DeSantis vs Disney

Disney is stopping Florida investments due to feud with DeSantis, China’s loans are hurting some of the world’s poorest countries, the US Supreme Court leaves internet company protections unscathed, Meta announced AI training, Lazard CEO Ken Jacobs is preparing to step down, and OpenAI is introducing ChatGPT for iOS.

Together with

Good Morning,

Disney is stopping Florida investments due to feud with DeSantis, China’s loans are hurting some of the world’s poorest countries, the US Supreme Court leaves internet company protections unscathed, Meta announced AI training, Lazard CEO Ken Jacobs is preparing to step down, and OpenAI is introducing ChatGPT for iOS.

Looking for a resilient asset class to diversify your portfolio? You can invest directly in farmland through today’s sponsor, AcreTrader.

Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 5/18/2023 market close.


  • All three major US indexes rose as investors were impressed by strong quarterly results from Walmart that showed consumer resilience

  • All eyes are on Capitol Hill as the debt ceiling deadline approaches


  • Walmart beat Q1 earnings expectations and raised its guidance for the year, in contrast to other big box retailers who released reports this week (BN)

  • Alibaba slightly missed Q1 revenue estimates and announced plans to spin off its cloud division as a newly listed company; the stock dropped 5% (CNBC)

  • Bath & Body Works beat Q1 estimates and raised its guidance after seeing benefits from initiatives to improve merchandise margins and cost optimization; the stock rose 10% (CNBC)

  • Canada Goose beat Q1 estimates led by increasing international sales thanks to China’s reopening, but decreased expectations for US sales because of macroeconomic conditions; the stock lost 11% (YF)

  • What we're watching this week:

    • Today: Deere, Foot Locker

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • Home prices posted largest annual drop in over 11 years (WSJ)

  • Disney pulls plug on Florida investments amid feud with DeSantis (YF)

  • China’s loans pushing the world’s poorest countries to brink of collapse (YF)

  • Disney cancels plans for $1B campus, 2k jobs in Florida (RT)

  • China’s recovery loses steam, signaling trouble for global economy (WSJ)

  • US Supreme Court leaves protections for internet companies unscathed (RT)

  • Meta announces AI training and inference chip project (RT)

  • Hyundai, Kia agree to $200M settlement over US car thefts (RT)

  • Lazard CEO Ken Jacobs prepares to step down (WSJ)

  • SCOTUS hands wins to Twitter, tech firms in liability cases (WSJ)

  • OpenAI to introduce ChatGPT app for iOS (RT)

  • ESPN plans to stream flagship channel, eyeing cable-TV demise (WSJ)

  • NYC skyscrapers sit vacant, exposing risk city never predicted (BBG)

A Message From AcreTrader

Dig Into Farmland Investing

Farmland investments historically sprout consistent returns for investors, even during high inflation.

With offerings across dozens of crop types and geographies, AcreTrader makes it easy to invest in farm and timberland assets at accessible minimums without buying the whole farm.

Diversify your portfolio with farmland to help navigate economic headwinds.

*AcreTrader Financial, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Farmland investing is speculative and involves high degree of risk, including complete loss of principal and not suitable for all investors. Past performance does not guarantee future results and there is no guarantee this trend will continue.

Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • Amgen agreed to not seek a quick close of its $27.8B purchase of Horizon Therapeutics after the FTC sues to block the acquisition (RT)

  • Shopping mall operator Regency Centers agreed to buy Urstadt Biddle Properties in an all-stock deal valued at $1.4B (RT)

  • The US is considering a lawsuit to block Korean Air’s $1.4B acquisition of Asiana Airlines (RT)

  • Billionaire Len Blavatnik sold his $610M stake in Russian aluminum producer United Co. Rusal International, divesting his last major asset in Russia (BBG)

  • British events organizer Informa will acquire B2B events, data, and media group Winsight for $380M (RT)

  • Malaysia’s state-owned PE firm Ekuiti Nasional is exploring a sale of shipping company Orkim Sdn for as much as $331M (BBG)

  • Insurance company Allianz has finalized a deal to sell a majority stake in its Russian operations to local firm Interholding, owner of Russia’s Zetta Insurance (RT)

  • EON is exploring a sale of its UK unit supplying energy to large businesses (BBG)

  • Mediobanca, Italy’s largest publicly traded investment bank, agreed to acquire tech advisory firm Arma Partners (BBG)

  • Snowflake, a cloud computing data cloud company, is in advanced talks to acquire AI search startup Neeva (SI)


  • Web infrastructure solutions startup Auradine raised an $81M Series A led by Celesta Capital and Mayfield (FN)

  • Noveon Magnetics, a sustainable rare earth magnet manufacturer, raised a $75M Series B led by NGP and Aventurine Partners (FN)

  • Myeloid Therapeutics, a clinical-stage company developing mRNA-based immunotherapy products, raised $73M in financing led by Hatteras Investment Partners (PRN)

  • Moon Surgical, a robotics startup focused on collaborative surgery, raised a $55.4M round led by Sofinnova Partners and NVentures (FN)

  • Hallow, a Christian prayer app, raised a $50M Series C led by Goodwater Capital (FN)

  • PartsTech, a B2B parts marketplace for the auto repair industry, raised a $35M Series C led by OpenView (BW)

