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Hamburger Derivatives Coming Soon?

McKinsey is in hot water over their China relationship, investors are growing nervous about the private credit boom, SEC accused an ex-CEO of orchestrating a meme-stock rally, the European parliament banned Amazon lobbyists, and Wendy’s will test surge pricing in 2025.

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Good Morning,

McKinsey is in hot water over their China relationship, investors are growing nervous about the private credit boom, SEC accused an ex-CEO of orchestrating a meme-stock rally, the European parliament banned Amazon lobbyists, and Wendy’s will test surge pricing in 2025.

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Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 02/27/2024 market close.


  • US stocks gained modestly yesterday as investors prepared for key inflation data later this week 

  • Treasuries were mixed after a $42B auction of seven-year notes and a heavy slate of new corporate debt

  • Bitcoin rallied past $57k as big buyers flocked in

    • Crypto market cap is now back to $2T


  • Macy’s beat Wall Street EPS and revenue estimates but reported another quarter of falling sales and announced plans to close 150 stores by 2026 (YH)

  • Lowe’s beat Wall Street estimates but saw falling sales and forecast the decline to continue further this year (CNBC

  • AutoZone shares hit a record high after beating on profit estimates and outlining prospects for reversing slowing sales growth (BBG)

  • What we're watching this week:  

    • Today: Salesforce, AMC

    • Thursday: Birkenstock, Best Buy, Dell

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • BOE may sell whole QE portfolio in divergence from US Fed (YH)

  • Euro zone-US bond correlations are at a record high (RT)

  • Big investors grow nervous about private credit boom (FT)

  • McKinsey-led think-tank advised China on policy that fed US tensions (FT)

  • US Republicans call for McKinsey to be banned from federal contracts (FT)

  • European parliament banned Amazon lobbyists (FT)

  • Investors poured $4T into US ETFs over past decade, with mutual funds seeing outflows (FT)

  • Singapore property giants hit by high rates, global downturn (BBG)

  • Apple ends quest to build its own EV (WSJ)

  • Apollo co-founder Leon Black sold stock worth $173M (RT)

  • Starbucks agreed to begin bargaining talks with unions (RT)

  • US launched an antitrust investigation into UnitedHealth (WSJ)

  • The SEC accused Alfi's ex-CEO of using burner accounts to boost its meme stock (BBG)

  • Wells Fargo named M&A veteran Braunstein as vice chair in IB push (RT)

  • Bumble will cut ~350 roles (RT)

  • Carlyle hired Goldman's ex-head of commodities research Jeff Currie (RT)

  • Wendy's will test surge pricing in 2025 (AP)

A Message From Superside

Expert-Level Creative Meets Crazy-Efficient Timelines

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We need top-quality content, and we need it fast.

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Superside’s CaaS (creative-as-a-service… don’t quote us on that acronym) has changed the game for pretty much any big name brand you can think of. Meta? Google? Reddit? Amazon? Epic? We could go on, but you get the idea. 

Big brands love Superside, and for good reason – you get access to the creative chops of some of the top designers in the entire WORLD, and you get your end product in less than 24 hours. 

It’s like hiring an entire creative department, without ever having to make painful small talk in a Zoom interview. And can you really put a price on that?

Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • ExxonMobil is considering a move (related to Hess’s 30% stake in Guyana’s Stabroek oil field) to break up Chevron's $53B acquisition of Hess (BBG

  • Warner Bros. Discovery halted its merger talks with Paramount Global; Paramount has a $14B offer from media mogul Byron Allen (CNBC)  

  • Philippine conglomerates Metro Pacific Investments and San Miguel began talks to explore combining their toll road businesses, which would form a combined entity worth up to $10B (BBG

  • Swisscom is in advanced talks to acquire Vodafone Group’s Italian business, Vodafone Italy, and has been discussing an offer of ~$8.7B (BBG

  • Hong Kong luggage maker Samsonite International, which has a $4.9B market cap, is considering options after receiving takeover interest from buyout firms (BBG

  • PE firm CVC Asia Pacific improved its buyout bid for Australia's APM Human Services International to $1.2B (RT

  • British electrical retailer Currys rejected an improved $951M bid from US investor Elliott (RT

  • Thailand’s biggest bank SCB X is close to acquiring consumer lender Home Credit’s business in Vietnam in a deal worth up to $900M (BBG

  • Buyout firm Affinity Equity Partners will begin the sale process for Penang-based Island Hospital, one of Malaysia’s largest healthcare providers likely to be valued at ~$837M (WSJ

  • Atlas Energy Solutions agreed to buy Hi-Crush's Permian Basin proppant production assets and North American logistics operations for ~$450 (MW

  • British Airways owner IAG offered concessions in an attempt to secure EU antitrust approval for its ~$434M bid to buy out Air Europa (RT

  • Qualcomm’s purchase of Israeli semiconductor firm Autotalks faces a formal probe from the UK’s antitrust watchdog over competition concerns (BBG

  • Luxury giant LVMH is in talks to buy French magazine Paris Match from media conglomerate Lagardere (BBG

  • An existing investor group led by Art Rooney and Thomas Tull are in advanced talks to acquire Josh Harris and David Blitzer’s minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers (BBG 


