In the US holiday shortened week, the Dow Jones Industrial was up 1.7%, S&P 500 index climbed 1.5%, and the Nasdaq was up 0.8%. In the third quarter, Canada saw $896 million invested across 144 VC deals, according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s latest report. On both fronts, these numbers represent a steep year-over-year decline compared to what was an especially hot Q3 2021 and Q3 2019 for Canadian VC funding. WorkJam closed a US$50 million round. Shopify saw bigger Black Friday orders, and more in-store sales versus last year. Converge Technology announces commencement of strategic review process to maximize shareholder value. Coupa Software shares surged on a report of interest from Vista. Activision stock falls after report says watchdog will block Microsoft deal. Berkshire has cut it BYD stake by 22%, made US$1.2 billion profit. DraftKings stock falls after report cites cases of unauthorized account withdrawals. More than 20,000 employees at Apple Inc supplier Foxconn’s huge Chinese plant, mostly new hires not yet working on production lines, have left, a Foxconn source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. Google has a secret new project that is teaching artificial intelligence to write and fix code. Amazon plans to invest US$1 billion a year in movies for theaters. Bob Iger is returning to head Disney as Bob Chapek steps down. Thanksgiving 2022 online sales pip past forecasts at US$5.3 billion, up 2.8% on last year, mobile accounted for 55% of all purchases. Domino’s is rolling out over 800 Chevy Bolt pizza delivery EVs.
Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News
Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) sees bigger Black Friday orders, more in-store sales versus last year.
Shopify sellers saw a slight increase in the average Black Friday order price this year, but sales volumes haven’t reached the same peak as 2021’s holiday shopping season as inflation continues to squeeze shoppers. The average price of a Shopify order in the U.S. has ticked up to US$109.60 this year, up nearly 9% from last year’s figure. The increase may be thanks to inflation, which has not only pushed prices higher but also sent more price-conscious shoppers racing to stock up on discounts and deals. While shoppers were spending more per order than they did last year, overall sales volume is so far lower than last year’s. Shopify’s sales per minute during Black Friday and Cyber Monday peaked at US$3.1 million last year, compared to this year’s peak of US$2.06 million per minute, which occurred at 7:36 a.m. Eastern time this morning. Apparel was Shopify’s top product category by number of orders, but top products sold by Shopify merchants included a lip mask from Korean skincare brand Laneige, a carry-on suitcase from luggage brand Monos and a tumbler from drinkware brand Stanley. Other top categories included health and beauty, home, food and beverage and electronics. In a research note released Friday, Cowen analysts projected beauty and special occasion apparel as their top categories for the Black Friday period. While they noted that regular apparel sales could be relatively slow, they said that retailers could push heavier discounts to drive sales and clean up inventory before the start of the new fiscal year. Shopify has placed a bigger emphasis on growing its in-person sales over the past year as e-commerce volumes have fallen from pandemic highs, releasing software features like syncing in-store inventory to Google search and linking customers’ online and in-store purchase history. This fall, Shopify also launched a handheld point-of-sale system called POS Go in a bid to better compete with brick-and-mortar payment heavyweights like Square and Clover. Black Friday sales made using Shopify’s in-store hardware grew by 30% from last year, the company said. https://tinyurl.com/2a7kkh2f
Converge Technology Solutions Corp. (CTS-TSX) announces commencement of strategic review process to maximize shareholder value.
The Company announced that its Board of Directors has formed a special committee of independent directors (the “Special Committee”) to undertake, in consultation with its established financial and legal advisors, a review and evaluation of strategic alternatives that may be available to the Company to unlock shareholder value. In response to expressions of interest that have been received by the Company, the Special Committee will evaluate a full range of strategic alternatives, including a sale, merger, divestiture, recapitalization, other strategic transaction, or continuing to operate as a public company. https://tinyurl.com/2se49vhh
Emerge Commerce Ltd. (ECOM-TSXV) announces closing of public offering for gross proceeds of $2,781,000.
