Tag Archives: Billion

Netflix plans $1 billion European investment drive: Financial Times
April 18, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Netflix Inc will raise its investment in content across Europe and plans to spend about $ 1 billion on original productions this year, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the plans.

The Netflix logo is shown above their booth at Comic Con International in San Diego, California, U.S., July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The revised budget will be more than double that of last year, the report said.

Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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Italy's Open Fiber enlists banks for $8 billion broadband rollout
April 13, 2018 6:07 pm|Comments (0)

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Open Fiber has enlisted banks to help fund the 6.5 billion euro ($ 8 billion) rollout of its fast broadband network, it said on Friday, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

Rome has long pushed for an all-fiber optic network to help Italian business and boost productivity. Open Fiber said its network would cover 271 Italian cities and around 7,000 municipalities in the country.

Open Fiber said it had signed the 7-year 3.5 billion euro project finance deal with BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), Societe Generale SOCG.PA and UniCredit (CRDI.MI) and expects it to be finalised in the next few months.

The firm, which is jointly owned by state-controlled utility Enel (ENEI.MI) and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, said in its new 2018-2027 plan it was looking to take its fiber-optic network into about 19 million homes and businesses.

It added it would spend about one billion euros per year over the next three years.

Enel, which will use its existing power grid network to house cable, has said it intends to repeat the project in other countries where it operates.

Open Fiber’s new plan comes just days after investor CDP bought a stake in phone incumbent Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) (TIM) in a move some say could open the way for an eventual merger of Open Fiber with the network of its bigger rival.

The government enlisted the help of Enel two years ago to build a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network after accusing TIM of acting too slowly to upgrade its ageing copper network.

But with TIM expanding its own network, industry experts say duplication of infrastructure makes little economic sense.

“With the approval of the new plan and the funding a new phase starts for Open Fiber with the aim of speeding up the roll-out of the FTTH network,” its CEO Elisabetta Ripa said.

The company said it had extended an existing deal with Vodafone (VOD.L) to cover all 271 cities covered by its plan.

Sky’s (SKYB.L) Italian unit last month signed a long-term deal with Open Fiber to allow it to offer internet TV in Italy.

($ 1 = 0.8114 euros)

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Francesca Landini and Alexander Smith

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Hong Kong fund says Toshiba chip unit worth more than $30 billion
April 6, 2018 6:01 am|Comments (0)

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Hong Kong-based activist investment fund opposed to Toshiba Corp’s (6502.T) sale of its chip unit to a Bain Capital-led group said the deal should be renegotiated at a valuation of 3.3 trillion yen to 4.4 trillion yen ($ 30 billion-$ 41 billion).

FILE PHOTO – The logo of Toshiba Corp. is seen at the company’s facility in Kawasaki, Japan February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Argyle Street Management said on Friday that the current deal, which values the unit at 2 trillion yen, was agreed upon when Toshiba was desperate for cash. Toshiba is no longer insolvent, and was free to terminate the deal without incurring any penalty because the sale had not closed by a March 31 deadline, it said.

Toshiba should aim to list the unit if the Bain group will not agree to a higher price, it added.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Writing by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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U.S. tax liabilities for crypto currencies in 2017 seen at $25 billion, to pressure bitcoin: Fundstrat
April 5, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Soaring crypto-currency prices last year are estimated to result in U.S. tax liabilities of $ 25 billion, adding further selling pressure to these assets in the short term, according to a research note by Fundstrat Global Advisers on Thursday.

A bitcoin logo is seen at a facility of the Youth and Sports Ministry in Caracas, Venezuela February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello

This could mean a massive outflow from crypto currencies to the dollar by April 15, the deadline for filing taxes this year, the firm said.

“We believe selling pressures (in crypto) have been amplified by capital gains tax-related selling this year,” said Thomas Lee, Fundstrat’s co-founder and head of research. Lee was formerly J.P. Morgan’s chief equity strategist from 2007 to 2014.

Still, Fundstrat believes the outlook for bitcoin should improve after the April 15 tax deadline. It reiterated its mid-year target of $ 20,000 and year-end forecast of $ 25,000.

Bitcoin in 2018 has lost more than 50 percent of its value, with other crypto currencies such as ether and ripple also hurt by intense regulatory scrutiny around the world.

Bitcoin last traded down nearly 2 percent at $ 6,673.53 on the Bitstamp platform. In December last year, bitcoin hit a record just shy of $ 20,000.

Virtual currencies led by bitcoin grew $ 590 billion in 2017 in terms of market value, compared with an $ 11 billion increase in 2016, Fundstrat said, estimating that 30 percent of crypto holders are in the United States.

