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OpenAI Changed the Game (Again)

OpenAI launched an AI video creation tool, Silicon Valley Bank is on a hiring spree, Ford’s CEO told Wall Street to forget Tesla, Japan is no longer the world’s third largest economy, the UK is in a recession, Meta encouraged advertisers to ditch the iPhone, and Google opened a Paris research hub.

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Good Morning,

OpenAI launched an AI video creation tool, Silicon Valley Bank is on a hiring spree, Ford’s CEO told Wall Street to forget Tesla, Japan is no longer the world’s third largest economy, the UK is in a recession, Meta encouraged advertisers to ditch the iPhone, and Google opened a Paris research hub.

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Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 2/15/2024 market close.


  • US stocks rose, with the S&P closing at a new record high, as investors overlooked a higher-than-expected decline in January retail sales

    • The Dow led indices with a 0.91% gain

  • Asian stocks rose despite Japan’s economy contracting for a second straight quarter due to weak domestic demand; Germany has overtaken Japan’s position as the third-largest economy


  • Coinbase shares jumped ~11% after beating Q4 earnings and revenue estimates thanks to soaring crypto prices; Coinbase reported its first profit in two years (BBG

  • Applied Materials shares rose 11% after beating Q1 earnings expectations and forecasting Q2 sales that show a chip rebound (BBG)

  • John Deere shares fell 5% after cutting its annual earnings forecast; the farming equipment seller beat Q1 analyst earnings and revenue expectations (WSJ

  • What we're watching this week:  

    • Today: Cinemark

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • OpenAI develops tool to create realistic AI videos (WSJ)

  • SVB is in hiring mode to defend its turf a year after collapse (BBG)

  • Ford CEO tells Wall Street to forget Tesla, says ‘Pro’ business is the future of the auto industry (CNBC)

  • China revives socialist ideas to fix its real-estate crisis (WSJ)

  • Japan is no longer the world’s third-largest economy as it slips into recession (CNBC)

  • UK economy falls into recession, adding to Sunak’s election challenge (RT)

  • Nvidia holdings disclosure pumps up shares of small AI companies (CNBC)

  • Nike plans to cut about 2% of jobs (RT)

  • Meta encourages advertisers to ditch iPhone in latest spat with Apple (WSJ)

  • Google opens Paris research hub as France seeks bigger AI role (BBG)

  • Red Sea attack-fueled ocean freight inflation is starting to ease on key global trade routes (CNBC)

  • US shoppers cut back in January (WSJ)

  • TikTok moves ahead as the place for campaign chatter (BBG)

  • Wells Fargo resolves regulatory complaint at heart of 2016 fake-account scandal (WSJ)

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Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • Swisscom is the only remaining party in discussions over a potential Vodafone tie-up in Italy; Vodafone recently rejected Iliad’s 50-50 JV to create a $15.8B EV Italian operator (RT

  • Asian insurer FWD Group Holdings is considering options including a potential stake sale after delaying a planned IPO; the company could seek a valuation of over $10B in any deal (BBG

  • Quick Quack Car Wash is exploring a minority stake sale that could value one of the largest car wash chains in the US at over $3B, including debt (RT

  • Dutch insurer Achmea held early stage discussions about a potential sale of its life insurance operations, including with rivals NN Group and Apollo-backed Athora; the business could be worth over $2.2B (RT

  • Brookfield Asset Management and CVC Capital Partners are among PE firms interested in a majority stake in Barclays’ payments business, which could be worth ~$1.3B (BBG

  • Sports-betting company DraftKings will purchase lottery app Jackpocket for $750M in cash and stock (BBG

  • British media group The Independent is in talks to take control of BuzzFeed and Huffington Post's operations in the UK and Ireland (RT

  • DSM-Firmenich is considering the sale of its animal, nutrition and health unit amid a deteriorating vitamin market (BBG

  • Barclays is in the early stages of considering a bid for Societe Generale's UK private bank (RT

  •  India's Reliance Industries is in talks to buy Disney's 29.8% stake in satellite TV provider Tata Play (RT)


  • Lambda, a GPU cloud company, raised a $320M Series C led by Thomas Tull’s US Innovative Technology (BW)