The Company announced the closing of its previously announced marketed public offering (the “Offering”) of convertible debenture units (the “Debenture Units”) of the Company at a price per Debenture Unit of $1,000 for gross proceeds of $2,781,000. The Offering was conducted on a commercially reasonable best efforts agency basis by Echelon Capital Markets and Raymond James Ltd., as co-lead agents and joint bookrunners, (together, the “Co-Lead Agents”) together with a syndicate of agents, including Gravitas Securities Inc. and Canaccord Genuity Corp. (together with the Co-Lead Agents, the “Agents”). Each Debenture Unit consists of one 10.0% senior unsecured convertible debenture (each a “Convertible Debenture”) of the Company having a face value of $1,000 (the “Principal Amount”) and 4,000 common share purchase warrants of the Company (each a “Warrant”). The Convertible Debentures will mature 36 months from the Closing Date (as defined below) (the “Maturity Date”). The Principal Amount per Convertible Debenture, shall be convertible, for no additional consideration, into common shares of the Company (each a “Common Share”) at the option of the holder in whole or in part at any time and from time to time prior to the earlier of: (i) the close of business on the Maturity Date, and (ii) the business day immediately preceding the date specified by the Company for redemption of the Convertible Debentures upon a change of control, at a conversion price per Common Share equal to $0.20, subject to adjustment in certain events (the “Conversion Price”). Upon conversion, all accrued and unpaid interest outstanding to the date of the conversion on any converted Convertible Debentures shall be paid in cash, and no further interest shall accrue or be payable by the Company at any time. https://tinyurl.com/yeyrhbyx
WorkJam closes US$50 million round co-led by Inovia, Fonds FTQ.
Frontline workforce management startup WorkJam has secured US$50 million in a Series D round that was jointly led by return investors Inovia Capital and Fonds de solidarité FTQ. The Montréal-based startup plans to use the capital to expand its footprint in Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the United States. The majority of investors in this round were returning investors to WorkJam, with Blumberg Capital following on in addition to Fond FTQ and Inovia. The round did include one new investor in Demopolis Equity Partners. According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal values WorkJam at more than US$500 million. The US$50 million Series D round follows two years after WorkJam raised its Series C round, which also came in at US$50 million ($70.6 million). However, in between its 2020 Series C and this year’s Series D, WorkJam also raised US$35 million in what it called growth financing, from Silver Lake Waterman. This latest round brings WorkJam’s total funding to date to around US$155 million. http://bit.ly/3EWJGec
Acerta closes $10.4 million Series B to help automakers like Nissan and GM build car parts more efficiently.
The round, led by a pair of new investors in BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation and Thrive Venture Funds, will enable Acerta to grow its presence in North America and Europe, where it hopes to expand both within its existing customer base and beyond. Acerta’s all-equity, all-primary Series B round, which closed in late September, also saw participation from existing investors OMERS Ventures and StandUp Ventures. The fresh capital brings Acerta’s total funding to nearly $23 million (around US$17 million), from a group that also includes Microsoft’s M2 and EQT. http://bit.ly/3GRs2JY
Canadian tech venture funding continued to fall in Q3 2022, CVCA reports.
Canadian VC investment continued to decline in Q3, as investors and startups across the country weather strong economic headwinds. In the third quarter, Canada saw $896 million invested across 144 VC deals, according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s latest report. On both fronts, these numbers represent a steep year-over-year decline compared to what was an especially hot Q3 2021 and Q3 2019 for Canadian VC funding. Seed-stage startups accounted for 43 percent of all transactions, with $152 million invested across 62 deals. Seed-stage investment in 2022 is nearly double 2020 levels and on pace to match 2021’s record by the end of the year. Sector-wise, information and communications technology firms still lead the way, accounting for over half of all VC deals made in 2022 to date, followed by life sciences companies at 16 percent. Fuelled by institutional and government net-zero targets, CVCA reported that cleantech funding surpassed 2020 levels with $459 million invested across 36 deals. Meanwhile, CVCA found that Canadian AgTech and food tech investment levels remain strong, and the vertical is currently on pace to surpass 2021. Over on the private equity (PE) side, investors have gravitated towards smaller deals and add-ons given macroeconomic pressures. During Q3, $2.4 billion was invested across 199 PE deals, bringing the year-to-date total to $6.5 billion across 622 deals. Though the total annual PE deal count has already surpassed 2021, there has been a notable absence of larger PE deals in 2022. http://bit.ly/3OJyHrS
Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A
Binance CEO Zhao seeks Middle East cash for Crypto recovery fund.
