Shares purchased by investors during this period converted to Class A common stock upon the closing of Robinhood’s IPO at a conversion price of US$26.60. Among the other investors selling Robinhood shares are 9Yards Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Greenoaks Capital and Iconiq Capital. https://bit.ly/3fWmTlZ
Just 1% of Robinhood users participated in the online trading app’s IPO.
Robinhood directly sold shares of itself to 1.3% of its customer base when it went public last week at a price of US$38 per share, the company said on its website. The company had more than 22 million funded accounts as of June 30. Robinhood is seeking to expand retail investors’ access to IPO listings, enabling them to buy at the IPO price which can sometimes lead to big one-day gains if the stock pops when it goes public. IPO access is typically limited to institutional investors and their clients. The online trading app was one of the first companies it sold IPO shares of to its customer base, alongside recent IPOs like Duolingo and Clear Secure. While only 301,573 of Robinhood’s users participated in its IPO, it was by far the best showing to date for the company’s direct-IPO offering. https://bit.ly/3xveV9h
Public market fundraising drives a record first half for renewable energy investment.
This report summarizes BloombergNEF’s tracking of global investment in renewable energy up to and including 1H 2021. Globally, there was US$174 billion of new investment in renewable energy in 1H 2021, an all-time high for a first half. A decline in renewable energy project investment was offset by a huge increase in public market offerings of renewable energy companies. https://bit.ly/3yst7B5
KakaoBank soars over 70% in Korean online lender’s debut.
KakaoBank Corp., South Korea’s first internet-only lender to go public, surged more than 70% in its trading debut in Seoul to become the country’s largest retail lender by market value. The stock’s jump of as much as 74% gave the company, which doesn’t have brick-and-mortar branches, a market capitalization of more than 32 trillion won (US$28 billion), bigger than the country’s traditional financial groups. It was up 62% at 11:10 a.m. in Seoul. https://bloom.bg/3jocqk0
Square to acquire Australia’s Afterpay for US$29 billion.
Square said it has agreed to buy Australian buy now, pay later service Afterpay for US$29 billion in a share-swap deal. Square is paying a 30% premium for the company, which was founded in 2014 and comes amid growing appetite for buy now, pay later services that let consumers make purchases in installments without credit checks. Such services that also don’t charge any interest saw growing demand during the economic tough times of the Covid-19 lockdown, especially among younger users, many of whom losty jobs in hospitality and retail. The deal also expands Square’s reach. “Square and Afterpay have a shared purpose,” said Jack Dorsey, Square’s chief executive, said according to The Wall Street Journal. “We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible, and inclusive, and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles.” https://bit.ly/3xzyltK
Marvell Technology to acquire Innovium in all-stock deal valued at US$1.1 billion.
Marvell Technology Inc. said Tuesday it has reached an agreement to acquire Innovium Inc., a provider of software for cloud and edge data centers, in an all-stock deal valued at US$1.1 billion. The deal is expected to close by year-end and to add US$150 million in incremental revenue in fiscal 2023. It’s expected to be neutral to Marvell’s adjusted per-share earnings in the first quarter after close and too boost it in the first full fiscal year after that. Marvell, which makes infrastructure semiconductor software, has a portfolio of Ethernet switch semiconductor solutions for the enterprise and carrier segment. “Innovium’s TERALYNX(TM) switching architecture delivers the ultra-low latency, optimized power, high performance, and innovative telemetry that are critical in today’s cloud-scale data centers,” Marvell said in a statement. https://on.mktw.net/3xtQ9Gk
U.K. considering block of Nvidia’s US$40 billion Arm deal on national security grounds.
The U.K. government is weighing whether to block Nvidia’s US$40 billion takeover of Softbank-owned semiconductor designer Arm, following a critical assessment of the deal by the country’s antitrust regulator, according to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday. Last month, the Competition and Markets Authority delivered a report to the U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden with its assessment of competition and national security issues teed up by the deal. The report contains “worry implications” for national security according to Bloomberg, and the U.K. government is currently inclined to block the deal. Dowden has yet to decide whether CMA should continue investigating the deal. Nvidia’s deal for Arm is under fire around the world, including the U.S., EU and China. The Information previously reported that the deal has hit delays in China, and that the European review is on hold until after the summer holidays. https://bit.ly/3jxSg70
John Deere Acquires Bear Flag Robotics to Accelerate Autonomous Technology on the Farm.
Deere & Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bear Flag Robotics for US$250 million . Founded in 2017, the Silicon Valley-based startup develops autonomous driving technology compatible with existing machines. The deal accelerates the development and delivery of automation and autonomy on the farm and supports John Deere’s long-term strategy to create smarter machines with advanced technology to support individual customer needs. https://bit.ly/3js60R2
DraftKings discloses SEC subpoena concerning allegations by short seller Hindenburg.
