Synthetic Biology Unicorn Ginkgo Bioworks Raises An Additional $290 Million

Through biological engineering, Ginkgo Bioworks design custom organisms to create new products with the potential to transform industries. Today the company announced the Series E financing round totaling $290 million, with all their existing investors participating. This brings the total funding of the company to $719 million. The recent $290 million funding is dedicated to further aid Ginkgo’s cell programming platform. Ginkgo aims to do so by enabling greater access to expertise, resources, scaling and by further developing the underlying technology of the platform.

Boston-based start-up accelerator Petri’s launched a new 12-month program just last week, with Ginkgo bioworks represented in the program’s mentor panel. Ginkgo also established another new partnership with Bay Area-based Y Combinator. And now, thanks to this access to Gingko and this most recent funding round, start-ups will now have more opportunity to translate their innovative ideas. 

This funding will further propel Ginkgo’s platform as well as its ...

Sept. 27, 2019

Google signs up to $2bn wind and solar investment

Google’s chief executive has revealed plans for the biggest renewable energy deal in corporate history.

Sundar Pichai said the clean energy deal will include 18 separate agreements to supply Google with electricity from wind and solar projects across the world.

The search engine’s green energy portfolio will grow by 40%, giving the company access to an extra 1.6 gigawatt of clean electricity – the equivalent capacity of a million solar rooftops, the company said.

Google has become the largest corporate buyer of renewable electricity by matching the huge energy demand of its global operations and data centres with the electricity generated by renewable energy projects.

Pichai said the latest package of deals will “spur the construction of more than $2bn in new energy infrastructure”, including millions of solar panels and hundreds of wind turbines across three continents.

Almost half of Google’s new renewable energy investments will be made in Europe, including projects in Finland, Sweden, ...

Sept. 23, 2019

Hong Kong stock exchange in talks to buy London Stock Exchange for $36.6 billion

The Hong Kong stock exchange says it has started talks to buy the London Stock Exchange that would value the British company at 29.6 billion pounds ($36.6 billion).

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd said on Wednesday that a deal would provide the London Stock Exchange with a key opening to Asian markets and underpin the British capital's role as a financial hub.

The offer comes at a time of heightened uncertainty for London and British companies because of Brexit, which threatens to create barriers to trade for the country. A weakened pound has also made UK companies cheaper takeover targets.

The Hong Kong exchange is required to make a binding offer by October 9.

/Source: The Times of India/

Sept. 18, 2019

AT&T Shares Rise After Activist Shareholder Discloses $3.2 Billion Stake

Activist shareholder Elliott Management, which has pressed for big changes at companies including Barnes & Noble and Interpublic Group, said Monday it had taken a stake valued at $3.2 billion in the shares of telecommunication giant AT&T, and urged the company to focus more intently on its operations after a series of big acquisitions and missed opportunities have, in Elliott’s words, “eroded AT&T’s business focus and shareholder value.”

AT&T is grappling with subscriber losses at satellite-distributor DirecTV, which it acquired for $49 billion in 2016 and working to reduce debt after buying the former Time Warner for $85 billion last year.

The shareholder suggested that AT&T’s move into what it believes are non-core markets – DirecTV and WarnerMedia among them – “has not only contributed directly to its profound share price underperformance, but has also caused distractions that have contributed to the Company’s recent operational underperformance.” 

In a statement, AT&T said it welcomed ...

Sept. 13, 2019

The legal commitment to end UK's global warming contributions by 2050

Theresa May pledged to introduce a legally binding target forcing the UK to end its contribution to climate change by the middle of the century. 

In one of her last acts in office before leaving No 10, the prime minister laed legislation in the Commons, setting a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Hitting net zero – a 100 per cent cut in emissions – will mean an end to heating of homes with traditional gas boilers, more green electricity, and a switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles, walking and cycling. 

“Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a clear, greener form of growth."

“The government will now need to come forward with the coordinated policies, actions, and regulations needed to ...

Sept. 10, 2019

British Petroleum leaving Alaska

BP plc reported Tuesday that it has agreed to sell all of its operations and interests in Alaska to Hilcorp for $ 5.6 billion, ending a six-decade run in the state.

