Morning Brief: Top Stories Dominating Financial Media on Tuesday, April 12


Entrepreneur Behind Microsoft’s Wunderlist Raised $11M - Read Why

  • German entrepreneur Christian Reber who sold his to-do list app Wunderlist to Microsoft Corp MSFT in 2015, raised funding for a follow-on app called Superlist.
  • Reber secured €10 million ($11 million) in a seed funding round led by venture capital firm EQT Ventures, reaching a total of €13.5 million.
  • Superlist will use the new funding to double the size of its team from 20 to 40 by the end of 2022, focusing on hiring developers, designers, and product leads.

US Asks All Non-Emergency Government Staff In Shanghai To Leave As COVID Surges

  • The U.S. State Department has ordered all non-emergency government staff and their family members in Shanghai to leave following a surge in COVID-19 cases.
  • “Reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions,” the report quoted the State Department.


Fund Managers Pessimistic Over Global Growth Expectation, Survey Suggests

  • As per a monthly survey by investment bank BoFA Securities, optimism among fund managers over global economic growth has hit an all-time low. Concerns regarding possible stagflation have risen to the highest since August 2008.
  • In the survey, 71% of survey respondents were pessimistic regarding the expectations for global growth in the coming months, the most since the survey records began in the early 1990s.
  • The European edition of the survey found investors continuing to cut their European growth projections.

Buffett Resisted Goldman Fee for $11.6B Alleghany Acquisition

  • According to a recent regulatory filing, Warren Buffett needed just two weeks to put together Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s (NYSE: BRK-B) $11.6 billion takeover of Alleghany Corporation Y, the insurer’s largest acquisition in six years, despite his refusal to pay the insurer’s banking charge, reports Reuters.
  • Alleghany’s Chief Executive Officer Joseph Brandon met with Buffett for dinner in New York City on March 7. After some “casual conversation,” Buffett offered $850 per share in cash for the company, less the fee for bankers at Goldman Sachs.

Bosch Halts Production At Two China Plants: Reuters

  • German auto parts supplier Bosch has halted production in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Changchun following COVID-19 curbs.
  • Bosch has closed shutters at a Thermotechnology factory in Shanghai and an automotive components site in Changchun in northeastern Jilin province.
  • The report noted two other plants in Shanghai and Taicang city are in closed-loop operations, with the workers in isolation from the society.


Biden Administration’s Plan To Tackle Pain At Pump Amid Russia-Ukraine War: Allow High-Ethanol Gas

  • The Ukraine-Russia war has sent fuel prices skyrocketing and consumers are feeling the pain at the pump. To mitigate the crisis at hand, President Joe Biden’s administration is considering options to make fuel affordable for Americans this summer driving season.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency administration is planning to allow a grade of gasoline called E15 gasoline, which uses a 15% ethanol blend, a press statement from the White House said.


Microsoft Allegedly Exploited Its Influence To Gain Edge Over Amazon, Google, Alibaba

  • Microsoft Corp MSFT customers and rivals, including Inc AMZN, Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL Google and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s BABA alleged repeatedly using its sway over one market to hinder competition in another market.
  • Microsoft’s practices cut across cloud computing, where it played catch-up, and productivity software, where it dominated.
  • In 2019, Microsoft revamped the mode of licenses saying certain programs “cannot be deployed with dedicated hosted cloud services offered by the following public cloud providers: Microsoft, Alibaba, Amazon (including VMware Cloud on AWS), and Google.”

Financial Times

JPMorgan Mulls Splitting CEO Role With Jamie Dimon Staying As Non-Executive Chair

  • Last week, in its securities filing, JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM said a “substantial majority” of investors wanted him to stay on as non-executive chair when he steps down as chief executive.
  • If he does stick around, it will mark the first time JPMorgan will split the roles of chair and CEO since 2006, when Dimon added the role of chairing the board of directors to the responsibilities he assumed upon being made the bank’s top executive a year earlier, writes Financial Times.


Honda Motor Earmarks $64B Over 10 Years On EV Push, Firing Up Rivalry With Tesla

  • Honda Motor Co Ltd HMC looks to spend ¥8 trillion ($64 billion) on research and development over the next decade, laying out an ambitious target to roll out 30 electric vehicle models globally by 2030.
  • Honda’s goals include producing 2 million EVs a year by 2030 to gain a share in the fast-growing market led by Tesla Inc TSLA.
  • Honda looks to establish a dedicated EV production line in North America, where it will also procure Ultium batteries from General Motors Co GM.

Ethereum’s First-Ever’ Shadow Fork’ Goes Live: Why It’s Significant

  • The first-ever “shadow fork” of the Ethereum ETH/USD mainnet went live on Monday.
  • According to a Twitter update from Ethereum developer Parithosh Jayanthi, the shadow fork is a way to stress test the developers’ assumptions around syncing and state growth before it is officially deployed on the mainnet.