Shares of DraftKings Inc. ran up 7.3% in premarket trading Friday, after the sports betting company raised its full-year revenue outlook, but the company disclosed an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning allegations over “black-market gaming” and money laundering made by short seller Hindenburg Research. DraftKings said in its 10-Q filing with the SEC that it received a subpoena on July 9 from the SEC seeking documents concerning certain of the allegations. The company said it is cooperating with the SEC’s inquiry, and said despite the “potential for significant damages,” it does not believe the outcome of the proceeding will have a material adverse effect on its financials. https://on.mktw.net/3CyyBNg
Tencent tumbles 10% after Chinese media slams online gaming for being addictive, raising concern that regulators may target this sector next.
Tencent Holdings fell as much as 10% on Tuesday after a Chinese state-run media outlet called online gaming was “spiritual opium” and “electronic drugs,” raising concerns that the government may next target the online entertainment industry as part of its ongoing regulatory crackdown. Shares in rival tech firm NetEase fell as much as 15%, while gaming developer XD Inc fell 21% and mobile-game publisher GMGE Technology Group plunged 16%. China’s Economic Information Daily, run by the country’s official state-run press agency Xinhua, said teenage addiction to online gaming is widespread and could have a detrimental impact on young people’s education. https://bit.ly/3yw8GDh
Australians can now add COVID-19 vaccine certificate to Apple Wallet.
After England’s NHS app brought support to a COVID-19 passport last week, the Australian government is doing the same via Express Plus Medicare for its iPhone users. Starting now in Australia, anyone that received two shots of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines is eligible to add a digital certificate to the Apple Wallet. As first spotted by Tap Down Under, Australians just have to download the Express Plus Medicare app, which was recently updated with Apple Wallet support. According to the website, there are two methods to add the COVID-19 digital certificate into the Apple Wallet: the first one is to access my.gov.au, tap on “Go to Medicare” in the COVID-19 vaccination status area, and then under the PDF link, you’ll find an “Add to Apple Wallet” button. https://bit.ly/3fzU26A
Colleges across the US and Canada are adopting virtual student IDs.
Apple Wallet has supported contactless student IDs since 2018, with three US universities supporting the feature at launch. The program has been gradually expanding ever since. Yesterday, the company announced that its virtual IDs will finally arrive in Canada this fall. An unspecified number of additional US universities will adopt it for the first time as well. The University of New Brunswick and Sheridan College will be the first two Canadian schools to use Apple Wallet IDs. The new US roster includes Auburn, Northern Arizona University, University of Maine, and New Mexico State University, in addition to “many more colleges across the country.” The University of Alabama, one of the program’s early adopters, will also be the first school to issue exclusively mobile student IDs (to students with eligible devices) this fall. (Those with Android phones can use the digital cards through Google Pay.) https://bit.ly/3jvoD6v
Amazon’s AI-cameras reportedly determine drivers’ pay and employment status by scoring safety infractions like tailgating and running red lights.
Amazon is using its artificial intelligence-based cameras to determine compensation rates for their drivers, as well as whether they can stay employed with the company, according to a recent report from The Information. The publication obtained confidential documents that revealed Amazon has developed a point system for drivers using the cameras in its delivery trucks that can identify anything from a sneeze to whether a driver has their eyes on the road or is following another car too closely. https://bit.ly/2TX8bDe
iPhone 13 production gets boost as Apple adds third Chinese maker, Luxshare.
Apple has given Chinese electronics maker Luxshare Precision Industry a big promotion, tapping the company for iPhone 13 production alongside Foxconn and Pegatron. A plan for this was first suggested more than a year ago, and is seemingly now confirmed. The company currently makes several iPhone components, but this move by Apple is a highly unusual one, letting a new assembler make the latest flagship models. https://bit.ly/3lLA8JA
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Tencent vows to limit minors’ game time after state media attack.
Chinese videogame giant Tencent said in a statement that it would put further restrictions on minors’ game time, after a Chinese state-owned media outlet published an article calling for more government regulation on online videogames. The article, which was deleted Tuesday afternoon, said that online games are like “mental opium” that has a negative impact on the health of minors in China. The article in the Economic Information Daily, which is affiliated with China’s official Xinhua news agency, mentioned Tencent’s blockbuster mobile game Honor of Kings as an example of minors getting addicted to games. The article caused Tencent’s shares to fall 6.1% Tuesday in Hong Kong. Another Chinese gaming company NetEase fell 7.8%. Tencent’s statement comes as the Chinese government has been tightening its control over a wide range of internet services. Beijing’s crackdown recently targeted the online education sector by issuing new rules barring tutoring companies that teach the school curriculum from making profits, raising funds or going public. https://bit.ly/3rZUxvy
Tencent’s WeChat resumes user registrations after nine days.