With the deal, Anchorage-based Hilcorp Alaska - already the largest private operator in the state - will gain ownership of BP’s interests in high-profile upstream and midstream assets such as the giant Prudhoe Bay field and the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS).

“Alaska has been instrumental in BP’s growth and success for well over half a century and our work there has helped shape the careers of many throughout the company,” BP CEO Bob Dudley said in a written statement. “We are extraordinarily proud of the world-class business we have built, working alongside our partners and the State of Alaska, and the significant contributions it has made to Alaska’s economy and America’s energy security.”

Nevertheless, Dudley added that other opportunities in the U.S. ...

Sept. 5, 2019

SoftBank launches new $108 billion fund to invest in A.I.

SoftBank on Friday announced its second mega fund to invest into technology companies developing artificial intelligence technologies around the world.

The total expected contribution to the SoftBank Vision Fund 2 from both the Japanese conglomerate and other partners stands at about $ 108 billion based on a series of memoranda of understandings, the company said.

For its part, SoftBank said it plans to contribute $ 38 billion into the new fund.

Some prominent corporations that are expected to participate in Vision Fund 2 include: Apple, Microsoft, iPhone assembler Foxconn, Standard Chartered Bank, Japanese financial giants Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and MUFG Bank.

Others include the National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan and investors from Taiwan.

SoftBank said that the total anticipated capital contribution is expected to rise amid ongoing discussions with other participants. If partners follow through with their financial commitments, the second fund is set to raise more than the ...

Sept. 2, 2019

Famous investor Mark Mobius considers gold the best investment

“I love gold.” Mark Mobius, perhaps the best-known emerging markets investor in the world, reckons that the precious metal should form at least 10% of any investor’s portfolio (in the form of bullion). However, now looks like a particularly promising time to invest – and it’s all down to central bankers, he tells Bloomberg in an interview in Singapore.

For one thing, “interest rates are going so low, particularly now in Europe”. So, as Mobius says, “what’s the sense in holding euro when you get a negative rate? You might as well put it into gold, because gold is a much better currency”. Expectations of even looser monetary policy from central banks across the globe, including the Federal Reserve in the US, have seen gold hit a six-year high this year already (in US dollar terms at least), of close to $1,440 an ounce.

Cutting interest rates isn’t the only factor – ...

Aug. 28, 2019

Softbank Fund Makes Energy-Storage Bet With an Unusual Battery

SoftBank Group Corp.’s massive Vision Fund is making its first-ever energy storage bet -- and it’s on a rather unconventional type of battery.

The fund, created by Japanese tech giant SoftBank Group Corp., is investing $110 million in Energy Vault, a Swiss startup that’s using cranes and concrete to store energy. An electric crane hoists up blocks of concrete and stacks them into a tower when power is plentiful. When power is needed, it uses gravity to take the structure apart brick by brick. The weight of the descending blocks converts kinetic energy into electricity.

The startup faces stiff competition. Huge lithium-ion batteries have emerged as the storage of choice for utilities looking to deal with short-term fluctuations on their grids. The costs of those have plunged 85% since 2010. Entrepreneurs have long pitched alternatives that can hold more energy and supply for longer -- including ones that compress and liquify air ...

Aug. 20, 2019

Saudi Aramco to acquire 20% stake in RIL's oil-to-chemical business

Saudi Aramco and Reliance Industries (RIL) have agreed to a non-binding letter of intent (LoI) regarding a proposed investment in the oil-to-chemicals (O2C) division comprising the refining, petrochemicals and fuels marketing businesses of RIL. Saudi Aramco’s potential 20% stake is based upon an enterprise value of $75bn for the O2C division. This would be one of the largest foreign investments ever made in India.

Saudi Aramco and RIL have a long-standing crude oil supply relationship of over 25 years. Saudi Aramco is the world’s largest and lowest cost-per-barrel producer of crude oil, is geographically close to India, and offers a wide range of crude supply options. 

RIL’s Jamnagar refinery is the largest and most complex refinery in the world, with deep integration of refining and petrochemical activities across multiple manufacturing facilities. The proposed investment would result in Saudi Aramco supplying 500KBPD of Arabian crude oil to the Jamnagar refinery on a long-term ...

Aug. 15, 2019