TikTok, Twitter in Merger Talks
Following President Trump’s decision to end TikTok reign in the United States and protect the American people against an ‘unusual or extraordinary threat,’ Twitter has approached ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok to discuss possible merger or acquisition, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Saturday.
President Trump had signed an executive order on Thursday under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that allows the president to regulate international commerce in an unusual or extraordinary threat.
Part of the executive order read “The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.”
Last week, Trump had given TikTok 45 days to sell off its US operations to an American company or face a complete exit from the world’s largest market. Also, American companies are warned to stop doing business with the Chinese video app and other Chinese owned social media companies like WeChat, saying it “threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
The threat has led to American companies approaching the Chinese short video app for complete acquisition of North American operations.
Microsoft had announced last week that it was in talks with the company to acquire its US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand operations. On Thursday, Financial Times reported that Microsoft has expanded discussions to TikTok entire operations.
However, on Saturday the Wall Street Journal reported that Twitter is in preliminary discussions for a merger with TikTok. A move that would likely allow Twitter to manage the company’s North American operations in line with Trump’s demand.
Trump had accused Chinese owned companies of working with the Chinese government to access American key data and expose the world’s largest economy to security threats. An accusation the companies have denied over and over again.
While it is uncertain how Twitter plans to raise the money for the acquisition or merger, it would be a herculean task given the company’s present financial position when compared with Microsoft.
Intuit to Accuire Mailchimp for $12B in cash and stock
Intuit, the global technology platform that makes TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, and Credit Karma, today announced that it has agreed to acquire Mailchimp, a world-class, global customer engagement and marketing platform for growing small and mid-market businesses.
The planned acquisition of Mailchimp for approximately $12 billion in cash and stock advances Intuit’s mission of powering prosperity around the world, and its strategy to become an AI-driven expert platform. With the acquisition of Mailchimp, Intuit will accelerate two of its previously-shared strategic Big Bets: to become the center of small business growth; and to disrupt the small business mid-market.
Together, Intuit and Mailchimp will work to deliver on the vision of an innovative, end-to-end customer growth platform for small and mid-market businesses, allowing them to get their business online, market their business, manage customer relationships, benefit from insights and analytics, get paid, access capital, pay employees, optimize cash flow, be organized and stay compliant, with experts at their fingertips. Delivering on the promise to be the single source of truth, small and mid-market businesses will have the power to combine their customer data from Mailchimp and QuickBooks’ purchase data to get the actionable insights they need to grow and run their businesses with confidence.
“We’re focused on powering prosperity around the world for consumers and small businesses. Together, Mailchimp and QuickBooks will help solve small and mid-market businesses’ biggest barriers to growth, getting and retaining customers,” said Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit. “Expanding our platform to be at the center of small and mid-market business growth helps them overcome their most important financial challenges. Adding Mailchimp furthers our vision to provide an end-to-end customer growth platform to help our customers grow and run their businesses, putting the power of data in their hands to thrive.”
Autochek Acquires Cheki Kenya and Uganda to Provide Seamless Access To Auto Financing Across East Africa
Barely a year after Autochek successfully acquired Cheki Nigeria and Ghana as part of its launch in West Africa, the automotive technology company has now entered into an agreement with ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media) to acquire Cheki Kenya and Cheki Uganda, amid plans to expand further into the African market. The deal will be finalised within the following weeks and will see Cheki Kenya and Uganda’s operations integrate with the wider Autochek operations.
Founded in 2010, Cheki Kenya has built a network of hundreds of dealers, more than 12,000 vehicles listed monthly and 700,000 monthly unique users on its platform with 80% plus year-on-year growth in the last two years. With credit penetration in Kenya at 27.5%, significantly higher than the West African market, which stands at 5%, East Africa’s growing market is positioned as a key auto financing hub, and Autochek is now strategically positioned to scale as it becomes a pan-African player.
According to the Founder and CEO Etop Ikpe, the expansion into the East African region is the next step needed to continue Autocheck’s mission to provide seamless access to auto financing across the continent. Building on Cheki’s 10 years of experience, Autochek is set to introduce additional technology solutions that will integrate the auto ecosystem as well as increase market adoption for auto loan financing. As part of the agreement, ROAM Africa will also transfer ownership and operational control to Autochek.
Speaking on the acquisition, Etop Ikpe said, “The acquisition of Cheki Kenya and Uganda is an important milestone for us, and we are excited to be working with ROAM Africa once again, building on their achievements over the past years. ROAM Africa has an unrivalled track record of operating and scaling some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most innovative classified marketplaces, and we look forward to leveraging on this solid business foundation.”
“Autochek’s mandate is to accelerate the ability of African consumers to access better quality and affordable vehicles by providing access to financing, while also derisking the auto lending process for financial institutions. We are long-time admirers and collaborators of the Cheki brand; following today’s news, we intend to provide even more trust and transparency in East Africa’s automotive sector, leveraging the unique networks we are now joining together.”
Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa, says, “Across the world, we see a new evolution of digital automotive platforms, requiring deep specialisation. Specifically in Africa, we believe that Autochek is the one player with the best team and expertise to truly create a game-changing consumer experience. Our Cheki team has built a unique, market-leading brand and a truly remarkable business. Most importantly, I want to thank everyone in the team who contributed to this success. Now we are excited to see that taken to the next level. Whilst this is good news for everyone directly involved, the ultimate benefactor will be African car buyers and sellers.”
“For ROAM Africa, this deal is more than a perfect transaction: It unleashes even more focus on the strategic playbook for our core businesses. We have a clear strategy that will further strengthen our leading marketplaces and invest in innovative product solutions. The opportunity is now bigger than ever since the pandemic has vastly accelerated digitisation across the continent. In the last two years, our businesses recorded unprecedented growth. Thus, our commitment to connect Africans to opportunities remains strong.”
Launched in 2020 and backed by notable investors such as TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures, Autochek combines technology underpinned by data analytics to deepen auto finance penetration across the continent. With a presence in Nigeria and Ghana, the company’s 360-degree automotive solution also provides a strong network of after-sales services that preserve and eases vehicle ownership experience across Africa.
Ideanomics To Buy VIA Motors For Nearly $630M
Financial technology company Ideanomics Inc said on Monday that it will acquire VIA Motors International Inc in an all-stock deal that would value the electric commercial vehicle firm at about $630 million.
The acquisition comes as several automakers are competing to develop electric vehicles after China, Europe and other countries and regions mandated lower carbon emissions.
Ideanomics will offer 162 million shares to shareholders of VIA Motors International, and the latter is expected to own about 25 percent of the combined entity, the companies said in a joint statement.
“Ideanomics is separately issuing $50 million of the secured convertible note to VIA Motors to fund its growth, and that will be subject to purchase price adjustment,” they said.
Utah-based VIA Motors is eligible for potential earnout consideration of up to $180 million, which would be paid in Ideanomics’ stock, according to the statement.
VIA Motors Chief Executive Officer Bob Purcell will maintain his leadership role and the company would operate as a distinct business unit reporting to Ideanomics’ Chief Executive Alf Poor.
New York City-based Ideanomics operates as a fintech company and its Mobile Energy Global unit helps commercial fleet operators procure electric vehicles.
A slew of fast-growing EV startups has taken advantage of the boom in capital markets in the past 12 months, either through initial public offerings or via a merger with special purpose acquisition companies, with the latest being Amazon.com Inc-backed Rivian filing to go public last week.
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