  • Freenome, a biotech company developing blood tests for early cancer detection, raised $254M in funding led by Roche (PRN)

  • Bending Spoons, owner of apps such as Evernote and Meetup, raised a $155M round at a $2.55B valuation led by Durable Capital Partners (TC)

  • Lithium extraction tech startup Lilac Solutions raised a $145M Series C led by Mercuria, Lowercarbon Capital, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures (FN)

  • Firefly Bio, a startup using degrader antibody conjugates to treat cancer, raised a $94M Series A led by Versant Ventures and MPM BioImpact (BW)

  • Music financing platform Duetti raised $90M: a $15M equity round led by Nyca Partners and a $75M credit facility provided by Northleaf Capital Partners (FN)

  • Homebuilding cloud startup Higharc raised a $53M Series B led by Spark Capital and Pillar VC (PRN)

  • Internal knowledge capture startup Scribe raised a $25M Series B led by Redpoint Ventures (TC)

  • Robotics startup Monumental raised $25M in funding led by Plural and Hummingbird (FN)

  • Point2 Tech, a startup providing ultra-low power, low-latency mixed-signal SoC solutions, raised a $22.6M Series B extension from Bosch Ventures, Molex, and others (FN)

  • Childcare solutions startup Upwards raised a $21M Series B led by Alpha Edison (BW)

  • Sage Geosystems, a geothermal startup, raised a $17M Series A led by Chesapeake Energy (BW)

  • Clarity, a startup creating tech to spot AI-manipulated media, raised a $16M seed round led by Walden Catalyst Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners (TC)

  • FreezeM, an Israeli agri-tech biotechnology company, raised a $14.2M Series A led by the European Innovation Council Fund (FN)

  • Marketing attribution platform Alembic raised a $14M Series A led by WndrCo (BW)

  • Workflow engine startup Knock raised a $12M round led by Craft Ventures (TC)

  • Fever, a Swedish startup building an API-centric platform for virtual power plants, raised an $11.7M seed round led by General Catalyst (FN)

  • Vatom, a customer engagement platform, raised a $10M Series B at a $125M valuation led by GSV AirCO (PRN)

  • Permit.io, a Tel Aviv-based authorization-as-a-service provider, raised an $8M Series A led by Scale Venture Partners (FN)

  • Blueprint Finance, a startup building the Concrete Protocol, a native on-chain credit market, raised a $7.5M round led by Hashed and Tribe Capital (FN)

  • Arch, a startup building an app to help HVAC contractors install heat pumps, raised a $6.2M seed round from Coatue, Floodgate, Gigascale Capital, and more (TC)

  • Celadyne, a startup coating membranes with nanoparticles to improve hydrogen fuel cell efficiency, raised a $4.5M seed round led by Dynamo Ventures and Maniv (TC)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • Viking Cruises is considering a US IPO that could raise at least $500M (BBG)

  • Neo4j, the maker of a graph database and data science tools, is planning a listing on the Nasdaq (BBG

  • Frac sand supplier Alpine Silica Holding confidentially filed for a US IPO (RT

  • Tata Group is considering a potential spinoff of its battery business, Agratas Energy Storage Solutions, including a potential listing (BBG)


  • Digital World Acquisition, the SPAC merging with Trump Media & Technology, received long-awaited SEC approval for its proposed business combination (BBG)  


  • Siemens raised $5.4B from a four-part bond deal, Europe’s largest corporate bond offering in a year (BBG

  • A group of private credit lenders led by KKR provided a $2.8B loan to help finance Clarience Technologies’ acquisition of Safe Fleet (BBG

  • Struggling rooftop solar installer SunPower received a $130M term loan from French energy giant TotalEnergies and Global Infrastructure Partners that will ease a cash crunch(BBG)

Bankruptcy / Restructuring

  • Appliance maker Robertshaw US Holding filed for bankruptcy seeking to cut ~$670M of debt and resolve litigation (WSJ


  • Early-stage VC .406 Ventures closed its fifth core fund, Point 406 Ventures V, at $265M (FN)

Crypto Corner

  • Banks are pushing US regulators to change crypto guidance (BBG

  • MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin bet crossed $4B in profit (CD)

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