The $ 25-billion tax liability accounts for 20 percent of the expected total tax payments for capital gains of around $ 168 billion in 2017, the research firm said. The projected tax liability is based on taxable gains for crypto of $ 92 billion, it added.

Fundstrat also said crypto exchanges posted record profit in November and December and are expected to have huge tax liabilities, which should add to further selling in crypto-currencies. Many of the exchanges have net income exceeding $ 1 billion in 2017 and keep their working capital in bitcoin and ether, the research firm added.

To meet these tax liabilities, exchanges need to sell bitcoin and ether.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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Spotify's record-setting direct listing makes it a $30 billion company
April 3, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Spotify Technology SA (SPOT.N) shares surged following the largest-ever direct listing on Tuesday, giving the world’s leading streaming music service a market value of nearly $ 30 billion.

Shares opened at $ 165.90, up nearly 26 percent from a reference price of $ 132 a share set by the on the New York Stock Exchange late on Monday.

Spotify’s unusual route to publicly trading its shares via a direct listing rather than a more usual initial public offering will likely be watched by other companies tempted to list without selling new shares, and by bankers that could lose out on millions of dollars in future underwriting fees.

Some 14 million shares had changed hands within an hour after trading began on Tuesday. Nearly 91 percent of Spotify’s 178 million shares were tradable, a much higher percentage than typical in a traditional IPO.

Some market-watchers cautioned investors not to read too much into the first-day pop, given the mixed performance of recent tech IPOs.

Spotify’s debut came on the heels of a steep U.S. equity selloff led by tech stocks, although the market had found firmer footing at midday on Tuesday.

“It’s a fair market price. It’s not manipulated or set by any puts and takes by banks or institutional investors,” said Chi-Hua Chien, an early investor in Spotify who is now at San Mateo, California-based Goodwater Capital.

Spotify shares were last at $ 160.32, up 21 percent.

The NYSE had set Spotify’s reference price late on Monday, giving an early estimate of the level at which supply and demand could be balanced.

That was in line with informal trading on Monday, with shares changing hands at about $ 132, which would value the company at more than $ 23 billion.

Slideshow (5 Images)

Since launching its streaming music service a decade ago, the Stockholm-founded company has overcome heavy resistance from big record labels and some major music artists to transform how the industry makes money.

Spotify offers access to vast libraries of music rather than making users pay for CDs or downloads of individual albums or tracks.

The company has structured the listing to allow existing investors to sell directly to the public while offering no new shares of its own.

Analysts had flagged concerns that forgoing hiring investment banks as underwriters or holding traditional promotional events with institutional investors could mean volatility in Spotify shares once formal trading kicked off.

Spotify’s opening public price was determined by buy and sell orders collected by the NYSE from broker-dealers.

Based on those orders, the price was set based on a designated market maker’s determination of where buy orders could be matched with sell orders.

While Chief Executive Daniel Ek skipped NYSE rituals such as opening bell-ringing and trading floor interviews to tout the stock, the front of the 115-year-old Greek Revival exchange building was draped in a vast green-and-black Spotify banner.

Additional reporting by Helena Soderpalm in Stockholm, Joshua Franklin in New York and Stephen Nellis and Salvador Rodriguez in San Francisco; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Bill Rigby

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Tencent loses $24 billion in market cap after Naspers' selldown
March 23, 2018 6:01 am|Comments (0)

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) saw its shares down 4.51 percent at the midday trading break on Friday after the internet firm’s largest shareholder, Naspers Ltd (NPNJn.J), said it would lower its stake for the first time in 17 years.

A Tencent sign is seen during the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

The Hong Kong-listed stock opened 7.8 percent lower at HK$ 405, its lowest opening price since Feb. 9, before regaining ground to HK$ 419.6 by noon. The benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI was down 2.81 percent.

A day earlier, the stock fell 5 percent following Tencent’s late Wednesday report showing quarterly revenue missed estimates as well as expectations of margin pressure, although profit beat forecasts.

Friday’s decline wiped $ 24 billion (17 billion pounds) off Tencent’s market value, though at $ 508 billion, it is still Asia’s most valuable listed company and fifth globally behind Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

South African media and e-commerce group Naspers said on Thursday it planned to sell up to 190 million Tencent shares, or 2 percent of its holding, in a sale that could earn Naspers up to $ 11 billion. It also said it had no plans to further reduce its holding for the next three years.

“The funds will reinforce Naspers’ balance sheet and be invested in classifieds, online food delivery and fintech globally,” said CICC analyst Natalie Wu. “We think it is a good opportunity to buy into dips given Tencent’s solid fundamentals.”