Tesla Rival Xpeng Puts Up Special P7 Edition For Sale: Here’s What You Need To Know

  • U.S. listed Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng Inc’s XPEV electric mid-size sedan P7 Black Label Edition that it announced last month is now available for sale, CnEVpost reported on Tuesday.
  • The EV maker last month unveiled the special edition to celebrate the rollout of the 100,000th P7. The XPeng P7 Black Label Edition is priced at $51,800.
  • The P7 competes with Tesla Inc’s TSLA Model 3 electric sedan. Xpeng’s cheapest P7 is currently priced at around $38,400.

Bitcoin Records Weekly Outflow Of $132M — The Largest Since January

  • Bitcoin BTC/USD investment products saw the largest outflows since mid-January last week.
  • According to the most recent Digital Asset Fund Flows Weekly Report from CoinShares, Bitcoin funds recorded $132 million in outflows last week.
  • Ethereum ETH/USD funds saw $15.3 million in outflows while other altcoins remained resilient to profit-taking.

Liquidity Group Taps Fintech Machine-Learning To Deploy Funds To Geologie

  • Liquidity Group, a fintech firm backed by Apollo Global Management APO and MUFG Bank MUFG has tapped into its machine-learning platform and deployed $5 million to Geologie, a New York-based men’s skincare line.
  • Context: Founded by Nick Allen and Dave Skaff, Geologie — recognized by Men’s Health, Esquire, and AskMen — provides personalized skincare solutions. In attracting customers, the firm tapped Liquidity Group over its strategic financing.
  • “The Liquidity team not only provided funding to enable further growth but validated our plans and ambitions through their ‘Liquidity Analysis’ platform,” said Allen.

Snoop Dogg Launches NFT Collection On Ethereum Rival Blockchain

  • American rapper Snoop Dogg has launched a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Cardano ADA/USD blockchain.
  • Snoop Dogg collaborated with NFT project Clay Nation to release the NFTs which feature the platform’s iconic clay animation as well as limited edition pitches and unreleased music from the rapper.

EXCLUSIVE: Time Machine Is The New Value-Drive Cannabis That Reveres Gamer Culture

  • Time Machine, a value-driven cannabis brand, is launching today in California, Benzinga has learned exclusively.
  • Time Machine offers premium greenhouse-grown hydroponic flower sourced from Pacific Stone’s family of farms on California’s central coast and features eight consistent strains: Wedding Cake, London Pound Cake, Blue Dream, Bubblegum, Strawberry Cheesecake, GG4, Snowman and Kush Mints.

Nokia Exits Russia Amid Ukraine Invasion: What You Need To Know

  • The telecom equipment giant Nokia Corporation NOK is the latest one to join the slew of companies pulling out of the Russian market amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The company in a press statement said it is expecting no financial impact from the decision as Russia accounted for less than 2% of its net sales in 2021.
  • “It has been clear for Nokia since the early days of the invasion of Ukraine that continuing our presence in Russia would not be possible. Over the last weeks we have suspended deliveries, stopped new business and are moving our limited R&D activities out of Russia,” it said.

‘It’s Not The Party, It’s The System:’ Jack Dorsey Blasts Democrats, Republicans For Failing The Public

  • Twitter Inc TWTR founder and Block Inc SQ CEO Jack Dorsey reacted to upcoming inflation numbers on Monday and said in a social media post that both parties had squandered opportunities to build trust with the public.
  • Dorsey said both Republican and Democrat administrations had failed the public due to flaws in the system.
  • Every administration, republican or democrat, has an opportunity to build trust with the public.

$456M In Crypto Liquidated As Bitcoin Falls To $39,400

  • Cryptocurrency markets saw a massive selloff on Monday, leading to large-scale liquidations across the board.
  • According to data from CoinGlass, more than $456 million was liquidated from 146,000 cryptocurrency traders in the last 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin BTC/USD alone saw $157 million in liquidations as the leading digital asset fell to an intra-day low of $39,373.

Shiba Inu Sees 200% Surge In Large Transactions Over 24 Hours

  • Meme-based cryptocurrency Shiba Inu SHIB/USD saw a 202% surge in large transactions over the last 24 hours.
  • According to data from IntoTheBlock, there were 124 on-chain transfers with a minimum value of $100,000 on Monday.
  • SHIB lost 10% of its value over the last 24 hours amid a massive selloff in wider cryptocurrency markets. The token fell to an intraday low of $0.00002198.

Tesla Said To Submit Plan For 100,000-Sq-Ft Sales And Delivery Center In This Florida City

  • Tesla Inc TSLA has proposed to open a 100,000-square-feet sales, service, and delivery center in St. Petersburg, Florida, a local real estate news portal reported on Monday.
  • Austin, Texas-based Tesla is under contract to buy a 4.21-acre site in the major city that currently features an existing building requiring renovation, according to St. Pete Rising.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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