Binance Chief Executive Officer Changpeng “CZ” Zhao and several deputies met with investors in Abu Dhabi last week in an effort to raise cash for a crypto industry recovery fund, according to people familiar with the matter. Zhao and his team held meetings with potential backers last week, including with entities affiliated with United Arab Emirates National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed, who oversees a large financial empire, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private. Details on the size of the fund and the projects to support are still not decided and it’s likely several weeks before the vehicle takes off, the people said. Crypto lenders, meanwhile, are showing signs of distress as contagion spreads. Genesis, a lender owned by Digital Currency Group, hasn’t come up with the US$1 billion in funding it’s seeking, including from Binance, and it’s warning potential investors that it may need to file for bankruptcy if its efforts fail, Bloomberg News reported Monday. https://tinyurl.com/yck9w54v
Coupa Software shares surge on report of interest from Vista.
Shares of Coupa Software Inc. surged as much as 37% Wednesday following a report that Vista Equity Partners was considering buying the company. The stock was halted for volatility at 1:28 p.m. Eastern and resumed trading at 1:39 p.m., and was last up 29%. Earlier, Bloomberg News reported on the deal. Even with the surge, shares are still down about 63% year to date, compared with a 15% decline on the S&P 500 index . By 3 p.m., as many as 9.5 million shares has traded hands, compared with a 52-week daily average volume of 2.1 million shares. http://bit.ly/3XspVT0
Apple has reportedly ‘expressed interest’ in buying UK soccer team Manchester United.
At least two sports sources are reporting that Apple has “expressed interest” in buying UK soccer team Manchester United. The club is up for sale by its present owner, with a number of other parties also said to be interested in a potential acquisition. The club holds multiple records. Floated on the stock exchange for £6.7 million in 1991, it was later purchased by US billionaire Malcolm Glazer in 2005. This ownership proved unpopular with fans, reports The Daily Star, resulting in the club being offered for sale. Most of the skeptics are wondering what Apple would get out of the deal that it couldn’t get from a sponsorship contract. On the other hand, the company does have a lot of cash, and others are suggesting it could be a solid investment. Apple has already diversified into making TV shows among other things, so who knows? Other potential buyers are said to be interested, including British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and CEO of the Ineos chemicals group. http://bit.ly/3tYZs1F
Activision stock falls after report says watchdog will block Microsoft deal.
Activision shares fell 4% in after-hours trading Wednesday. The Federal Trade Commission is weighing up filing an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s acquisition of the company, according to Politico. Microsoft agreed to buy Activision for US$69 billion in January. Activision Blizzard shares fell in after-hours trading Wednesday after a report suggested regulators will try to block Microsoft’s US$69 billion deal to buy the video-game publisher. Activision fell as much as 5.9% after the closing bell and were down 3.9% to trade at US$73.60 at last check. The US stock markets are closed on Thursday on account of Thanksgiving. The regulator is said to believe that acquiring ‘Call of Duty’ publisher Activision would give Microsoft and its flagship Xbox console an unfair advantage in the videogame market. Berkshire still owned 60.1 million shares or 7.7% of Activision at the end of the third quarter, a stake valued at US$4.6 billion as of Wednesday’s close. Microsoft shares edged 0.4% higher to trade at $248.46 after the closing bell. http://bit.ly/3Vq2Gan
Buffett’s Berkshire has cut BYD stake by 22%, made US$1.2 billion profit.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has cashed in about US$1.3 billion of BYD stock over the past four months, scoring a roughly 25-fold profit on the shares it sold, a Markets Insider analysis has found. The legendary investor’s company paid US$232 million for 225 million shares of the Chinese electric-vehicle maker in 2008. After listing the entire position on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s clearing system on July 12, it has now slashed it by 22% to 176 million shares as of November 17, exchange filings show. Berkshire only paid around US$1 a share when it first invested in BYD, and has now sold 49.4 million shares for around US$26 each. Still, if Berkshire spent US$49 million on shares it has now sold for nearly US$1.3 billion, it has realized a $1.2 billion or 25-fold profit. BYD investors have balked at Berkshire’s disposals, and the prospect of Buffett and his team dumping more shares or eliminating their position entirely. They have sent the EV company’s stock price down 43% since July 11, the day before Berkshire’s shares appeared in the clearing system. http://bit.ly/3EAAXNr
Zoom shares drop 5% as sales slowdown continues.
