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MTN Plans Bond Sale to Raise Funds

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MTN

MTN Group Limited plans to gauge investor interest in a possible bond offering as Africa’s biggest mobile-phone company by sales seeks funds to pay for dividends, capital expenditure and a record N330 billion ($1 billion) fine in Nigeria.

The wireless operator has mandated Barclays Bank Plc, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc. and Standard Bank Group Limited to arrange a series of fixed-income investor meetings in the U.S. and the U.K. starting September 9, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The dollar-denominated bond offering “is expected to follow subject to market conditions,” Bloomberg quoted the carrier said. MTN’s move to attract funding comes after the company reported its first-ever half-year loss this month, partly caused by an agreement to settle the fine with Nigerian regulators and government. The subscriber base of 233 million didn’t grow during the six months through June, while MTN is struggling to repatriate 15.4 billion rand ($1.1 billion) tied up in its Iran unit.

“Pre-dividend free cash flow won’t cover payments of dividends and the fine in Nigeria this year and in 2017,” an emerging-markets credit analyst at Gimme Credit LLC in Tel Aviv, Alexandre Dray, said in e-mailed comments. “Therefore, the company needs to raise new debt or equity to keep a comfortable liquidity position.”

MTN issued a $750 million note in 2014 that matures in 2024, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company sold a 1.25 billion rand bond in 2010, which matures in July next year.

After reaching a record high in February, the yield on MTN’s dollar-denominated note has fallen as the carrier negotiated and finally successfully settled talks over its Nigerian fine. Having peaked at 7.11 percent on Feb. 19, the note’s yield is now 4.81 percent and its spread to a similarly dated Treasury Bill has narrowed.

MTN is due to pay an outstanding N280 billion of the Nigerian fine in six installments over the next three years. The first payment, which MTN Nigeria says it has already settled, was due on July 8.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Technology

SpaceX To Launch DOGe-1 Mission Next Year and Accept Dogecoin As Payment

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Elon Musk's SpaceX Raised $850 million at $74 billion valuation

Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch the “DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon” in the first quarter of 2022, with the company accepting the meme-inspired cryptocurrency as full payment for the lunar payload.

Geometric Energy Corporation announced the dogecoin-funded mission on Sunday, which SpaceX’s communications team confirmed in an email to reporters. The mission’s financial value was not disclosed.

DOGE-1 will fly a 40-kilogram cube satellite as a payload on a Falcon 9 rocket, with Geometric Energy Corporation saying its payload “will obtain lunar-spatial intelligence from sensors and cameras on-board with integrated communications and computational systems.”

SpaceX vice president of commercial sales Tom Ochinero said in a statement that DOGE-1 “will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce.”

“We’re excited to launch DOGE-1 to the Moon!” Ochinero said.

Musk previously announced the company’s plans, albeit in a tweet on April Fool’s Day.

“SpaceX is going to put a literal Dogecoin on the literal moon,” Musk wrote.

The DOGE-1 mission comes after Musk, the self-proclaimed “Dogefather,” made his debut as host of “Saturday Night Live.” The price of dogecoin plunged during his appearance, falling below 50 cents, despite his references to the cryptocurrency.

For SpaceX, the announcement also comes on the day the company set a new record for its Falcon 9 series of rockets. After launching another batch of Starlink satellites into orbit, SpaceX landed the Falcon 9 rocket’s booster for the 10th time — a benchmark Musk has previously described as key in the company’s progress of reusing its rockets.

“It’s designed to do 10 or more flights with no refurbishment between each flight,” Musk told reporters in May 2018.

“We believe that the [Falcon 9] boosters are capable of on the order of at least 100 flights before being retired. Maybe more.”

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Twitter Legalize Giveaway, Introduces Tip Jar, A Feature Allowing Users to Send and Recieve Money

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Twitter on Thursday introduced Tip Jar, a new feature that makes it easy for users to send money to their favorite creators on the micro-blogging service.

“This is a first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter — with money,” the company said in a blog post.

Users will be able to connect their Twitter accounts with Tip Jar to Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal, or Venmo. Twitter will take no cut of money sent through the feature.

According to the company’s statement in a blog post, You’ll know an account’s Tip Jar is enabled if you see a Tip Jar icon next to the Follow button on their profile page. Tap the icon, and you’ll see a list of payment services or platforms that the account has enabled. Select whichever payment service or platform you prefer and you’ll be taken off Twitter to the selected app where you can show your support in the amount you choose. The services* you can add today include Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal and Venmo. Twitter takes no cut. On Android, tips can also be sent within Spaces.

Those who use Twitter in English on iOS and Android will be able to start sending money through Tip Jar on Thursday. Certain users will be able to add Tip Jar to their profiles to begin collecting tips. This includes creators, journalists, experts and nonprofits, Twitter said.

The new feature comes as part of a broader effort by the company to build more features at a faster clip in a push to grow Twitter’s user base to 315 million daily active users by the end of 2023. Earlier this week, the company also announced the launch of Spaces, a feature that allows users to join virtual rooms where they can engage in real-time audio conversations with others.

Tip Jar comes after a rough week for Twitter, which has seen its stock fall more than 17 percent since April 29, when the company reported its first-quarter earnings. In the report, the company missed on analysts’ user growth expectations and the company provided lower revenue guidance for the second quarter than expected.

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Uber To Introduce Uber Connect and Uber Hourly Service In Nigeria

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Uber

Uber, a ride-hailing giant, has said it is introducing two new services for the Nigerian market. The ride-hailing company, which also offers freight, courier and other transport services, said the two services, ‘Uber Connect’ and ‘Uber Hourly’, will be available for Nigeria customers in the next few months.

The company’s country manager, Tope Akinwumi, speaking about the new services, noted that the initiative emanated from the desire to bring innovativeness in solving the transportation needs of people.

Uber’s representative, further said: “We want to bring innovations designed to help people get anywhere and get anything as cities start to move again,” Tope Akinwumi, Uber’s country manager, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

“As we want to show our commitment to improving the lives of Nigerians, and more importantly, unlocking access to earning opportunities for drivers, we believe this announcement is a step in the right direction.”

Uber Hourly, which is already operating in several cities around the world, is an alternative to on-demand, point-to-point trips that will provide riders added convenience with no need to re-book their ride.

The Hourly will enable riders to book rides by the hour, providing them with a single driver for their entire journeys especially for riders who may need extra time to complete tasks, also availing drivers the opportunity to make more money.

“Hourly already launched in several cities around the world including Dar es Salaam and based on those insights and the warm reception from both riders and drivers, we’re excited to bring this to Nigeria.

“We built this feature for those moments when you anticipate you’ll need extra time getting things done, and so drivers can access a meaningful earnings opportunity while “locking in” an upfront time frame for the service provided,” Akinwumi said.

Uber Connect leverages Uber’s logistics technology and network to provide people with a quick and affordable way to send packages to friends and family using the Uber app.

Akinwumi explains, “The agility of our platform allows us to quickly adapt our products to meet the evolving needs of communities impacted by the health crisis while experimenting with new revenue streams and earning opportunities for drivers.”

Uber Connect is already available in Ghana, South Africa and Kenya, including other countries across the globe.

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