Nvidia Craze Continues

JPMorgan and Citigroup reshuffled some IB leadership, Nvidia bets are dominating options markets, Nvidia is now the most desirable place to work, hedge funds are dropping tech stocks, big tobacco is struggling to stay relevant, and Google saw a $90B sell-off over their AI debacle.

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JPMorgan and Citigroup reshuffled some IB leadership, Nvidia bets are dominating options markets, Nvidia is now the most desirable place to work, hedge funds are dropping tech stocks, big tobacco is struggling to stay relevant, and Google saw a $90B sell-off over their AI debacle.

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Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 02/26/2024 market close.

Markets

  • US stocks slipped on Monday, with the S&P and Dow retreating from record highs, as investors awaited key inflation data

  • Federal funds futures are now pricing 80 bps of rate cuts this year, compared to 150 bps in early January

  • Europe's Stoxx 600 also retreated from its record high

  • Bitcoin prices climbed above $54k, its highest in over two years

Earnings

  • Zoom shares jumped ~10% after beating Q4 earnings and revenue estimates on a boost from its AI services (CNBC

  • Unity shares dropped ~18% after missing on Q4 earnings and issuing weaker than expected Q1 guidance (CNBC

  • What we're watching this week:  

    • Today: Macy’s, Lowe’s, AutoZone

    • Wednesday: Salesforce, AMC

    • Thursday: Birkenstock, Best Buy, Dell

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • Nvidia makes up 25% of US equity options bets (RT)

  • Global HFs sold tech stocks at highest pace in eight months (RT)

  • Yellen says global economy remains resilient, lauds US as growth driver (RT)

  • European banks set to return record $130B to shareholders this year (RT)

  • Investors pile into European junk bonds as inflation cools (FT)

  • Alphabet drops amid renewed fears about Google’s AI offering (BBG)

  • Microsoft partners with Mistral in push beyond OpenAI (FT)

  • Fee pressure intensifies in US ETF market (FT)

  • US corporate bond sales hit $153B in February record (BBG)

  • Convertible bond sales notch $5B week as rate cute cuts appear distant (BBG)

  • Forty-seven Chinese companies have axed IPO plans amid listing scrutiny (RT)

  • Nvidia is now the most desirable place to work (WSJ)

  • Nintendo will introduce successor to Switch in 2025 (RT)

  • Cigarettes are losing out to alternatives in the nicotine race (WSJ)

  • FAA deemed Boeing safety efforts as below par (WSJ)

  • Sweden will join Nato (FT)

  • JPMorgan named Filippo Gori and Doug Petno as co-heads of global IB (RT)

  • Citigroup hired Viswas Raghavan from JPMorgan as new head of IB (RT)

  • British banker Jacob Rothschild died at 87 (RT)

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Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • The FTC sued to block Kroger’s $24.6B bid to acquire supermarket chain Albertsons (WSJ

  • $5.8B R1 RCM’s biggest shareholder New Mountain Capital is considering taking the healthcare services provider private (BBG

  • KKR agreed to acquire Broadcom’s end-user computing division for ~$4B (WSJ

  • France’s Cie. de Saint-Gobain will acquire Australian building materials maker CSR for $3B (BBG

  • Agiliti’s majority owner THL Partners will take the medical inventory management services provider private in a deal that values the company at $2.5B (RT

  • French billionaire Xavier Niel will acquire a 19.8% stake in Swedish telecom Tele2 from Nordic investor Kinnevik for ~$1.3B (BBG

  • Charter Communications is exploring a takeover of smaller rival Altice USA, which has a market cap of $1.1B (BBG

  • Broadcom paused a sales process for security software business Carbon Black, which could have been valued at ~$1B, including debt (BBG

  • Apollo Global Management held talks with lenders about potentially merging job-search website CareerBuilder with another firm (BBG

  • Roche Holding is considering selling Esbriet, a lung disease drug, after receiving inbound interest from potential suitors (BBG

  • BDT & MSD Partners is exploring a sale of the firm’s majority stake in Marquette Transportation, a provider of marine towing services in the US (BBG

  • Global Infrastructure Partners, KKR, Macquarie and EQT are among potential suitors considering the purchase of a stake in Cellnex Telecom's Polish operations (BBG