  • Brain-computer interface developer Paradromics raised a $33M round led by Prime Movers Lab (FN)

  • Kelvin a new radiator accessory startup, raised a $30M Series A led by 2150 (TC)

  • Prognos Health, a real-world integrated data marketplace for the healthcare industry, raised $23M in growth equity led by Marshall Wace and Safeguard Scientifics (FN)

  • Adarga, an AI software company, raised $20M in funding led by BOKA Group (BW)

  •, a startup providing a platform to extend companies’ ability to create AI and data products, raised a $19.1M Series A led by NEA and Nava Ventures (FN)

  • Stathera, a provider of MEMS timing solutions, raised a $15M Series A led by BDC Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund and Celesta Capital (BW)

  • Mitiga Solutions, a climate tech startup, raised a $14.3M Series A led by Kibo Ventures and more (FN)

  • OncoResponse, a clinical-stage biotech company focused on immunotherapies derived from the immune systems of elite cancer responders, raised a $14M funding round led by RiverVest Venture Partners (PRN)

  • Ownify, a provider of a fractional homeownership program, raised a $7M seed round led by Lobby Capital (FN)

  • Azteco, the only provider of vouchers for small amounts of bitcoin for everyday use, raised a $6M seed round led by Jack Dorsey (PRN)

  •, a visibility-first Zero Trust networking platform, raised a $6M seed round led by Tola Capital (BW)

  • VoxelSensors, a 3D perception startup, raised a $5.4M seed round led by Capricorn Partners and Qbic (FN)

  • Privacy-first audience targeting solution Covatic raised a $5M Series A led by Praetura Ventures (FN)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • Alibaba approved a spinoff of its $12B cloud business and is exploring an IPO of its logistics and grocery arms (BBG)

  • Syngenta, a Swiss agrichemicals and seeds company, withdrew its $9.4B IPO application on the Shanghai tech-focused STAR market to seek a listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (RT)

  • Sony is weighing a spinoff and listing of its financial unit in 2-3 years, which will undo a $3.7B take private deal from 2020 (BBG)

  • Hua Hong, China’s second largest chip foundry, said it received Shanghai Stock Exchange approval for a public share sale worth $2.6B (RT)

  • Saudi Arabia’s First Milling intends to list 30% of its share capital in an IPO on the Saudi Exchange (RT)

  • French software company Planisware is exploring options, including an IPO (RT)


  • Brokerage Charles Schwab is looking to raise $2.5B through a new debt offering (RT)

  • BNY Mellon priced a $500M debt offering of senior medium-term bank notes (RT)

  • Data startup Fivetran, most recently valued at $5.6B, took a $125M loan from Vista Credit Partners (BBG)

  • Billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Group is looking to raise cash, likely through a loan, as its $500M junk-rated bonds mature at the end of this month (BBG)

Bankruptcy / Restructuring

  • Lifesize, a provider of video conferencing and omnichannel contact center solutions, filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will be acquired by Enghouse Systems, a company that provides vertically focused enterprise software solutions (BW)

  • Bankrupt crypto exchange FTX is seeking to claw back its $240M it paid for stock trading platform Embed (RT)


  • Blackstone’s new European private credit fund is struggling to raise capital from investors, amassing just $261M after 6 months (BBG)

  • SoftBank launched a second fund under its Opportunity Growth Fund to invest $150M in Black and Latino-led startups (TC)

  • Wealth manager Elkstone closed a $108M fund to invest in Irish startups (TC)

Crypto Corner

  • Zimbabwe banks may soon offer loans using gold-backed digital tokens as collateral (BBG)

  • Binance Australia said some customers may lose access to deposits and withdrawals after a third party service provider cut service (RT)

  • Coinbase is exploring a zero-fee subscription service called Coinbase One that offers service in the US, Germany, Ireland, and the UK (CD)

Exec’s Picks

  • Litquidity and Whitney Partners (aka: Litney Partners) are headed to the Venture Miami x citizenM Tech Mixer next Thursday (5/26)! If you want to meet the team in Downtown Miami, register for the mixer here.

  • Litquidity and BCV partner, Christina Melas-Kyriazi, are co-hosting an invite-only fireside chat for early-stage founders and VCs at SF Tech Week on Thursday, June 1st. Click here to join the waitlist.

  • Jack Raines wrote about why you don’t have to drink the hustle culture Kool-Aid to be successful.

Litney Partners - Financial Recruiting 💼

If you're currently a junior investment banker looking to break into the buy side, considering lateraling to another investment bank, or have recently been impacted by widespread layoffs, it's time you check out Litney Partners, a partnership between Litquidity and Whitney Partners (the oldest purely financial services executive search and consulting firm).

We aim to place strong candidates at leading private equity, hedge fund, venture capital, growth equity, and credit funds, as well as investment banks.

To get started, simply head over to the Litney website and create your profile by dropping your resume / filling out the form:

Meme Cleanser

  • Want to chat social media growth, newsletter strategy, angel investing, Wall Street careers, or something else? Book a call with Litquidity here.

  • Thinking of starting your own newsletter? Beehiiv is the best platform for creators, period. Click here to get started building your own audience.

What'd you think of today's Exec Sum?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Join the conversation

or to participate.