Reuters is reporting that Tencent has resumed new registrations of WeChat, the ubiquitous Chinese social messaging app that counts more than 1.2 billion users. The resumption comes as the company has been battered by state media and other new regulations criticizing online gaming and its harm on China’s youth. WeChat suspended registrations on July 27 in an unprecedented move amid a broader crackdown on China’s big tech companies by Chinese regulators. Tencent said at the time that it had done so while it upgraded its security to “align with all relevant laws and regulations.” Separately, Chinese state media said Thursday that the online gaming industry needs to be taxed similarly to other industries as they currently receive favorable tax measures for being software services businesses. Tencent’s shares fell 4% on Thursday and are down 23% since the start of the year. https://bit.ly/37q8utu
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
European Commission to investigate Facebook’s US$1 billion Kustomer deal.
Facebook’s US$1 billion purchase of customer relationship management start-up Kustomer will undergo a lengthy antitrust review at the European Commission, the agency said Monday. The announcement continues the antitrust pile-on against the deal, first announced last November. The Commission has until December 22 to make a decision. Last week, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority also opened a probe of the deal, which Facebook is using to bolster e-commerce on Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. This follows an in-depth review in the US by the Federal Trade Commission, first reported by The Information in February, as well as a preliminary inquiry the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission. In Europe, investigators are looking to see whether Facebook would use the deal to illegally boost is power in online advertising. The Commission also said it is concerned that the deal would reduce competition in the CRM market. The FTC is investigating similar concerns. The worldwide investigations into the fairly innocuous deal should erase any doubt that large technology companies will escape the regulatory microscope anytime soon. https://bit.ly/2U1fF8o
Leaked document says Google fired dozens of employees for data misuse.
Google fired dozens of employees between 2018 and 2020 for abusing their access to the company’s tools or data, with some workers potentially facing allegations of accessing Google user or employee data, according to an internal Google document obtained by Motherboard. The document provides concrete figures on an often delicate part of a tech giant’s operations: investigations into how the company’s own employees leverage their positions to steal, leak, or abuse data they may have access to. Insider abuse is a problem across the tech industry. Motherboard previously uncovered instances at Facebook, Snapchat, and MySpace, with employees in some cases using their access to stalk or otherwise spy on users. https://bit.ly/2U4u4AM
China’s antitrust regulator plans to fine Meituan US$1 billion.
China’s market regulator plans to impose a roughly US$1 billion anti-monopoly fine on the country’s largest food delivery and on-demand services app Meituan, the Wall Street Journal reported. The State Administration for Market Regulation is alleging that Meituan abused its dominant market position and pressured merchants to avoid working with other platforms that compete with Meituan, according to the Journal. The regulator’s move comes as China’s government is stepping up its crackdown on internet companies, through antitrust investigations, cybersecurity reviews and new regulations. In April, the regulator imposed a US$2.8 billion anti-monopoly fine on e-commerce giant Alibaba. https://bit.ly/3ClKdTF
Walmart’s Flipkart may face US$1.35 billion fine.
Walmart’s Flipkart could face a US$1.35 billion fine from Indian authorities for violating the country’s strict rules over foreign investment in online marketplaces, Reuters said. Citing unnamed sources, the report said that the financial crime agency asked Flipkart and its founders to say why they shouldn’t be fined. Flipkart said the company is “in compliance with Indian laws and regulations.” Amazon and Flipkart faces an increasingly hostile regulatory environment in India, where e-commerce has seen strong growth during the Covid-19 pandemic. https://bit.ly/3xuT2a7
Amazon expands deliveries to serve unlikely clients: its rivals.
Consumers seeking an alternative to Amazon will increasingly find it difficult to avoid the ecommerce group. For Ella Wynn, an Amazon box turning up on her doorstep in Manhattan’s East Village was both unexpected and uncomfortable. “I haven’t ordered anything off Amazon in over a year and a half,” Wynn said. “I hate the waste of their shipping methods and the consumer culture it promotes.” She had bought a shower curtain from a seller on Etsy, the marketplace known for its handmade goods, and a common destination for those seeking alternatives to Jeff Bezos’s empire. But avoiding Amazon had proved harder than Wynn had imagined: the Etsy seller had used Amazon’s logistics to get the order to her. https://on.ft.com/3jv3klt
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
SEC charges crypto exchange execs for the first time over unregistered token sales.
