Montana Banned TikTok

Montana banned TikTok, global debt is hitting record highs, the writers’ strike could impact Netflix and Disney content, Tesla might start advertising, Google is planning new AI models for ads and YouTube creators, and Meta is facing a record EU data security fine.

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Montana banned TikTok, global debt is hitting record highs, the writers’ strike could impact Netflix and Disney content, Tesla might start advertising, NYC’s MTA lost $690M through fare evasion, Google is planning new AI models for ads to help YouTube creators, and Meta is facing a record EU data security fine.

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Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 5/17/2023 market close.


  • All three major US indexes rallied 1%+ on hopes of a breakthrough in on-going debt-ceiling talks

  • Dollar index rose to a seven-week high

    • Yuan : dollar exchange rate climbed above 7:1 for the first time this year


  • Target beat Q1 earnings and gave cautious current quarter guidance, but the retailer is banking on a strong 2H due to new on-trend merchandise in food and beverage, household essentials, and beauty sales (YF)

  • Take-Two Interactive missed Q1 EPS estimates but beat on sales fueled by NBA 2K, GTA, and Red Dead Redemption, its stock was up 9% AH (SN)

  • Wix posted Q1 EPS of $0.91 vs $0.14 expected thanks to a 50% marketing budget reduction and increased bookings from new customers (MF)

  • What we're watching this week:

    • Today: Walmart, Alibaba, Bath & Body Works, Canada Goose, Nio

    • Friday: Deere, Foot Locker

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • Global debt is hitting record highs (RT)

  • Commercial real estate prices fell in Q1 for first time since 2011 (BBG)

  • Writers’ strike could hit content spending at Disney, Netflix (YF)

  • Montana outright banned TikTok (WSJ)

  • Tesla may start advertising (TV)

  • NYC MTA lost $690M last year due to fare and toll evasion (BBG)

  • Target expects organized retail crime-fueled losses to jump by $500M this year (CNBC)

  • Wildfires burn millions of acres in Canada, send oil prices higher (CNBC)

  • Google plans to use new AI models for ads and to help YouTube creators (CNBC)

  • IBM, Google give $150M for US-Japan quantum-computing push as China looms (WSJ)

  • Netflix reported 5M users for its cheaper plan with ads (BBG)

  • Meta is facing a record EU data privacy fine (RT)

  • Walgreens reached a $230M opioid settlement with San Francisco (RT)

  • Tesla restarts India market talks with new factory proposal (RT)

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Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • Broadcom made antitrust commitments to the EU commission in an effort to allay antitrust concerns over its $61B acquisition of cloud computing company VMware (BBG)

  • PE firms Francisco Partners and TPG are planning a joint bid of at least $5B to acquire US business software company New Relic (RT)

  • An investor consortium including Blackstone and Thomas Reuters sold a ~$3.3B stake in the London Stock Exchange Group (BBG)

  • Silver Lake submitted an official offer document for Software AG a month after announcing its $2.6B takeover bid (RT)

  • Brazil’s antitrust regulator Cade approved French cosmetics company L’Oreal’s $2.5B acquisition of Australian luxury brand Aesop from Natura (RT)

  • Shell is planning to sell French floating wind developer Eolfi, a potential retreat from one element of its renewable power plans (BBG)

  • US crypto firm Ripple bought Swiss crypto custody firm Metaco for $250M (RT)

  • Hypersonic aerospace company Stratolaunch entered a conditional agreement to purchase Virgin Orbit’s aircraft assets for $17M in cash (RT)

  • Spanish pharmaceuticals company Esteve has agreed to sell a 26% stake in German private investment firm Lubea (RT)

  • British online realtor Strike will acquire rival Purplebricks for $1.26 (the latter was formerly worth >$1B) (RT)

  • French software company ESI Group is exploring a sale, with possible suitors including larger rival Dassault Systems and PE firms TA Associates and and Francisco Partners (BBG)


