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1/25/21: What’s Going On

Merck, Databricks and more from around the business world.
(Katherine Welles)
(Katherine Welles)
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“Merck & Co. said Monday that it is halting development of its two experimental Covid-19 vaccines, after early clinical-trial data showed the shots generated disappointing immune responses against the virus. Early-stage studies of the vaccines indicated they produced inferior immune responses in subjects given the shots compared with people who survived Covid-19 or took authorized Covid-19 vaccines, the company said. The exit removes a major vaccine player from the constellation of firms seeking shots to curb the spread of the virus, as the few companies that have been able to bring shots to market struggle to meet heavy demand.”

“Kuaishou Technology has its eyes on the world’s biggest initial public offering in more than a year, seeking to raise about $5 billion from a Hong Kong share sale as short-video and live-streaming apps surge in popularity in China. Kuaishou—which competes with ByteDance Ltd., the rival Chinese company behind TikTok and its sister app Douyin—started taking investor orders Monday. With the offering, which could value it at more than $60 billion, Kuaishou is joining a string of tech companies from China that have listed in Hong Kong.”

“NCR Corp. is nearing a deal to buy Cardtronics PLC after outbidding a pair of investment firms that had earlier agreed to buy the ATM operator. NCR is finalizing a takeover that would value Cardtronics at $39 a share, or around $1.7 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. As always, the talks could fall apart before a deal is reached.”

Companies Raising Capital
NameAmountDescription
Wolt$530 MillionHelsinki-Based Expanding Beyond Online Deliveries
Uisee$150 MillionChinese Autonomous Driving Startup
Alma$59.5 MillionFrench Startup With Payment Options For Expensive Goods
IMVU$35 MillionAvatar-Focused Social Network Operating Out Of California
Wingcopter$22 MillionGerman Drone Technology Startup

“The world economy won’t be able to fully repair last year’s damage to employment in 2021 after the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the equivalent of 255 million jobs, according to the International Labour Organization.”

“NBCUniversal plans to shut down its cable sports network NBCSN starting next year, [and] the sports that air on the network will move over to NBCUniversal’s other cable networks like USA as well as its new streaming service Peacock.”

“Databricks, which sells cloud-based machine-learning and database software, is raising a private funding round that could value the seven-year-old company at $27 billion, according to a report from Eric Newcomer, an independent technology journalist.”

“China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is in early-stage talks to sell its premium smartphone brands P and Mate, a move that could see the company eventually exit from the high-end smartphone-making business.”

“President Biden will sign an executive order Monday imposing tougher rules on government procurement practices to increase purchases of products made in the U.S., a step toward fulfilling his Buy American campaign pledge to strengthen domestic manufacturing.”

“Anheuser-Busch said it won’t devote a Super Bowl commercial to its flagship Budweiser beer brand this year for the first time since 1983, pledging to redirect spending for the airtime to marketing campaigns related to Covid-19 vaccinations instead.”

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