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11/23/20: What’s Going On

Microsoft, Merck and more from around the business world.
(Sundry Photography)
(Sundry Photography)
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“China readied to launch a mission Tuesday to become the first nation since the 1970s to retrieve lunar rock. The mission marks a major advance in China’s space program, which has also recently sent a mission to Mars, as the technically challenging route requires complex arrangements to send a probe to the surface of the moon to drill for rock and return back to earth.”

“In a bid to lure users away from rival Zoom, Microsoft is extending the time limit for video calls on the free version of Teams, its workplace collaboration product, from 60 minutes to 24 hours. In addition to giving families more time to chat online during the holidays, the move underscores how Microsoft is increasingly positioning Teams as a video conferencing alternative to Zoom. Before the pandemic began, Microsoft was mostly using Teams to battle Slack in workplace chat software.”

“As we head into the all-important holiday sales period, new numbers from Gartner point to some recovery for the smartphone market as vendors roll out a raft of new 5G handsets. Q3 smartphone figures published today showed that smartphone unit sales declined 5.7% globally over the same period last year to 366 million units. Yes, it’s a drop, but it is still a clear improvement on the first half of this year, when sales slumped by 20% in each quarter, due largely to the effects of Covid-19 on spending and consumer confidence overall.”

Companies Raising Capital
NameAmountDescription
Loadsmart$90 MillionOne-Stop Freight and Logistics Platform
ORIX$60 MillionIsraeli Crowdfunding Platform
Credit Key$33 MillionBusiness-To-Business Payment Platform
Kea$10 MillionAI That Answers Phone For Restaurants
AllRight$5 MillionEnglish Language Learning App

“Merck & Co. is buying the biopharmaceutical company OncoImmune, which has reported positive results from a late-stage study of a coronavirus vaccine candidate, for $425 million in cash.”

“CoStar Group, Inc., one of the world’s largest providers of commercial real-estate information and analytics, has taken its first major step into the residential data business by agreeing to pay $250 million for Homesnap Inc.”

“Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak further restricted public gathering in Las Vegas casinos and other areas of life Sunday in response to rising Covid-19 cases, as the state struggles to balance health concerns with its hospitality-focused economy.”

“Rebalancing flows may lead to an exodus of around $300 billion from global stocks by the end of the year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.”

“The parent company of ecommerce site Wish, ContextLogic, filed to go public on Friday morning, the latest in a spate of late-in-the-year IPO candidates.”

“The Trump administration is close to declaring that 89 Chinese aerospace and other companies have military ties, restricting them from buying a range of U.S. goods and technology, according to a draft copy of the list seen by Reuters.”

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