Jefferies analyst Karen Chan said, “Given Naspers’ largest single shareholding and board representation in Tencent, we believe its stake sale is unlikely to be a reaction to Tencent’s quarterly results. Instead of a timed profit-taking move, we believe this is more to improve Naspers’ own free cash flow and allow it higher flexibility in pursuing investment opportunities.”

A Tencent spokeswoman said it was informed and supportive of Naspers’ decision, and that Naspers’ intention to keep its remaining stake for the next three years demonstrated its confidence in Tencent.

Reporting by Sijia Jiang and Donny Kwok; Editing by Paul Tait and Christopher Cushing

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With 1 Tweet, Kylie Jenner Cut $1.3 Billion From Snapchat. Here's the Explanation Everyone's Missing
February 23, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

With a single tweet yesterday, Kylie Jenner sucked $ 1.3 billion out of the market capitalization of Snap, Inc.  

Her whole message ran just 18 words, and that includes “sooo” and “ugh.” It all ads up to more than $ 72 million lost, for each word she wrote.

So, was it simply a tweet? Is Jenner just throwing in with the 1.2 million people who signed a petition objecting to Snapchat’s recent redesign?

Or is there something else going on?

I don’t have any inside information, but the timing of the tweet–the exact timing–makes me raise an eyebrow.

Here’s the background. Jenner is a social media influencer of the first order, making between $ 250,000 and $ 500,000 per post, according to one estimate.

That’s more money for a single post that almost everyone who reads this article makes in a year. Big-time influencer money. 

Pretty impressive performance for a woman who won’t even be able to drink legally in the United States until August 10 of this year. But Jenner is a Kardashian (half-sister of Kourtney, Kim and Khloé Kardashian).

Whatever else anyone may say, the Kardashians are brilliant marketers. I’m not exactly their demo, but I have to respect something about what they’ve managed to build.

And, whatever else they do, they don’t do things like this without thinking it through.

So, three things.

First, the change in Snap’s design potentially impacts the degree to which Jenner–heck, any of the Kardashians–can make money on the platform. Those 1.2 million Snapchat users who signed the petition? They’re her audience.

If there’s a change, of course she’d make noise. Double irony points for doing so on Twitter.

Second, the timing of the tweet: 4:50 p.m. Eastern time–less than an hour after the U.S. markets closed.

Recently, I wrote about how Mark Zuckerberg’s post in January about changing how Facebook’s news feed works sent his company’s stock into a tumble, and devaluing his own stake by $ 3 billion. Next time he posted, he did it outside trading hours.

So, by posting just outside trading hours, it’s almost as if Jenner knew she could impact Snap’s share price–but didn’t want to overwhelm it.

I don’t have any inside information. It’s just a hunch, but it feels like a a warning shot: Hey Snap, pay attention to what I can do if I want to!

But, it also feels like it’s not intended as a fatal blow. In fact, KJ did tweet again, reminding Snap that it was her “first love.” 

Awwww.

Sure enough, the stock price rebounded later Thursday, too. All’s well that ends well, right? 

At least until the next tweet.

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Exclusive: China's Ant plans equity fundraising at potential $100 billion valuation – sources
February 9, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s Ant Financial Services Group is planning to raise up to $ 5 billion in fresh equity that could value the online payments giant at more than $ 100 billion, people familiar with the move told Reuters.

A fundraising would bring Ant, in which e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is taking a one-third stake, a step closer to a hotly anticipated initial public offering by establishing a more current valuation.

Ant’s last fundraising in 2016 valued the owner of Alipay, China’s top online payment platform, at about $ 60 billion. The new round should start with a valuation of between $ 80 billion to $ 100 billion, the people said.

Ant is currently in talks to appoint advisers for the fundraising which is expected to be launched in the next couple of months, they added.

Ant declined to comment on its fundraising plans. All the people spoke to Reuters on the condition they not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

While no timetable for an IPO has been set, nor any location yet chosen, Ant’s plans are being viewed as a pre-IPO fundraising, the people said. A pre-IPO round is an increasingly common move by sought-after Chinese companies to establish valuations and widen their investor base ahead of going public.

It was not immediately clear how the company plans to use the fresh cash.

The exact timing and size of the fundraising still depends on investor feedback but any deal will add to an already hectic pace of domestic and offshore fundraising by Chinese tech firms that are looking to expand both at home and abroad.

Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com is raising funds for its logistics unit with a target of attracting at least $ 2 billion, while live-video streaming start-up Kuaishou is nearing the close of a $ 1 billion funding round, sources have said.