Zoom shares dropped more than 5% in after-hours trading after the workplace collaboration company reported its slowest annual sales growth in its three-plus years as a public company during the three months to Oct. 31. However, there were some bright spots that suggest Zoom’s business is stabilizing after the disruption caused by more companies returning to work and decreasing their usage of core products like video conferencing and voice-over-IP. During the quarter, Zoom’s sales to large companies grew 20% to US$614 million compared to last year and now constitute 56% of its overall sales, up from 49% last year. Investors seem unenthused by Zoom’s efforts to pitch itself as a workplace productivity platform like Microsoft and Google by launching email and calendar services. But Zoom’s growing base of large corporate customers suggests it will at least have a chance to get them to consider its newer products in the future. For the three months to Oct. 31, Zoom’s revenue grew 5% to US$1.1 billion, while net income was US$48.4 million, or US$0.16 per share, compared to US$340.3 million, or US$1.11 per share, during last year’s October quarter. https://tinyurl.com/5yjusptm
DraftKings stock falls after report cites cases of unauthorized account withdrawals.
Shares of DraftKings Inc. were off 8% in afternoon trading Monday after an Action Network report highlighted customer stories of weekend instances in which they said money left their accounts without their permission. In one reported instance, a customer saw a series of unauthorized withdrawals from the bank card that he uses for his deposits, while in another, a customer saw a withdrawal from his DraftKings account that he didn’t authorize. The Action Network report mentioned that in multiple cases, users noticed that their account phone numbers had been changed. DraftKings didn’t respond to a MarketWatch request for comment on the report or on the stock’s decline in Monday trading. The company’s customer-service account tweeted late Sunday that DraftKings was “aware of reports of customers having issues with their accounts” and was “investigating.” http://bit.ly/3Ov5AZ0
Stock of SPAC buying Donald Trump’s Truth Social falls after Trump reinstated on Twitter.
Shares of the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) looking to take Donald Trump’s Truth Social public, Digital World Acquisition Corp. , dropped 3.1% in premarket trading, after Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s Twitter account over the weekend. The reinstatement follows a poll on Twitter held by Musk, the Chief Executive of Tesla Inc. that bought the social media company; the “yes” vote to reinstate Trump won with 51.8%. Trump had previously said he would not rejoin Twitter even if reinstated, and said after the reinstatement that he saw a lot of problems at Twitter. Digital World’s stock, has plunged 28.6% over the past three months through Friday while the S&P 500 has shed 6.2%. http://bit.ly/3Ox6iFp
Amazon on pace to lose US$10 billion this year from Alexa, other devices.
Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, once one of its most quickly growing projects, is now one of its products on pace to lose the company around US$10 billion this year. In the first quarter of this year, the “Worldwide Digital” unit at Amazon, which includes Alexa, Echo devices, and its streaming service Prime Video, had a US$3 billion operating loss, internal data obtained by Insider showed. Most of the loss was due to Alexa and other Amazon devices, a person familiar with Worldwide Digital previously told Insider. The voice assistant was Jeff Bezos’s brainchild. Alexa and Echo lost around US$5 billion in 2018, The New York Times reported. That same year, the company had 10,000 employees working on Alexa and Echo products. By the end of 2019, hiring for that team was frozen, three former employees previously told Insider. By the next year, Bezos stopped engaging with its development. In a statement previously shared with Insider this year amid the reported losses, Limp said Amazon is “as committed as ever to Echo and Alexa, and will continue to invest heavily in them.” http://bit.ly/3i1Srup
Foxconn’s woes to take bigger toll on giant China iPhone plant as more workers leave.
