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2/1/21: What’s Going On

SpaceX, Facebook and more from around the business world.
(L Galbraith)
(L Galbraith)
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“Day traders fueling enormous gains in popular stocks such as GameStop Corp. are also powering big swings for another suddenly hot investment: so-called blank-check companies. Special-purpose acquisition companies—shell companies planning to merge with private firms to take them public—are rising more than 6% on average on their first day of trading in 2021, up from last year’s figure of 1.6%, according to University of Florida finance professor Jay Ritter. Before 2020, trading in SPACs was muted when they made their debut on public markets.”

“Elon Musk’s SpaceX is facing a final test—and some resistance—in its bid to secure almost $1 billion in federal subsidies for its satellite-based broadband service. SpaceX in the waning weeks of the Trump administration won preliminary rights to $886 million in government backing to provide rural broadband service via Starlink, its system of low-Earth-orbiting satellites. The federal government is now planning a final round of vetting before it bets big that Mr. Musk’s technology can help close persistent gaps in U.S. high-speed internet service.”

“Chinese short-video app operator Kuaishou Technology will raise $5.4 billion from its Hong Kong listing, hitting its maximum fundraising target after meeting strong investor demand. The initial public offering is set to be the world’s largest in more than a year, and will value the company at nearly $61 billion. Kuaishou, which is backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., competes with ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese company behind TikTok and its sister app Douyin.”

Companies Raising Capital
NameAmountDescription
ELSA$15 MillionSpeech Recognition Platform To Correct Pronunciation
DesignCrowd$7.6 MillionAccelerating The Growth Of DIY Platform, BrandCrowd
Ben$2.5 MillionLondon-Based Employee Benefits And Rewards Platform

“The chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. spoke about combining the oil giants after the pandemic shook the world last year, according to people familiar with the talks, testing the waters for what could be one of the largest corporate mergers ever.”

“Americans are splashing out on pricier whiskey, tequila and other spirits during the pandemic, helping distillers post their strongest sales in four decades despite widespread bar closures.”

“A national-security panel on the hunt for Chinese involvement in U.S. technology companies is scrutinizing startup investments that are months or even years old.”

“Facebook is looking to join the newsletter craze. The social network is building tools for writers to develop and charge for newsletters, according to The New York Times, which notes that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is personally involved in the project.”

“Uber-like Chinese startup Full Truck Alliance is preparing for a U.S. initial public offering that could raise at least $1 billion as soon as this year, after eking out a slim 2020 profit thanks to a pandemic-era shipping surge.”

“Tilman Fertitta is taking his restaurant and casino empire public again through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company that values his Fertitta Entertainment Inc. at $6.6 billion, including debt.”

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