Ant’s own existing investments include stakes in Paytm, the Indian mobile payment and e-commerce website, and Thai financial technology firm Ascend Money.

Last month, however, Ant suffered a setback when a U.S. government panel rejected its $ 1.2 billion offer for money transfer company MoneyGram International over security concerns.

At home, in addition to its core online payments business, which Ant says has 520 million yearly users, the company also offers wealth management, credit scoring, micro lending and insurance services.

Last week, Alibaba announced it would take a 33 percent stake in Ant – replacing the current system where Alibaba receives 37.5 percent of Ant’s pre-tax profit – in what was viewed as an important step ahead of any IPO.

Alibaba set up Alipay in 2004, modeling the business on PayPal, to help Chinese buyers shop online, and later controversially spun it off ahead of its own listing in 2014. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, controls Ant, according to Alibaba filings with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ant is considered by some analysts as one of the most valuable Alibaba assets due to its unique position in Chinese e-commerce.

Current shareholders in Ant include large state-owned institutions such as China Life Insurance, China Post Group – parent of Postal Savings Bank of China – and a unit of China Development Bank.

Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee and Julie Zhu; Additional reporting by Kane Wu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Edwina Gibbs

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Tencent-led group to invest $1.6 billion in menswear firm Heilan: sources
February 1, 2018 6:01 am|Comments (0)

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tencent Holdings Ltd is leading a deal to invest 10 billion yuan ($ 1.59 billion) in Chinese menswear group Heilan Home Co Ltd, upping a retail rivalry with fellow internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

China’s second-largest e-commerce company JD.com Inc and online clothing platform Vipshop Holdings Ltd will also be among the group that plans to acquire less than 10 percent of the company for 5 billion yuan, one source said.

Another 5 billion yuan would help set up an industrial investment fund to focus on deals that fit with Heilan’s business, the person said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Heilan had a market value of about $ 8.13 billion as of Monday, when it halted shares from trading, pending deal announcements.

Tencent, JD.com and Vipshop declined to comment. A Heilan spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

The proposed deal, which could be announced as early as Friday, extends a recent push by Tencent, China’s biggest social network and gaming company, into bricks-and-mortar retail to further compete with Alibaba.

Heilan which has clothing brands such as HLA and SANCANAL, has been a long-time partner of Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall.

But last month Tencent, which has a market capitalization of $ 563 billion, said it would invest 4.2 billion yuan for a stake in Yonghui Superstores. It is also looking to take a stake in the China business of French supermarket retailer Carrefour.

The recent moves reflect a wider, long-running stand-off between Tencent and Alibaba, which have made competing investments in areas as diverse as bike-sharing apps, food delivery and gaming.

JD.com, in which Tencent is a top-10 investor, traditionally leads against Alibaba in online retail sales of electronics and home appliance products, but lags behind in the fashion business.

Tencent and JD.com last month jointly made an $ 863 million investment in Vipshop, in a bid to tap the country’s young female shoppers and gain access to consumer and transaction data to help them compete with Alibaba’s online payment platform Alipay.

Jiangsu-based Heilan was set up by Zhou Jianping, one of the richest people in China’s fashion industry, in 1997. It runs more than 5,000 stores, mostly in China, and recorded 12.5 billion yuan in operating income in the first three quarters last year, its website showed.

Reporting by Julie Zhu; Editing by Stephen Coates

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China's Leshi Internet flags $1.8 billion loss for 2017, citing LeEco cash crunch
January 31, 2018 6:10 am|Comments (0)

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese video-streaming firm Leshi Internet Information & Technology said it expects a net loss of 11.6 billion yuan ($ 1.83 billion) for 2017, citing a cash crunch at embattled technology conglomerate LeEco that hurt its revenues.

Leshi had reported a profit of 554.8 million yuan in 2016.

It was once the main listed unit of LeEco which was founded by Jia Yueting. Last year, property developer Sunac China became Leshi’s second-largest shareholder and Jia subsequently resigned as chairman and CEO from the company but remains its largest shareholder.

Leshi is trying to recover debt owed by Jia. It said last week it is seeking equity stakes in the car businesses of Jia for debt owed by him and his companies amounting to as much as 7.5 billion yuan ($ 1.17 billion).

Leshi flagged the expected loss for 2017 in a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Tuesday evening.

The announcement sent Leshi’s shares plunging by the daily limit of 10 percent on Wednesday, the sixth consecutive day they have tumbled the maximum allowed since resuming trading a week ago following a 9-month suspension.

(This version of the story corrects fifth paragraph to show announcement was made to Shenzhen stock exchange, not Hong Kong stock exchange)

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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