More than 20,000 employees at Apple Inc supplier Foxconn’s huge Chinese plant, mostly new hires not yet working on production lines, have left, a Foxconn source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. The departures from the world’s largest iPhone factory deal a fresh blow to the Taiwanese company that has been grappling with strict COVID-19 restrictions that have fuelled discontent among workers and disrupted production ahead of Christmas and January’s Lunar New Year holiday. Concerns are mounting over Apple’s ability to deliver products for the busy holiday period as the worker unrest lingers at the Zhengzhou plant, which produces the U.S. company’s popular iPhone 14 models. Videos posted on Chinese social media on Friday showed crowds and long lines of luggage-laden workers queuing for buses. “It’s time to go home,” one person posted. Another Foxconn source familiar with the matter said some new hires had left the campus but did not elaborate on how many. This person said the departures had no impact on current production, as the new staff still needed to take training courses before working online. “The incident has a big impact on our public image but little on our (current) capacity. Our current capacity is not affected,” the source said. https://tinyurl.com/4euxxuff
Google has a secret new project that is teaching artificial intelligence to write and fix code.
It could reduce the need for human engineers in the future. Google is working on a secretive project that uses machine learning to train code to write, fix, and update itself. This project is part of a broader push by Google into “generative AI,” which uses algorithms to create images, videos, code, and more. It could have profound implications for the company’s future and developers who write code. The project, which began life inside Alphabet’s “X” research unit and was codenamed Pitchfork, moved into Google’s Labs group this summer, according to people familiar with the matter. By moving into Google, it signaled its increased importance to leaders. Google Labs pursues long-term bets, including projects in virtual and augmented reality. Google and other tech companies have made already big strides in “generative AI.” GitHub, which is owned by Microsoft, launched a tool called Copilot that suggests snippets of code and functions as developers type. Developers are using Copilot to generate up to 40% of their code, and GitHub expects that number to double within five years, Bloomberg reported earlier this month. Google is working on several other AI code projects. Its subsidiary DeepMind has a system named AlphaCode that uses AI to generate code, but is currently focused on competitive coding, or writing programs at a competitive level. Google is also working on a tool similar to GitHub’s Copilot that uses machine learning to generate code snippet suggestions as developers type. https://archive.ph/EBFKk
Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting
Bob Iger is returning to head Disney as Bob Chapek steps down.
The Walt Disney Co. said that Bob Iger is returning to head the company as Bob Chapek is stepping down from the CEO post. Iger, who officially left the company last year, is set to take the command immediately. The company said that he will serve as the CEO for two years. Iger served as Disney’s CEO from 2005 to 2020 for 15 years before deciding to step down and hand over the reins to Chapek. Chapek’s 11-month tenure hadn’t been great for the company as its stock value has dropped by more than 40% at the time of writing. The company registered a revenue of US$20.2 billion in Q3 2022 and missed analyst expectations by nearly US$1 billion. At that time, Disney’s CFO Christine McCarthy said that the entertainment company aims to achieve profitability by the fiscal year 2024. http://bit.ly/3i1KsNX
Amazon plans to invest US$1 billion a year in movies for theaters.
The world’s largest online retailer aims to make between 12 and 15 movies annually that will get a theatrical release, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the company is still sorting through its strategy. Amazon will release a smaller number of films in theaters next year and increase its output over time. That number of releases puts it on on a par with major studios such as Paramount Pictures. Streaming services have eschewed theaters with most of their original movies, or released the titles for less time and on fewer screens than traditional movie studios. Netflix Inc. in particular has aggravated cinema chains by releasing more than a movie a week for viewers at home. The streaming giant released a sequel to Knives Out in theaters on Wednesday. It will stay there for just one week, however, before heading to streaming next month. The original film grossed US$312.9 million theatrically in 2019. Amazon has been more open to theaters than Netflix, but has yet to invest as much money in original movies. While Netflix releases close to 100 movies a year, Amazon puts out just a couple dozen, many in languages other than English.
Ex-Waze CEO trying to replicate early Twitter with ‘Post’.
