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Julian Assange Might Beat the Case

Union workers are seeing massive wealth gains, US is no longer a top 20 happiest country, high rates are not slowing borrowing, European borrowers are barely defaulting, the Fed will slow the rate of QT, and Julian Assange might soon be a free man.

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Good Morning,

Union workers are seeing massive wealth gains, US is no longer a top 20 happiest country, high rates are not slowing borrowing, European borrowers are barely defaulting, the Fed will slow the rate of QT, and Julian Assange might soon be a free man.

Warmer weather around the corner means it’s time for a wardrobe upgrade…and what better way than to start with a fresh pair of Amberjacks!

Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 03/20/2024 market close.

Markets

  • US stocks rallied to all-time closing records after the Fed held rates and maintained expectations for three rate cuts in 2024 

Earnings

  • Micron shares jumped ~18% on a Q2 beat-and-raise driven by the AI boom (CNBC)

  • What we're watching this week:  

    • Today: FedEx, Nike, Lululemon, Accenture

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • Fed officials still see three rate cuts this year (WSJ)

  • Fed will soon slow pace of QT (BBG)

  • ECB tries to dampen bets on streak of rate cuts (RT)

  • Investors flock to US medium-term bonds amid policy uncertainty (RT)

  • Union workers are seeing tremendous wealth gains (AX)

  • Big US firms are borrowing at one of the highest levels on record (WSJ)

  • Investors bet on European consumer stocks as economic confidence grows (FT)

  • European borrowers are simply not defaulting as expected (RT)

  • Tokio Marine is seeking to spend $10B on global M&A (RT)

  • Hindenburg shorted data center firm Equinix (RT)

  • Hedge fund Palliser hired ex-Elliott partner Kasoff (RT)

  • US will bring an antitrust lawsuit against Apple (BBG)

  • OpenAI is sprinting to keep up with startups on AI-generated videos (BBG)

  • Shein will market its supply-chain technology to global brands (WSJ)

  • Kering’s Gucci warning wiped $6.8B off market value (BBG)

  • Petrobras bondholders left unscathed after $12B equity rout (BBG)

  • US dropped out of top 20 happiest countries (WSJ)

  • Julian Assange and US are exploring a guilty plea to end 14-year legal drama (WSJ)

  • Glencore's emissions rose ~9% in 2023 (FT)

  • Ireland’s PM Leo Varadkar unexpectedly resigned (CNBC)

A Message From Amberjack

Rated #1 Best Overall Dress Shoes

Warmer weather means it’s time to start thinking about upgrading your dress shoes, and there’s no better place to look than Amberjack.

Amberjack is the modern footwear brand started by former executives from Adidas, Cole Haan, & McKinsey. They've created the world's most advanced dress shoes, made with proprietary athletic materials that deliver incredible comfort and A-grade leather vertically sourced from one of the world’s leading tanneries.

They’ve been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, and Yahoo, and Men’s Health named them the most comfortable business casual shoe of 2024. The only downside is they constantly sell out – get yours today before they’re gone (or pre-order to ensure availability). by clicking below:

Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • Apollo Global Management offered to buy Paramount Global’s film and TV studio for $11B (WSJ

  • Privately held managed care company Heritage Provider Network revived plans for a potential sale for at least $7B (BBG)

  • Swiss pharma manufacturer Lonza Group agreed to buy a US manufacturing facility from biotech giant Roche for $1.2B (BBG

  • An affiliate of PE firm HIG Capital agreed to acquire Alight’s professional services and payroll outsourcing business for up to $1.2B (RT

  • KKR and existing investor EIG will invest at least $1B into US solar developer and the company’s projects Avantus; KKR will become the majority owner (BBG

  • Montagu Private Equity will acquire UK chemicals company Johnson Matthey’s medical device components business for $700M in cash (RT

  • PE firm TPG is in exclusive talks to buy the manufactured housing business of Canadian Apartment Properties REIT for over $519M (BBG

  • PE firm Actis is in talks to buy Swiftnet, the mast and tower business owned by South Africa’s Telkom with an estimated $332M valuation (BBG

  • Unilever is considering selling its majority stake in Qinyuan Group in a deal that could value the Chinese water purification equipment maker at ~$300M (BBG

  • MGM Resorts International is exploring the sale of its casino operations at Ohio’s Northfield Park and Springfield, Massachusetts (BBG

  • Linden Capital Partners is exploring strategic options including the sale of a minority stake (BBG

  • Nigeria’s biggest bank Access Bank plans to acquire National Bank of Kenya from KCB Group (BBG

