1/19/21: What’s Going On

Google, Office Depot and more from around the business world.
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“Google completed its $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit 14 months after announcing it. The deal had been hung up in antitrust reviews in the U.S. and Europe, where regulators had investigated how Google might use data gleaned from FitBit users as well as how the deal could give Google increased share in the market for digital advertising. In an unusual occurrence, the Department of Justice says it is continuing to pursue an antitrust investigation of the deal, according to the New York Times.”

“The U.S. has asked Australia to suspend plans to force Facebook and Google to pay for the headlines and snippets that are displayed on their platforms from local news outlets, Reuters reported. The law, which was announced last month, would make Australia the first country in the world to require the two platforms to pay for this type of content. Many news outlets have lost revenue as online advertising dollars have shifted to Facebook and Google, which act as a centralized hub for this type of content.”

“China’s geopolitical rise over the past four decades has been fueled by sizzling economic growth that regularly featured years of double-digit percentage-point gains…On Monday, Beijing said its gross domestic product rose 2.3% last year. While that is the weakest annual rate of growth since the Mao era, it was enough to make China the only major world economy to gain any ground at all last year, and accelerated its likely overtaking of the U.S. economy, economists say.”

Companies Raising Capital
PPRO$180 MillionLondon-Based Platform Making It Easier For Marketplaces, Payment Providers And Other E-Commerce
K Health$132 MillionVirtual Health Care Provider Using Machine Learning To Lower Costs
Dunzo$40 MillionEponymous Hyper-Local Delivery Service
DeHaat$30 MillionIndian Agritech Startup
LeoCare$18.1 MillionInsurance Products Designed To Fit In A Mobile App
Darwinbox$15 MillionCloud-Based Human Resource Management Platform

“Office Depot rebuffed an unsolicited takeover offer from Staples but indicated it is open to an alternative deal, the latest twist in a yearslong dance between the office-supply retailers.”

“Beijing-based Kuaishou Technology, the world’s second-largest video-sharing app, has won the green light from Hong Kong to raise roughly US$5 billion to US$6 billion, potentially the city’s largest IPO in over a year.”

“Southeast Asian ride-hailing and food delivery giant Grab is exploring a listing in the United States this year, encouraged by robust investor appetite for IPOs, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.”

“Hike, the messaging app backed by SoftBank Group Corp. that aimed to compete against WhatsApp in the world’s second-most populous country, shut down and vanished from app stores Monday.”

“Parler, a social media website and app popular with the American far right, has partially returned online with the help of a Russian-owned technology company.”

“Several automotive, utility and infrastructure companies are testing technology that promises to allow electric cars, buses and trucks to charge on the move. The process, known as dynamic charging, involves under-road pads that wirelessly transmit electricity to receivers mounted underneath cars and, for some larger vehicles, overhead wires like those used by trams.”

“Lumentum Holdings Inc. agreed to buy laser maker Coherent Inc. for $5.7 billion, in a deal that would combine two companies whose products are used in everything from laser eye surgery to semiconductor manufacturing.”

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