Big Covid Wave in China

A billion people in China have contracted Covid since December, California accounted for 40% of the US's ZEV sales in 2022, unemployed Americans are finding it harder to land new jobs, a group of banks are launching a digital wallet to compete with PayPal and Apple Pay, and Venezuela inflation slowed to 234% last year.

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A billion people in China have contracted Covid since December, California accounted for 40% of the US's ZEV sales in 2022, unemployed Americans are finding it harder to land new jobs, a group of banks are launching a digital wallet to compete with PayPal and Apple Pay, and Venezuela inflation slowed to 234% last year.

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Let's dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 1/23/2023 market close.


  • US stocks rose yesterday as investors predict moderating inflation will encourage the Fed to ease the pace of rate hikes and potentially cut rates later this year

    • The Nasdaq had a second consecutive 2% gain for the first time since October

  • Investors are also awaiting a busy week of earnings reports, with nearly ~1/5th of S&P 500 companies set to announce results

  • The dollar hit a fresh 9-month low against the euro on ECB rate hike bets

  • On Thursday, we'll receive US Q4 GDP data


  • What we're watching this week:

    • Today: Capital One, Microsoft, General Electric, 3M

    • Wednesday: Boeing, Tesla, Raymond James, AT&T

    • Thursday: Blackstone, Intel, Visa, Southwest Airlines

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • ECB is struggling to maintain, or altogether avoid, unified forward guidance (RT)

  • Fewer US businesses expect a US recession (RT)

  • US leading indicators index fell for a 10th straight month in December (RT)

  • Unemployed Americans are taking longer to find new jobs as hiring slows (WSJ)

  • California accounted for 40% of US ZEV sales in 2022 (RT)

  • IRS is emphasizing customer service as tax seasons begins (RT)

  • The 20 best-performing HFs earned $22.4B last year, one-third lower than in 2021 (RT)

  • Seven banks including JPMorgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are planning a wallet to compete with PayPal and Apple Pay (WSJ)

  • Goldman Sachs Asset Management arm will cut investments that weighed on earnings (RT)

  • Dubai Stock Exchange in talks to attract dual listings, CEO says (BBG)

  • Ford will cut up to 3.2k European jobs and move some production to US (RT)

  • Spotify's job cuts will affect 6% of its workforce (WSJ)

  • Amazon launched a dedicated air cargo service in India (RT)

  • Americanas’ three largest shareholders were unaware of the $4B accounting inconsistencies (RT)

  • Bloomberg will pay $5M to settle SEC charges related to fixed-income valuations (RT)

  • 2022's biggest pay raises went to black workers, young people and low-wage earners (WSJ)

  • Over 80% of China's population contracted Covid since December (BBG)

  • Venezuela inflation slows to 234% in 2022 (RT)

A Message From The Information

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The Best Source for the Biggest Stories in Tech

It seems like there’s a new blockbuster story in tech every single day, from Microsoft investing in AI, to crypto firms collapsing, to Elon Musk buying (and regretting his decision to buy) Twitter.

To stay on top of the news each day, I read The Information. Not only do they track the biggest stories in tech and finance, they also break exclusive stories on everything from Netflix's ad-tier growth, to Thoma Bravo’s latest buyouts, to Google’s AI power struggle with Microsoft.

Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • Retailer EG Group is exploring a merger of its gas stations with peer Asda Group to create a business valued at $12B+ (BBG)

  • Water solutions firm Xylem agreed to buy water treatment solutions company Water Technologies in a $7.5B all-stock deal (BBG)

  • Canada's Ritchie Bros Auctioneers sweetened the cash component of its buyout offer for US auto-retailer IAA by 28%, valuing IAA at $5.94B (RT)

  • Microsoft committed to making a multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment in ChatGPT creator OpenAI as it looks to expand the use of AI in its products (WSJ)

  • Activist Elliott Investment Management took a ‘multibillion-dollar’ stake in enterprise software firm Salesforce, following layoffs and a stock price decline (WSJ)

    • Jeff Ubben’s Inclusive Capital also took a position in Salesforce (CNBC)

  • WeCommerce and Tiny are merging to create a technology holding company with a proforma enterprise value of $962M (NW)

  • Bill Ackman took a minority stake in luxury British watch brand Bremont in a deal that values the company at over $123M (FT)

  • Spanish power company Iberdrola is weighing the sale of a stake in its US renewables operation (BBG)

  • Airbus tapped Morgan Stanley to seek outside investment for its high-altitude surveillance and communications drone program Zephyr (RT)


  • Edgard & Cooper, a Belgian producer of high quality dog and cat food, raised a $21.74M round led by The Craftory (PRN)

  • Construction robotics startup Kewazo raised a $10M Series A led by Fifth Wall (TC)

  • Mexican financial health platform Zenfi raised an $8.5M round led by Magma Partners (TC)

  • Employee payments platform Grazzy raised a $4.25M seed round from Next Coast Ventures and Tuesday Capital (PRN)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • Pakistani cooking oil manufacturer Dalda Foods is looking to raise up to $20M in a domestic IPO (BBG)

  • Virgin Australia airline plans to interview lead underwriters starting in February for a 2023 IPO (BBG)

  • Volkswagen is keeping IPO options open for its charging and energy businesses (RT)


  • The Netherlands-based PE firm Waterland raised its ninth institutional flagship fund Waterland Private Equity Fund IX at $3.8B and its Waterland Partnership Fund I at $544M (PEN)

  • VC firm Highland Europe raised ~$1B for its fifth fund focused on software and internet businesses (FT)

  • ArcLight, a middle-market sustainable infrastructure investor, closed a $407M continuation fund (PRN)

  • Bay Area-based seed-stage focused fund Cowboy Ventures closed a $140M fourth flagship fund and $120M for its first opportunity-type fund (TC)

  • SPiCE VC, a VC investing in the blockchain / tokenization space, plans to raise $250M for their second fund (PRN)

Crypto Corner

  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong urged Brazil and Argentina to use Bitcoin as legal tender (CT)

  • Bankrupt lender BlockFi will sell ~$160M of loans backed by ~68k Bitcoin mining machines (BBG)

  • Genesis is trying to void Gemini Earn customers' claim over GBTC sale (AX)

  • EU will vote on a draft version of tighter crypto rules for banks today (RT)

  • Gemini cut another 10% of workforce (BBG)

  • New York’s financial regulator will require companies to separate customers' crypto assets from their own (RT)

Exec's Picks

  • Take 10 minutes per day for 3 weeks to start speaking a new language. With Babbel, you will broaden your career prospects and enhance your travels. For a limited time, you can get up to 55% off. Get Started Today

  • Forbes's Ron Shevlin covered how community banks are playing a larger and larger role in venture capital here.

  • a16z published a good blog post on all things generative AI, including the tech stack, retention and scaling, and where value may accrue in the future.

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