Italy's Big Pasta Crisis

Fed officials are split on more rate hikes, Microsoft filed an appeal against the UK’s block on its Activision acquisition, Meta started a new round of layoffs, Google’s CEO promised an AI pact, baby-formula makers are facing an FTC probe, Uber is stepping up its EV push in India, and pasta price increases are prompting crisis meetings in Italy.

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Fed officials are split on more rate hikes, Microsoft filed an appeal against the UK’s block on its Activision acquisition, Meta started a new round of layoffs, Google’s CEO promised an AI pact, baby-formula makers are facing an FTC probe, Uber is stepping up its EV push in India, and pasta price increases are prompting crisis meetings in Italy.

If you work in venture capital, private equity, or M&A, check out this industry breakdown created by today's sponsor, Axios Pro.

Also, everyone give a warm welcome to our three new interns, Alex, Peter, and Kacper 🤝 We’re excited to have them join the Exec Sum team for the next year!

Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 5/24/23 market close.


  • US stocks ended the session lower Wednesday as investors fretted over a potential US debt default

    • The Dow dropped for a fourth straight day

  • Oil prices gained 1% on falling US stockpiles

  • The yuan is trading at its lowest level this year as a new Covid-19 variant spreads across China, threatening the country’s economic recovery


  • Kohl’s beat Q1 estimates as the company saw a surprise quarterly profit after multiple quarters of disappointing sales; the stock rose 7% (CNBC)

  • Nvidia beat Q1 revenue and earnings expectations and forecasted ~$11B in revenue for the current quarter, more than 50% higher than Street estimates of $7.15B, its stock was up 25% AH (CNBC)

  • Snowflake beat Q1 earnings but provided a lackluster revenue outlook amid slowing growth for cloud computing partners like Amazon (IBD)

  • American Eagle met Q1 expectations but lowered their full year forecast, their stock plunged 18% AH (CNBC)

  • What we're watching this week:

    • Today: Royal Bank of Canada, Best Buy, Dollar Tree, Ralph Lauren, Costco

    • Friday: Big Lots

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • Fed officials split on more rate hikes, stress 'optionality' (YF)

  • Fitch put US rating on negative watch as debt deadline looms (RT)

  • Germany entered a recession in Q1 (RT)

  • Mortgage demand is down 30% YoY as rates cross 7% again (CNBC)

  • Microsoft warns that China hackers attacked US infrastructure (CNBC)

  • Fed signals readiness to act in case of debt-limit instability (BBG)

  • Pasta prices have surged, prompting crisis meetings in Italy and calls for a strike (CNBC)

  • Meta started its latest round of layoffs, focusing on business groups (CNBC)

  • Amazon beat all 18 shareholder-led proposals at annual meeting (RT)

  • Google CEO promises AI pact, discussed pro-Moscow propaganda with EU officials (CNBC)

  • Baby-formula makers face FTC probe for collusion (WSJ)

  • Ex-Morgan Stanley adviser gets seven years for fleecing clients in ponzi scheme (BBG)

  • Asia-focused HSBC puts 12 countries on exit watchlist (RT)

  • Uber steps up EV push in India with Uber Green (RT)

  • Accenture secures up to $2.6B contract to modernize IRS systems (RT)

  • Target removing some LGBTQ merchandise following customer backlash (RT)

  • China’s decision to ban Micron has spurred demands from US regulators to blacklist chipmaker Changxin (BBG)

  • Ron DeSantis officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign (AP)

A Message From Axios Pro

If your work touches venture capital, private equity or M&A, this might be the most important report you read all year:

Knowing what the current economic cooldown means for your bottom line, and how to plan for a possible recession is going to be your edge. Thanks to the Axios Pro newsroom, their latest industry report will tell you everything you need to know.

Their industry-leading journalists put this downturn into context and uncover how market forces are affecting dealmaking in fintech, health tech, climate tech, retail and media.

The Axios Pro newsroom delivers aggregated data and analysis from the biggest players in VC, PE and M&A, plus key industry trends and takeaways to inform every critical decision you’ll make this year.

Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • Microsoft filed an appeal against the UK’s block on its $69B acquisition of Activision (RT)

  • Byron Allen, a TV producer and media mogul, is interested in acquiring Tegna, whose potential $8.6B acquisition by Standard General fell apart due to regulatory hurdles (BBG)

  • Mexico could offer as much as $3B for a stake in Citigroup’s Mexican consumer unit Banamex (BBG)

  • Online gambling firm Kindred Group, publicly valued at $2.8B, is accelerating plans for a sale, and potential suitors include rival MGM Resorts International (BBG)

  • 3D printer manufacturing company Stratasys is in talks to acquire Alphabet-backed Desktop Metal in a potential $1.8B all-stock deal (BBG)

  • Avid Technology, a provider of video and editing software and filmmaking equipment with a market cap of ~$1B, is exploring a potential sale sale (RT)

  • France’s competition watchdog has cleared EDF’s ~$1B takeover of GE’s steam power business (RT)

  • Global Net Lease will acquire Necessity Retail REIT in an all-stock deal that values the combined entity at $950M (RT)

  • Spanish energy company Repsol will sell its 49% stake in Spanish wind farms and photovoltaic power plants for $771M-$881M (RT)

  • Blackstone is in talks with several regional banks to potentially acquire their assets or loans they originate (BBG)


  • ElevateBio, a startup focused on cell and gene therapies, raised a $401M Series D led by AyurMaya Capital Management Fund (FN)

  • Silicon photonics startup Ayar Labs raised a $25M Series C1 led by Capital TEN, bringing its total Series C raise to $155M (BW)

  • Turkish AI-backed marketing platform Insider raised ~$105M at an almost $2B valuation in a funding round led by Qatar Investment Authority and Istanbul-based buyout firm Esas Private Equity (BBG)

  • GO, a Japanese taxi-hailing application, raised a $75M Series D led by Goldman Sachs (BW)

  • Figure, an AI robotics company building humanoid robots, raised a $70M Series A led by Parkway Venture Capital (PRN)

  • Kustomer, a NYC-based conversational CRM platform, raised a $60M round led by Battery and Redpoint (FN)

  • Larkspur Biosciences, a biotech company building immunotherapies for cancer, raised $35.5M in financing led by Polaris Innovation Fund, 3E Bioventures Capital, and Takeda Ventures (FN)

  • OpenFin, a financial OS startup, raised a $35M Series D led by Bank of America (TC)

  • Data orchestration platform Elementl raised a $33M Series B led by Georgian (TC)

  • Sastrify, a platform for buying and managing SaaS subscriptions, raised a $32M Series B led by Endeit Capital (PRN)

  • Incredo, a food tech startup whose first product is a sugar-based sugar reduction solution, raised a $30M Series C led by dsm-firmenich Venturing and Sienna Venture Capital (TC)

  • Space robotics startup GITAI raised a $30M Series B extension from Global Brain CVC Funds and DCI Venture Growth Fund (PRN)

  • Hunting Hill Digital, an alternative asset manager exclusively focused on digital asset management, raised $25M from BaseLayer Ventures (BW)

  • Indian kids fashion brand Hopscotch raised a $20M Series E led by Amazon (TC)

  • ESG data management startup Novisto raised a $20M Series B led by Inovia Capital (PRN)

  •, creator of a DataOps platform which is targeting the world of data science, raised a $17.5M round from Notion Capital and Snowflake (TC)

  • Pluton Biosciences, a startup using microbes to fight climate change, raised a $16.5M Series A led by Illumina Ventures and RA Capital (PRN)

  • Thermal imaging startup Satellite Vu raised a $15.8M Series A-2 led by Molten Ventures (TC)

  • Kira Learning, a provider of a platform to teach and learn computer science, raised a $15M Series A led by NEA and the AI Fund (FN)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • Citigroup scrapped the $7B sale of its Mexican consumer unit Banamex and will IPO the business instead, possibly through a dual listing in Mexico City and New York stock (RT)

  • Chinese TV and movie streaming platform iQiyi, backed by Baidu, is again exploring a second listing in Hong Kong (BBG)


  • UK SPAC More Acquisitions’ deal with steel distributor Megasteel was canceled due to allegations of abusive investor behavior (BBG)


  • French retailer Casino entered court-supervised talks with creditors BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, and international hedge funds regarding its $6.9B debt (RT)

Bankruptcy / Restructuring

  • Telecom and power contractor QualTek Services entered bankruptcy to restructure $307M of its $625M debt (RT)


  • UK’s Moonfire VC raised $115M for its second fund to invest in early-stage startups (TC)

Crypto Corner

  • Suspected fentanyl chemical suppliers have received $38M in crypto according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis (RT)

  • A top CFTC regulator said there was no way to police all crypto fraud due to its high prevalence (RT)

  • ECB said a digital euro could be launched within three to four years (RT)

  • Terraform Labs cofounder Do Kwon’s bail was revoked by a Montenegrin Court (BBG)

Exec’s Picks

*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.

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