The Securities and Exchange Commission issued its first charges against the decentralized finance industry Friday, accusing two people of illegally selling over US$30 million of securities in unregistered offerings. The SEC’s Friday order found that two executives from the Blockchain Credit Partners company used the Ethereum blockchain to sell cryptocurrencies to investors while misleading them about the company’s profitability. Specifically, investors purchased cryptocurrencies using digital assets like ether. The company then promised to pay investors over 6 percent in interest and that the funds would go toward physical investments like car loans to create additional income. The SEC determined that these “real-world” investments wouldn’t generate the income advertised. Friday’s charges against the company come as the federal government is preparing to issue new regulations for the decentralized finance and cryptocurrency markets. Earlier this week, SEC Chair Gary Gensler called on Congress to grant the agency more authority in regulating cryptocurrency, lending, and platforms. https://bit.ly/3rWP34Y
New SEC boss wants more crypto oversight to protect investors.
It’s become a parlor game in Washington, on Wall Street, and in Silicon Valley to figure out where U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler stands on cryptocurrencies. Industry lobbyists tune in when he testifies before Congress. Lawyers parse his speeches. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wealth advisers recently boasted in a research report about looking for clues in 29 hours of the Blockchain and Money course he developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That’s an arduous but perhaps not novel undertaking, since videos of the classes have garnered millions of views online, something that amazes even Gensler. https://bloom.bg/3ikTp2D
White House backs senators in debate over the need for tougher crypto regulations with a surprise statement.
The White House stepped into a wrangle between senators over cryptocurrency regulation in the infrastructure bill late Thursday, coming out in support of those taking a tougher stance on which companies must comply with the tax rules. Two camps of senators have put forward competing amendments to the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, targeting its provisions for new rules on tax reporting and cryptocurrencies. The crypto-tax measures are intended to help finance the new round of spending. In a suprise intervention, the Biden administration applauded the legislative amendment submitted Thursday by Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. https://bit.ly/3Co39Bb
JPMorgan has launched an in-house bitcoin fund for private bank clients, report says.
JPMorgan Chase has set up an in-house bitcoin fund, which it started offering to wealthy customers this week, CoinDesk reported Thursday. The bank is pitching the passively managed crypto fund to its private bank clients, and it has yet to attract any investment from them, CoinDesk said, citing two sources familiar with the matter. The fund, set up in partnership with bitcoin-focused financial services provider NYDIG, was launched on a call with advisors on Wednesday, the report said. https://bit.ly/3CyXnNg
Coinbase now lets crypto buyers use Apple Pay – and they can cash out up to US$100,000 at a time.
Crypto exchange Coinbase has started allowing US customers to buy cryptocurrencies using Apple Pay, with Google’s payment service to follow soon. People with a Visa or Mastercard debit card linked to their Apple wallet will be able to use the digital payments system for purchases on the platform, the company said in a blog post Thursday. Google Pay will be integrated into the system in the fall. At the same time, Coinbase introduced a service to allow instant withdrawals of up to US$100,000 per transaction at any time of day, with no limit on the number of cash-outs. https://bit.ly/3iqwNxJ
Now there’s worry the chip shortage will turn into a chip glut.
Since January, automakers and electronics producers have contended with a shortage in semiconductors—the components vital to controlling onboard computing functions. Panicked by an apparent chip drought, manufacturers increased orders to secure future supplies, and chip makers responded by investing in new capacity. But now the imbalance between demand and supply risks swinging the other way, as analysts warn a chip drought could become a chip glut. https://bit.ly/2TQ28QS
President Biden wants half of all new vehicles sold to be electric by 2030, and will set out the target in an executive order.
President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Thursday setting a target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles. He will also propose new vehicle emissions rules to cut pollution through 2026, the White House said. Biden’s goal, which is not legally binding, won the support of major US and foreign automakers, who warned it would require billions of dollars in government funding. https://bit.ly/3CqnRAs
Fisker-Foxconn EV partnership ‘moving faster than expected,’ CEO Henrik Fisker says.
U.S. electric automaker Fisker expects operating expenses to reach between US$490 million and US$530 million this year, a slight increase in its business outlook for the year that is driven by R&D spending on prototypes for its Ocean SUV, testing and validation of advanced technology, hiring and its “accelerating” partnership with Foxconn. The company, which reported its second-quarter earnings Thursday after market close, raised its business outlook for expectations for key non-GAAP operating expenses and capital expenditures for the full year up from its previous guidance of US$450 million to US$510 million. The earnings report pointed to R&D spending on prototype activities in 2021 driven by testing and validation on advanced driver assistance systems, powertrain and user interface. The company also noted an increase in spending on in-house costs, such as virtual validation software tools, hiring and virtual and physical testing to account for recently tightened Euro NCAP and IIHS safety regulations. https://tcrn.ch/3iqnGNy
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