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Yahoo’s Data Breaches Unlikely to Derail Verizon Deal

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  • Yahoo’s Data Breaches Unlikely to Derail Verizon Deal

The second major hack of Yahoo! Inc. user accounts is unlikely to derail Verizon Communications Inc.’s $4.83 billion acquisition of the tech giant, with investors and the public becoming inured to near-daily disclosures of cyberattacks.

Hundreds of U.S. companies fall prey to hackers every year and, in many cases, the data breaches neither hurt bottom lines nor scare away customers for too long. After initial anxieties ease, everyone generally moves on. Experts say the same holds true for Yahoo and Verizon.

“I tend to not feel like these hacks are that big of a deal in the broader scheme of things,” said Michael Mahoney, senior managing director at Falcon Point Capital, which invests in wireless companies. “Obviously they can be damaging. But it doesn’t take too long before people forget about it.”

In the U.S. especially, data breaches continue to mount. Within the past few years, hackers have infiltrated Sony Corp., Target Corp., Home Depot Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., auction site EBay Inc. and health insurer Anthem Inc. Almost 1,000 data breaches, including Yahoo’s, occurred in the U.S. just this year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. And in all, more than 35 million critical personal records, including social security and passport numbers and medical and banking data, were exposed in 2016.

But Yahoo’s is one of the largest-scale data breaches reported to date. The Sunnyvale, California-based company said that cyber-thieves in 2013 siphoned information from more than 1 billion Yahoo accounts, including users’ e-mail addresses, scrambled account passwords and dates of birth, data that allow criminals to go after more sensitive personal information elsewhere online. It was the second disclosure of a major data breach since Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo. In September, the tech company revealed that more than 500 million users’ data had been hacked in a separate, state-sponsored attack in 2014.

“There are many breaches with many entities that have these types of breaches occurring,” said Eva Casey Velasquez, chief executive officer of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Since Target’s data breach in 2013, public sentiment has shifted, Velasquez said. “People know what a data breach is. But because it did become so ubiquitous in our conversation, there’s a little bit of apathy.”

And not all breaches are created equal, said Emily Mossburg, a principal at cyber-risk services practice at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Stolen names and account information don’t necessarily have a “broader impact.”

Manageable Costs

Costs of data breaches have been substantial but not devastating. Target and Home Depot estimated that their data breaches resulted in about $200 million each in expenses not covered by insurance. Those are minimal amounts for big companies their size.

And depending on the type of hack and the data stolen, Yahoo’s legal liability may be negligible. Benjamin Dean, president of Iconoclast Tech, a data-security consultant, said Yahoo is unlikely to incur large losses as a result of recent class-action lawsuits.

“The track record for successful class actions relating to stolen non-payment card data isn’t good,” Dean said. “Those bringing the class action typically have to show material damage due to the data lost in a breach — and this has proven difficult to show or prove.”

Still, Yahoo’s costs may be higher simply because of the magnitude of the breach, and may even lead to a loss of users or advertisers. Larry Ponemon, founder of the Ponemon Institute, a think-tank focused on data security, believes Yahoo’s costs — plus opportunities lost — could be $2 to $3 per customer record, and shave $1 billion from the price Verizon pays.

“The timing couldn’t be worse for Yahoo,” he said.

Price Cut

Verizon may be able to negotiate Yahoo’s purchase price down by 5 percent to 10 percent, said Mahoney of Falcon Point, who doesn’t hold shares of either company. Yahoo’s shares are down 5.5 percent since the close Dec. 14, when the company announced the second breach.

Verizon has been buying internet and media companies to drive growth beyond its maturing wireless business by selling advertising. The company purchased Yahoo in part for traffic to its websites like Yahoo Finance, and that traffic is unlikely to decline because of the breach.

According to Alexa Internet, which tracks web viewing, Yahoo fell to the No. 6 most-popular property globally in early December, before the magnitude of the latest breach was revealed, and has held its rank since then. If Yahoo’s numbers remain steady, Verizon should still buy the company, according to Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics LLC.

“Yahoo has a brand that’s pretty good in the marketplace,” added Mahoney, of Falcon Point Capital. Verizon “will certainly” use the breach as leverage to try to reduce the deal’s price, “but I doubt that it changes the strategic rationale for why they want to buy Yahoo,” he said.

Yahoo said it’s confident in the company’s value and continues to work toward integration with Verizon. Jim Gerace, a spokesman for Verizon, said the company will continue to evaluate the situation before making any final decisions.