VC

  • 'Fast fine' food delivery startup Wonder raised a $700M round from existing investors including GV, Accel, and BCV (INC)

  • Capstan Therapeutics, a startup developing in vivo RNA technologies, raised a $175M Series B led by RA Capital Management (BW)

  • Clasp Therapeutics, a biotech company developing T cell engagers to treat cancer, raised a $150M Series A led by Catalio Capital Management, Third Rock Ventures, and Novo Holdings (BW)

  • Indian audio platform Pocket FM raised a $103M Series D at a $750M valuation led by Lightspeed Ventures (TC)

  • ShiftPixy, a national human capital provisioning enterprise, raised $100M in financing from Forstmann & Co. (BW)

  • Blue Laser Fusion, an inertial fusion company, raised a $37.5M seed round led by SoftBank and others (FN)

  • Smart ring maker Ultrahuman raised a $35M Series B led by Blume Ventures, Steadview Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, and others (TC)

  • PocketHealth, a startup building a medical image exchange platform, raised a $33M Series B led by Round13 Capital (TC)

  • Electric ferry startup Candela raised a $25M round led by Groupe Beneteau (TC)

  • Cyber risk management startup CyberSaint raised a $21M Series A led by Riverside Acceleration Capital (BW)

  • Morph, an Ethereum Virtual Machine Layer 2, raised a $20M seed round led by DragonFly Capital (PRN)

  • The CareVoice, a Chinese embedded health startup, raised a $10M Series B led by Apis Insurtech Fund I (TC)

  • Mermaid Chart, a startup building hosted services around open source diagramming and charting tool Mermaid, raised a $7.5M seed round led by Open Core Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Microsoft’s M12 (TC)

  • Data access management startup Dymium raised a $7M round led by Two Bear Capital (FN)

  • AirMyne, a startup building carbon capture technology, raised a $6.9M seed round from Alumni Ventures, Another Brain, Liquid 2 Ventures, and more (TC)

  • WavMaker, a next-generation music licensing platform for video creators, raised a $5M seed round led by Wavy Records (PRN)

  • Buzz Solutions, an AI company that inspects and protects critical energy infrastructure, raised a $5M round led by GoPoint Ventures (FN)

  • Mallard Bay, a SaaS-enabled marketplace for hunting and fishing, raised a $4.6M Series A led by Soul Venture Partners (FN)

  • Monaire, a startup using AI to curb waste and emissions from small commercial buildings, raised a $3.5M seed round led by Construct Capital (FN)

  • Amber, a startup helping EV owners navigate the warranty process, raised a $3.2M seed round led by Era and Primer Sazze (TC)

  • Sprih, a provider of an advanced AI tech platform for sustainability, raised a $3M seed round led by Leo Capital (FN)

  • Quilt, a startup developing AI assistants for solutions teams, raised a $2.5M seed round led by Sequoia Capital (FN)

  • Arrow Risk Management, a provider of a managing general agency (MGA) underwriting platform, raised a $2.4M round led by ACF Investors (FN)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • Reddit priced its IPO at the top of the range, raising $748M (RT)

  • Shares of Astera Labs jumped as much as 76% in their trading debut, earning the chip firm a $9.7B market after its $713M IPO (RT)

  • Dreame Technology, a Chinese maker of smart home appliances, is considering an IPO that could raise over $300M (BBG)

  • South African Airways is seeking a new investor and listing after an aborted deal (FT)

SPAC

  • Broker-dealer aggregator Wentworth Management Services merged with Kingswood Acquisition Corp. in a $208M deal (AH)

Debt

  • Abu Dhabi SWF Mubadala is seeking to raise ~$1B in its first dollar-denominated Islamic bond sale (BBG

Bankruptcy / Restructuring / Distressed

  • Platinum Equity-owned pet products company Petmate agreed to transfer control of the business to lenders including Gamut Capital Management, Silver Point Capital, and Fortress Investment Group, in a financial restructuring (WSJ

  • Bankrupt drugmaker Endo International received US bankruptcy court approval for its restructuring plan and related opioid settlements to emerge from bankruptcy (RT

Fundraising

  • Saudi Arabia’s PIF is in early talks to partner with VC giant a16z on an AI fund as large as $40B (BBG

  • Comvest Partners, an MM PE and credit investment firm, closed its sixth flagship PE fund at $881M (FN

Crypto Corner

  • Advisers overseeing the wind-down of Celsius Network are demanding customers who collectively withdrew over $2B before it filed bankruptcy to return those funds (BBG

Exec’s Picks

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