Mastodon has emerged as the most recognizable Twitter alternative as of late, but there’s more than enough time for others to emerge. Former Waze CEO Noam Bardin is now trying with Post to create a “civil place to debate ideas; learn from experts, journalists, individual creators, and each other; converse freely; and have some fun.” Noam Bardin led Waze for 12 years (until 2021), and Post is “what’s next.” At a high level, it’s described as a “Social Platform for Real People, Real News, and Civil Conversations.” One big differentiator, which is reflected by the post.news URL, is the following trio of capabilities, which will require buy-in from publications: Buy individual articles from different premium news providers so you can access multiple perspectives, not just the the ones you’re subscribed to; Read content from various sources in a clean interface without jumping to different websites; Tip creators of engaging content to help them create more of it, via integrated micro-payments. In terms of content moderation, there are rules in place that will be “rigorously enforced” with the “help of our community” in a nod to Waze’s crowd-sourced nature. http://bit.ly/3gw6doM
Advertisers binge on online video. Online videos are both ubiquitous — only a couple of taps away on your smartphone — and hard to resist.
That goes not just for consumers but also for the companies that want to sell to them. The upshot is that more advertising money is moving into online videos — and TV, film and entertainment incumbents are scrambling to get a piece of the action. According to technology research firm Omdia, the Big Four tech companies — Alphabet, Amazon, Meta and Apple — will this year gobble up 68 per cent of the nearly US$500 billion in revenue that companies, excluding those in China, are expected to generate from online advertising. Online video marketing is the fastest-growing segment in the booming world of digital advertising, and Omdia estimates that more money will be spent on video-based campaigns than on those attached to text-based articles or search results by 2025. http://bit.ly/3EBsSbf
Adtech, Privacy & Regulatory
Twitter tech glitches mount as staffers depart.
Waves of layoffs and departures from Twitter last week led many users to fear the service might face a sudden crash of some kind, as hashtags such as #RIPTwitter and #TwitterDown trended in the U.S. It’s far more likely that the social network will experience an increasing volume of glitches, delays and decay around the edges, as small breakdowns pile up and the teams responsible for fixes have been decimated. The gutting of half of Twitter’s staff and most of its contractors and top executives, along with a slew of rushed product updates over the past two weeks, have left Twitter vulnerable and put users on alert for problems. The breakdowns so far aren’t in the core functions of Twitter — posting and reading messages — but around the edges. https://tinyurl.com/2vu2fnkm
China set to fine Ant Group over US$1 billion, signalling revamp nears end-sources.
Chinese authorities are poised to impose a fine of more than US$1 billion on Jack Ma’s Ant Group, said six sources with direct knowledge of the matter, setting the stage for ending the fintech company’s two-year long regulatory overhaul. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), which has been driving the revamp at Ant after the Chinese firm’s US$37 billion IPO was scuttled at the last minute in 2020, is the regulator that is readying the fine, said five sources. Ant’s fine would be the largest regulatory penalty imposed on a Chinese internet company since ride-hailing major Didi Global was fined US$1.2 billion by China’s cybersecurity regulator in July. The fintech firm’s affiliate, e-commerce titan Alibaba Group, last year received a record fine of 18 billion yuan (US$2.51 billion) for antitrust violations. Chinese authorities abruptly pulled the plug on Ant’s IPO, which was set to be the world’s biggest, in November 2020 soon after billionaire founder Ma publicly criticised China’s regulatory system for stifling innovation. http://bit.ly/3AKwkzg
Thanksgiving 2022 online sales pip past forecasts at US$5.3 billion, up 2.8% on last year, mobile accounted for 55% of all purchases.
Analysts and e-commerce leaders have been predicting a muted online holiday shopping season this year, with sales in the first three weeks of November essentially flat over a year ago due to a weaker economy, inflation, and more people returning to shopping in stores again in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. But looking at Thanksgiving, the first big day of holiday spend, the numbers appear to be coming in stronger than expected. Adobe Analytics has published figures that indicate US$5.29 billion was spent online on Thanksgiving Thursday. That is up 2.9% on a year ago, and ahead of the US$5.1 billion Adobe initially said it was expecting for the day. Mobile devices continue to play a growing role in how people are shopping. Some 55% of online sales were on mobile devices yesterday, up 8.3% over a year ago. Salesforce has more buoyant figures: it notes from its calculations, based on 1.5 billion shoppers, that looking worldwide, online sales grew 1% on Thanksgiving day to US$31 billion, while in the U.S. specifically they were up 9% to US$7.5 billion. Salesforce also said that 78% of sales traffic came from mobile devices. Average order values, it said, were $105 globally and US$120 for U.S. sales. https://tinyurl.com/fctmfvym
Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Hedge funds left with billions stranded on FTX.