  • Glean, a startup that connects first and third party databases to answer plain-English requests from employees, raised a $200M Series D led by Kleiner Perkins and Lightspeed Venture Partners (TC)

  • Alamar Biosciences, a company enabling the earliest detection of disease, raised a $128M Series C led by Sands Capital (PRN)

  • Mainstay Medical, an Irish medical device company focused on treating chronic low back pain, raised $125M in financing led by Gilde Healthcare and Viking Global Investors (BW)

  • Exodigo, a startup modernizing underground mapping, raised a $105M Series A led by Greenfield Partners and Zeev Ventures (PRN)

  • Indian logistics startup Shadowfax raised a $100M Series E led by TPG NewQuest (TC)

  • Unseenlabs, a French startup using satellite data to detect ships, raised an $92.9M funding round from Supernova Invest, ISALT, and UNEXO (BW)

  • Intenseye, a workplace safety solutions startup, raised a $64M Series B led by Lightspeed (BW)

  • Curve Therapeutics, a private biotechnology company, raised a $51M Series A led by Pfizer Ventures (PRN)

  • AI-based photo editing app Photoroom raised a $43M round at a $500M valuation led by Balderton Capital (TC)

  • Rhombus, a startup building a cloud-managed physical security platform, raised a $26M equity round co-led by Tru Arrow and Cota Capital and a $17M debt round from Silicon Valley Bank (PRN)

  • AI-powered self-publishing startup Inkitt raised a $37M Series C led by Khosla Ventures (TC)

  • Lapse, a startup allowing users to take pictures on their phones and see them ‘develop’ over time, raised a $30M round led by Greylock and DST Global (TC)

  • Matter Neuroscience, a startup aiming to provide personalized insights into brain chemistry, raised a $26M round led by ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Partners, and Exor Ventures (VC)

  • Halo, a provider of a subscription-based bodycam and cloud-based digital asset management platform, raised a $20M round led by Volition Capital (FN)

  • Vegetarian Express, a UK-based supplier of vegetarian and vegan ingredients, received an $18.3M investment from NVM Private Equity (FN)

  • Regenerative medicine startup Pelage Pharmaceuticals raised a $16.8M Series A led by GV (PRN)

  • Mistral AI, a Paris-based AI startup rivaling OpenAI, received a $16.3M investment from Microsoft (TC)

  • Spanish fintech Embat raised a $16M Series A led by Creandum (TC)

  • Tracksuit, a startup helping marketers understand and communicate what’s working to build brand health, raised a $13.5M Series A led by Altos Ventures and Footwork (PR)

  • Parspec, an AI-powered software platform that streamlines the selection and sale of construction products, raised an $11.5M seed round led by Innovation Endeavors (BW)

  • Collov AI, a startup building an AI design tool for cabinets, raised a $10M Series A led by GoldenHome Living (BW)

  • Pronto Housing, a software solution to make complicated affordable housing processes efficient and easy for everyone, raised a $3M round from Infinity Capital Partners, MRK Partners, Icon National, and others (PR)

  • Elevated Signals, a startup providing modern manufacturing software, raised a $6.7M Series A led by Yaletown Partners (BW)

  • Blockchain development startup Initia raised a $7.5M seed round led by Delphi Ventures and HackVC (TC)

  • Enkrypt AI, a startup enabling the adoption of Generative AI within enterprises, raised $2.4M in funding led by Boldcap (FN)

  • Retention-focused startup Subsets raised a $1.65M pre-seed round led by Upfin and YC (TC)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • Swedish fintech Klarna, once Europe’s most valuable startup, is in discussions for a potential $20B US IPO as soon as Q3 of this year (BBG

  • Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Group is planning to issue up to $666M of corporate bond-type shares to improve finances (BBG

  • China's Zhida Technology, a developer of EV charging systems, is considering a Hong Kong IPO that could raise up to $128M (BBG

  • Dubai will sell a 25% stake in public parking operator Parkin this year (RT


  • Booking.com plans to raise $3B via a euro-denominated bond sale that will partly be used for a share buyback (BBG

  • Blackstone will acquire $1.1B of US credit card debt from Barclays (RT)

  • Water company Severn Trent Utilities Finance is seeking to raise $543M from a 10-year sustainability bond (BBG)

Bankruptcy / Restructuring

  • Peru granted troubled state-run oil producer Petroperu an $800M loan guarantee to keep its operations afloat (RT

  • Distressed Chinese developer Country Garden received a winding up petition in Hong Kong; the firm has ~$10B in offshore debt (BBG

  • Citgo Petroleum's parent received 12 initial bids from private investment funds and companies participating in an auction of its shares (RT)


  • European PE group EQT raised $23.8B for its largest ever buyout fund (FT

  • Growth investor Renovus Capital Partners raised $325M for a continuation vehicle allowing it to maintain control of four portfolio companies (WSJ)

  • Goldman Sachs will raise its ninth PE fund this year (RT)

Crypto Corner

  • The SEC is expected to drag its feet on new wave of crypto ETFs (RT)

  • The IRS hired an ex-Binance executive to beef up its crypto expertise (BBG

  • Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy purchased another 3,000 Bitcoin for $155M this month (BBG

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