Branson-backed SPAC to raise $500 million through U.S. IPO
A blank-check firm, backed by Virgin Group’s billionaire founder Richard Branson, is looking to raise as much as $500 million through an initial public offering, a regulatory filing showed on Tuesday.
Virgin Group Acquisition Corp III, a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, plans to sell 50 million units, composed of shares and warrants, priced at $10 per unit on the New York Stock Exchange.
The firm said in its filing it will be looking for targets to acquire in one of Virgin Group’s core sectors, namely travel and leisure, financial services, health and wellness and renewable energy, among others.
Branson, a serial entrepreneur and a prolific investor, has raised hundreds of millions through multiple blank-check companies so far.
In February, VG Acquisition Corp, one of Branson’s SPACs, agreed to take consumer DNA-testing firm 23andMe public through a merger, valuing the merged entity at $3.5 billion.
SPACs are shell companies which raise funds to acquire ...
March 15, 2021
Volocopter raises 200 million euros for air taxi certification push
German aviation startup Volocopter said on Wednesday it had raised 200 million euros ($242 million) from investors including funds run by U.S. asset manager BlackRock as it seeks certification for its battery-powered flying taxi.
Volocopter said it expects to bring its VoloCity air taxi into commercial service within the next two years, while it has also teamed up with logistics group DB Schenker to deploy heavy-lift cargo drones.
The Series D funding round brings the total amount raised by Volocopter to 322 million euros, with new investors Avala Capital, Atlantia, Continental, NTT and Tokyo Century also coming on board. ($1 = 0.8278 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine Editing by Riham Alkousaa)
March 10, 2021
Swedish Fintech Klarna funding round makes it Europe’s most valuable startup at $31bn
Klarna Bank AB, commonly dubbed as Klarna, the Stockholm-based Swedish fintech company that offers online financial services, had raised a stark upsum of $1 billion in a latest fundraising campaign, springing up as the Europe’s most valuable start-up at $31 billion, the Swedish payments firm widely known for its “buy now pay later” business model.
In tandem, having been valued at $31 billion, the Swedish “buy now pay later” fintech firm came on to a same footing with a number of Europe’s largest publicly traded financial houses, while the company’s current market valuation puts it on a par with major European financial houses such as Credit Suisse, Barclays and Swiss Re.
Besides, the Stockholm-based online payment processor has been now valued more than Deutsche Bank, the largest lender in Germany.
March 5, 2021
Autonomous drone maker Skydio raised $ 170 million from Andreessen Horowitz et al
Skydio has raised $170 million in a Series D funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s Growth Fund. That pushes it into unicorn territory, with $340 million in total funding and a post-money valuation north of $1 billion. Skydio’s fresh capital comes on the heels of its expansion last year into the enterprise market, and it intends to use the considerable pile of cash to help it expand globally and accelerate product development.
In July of last year, Skydio announced its $100 million Series C financing, and also debuted the X2, its first dedicated enterprise drone. The company also launched a suite of software for commercial and enterprise customers, its first departure from the consumer drone market where it had been focused prior to that raise since its founding in 2014.
Skydio’s debut drone, the R1, received a lot of accolades and praise for its autonomous capabilities. Unlike other consumer drones at the ...
March 1, 2021
Mexico's government readies roughly $5 bln lifeline for Pemex - source
The Mexican government will inject up to $1.6 billion into state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) this year and offer a tax break of 75 billion Mexican pesos ($3.68 billion), a senior official with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
The world’s most indebted oil company, Pemex had more than $110 billion in financial debt at the end of the third quarter last year while its liabilities far exceeded its assets. (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
Feb. 24, 2021
South Korea unveils $43 billion plan for world's largest offshore wind farm
South Korea unveiled a 48.5 trillion won ($43.2 billion) plan to build the world’s largest wind power plant by 2030 as part of efforts to foster an environmentally-friendly recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project is a major component of President Moon Jae-in’s Green New Deal, initiated last year to curb reliance on fossil fuels in Asia’s fourth-largest economy and make it carbon neutral by 2050.
