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Weekly News of 25th of April

Musk gets Twitter for $44 billion


Elon Musk clinched a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion cash on Monday in a transaction that will shift control of the social media platform populated by millions of users and global leaders to the world’s richest person, reports Reuters.

It is a seminal moment for the 16-year-old company, which emerged as one of the world’s most influential public squares and now faces a string of challenges.

Musk, who calls himself a free speech absolutist, has criticized Twitter’s moderation. He wants Twitter’s algorithm for prioritizing tweets to be public and objects to giving too much power on the service to corporations that advertise.

Political activists expect that a Musk regime will mean less moderation and reinstatement of banned individuals including former President Donald Trump. Conservatives cheered the prospect of fewer controls while some human rights activists voiced fears of a rise in hate speech. Musk has also advocated user-friendly tweaks to the service, such as an edit button and defeating “spam bots” that send overwhelming amounts of unwanted tweets.

Discussions over the deal, which last week appeared uncertain, accelerated over the weekend after Musk wooed Twitter shareholders with financing details of his offer.

Musk’s move continues a tradition of billionaires’ buying control of influential media platforms, including Jeff Bezos’ 2013 acquisition of the Washington Post.

Twitter said Musk secured $25.5 billion of debt and margin loan financing and is providing a $21 billion equity commitment. Musk, who is worth $268 billion according to Forbes, has said he is not primarily concerned with the economics of Twitter.

“Having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all,” he said in a recent public talk.


Ad group WPP moves into logistics with e-commerce arm Everymile


WPP, the world’s largest advertising company, has launched an end-to-end e-commerce platform to handle the logistics and delivery of products sold by its clients, after it helped them grow online sales through the pandemic, reports Reuters.

The British-based company set up direct-to-consumer sites for brands when the pandemic shut most shops, and “Everymile” will expand its offer to handle the entire process from attracting a customer to delivering the product to their door.

It will pit WPP against new rivals including Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify and Britain’s THG. WPP, founded by Martin Sorrell, is known for its advertising and PR agencies including Grey, Wunderman Thompson and Ogilvy.

Everymile will have a revenue share commercial model. It will be overseen by WPP’s finance director John Rogers, a former head of British retailer Argos and the former finance director of UK supermarket group Sainsbury’s.

Online shopping grew rapidly during the pandemic but the sector has not been without its challenges, including a shortage of workers to pack and deliver items, global supply chain disruption and new Brexit trade rules.


Coding platform SonarSource valued at $4.7 bln after latest funding


SonarSource, a coding platform for developers, was valued at $4.7 billion after raising $412 million in capital in a new funding round led by Advent International and General Catalyst, reports Reuters.

Geneva-based SonarSource intends to use the funds to double its salesforce this year and expand the company’s marketing team across its international offices including those in the United States, France, Germany and Switzerland. Olivier Gaudin, co-founder and chief executive officer, said the company is also preparing for public markets. The company, whose customers include technology giants IBM, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet, offers a platform that supports 29 programming languages, allowing developers to “write clean code”. Its product offerings include both open-source and commercial solutions.

Technology firms offering innovative solutions for enterprises to streamline their business operations have seen valuations jump, with several using pandemic-fueled growth to float their shares in the public markets or raising funds in new rounds.

Even as high-growth tech valuations have come under pressure this year, several firms continue to see interest from prominent venture capital and private equity giants.

SonarSource is also looking to expand in the Asia-Pacific market and said it would open a regional headquarters in Singapore.


Gizmodo-publisher G/O Media acquires business news site Quartz


Gizmodo publisher G/O Media is acquiring Quartz, the business news site, the latest in a series of consolidations in digital media, reports Reuters.

The deal comes as publications struggle to grow revenue amid a fierce fight for advertising dollars with internet heavy-weights Meta Platforms and Alphabet. Great Hill Partners-owned G/O Media will be the third owner of Quartz, which was founded in 2012. It was acquired by Tokyo-listed financial data firm Uzabase in 2018 before being taken private by Seward two years later.