  • Gradiant, a global end-to-end water treatment solutions provider, raised a $225M Series D at a $1B valuation led by BoltRock Holdings and Centaurus Capital (BW)

  • bolttech raised a $196M Series B at a $1.6B valuation led by Tokio Marine (FN)

  • Eagle Eye Networks, a cloud video surveillance startup, raised $100M from SECOM (BW)

  • Brivo, the global leader of cloud-based access control and smart space technologies, raised $92M from SECOM (BW)

  • Alloy Enterprises, a startup building a digital aluminum fab, raised a $26M Series A led by Piva Capital (PRN)

  • Epilepsy neuromodulation startup Cadence Neuroscience raised a $26M Series B led by Angelini Lumira Biosciences Fund (PRN)

  • Real estate-focused insurance startup Obie raised a $25.5M round led by Battery Ventures (TC)

  • Varda Space, the in-space manufacturing startup that wants to produce pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and more, is in the process of raising $25M at a $500M valuation from Side Door Ventures (TC)

  • Glowforge, a creator of the 3D laser printer, raised a $20M Series E extension led by DFJ Growth and Foundry Group (BW)

  • AI workflow startup Union AI raised a $19.1M Series A led by NEA and Nava Ventures (TC)

  • Stacklok, a startup securing the open-source software supply chain, raised a $17.5M Series A led by Accel and Madrona (BW)

  • Healthcare revenue intelligence and automation platform Adonis raised a $17.3M Series A led by General Catalyst (FN)

  • AI-powered care management platform Laguna Health raised a $15M Series A co-led by SemperVirens and HC9 Ventures (FN)

  • Intelligent guest engagement platform for restaurants Incentivio raised a $10M Series A led by Osage Venture Partners (FN)

  • Ora, a Singapore-based provider of a telehealth platform, raised a $10M Series A led by TNB Aura and Antler (FN)

  • Virtual care management platform HealthSnap raised a $9M Series A led by Asclepius Growth Capital (FN)

  • Virtual neurology clinic Neura Health raised an $8M round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Norwest Venture Partners (FN)

  • Cybersecurity startup Entro raised a $6M seed round led by StageOne Ventures and Hyperwise Ventures (FN)

  • Planera, a visual scheduling and planning solution for the construction industry, raised a $5.4M seed round from Sorenson Ventures, Firebolt Ventures, and more (PRN)

  • Miso Robotics, a robotics startup transforming the restaurant industry, raised $5M in funding from Ecolab (PRN)

  • SaveMoneyCutCarbon, a Bury St Edmunds, UK-based provider of a money-saving and sustainability platform, received a $5.4M investment from IW Capital (FN)

  • Jia, a blockchain-based fintech providing loans to micro and small businesses in emerging markets, raised a $4.3M seed round led by TCG Crypto (TC)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • German engineering company Thyssenkrupp is looking to raise at least $540M next month in an IPO its hydrogen unit, Nucera at $4.3B valuation(BBG)

  • Shanghai-based semiconductor manufacturer Hua Hong received approval for its $2.6B secondary listing in Shanghai (BBG)

  • Admiral Acquisition a blank-check firm co-founded by dealmaker Martin E. Franklin, raised $550M in an IPO yesterday (RT)


  • Clinical-stage biotechnology company enGene and Forbion European Acquisition Corp. announced a definitive merger agreement (SC)

Bankruptcy / Restructuring

  • Future Retail, Once India’s second-largest retailer, received bids from 6 applicants in its insolvency resolution process (RT)

  • Bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital announced that customers will receive 35% of their cryptocurrency deposits (RT)

  • Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network is close to completing its auction of assets with Fahrenheit as lead bidder (RT)

Crypto Corner

  • Citadel sues crypto firm, alleges former executives stole trade secrets (TB)

  • SEC believes Filecoin meets the definition of a security, per Grayscale (TB)

  • Tether says it will buy Bitcoin for stablecoin reserves using realized profits (CD)

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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