  • Italian lender UniCredit is exploring an acquisition of banking services provider Vodeno from PE firm Warburg Pincus (BBG)

VC

  • Montage International, a hospitality management company, received a $250M strategic investment from funds managed by Luxor Capital Group, Goldman Sachs, and BlackRock (BW)

  • Reveleer, a healthcare-focused data analytics startup, raised $65M in financing led by Hercules Capital (VC)

  • RobCo, a German startup building connected robotics automation solutions for SMEs, raised a $42.5M Series B led by Lightspeed (FN)

  • b.well Connected Health, a platform for unified consumer health experiences, raised a $40M Series C led by Leavitt Equity Partners (PRN)

  • Tsubame BHB, a startup working on small distributed ammonia production plants, raised a $47.4M Series C led by Heraeus Beteiligungsverwaltungsgesellschaft, Yokogawa Electric Corporation, and Energy & Environment Investment (FN)

  • mTab, a market insights platform, raised $15M in growth credit financing from Kayne Anderson Growth Capital (BW)

  • NLX, an AI-powered customer experience platform, raised a $12M Series A led by Cercano (PRN)

  • Power, a clinical trial marketplace, raised a $12M Series A led by Kin Ventures and Contrary (FN)

  • Biotech startup Baseimmune raised an $11.3M Series A led by MSD Global Health Innovation Fund and IQ Capital (BW)

  • Interview Kickstart, a startup helping tech professionals acquire career-advancing skills, raised $10M in funding from Blume Ventures (TC)

  • FlowGPT, an AI application creator community, raised a $10M pre-Series A led by Goodwater Capital (PRN)

  • CellVoyant, an AI-first biotech startup, raised a $10M seed round led by Octopus Ventures (FN)

  • Altilium, a London-based cleantech group supporting the energy transition to net zero, raised a $9.4M Series A led by SQM Lithium Ventures (FN)

  • Prowler, a startup building an open cloud security platform, raised a $6M seed round led by Decibel VC (BW)

  • Pimberly, a startup helping businesses boost ecommerce sales, raised a $5.1M round from NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance and Northern Venture Capital Trusts (FN)

  • Myko, a conversational AI for sales and revenue teams, raised a $2.7M seed round led by Khosla Ventures (BW)

  • Mobly, a mobile software startup helping companies capture leads at events, raised a $2.5M seed round led by Peterson Ventures (PRN)

  • Sonus Microsystems, a Vancouver-based ultrasound technology platform, raised a $2.1M pre-seed round led by LDV Capital (FN)

  • Ad-Shield, a provider of next-gen adblock recovery solutions, raised a $2M pre-Series A led by Shorooq Partners (BW)

  • Rototip, a digital manufacturing startup, raised a $1.1M round led by ACT Venture Partners (FN)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • Stock brokerage platform eToro is considering an IPO after its scrapped plans to go public via SPAC (CNBC)

  • Fast-fashion company Shein is considering switching its IPO from New York to London due to hurdles from the SEC (BBG

  • German perfume retailer Douglas, which is majority-owned by CVC Capital Partners, plans to launch its IPO in the coming days (RT

  • Indonesian online lending fintech startup Julo is working toward an IPO (BBG

Debt

  • UK's largest pub operator Stonegate Pub and its PE owner TDR Capital intend to address $2.5B of debt coming due next year (BBG

  • Harvard University is considering selling of as much as $1.65B of bonds (BBG)

Bankruptcy / Restructuring

  • One lender to Express approached the fashion retailer to set aside cash reserves for a potential future bankruptcy filing (BBG

Fundraising

  • Sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority is launching a $1B VC fund of funds (TC

  • US PE firm Horizon Capital raised $350M, $100M above target for a Ukraine-focused fund (PR)

Crypto Corner

  • Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF exodus reached $7.4B in first 30 trading days (BBG

  • Hong Kong is preparing regulations to halt stealthy crypto purchases by small shops (BBG

Exec’s Picks

  • Read WSJ’s take on how 9-month-old AI startup Mistral is challenging Silicon Valley’s giants.

  • With markets rallying to new highs, Jack Raines gave an interesting take on the assumptions that underpin conventional investing wisdom.

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