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Amazon AI (Anonymous Indians)

JPMorgan reshuffled leadership in IB, layoffs jumped to a 14-month high, commodity trading profits hit a record high, markets reacted to the possibility of zero rate cuts this year, and Amazon reportedly relied on Indian contractors to label purchases at 'Just Walk Out' stores.

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JPMorgan reshuffled leadership in IB, layoffs jumped to a 14-month high, commodity trading profits hit a record high, markets reacted to the possibility of zero rate cuts this year, and Amazon reportedly relied on Indian contractors to label purchases at 'Just Walk Out' stores.

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Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 04/04/2024 market close.

Markets

  • All three major US indexes fell over 1% yesterday as investors reacted to hawkish commentary from Fed officials 

    • The S&P had its worst day since mid-February

    • The Dow fell for a fourth-straight day for its worst performance since March 2023

  • Brent oil topped $90 bpd on flaring Middle East tensions 

  • FX volatility is at its lowest in four years

Earnings

  • Lamb Weston shares plunged ~20% after missing Q3 earnings and revenue estimates due to a slower-than-expected switch to a new software system (MW)

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • Fed’s Kashkari floats possibility of no rate cuts this year (BBG)

  • JPMorgan named new heads of IB and capital markets in leadership reshuffle (RT)

  • Layoffs increased 7% to highest level since January 2023 (RT)

  • Commodity trading profits hit record $104B last year (FT)

  • Actively managed US equity funds saw best out-performance since 2007 in Q1 (RT)

  • YouTube said OpenAI training Sora with its videos would break rules (BBG)

  • Elon Musk boosts AI engineer pay in ‘craziest talent war’ (WSJ)

  • BlackRock to face vote on splitting chair and CEO role (FT)

  • BlackRock CEO pay fell 18% to $27M in 2023 (RT)

  • European house prices fall for first time in a decade (FT)

  • Jefferies and Sumitomo expand IB alliance into Canada (RT)

  • Nomura aims to boost US credit portfolio to $50B in 10 years (RT)

  • SEC accepts pause on climate rule (WSJ)

  • Cboe seeks SEC approval for ETF share class of mutual funds (RT)

  • Eurozone private sector returned to growth last month, with Germany and France lagging (WSJ)

  • Canada saw its strongest export growth in six months (WSJ)

  • Zimbabwe will launch a ‘gold-backed’ currency 

  • Amazon relied on Indian contractors to identify purchases in AI stores (BBG)

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Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • Google parent Alphabet is exploring a bid for HubSpot, a $33.3B online marketing software company (RT

  • PE firm Carlyle is weighing strategic options including a sale for StandardAero that could value the aircraft maintenance services provider at ~$10B, including debt (RT

  • L’Oreal is considering a potential investment in Omani luxury fragrance brand Amouage at a potential $3.2B+ valuation in any deal (BBG

  • Gucci owner Kering bought a retail block on Milan’s top shopping street from Blackstone for $1.4B in Europe’s largest property deal in two years (FT

  • Japanese companies Mitsui and Rohto Pharmaceutical agreed to buy Eu Yan Sang International in a deal valuing the Chinese traditional medicine company at $594M (BBG

  • Credit data group Experian agreed to acquire Australian peer Illion for up to $542M (RT

  • McDonald’s agreed to acquire its 225 restaurants in Israel from operator Alonyal (BBG

  • Activist investor Sachem built a 3.6% stake in Delivery Hero and may seek board representation (BBG)

  • EuroLeague, Europe’s top tier of men’s basketball, is exploring raising capital through the sale of a minority stake (BBG

VC

  • Enterprise startup Pigment raised a $145M Series D led by Iconiq Growth (TC)

  • Real-time database platform Aerospike raised a $109M Series E led by Sumeru Equity Partners (TC)

  • SiMa.ai, a startup using embedded ML to create system-on-chip platforms, raised a $70M Series B extension led by Maverick Capital (TC)

  • Biolinq, a startup developing wearable biosensors to improve metabolic health, raised $58M in funding led by Alpha Wave Ventures (BW)

  • Data transformation startup Coalesce raised a $50M Series B led by Industry Ventures and Emergence Capital (TC)

  • ION Clean Energy, a startup providing post-combustion point-source capture technology, raised $45M in funding led by Chevron New Energies (BW)

  • SingleInterface, a SaaS startup helping offline businesses get online, raised $30M in an all-equity round led by Asia Partners (TC)

  • Fluid Topics, a digital platform for automated customer service, raised a $16.2M Series B from Kennet Partners (EU)

  • Manifold, an AI-powered clinical research platform, raised a $15M Series A led by TQ Ventures (PRN)

  • Iceberg Data Lab, a startup measuring environmental data and providing environmental life cycle analysis, raised a $10M Series A led by Beringea (EU)

  • CharitableBookings.com, an online platform that donates to charity on users' behalf for free, raised a $6.5M seed round from angel investors (EU)

  • Ivo, a Gen AI-powered contract review solution, raised $4.8M in funding led by Uncork Capital and Fika Ventures (BW)

  • Storiaverse, a mobile entertainment platform matching writers and animators, raised a $2.5M pre-seed round led by 500 Global (VC)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • $13.6B US-listed International Paper will seek a secondary London listing as part of its $7B plan to buy British packaging peer DS Smith (RT

  • Vodafone Idea, a JV between Vodafone and Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla, appointed Axis Bank and Jefferies for its $2.4B share sale (BBG)

  • Saudi Arabia’s third largest lender Riyad Bank is weighing a local IPO of its IB unit (BBG

Debt

  • Japanese tech conglomerate Rakuten priced a $2B junk bond at a 9.875% YTM after boosting the size of the offering by 60% due to strong demand from investors (BBG) 

  • Private prison operator GEO sold $1.28B of bonds to refinance debt (BBG)

  • Private credit firms led by Ares are providing an over $1.2B debt package to software developer CentralSquare Technologies to refinance debt (BBG)

  • Apollo Global Management's deal to refinance OQ Chemicals$1B debt with a private loan is at risk after its Omani shareholder decided against an equity injection (BBG

  • Asset manager Macquarie Group led a $500M loan to AI infrastructure company Lambda secured by Nvidia chips as collateral (RT

  • General contractor Tutor Perini hired Goldman Sachs to help refinance debt and address $500M of senior notes maturing 2025 (BBG

Bankruptcy / Restructuring

  • Thirteen liquidating / failed Greek banks are selling of ~$5.2B of non-performing loans in deals arranged by Morgan Stanley (BBG

  • CVC Capital-backed ConvergeOne filed for bankruptcy with plans to cut $1.6B in debt and hand control to lenders including Silver Point Capital and Monarch Alternative Capital (WSJ

  • Amphibious aircraft maker Icon Aircraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (BBG

  • Discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores will liquidate (BBG

Fundraising

  • Tech-focused PE firm Thoma Bravo is targeting ~$20B for its sixteenth flagship buyout fund (BBG

  • Buyout investor SK Capital Partners raised ~$3B for its sixth flagship fund (WSJ

  • Opportunistic RE investment firm Mavik Capital Management is seeking to raise $515M to finance US middle-market CRE (BBG

Crypto Corner

  • Crypto trading volume hit an ATH in March (BBG)

  • PayPal enabled PYUSD stablecoin for cross-border money transfers (BBG)

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