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.

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YouTube Suspends Trump Channel

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YouTube Suspends Trump Channel

Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts after last week’s Capitol riot.

Trump’s access to the social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week.

Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.

The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a ‘minimum’ of 7 days,” the statement read.

The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.

Facebook last week suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the violent invasion of the US Capitol, which temporarily disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory.

In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violent and was concerned he would continue to do so.

Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favorite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.

The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.

Trump also was hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.

The president’s YouTube account has amassed 2.77 million subscribers.

The home page of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting process in November’s presidential election, and had logged some 5.8 million views.

On Tuesday, an activist group called on YouTube to join other platforms in dumping Trump’s accounts, threatening an advertising boycott campaign.

(AFP)

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Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020

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Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020

While the pandemic has devastated countless businesses, it has provided a major boon for eCommerce platform Shopify.

Shopify’s stock rallied by 169.9% in 2020 compared to the industry’s 26.6% growth. As of mid-December 2020, according to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish site Sijoitusrahastot, it had a 90 RS rating, which means that it had outperformed 90% of stocks during the year.

Based on the Zacks Consensus Estimate, its Q4 earnings per share (EPS) are set to jump by 188.37% to $1.24 while its sales will grow by 78% to $899.2 million. For the full year 2020, analysts project a massive 1,137% jump for the Shopify EPS.

Shopify Merchants Sell Over $5.1 Billion on Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Since Shopify went public in 2015, its stock has risen over 40-fold to more than $1,200 at the end of December 2020. Between 2016 and 2019, it skyrocketed by over 1,400%.

The eCommerce platform’s earnings for Q1 to Q3 2020 grew at an average of 552%. That was well above the 101% three-year average. In Q3 2020, its revenue nearly doubled from $390.6 million to $767.4 million.

Earnings in Q3 2020 rose from a net loss of 29 cents to $1.13 per share. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) soared by 109% reaching $30.9 billion, compared to 46% in Q1 2020 and 119% in Q2 2020. For the first nine months of 2020, there was a revenue increase of 82%.

For the first time, Shopify’s GMV surpassed that of eBay in Q2 2020, doing it again in Q3 2020. It claims to have a 6% share of the US market, higher than eBay’s but lower than Amazon’s 37%.

During the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, merchants on the Shopify platform sold goods worth $5.1 billion. Compared to 2019, this marked a 76% uptick and set a new record. Comparatively, independent businesses on Amazon sold goods worth $4.8 billion. The number of buyers on Shopify increased by 50% year-over-year (YoY) to 44 million during that weekend.

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Global Digital Payments Market to Grow by 23.7% in 2020 to $4.9 Trillion

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While it was already under way prior to the pandemic, the global shift to digital payments has been positively affected by the crisis.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish website Sijoitusrahastot, the global digital payments market grew by 21% YoY in transaction value during H1 2020. Statista projects that the market’s total transaction value will grow by 23.7% year-over-year (YoY) in 2020 to reach $4.93 trillion. The number of users is also set to increase by 10.1% YoY to reach 3.47 billion.

Asia’s Digital Payments Market to Reach $2.88 Trillion in 2020

In the period between 2020 and 2024, the global digital payments will grow at a 13.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach $8.17 trillion by 2024. The market’s top segment is digital commerce, estimated to grow at 4.8% YoY reach $2.93 trillion in 2020. By 2024, it is set to grow to $4.11 trillion, growing at a CAGR of 8.9%.

China will take the lead in digital payments, growing to $2.31 trillion, as well as in digital commerce, reaching $1.17 trillion in 2020. For Asia as a whole, digital payments will reach $2.88 trillion in 2020 as per a Statista report.

According to McKinsey, Asia generated $900 billion in 2019 as payment revenue, almost half the global total. Between 2018 and 2019, digital payments in Asia Pacific grew by 24.7%. Comparatively, the growth rate was 14.1% in the global market, 12.2% in Europe and 5.6% in North America.

China has a dominant role in the market, thanks to mobile payments. Based on a Finextra report, 70% of China’s consumers use mobile wallets regularly. It estimates that in 2020, 80% of global mobile wallet revenue will come from China.

Capgemini projects that in 2020, mobile payments in APAC will grow at 13.9% YoY to reach $277.5 billion. In contrast, the figure will be $229.1 billion in Europe, growing at 6.2% YoY and $184.8 billion in North America, growing at 3.0%.

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