Moon attended a signing ceremony in the southwestern coastal town of Sinan for the plant, which will have a maximum capacity of 8.2 gigawatts.
“With this project, we are accelerating the eco-friendly energy transition and moving more vigorously toward carbon neutrality,” Moon said at the event.
Utility and engineering companies also attended, including Korea Electric Power Corp, SK E&S, Hanwha Engineering & Construction Corp, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., CS Wind Corp and Samkang M&T Co.
The companies will provide 47.6 trillion of the required funding and the ...
Feb. 19, 2021
Record-high insurtech funding hits $7.1 billion in 2020
Global investment in the insurtech sector reached an annual high of US$7.1 billion (approx. CA$9 billion) for 2020 despite the challenges faced by the re/insurance industry throughout the year.
According to the latest Quarterly InsurTech Briefing by Willis Towers Watson, there was a total of 377 insurtech investment deals in 2020, the most in any year to date. Versus 2019, total funding increased by 12% and deal volume was up 20%.
Insurtechs brought in US$2.1 billion across 103 deals in the fourth quarter, with 67% of the funds attracted by property/casualty-focused firms, according to the report. Life & health insurtechs had a decrease of 1.6 percentage points for the quarter.
Willis Towers Watson took note of several fourth-quarter fundraisings exceeding US$100 million by later-stage companies such as Hippo, Unqork, Waterdrop, Oscar Health, Bind Benefits, and Newfront Insurance, who amassed US$1.1 billion collectively.
Meanwhile, early-stage deals declined to 47% of the total from 57% in ...
Feb. 15, 2021
Denmark wants to build a renewable energy island in the North Sea
Denmark is to push forward with plans to build a huge artificial island in the North Sea that will act as a major renewable energy hub and cost billions of dollars to develop.
The Danish Energy Agency, part of the government’s Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, said the project would be owned by a public-private partnership, with the Danish state holding a majority stake.
The scale of the project, which will be located in waters 80 kilometers off the coast of Jutland, the large peninsula which contains the Danish mainland, is considerable.
The first phase — set to have a capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW) — will involve approximately 200 offshore wind turbines sending electricity to the hub, which will distribute it to nearby countries via the grid.
In future, the capacity of the hub could be expanded to 10 GW. This, Danish authorities say, would be enough to power 10 million homes ...
Feb. 10, 2021
Norway Wealth Fund Dumps Oil Stocks Amid $10 Billion Loss
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has sold its entire portfolio of companies focused on oil exploration and production, marking a major step away from fossil fuels for the investing giant.
The portfolio, worth about $6 billion in 2019, was fully exited by the end of last year, Trond Grande, the fund’s deputy chief executive, said by phone on Thursday. The move completes a years-long process to reduce the giant investor’s exposure to a sector that has defined Norway’s economy for the better part of half a century.
Grande spoke after the fund revealed a roughly $10 billion loss on oil and gas holdings in 2020 that had been valued at over $40 billion at the start of the year. The fund still holds integrated oil companies, with Royal Dutch Shell Plc its seventh largest equity investment when it last disclosed its holdings at the start of last year.
The fund declined to comment on ...
Feb. 5, 2021
Allstate sells life insurance division to Blackstone in $2.8 billion deal
Blackstone Group Inc. agreed to buy a life business from Allstate Corp. for $2.8 billion as the private equity firm expands its foothold in the insurance industry.
Allstate will retain a New York life business and is seeking a way to sell or transfer risk from that unit to a third party.
Allstate has been looking to pivot away from life insurance and annuities as the Northbrook, Illinois-based firm focuses more on property-casualty products such as identity protection and personal coverage. The deal will help Blackstone expand further into life insurance and annuities after its work with FGL Holdings, which was bought by Fidelity National Financial Inc. last year.
The move helps Allstate deploy capital out of lower-growth businesses amid its plan to boost market share in personal property-liability, Chief Executive Officer Tom Wilson said in the statement.
Private equity firms such as Blackstone and Apollo Global Management Inc. have been drawn to annuity ...
Feb. 1, 2021