The sudden failure this month of FTX, valued at US$32 billion this year, shocked investors who backed it and traders who used it. Reuters Hedge funds have billions of dollars stuck on failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX and could face years of waiting to recover anything at all from a marketplace they once believed to be one of the industry’s most reliable bets. The sudden failure this month of FTX has shocked investors who backed it and traders who used it. Legal filings on Sunday revealed that FTX owes its 50 largest creditors, likely to include a wide variety of hedge funds, more traditional asset managers and other traders, more than US$3 billion. Crypto Fund Research estimates that between 100 and 150 crypto hedge funds, or around 25 to 40 per cent of the total number of such specialist funds, have some direct exposure to FTX Group or to FTT. The average exposure is around 7 to 12 per cent of funds’ total assets under management, with some funds holding a majority of their assets on the exchange. FTX said in legal filings on Sunday that it owed at least US$100 million to each of its ten largest creditors. The top 50 creditors, whose names are redacted in the filing, are all owed more than US$20 million. http://bit.ly/3hZwdJo
Domino’s is rolling out over 800 Chevy Bolt pizza delivery EVs.
Domino’s is gearing up to put more than 800 all-electric pizza delivery vehicles into service in the coming months, starting with over 100 of them rolling out in November. The company went with the compact Chevy Bolt EV and is wrapping the vehicles with custom branding but no other bells and whistles — just combustion-free deliveries. Domino will have a fleet of 855 new electric vehicles, to be exact, and while that’s not quite enough to reach all 6,135 of the pizza shops in the US, it’s more than the Chevy Spark-based (gas version) ones it built with custom pizza warming oven doors in 2015. Those were called the Domino’s DXP, and only 155 of them were made. For the new Bolts, drivers will need to toss the HeatWave bags in the backseat like any other car. http://bit.ly/3AGRIoO
EV-charging players are buying up small ones to meet huge demand.
Electric-vehicle-charging outfits have been racing to conquer territory by snapping up smaller players, and industry experts anticipate this year’s buying frenzy to continue. The charging space has picked up momentum as automakers are pouring billions into EV development. Legislation like the infrastructure and climate bills, along with state programs, are pushing to accelerate EV adoption and building out charging stations is a huge part of that. Yet charging companies face plenty of challenges. Even with funding, building EV-charging infrastructure remains extremely costly and time-consuming. Global M&A activity in the charging space this year hit at least US$900 million across 25 deals as of this week, according to PitchBook. That includes at least US$200 million across seven deals in the US. EV-charging consolidation is the latest to hit the auto industry. http://bit.ly/3EWSmBi
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There is no express or implied solicitation to buy or sell securities. Sophic and/or its principals and employees may have positions in the stocks mentioned in the Company’s Material and may trade in the stocks mentioned in the Material. Do not consider buying or selling any stock without conducting your own due diligence and/or without obtaining independent investment advice from a qualified and registered investment advisor. The Company has not independently verified any of the data from third party sources referred to in the Material, including information provided by Sophic clients that are the subject of the report, or ascertained the underlying assumptions relied upon by such sources. The Company does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this information or for any failure by any such other persons to disclose events which may have occurred or may affect the significance or accuracy of any such information. 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Forward-looking statements are based on opinions and assumptions as of the date made, and are subject to a variety of risks and other factors that could cause actual events/results to differ materially from these forward looking statements. There can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct; these statements are no guarantee of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Sophic provides no assurance as to future results, performance, or achievements and no representations are made that actual results achieved will be as indicated in the forward looking information. Nothing herein can be assumed or predicted, and you are strongly encouraged to learn more and seek independent advice before relying on any information presented.