Sidewalk Labs CEO to Resign Ahead of Possible Battle with ALS
Alphabet has announced that it is folding all Sidewalk Labs’ projects under the umbrella of Google, after the founder and CEO of Sidewalk announced that he will be stepping down ahead of a possible battle with ALS.
Alphabet Inc. is an American tech company which was created through a Google restructuring in October 2015, eventually becoming the parent company of Google and several subsidiaries of Google. One of the subsidiaries of Alphabet Inc. is Sidewalk Labs, which deals with urban planning and infrastructure. Until recently, Sidewalk Labs was headed by founder and CEO Daniel Doctoroff.
Doctoroff, who had previously been in charge of Bloomberg LP, announced in a blog post on Thursday that he would be resigning as CEO. He made this decision in the wake of a possible battle with the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a highly deadly neurodegenerative condition. Doctoroff has not been diagnosed with the disease yet, but meetings with experts in the field, meetings and test results have all pointed to the possibility of being diagnosed.
He however said that he tested negative for a gene mutation that points to ALS, which had been present in his family with the disease, making it a possibility that he is fighting a disease with similar symptoms to ALS but which is not ALS.
According to Doctoroff, the disease runs in the family as both his father and uncle were diagnosed with the devastating disease. Since the ALS fears, he has decided to spend more time with his family and lead his organisation called Target ALS. Doctoroff said he plans to raise $250 million for medical research through the Target ALS group.
In the wake of Doctoroff’s resignation, Google will take over Sidewalk projects like the parking technology Pebble, and low-cost energy tracking system Mesa. Doctoroff announced that the projects will still be led by Sidewalk Labs’ President of Urban Products Prem Ramaswami and the Chief Technology Officer Craig Nevill-Manning, who are both former workers with Google.
It was however announced that the company did not have a date for the transition yet.
Unilever Nigeria to Focus on Higher Growth Opportunities by Exiting Home Care and Skin Cleansing Markets
Unilever Nigeria Plc, one of the leading Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, has announced its decision to exit the home care and skin cleansing markets.
The company disclosed that the decision would only affect three of its brands – OMO, Sunlight, and Lux. According to Unilever Nigeria, the move is aimed at accelerating the growth of the organisation and sustaining profitability.
The restructuring of Unilever Nigeria’s business model is in response to the tough business environment in Nigeria, where many organisations and individuals have found it difficult to access cash due to the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Unilever Nigeria’s Managing Director, Mr Carl Cruz, noted that the offloading of the home care and skin cleansing portfolios would enable the company to “concentrate on higher growth opportunities.”
Unilever Nigeria has a strong competition in the business categories it is exiting. However, the company’s products are also market leaders in the sector. Mr Cruz added that the company was repurposing its portfolio by gradually exiting two categories, home care and skin cleansing, affecting only three brands (OMO, Sunlight, and Lux).
This would allow Unilever Nigeria to drive the rest of its brand portfolio for growth into the future and strengthen business operations with measures to digitize and simplify processes.
Unilever Nigeria is a truly Nigerian business and the oldest serving manufacturer in the country. The company’s decision to exit the home care and skin cleansing markets is in line with its commitment to adapt to changing market circumstances and reposition itself to better meet the needs of its consumers, shareholders, and employees.
Mr Cruz said, “By making these changes, we will unleash the sustained and profitable growth we need to be here for the next 100 years as well.”
Merger and Acquisition
Access Bank Zambia Granted Approval for Atlas Mara Zambia Merger
Access Holdings Plc has announced that its subsidiary, Access Bank Zambia Limited, has received final regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Zambia for the acquisition and merger of African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited (Atlas Mara Zambia).
The move is a significant step towards the creation of one of the top five banks in Zambia.
Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary of Access Holdings, stated that the latest development is a big step towards the earlier announcement made on October 25, 2021.
This approval comes after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Competition Commission granted their “no objection” to the transaction in 2022.
Access Zambia will now begin the process of integrating and merging Atlas Mara Zambia into its existing operations. The merger is expected to boost Access Bank Zambia’s position in the Zambian banking sector and create more opportunities for its customers.
Access Holdings Plc is committed to expanding its operations and presence in Africa, and this acquisition and merger is a testament to its efforts in achieving that goal. The company believes that this move will strengthen its position as a leading financial services provider in the region.
Dr. Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Access Holdings, while commenting on the transaction, said: “The transaction builds on our earlier acquisition and merger of Cavmont Bank Plc into Access Bank Zambia and underscores our resolve to strengthen our presence in Zambia, a key African market that fits into our strategic focus on geographic earnings growth and diversification”.
Merger and Acquisition
First Citizens BancShares Acquires Silicon Valley Bank’s Deposits and Loans in FDIC-Assisted Deal
On Monday, First Citizens BancShares Inc announced that it had acquired the deposits and loans of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) following its failure earlier this month.
This acquisition marks a significant step forward in addressing the global financial markets’ ongoing crisis of confidence.
As part of the deal, First Citizens BancShares will assume SVB’s assets including $110 billion in assets, $56 billion in deposits, and $72 billion in loans. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which took control of SVB, will receive equity appreciation rights in First Citizens BancShares stock with a potential value of up to $500 million.
First Citizens BancShares described itself as having completed more FDIC-assisted transactions since 2009 than any other bank. It believes that the combined company will be resilient with a diverse loan portfolio and deposit base.
The bank’s statement also noted that its prudent risk management approach would continue to protect customers and stockholders through all economic cycles and market conditions.
In addition to the acquisition, First Citizens BancShares will receive a line of credit from the FDIC for contingent liquidity purposes. Again, the bank will have an agreement with the regulator to share some losses on commercial loans to provide further downside protection against potential credit losses.
While analysts said the move was positive for financial stability and the venture capital industry, they noted that it only addressed the issue of deposits leaving smaller banks for larger banks or money market funds up to a point.
Redmond Wong, Greater China market strategist at Saxo Markets, said that “First Citizens Bank’s acquisition of the SVB loan book and deposits does not add much to solve the number one issue that the U.S. banking system is now facing.”
SVB’s failure was the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis. Its closure on March 10th caused massive market disruption and heightened stresses across the banking sector globally. The acquisition of its deposits and loans by First Citizens BancShares is a step towards stabilizing the sector and restoring confidence in the global financial markets.
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