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Grab's Valuation In Question After SPAC Partner Altimeter Plummets 28 Pct

Grab’s Valuation In Question After SPAC Partner Altimeter Plummets 28 Pct

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/news/ipo/2021/grab-valuation-spac-partner-altimeter-plummets-28-percent/
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PYMNTS
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Altimeter, a blank-check company in charge of merging with delivery giant Grab, is just a few cents above its record low after bottoming at 28 percent since a deal went through in April, Bloomberg reported.

Altimeter closed at $11.06 Thursday (May 13), which was only a bit above the $10.98 of the historical low, according to Bloomberg. The selloff came right above the deal Grab reached on April 14 with Altimeter, with the project being the largest ever completed with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Grab, based in Singapore, is likely to have a market value of around $39.6 billion, Bloomberg reported.

Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, head of Consumer Sector Equity Research at Tellimer in Singapore, told Bloomberg that the reason for the precipitous price drop could be connected to the skittishness of investors on the valuation for Grab. There is also perception that the larger SPAC market is weak.

The company will be raising over $4 billion from investors, including BlackRock, Fidelity International and T. Rowe Price Group, Bloomberg reported.

“SPACs have seen a bit of selloff, so it reflects the general sentiment,” said Angus Mackintosh, founder of CrossASEAN Research, per Bloomberg. The share price at current levels won’t make a big difference from Grab’s listing perspective, he added. “It just means profits your SPAC owners would realize are diluted to some extent. They have effectively locked in cornerstone investors at a $40 billion valuation. Whether Grab can sustain that lofty valuation after listing, given the competitive landscape, is a bigger question.”

SPACs have been going strong but are slowing in terms of new deals, with only five blank-check companies submitting registration documents in the final week of April, according to Bloomberg.

PYMNTS reported in April that Grab would go public on the Nasdaq. The app has broadened its services to become somewhat of a catch-all app, including a singular portal for ride-hailing and food delivery along with microfinance.

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May 17, 2021 at 03:02AM
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Report: Twitter Eyes $3 Monthly Subscription Dubbed 'Twitter Blue'

Report: Twitter Eyes $3 Monthly Subscription Dubbed ‘Twitter Blue’

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/subscriptions/2021/report-twitter-eyes-3-monthly-subscription-dubbed-twitter-blue/
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PYMNTS
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Twitter is debuting a new subscription service called ‘Twitter Blue,’ according to a report from CNet.

The service will cost $3 a month, according to a tweet from tipster Jane Manchun Wong.

The social media giant said in early May that it would be putting out a new subscription offering.

According to Wong, the service could also come with a tiered pricing model. Users who pay more might be able to access more features.

One of those features, she said, would be ‘Collections,’ which would let people save their favorite tweets and come back to them later.

There’s currently no explicit date for when the service will roll out, but the company has been testing out an array of new features. Among those have been feature to undo tweets, a charge to use Tweetdeck, the dashboard app, and Super Follows, which will let users get exclusive content and follow creators.

Then there’s the ‘Scroll’ technology, which might be able to offer an ad-free Twitter experience for users.

PYMNTS previously reported on Twitter’s plans, saying the social media giant would be looking to double its yearly revenue and boost its growth in users in the next few years.

The report said Twitter could pivot away from ads and more toward the subscription model for compensation for content.

According to reports, the company thinks it could appeal to influencers with large follower counts.

Currently, ads make up around 86 percent of its 2020 earnings. And in January Twitter said it had agreed to buy the Revue Holding BV newsletter, which would put it in competition with other sites like Mailchimp and Substack.

The app has also looked to roll out a service to allow tipping for some users.

Twitter’s goal is to hit $7.5 billion in revenue by 2023. By that time the company thinks it will have around 315 million users.

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May 17, 2021 at 02:58AM
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Bitcoin Daily: Argentinian Tax Authority Orders Crypto Firms To Report User Activity; Williston ND Now Takes Crypto For Utility Bills

Bitcoin Daily: Argentinian Tax Authority Orders Crypto Firms To Report User Activity; Williston, ND Now Takes Crypto For Utility Bills

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/blockchain/bitcoin/2021/bitcoin-daily-argentinian-tax-authority-orders-crypto-firms-to-report-user-activity-williston-nd-now-takes-crypto-for-utility-bills/
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Argentinian tax authorities are looking at scrutinizing operations involving cryptocurrency, Coinbase writes.

Argentina’s Federal Administration of Public Income (AFIP) has told domestic crypto exchanges to put out monthly reports on the way users are using their platforms.

The authority wants local crypto firms to keep up regular lists of users’ accounts, and to keep up records of users’ income, expenses and regular balances.

According to the report, AFIP’s crypto regulation relates to crypto exchanges but also to payment processors which include some popular crypto-friendly apps like Mercado Pago. Under the regulations, companies will need to file that information by the 15th of the following month.

The North Dakota city of Williston will now accept cryptocurrency as payment for utility bills.

“We have partnered with BitPay, the largest virtual payment merchant whose partners include Microsoft and Facebook,” explained Finance Director, Hercules Cummings. “We are the first municipality in the State of North Dakota, and the third in the nation, to offer this service.”

Only utility payments are eligible for the crypto payments thus far. There will be quality assessments conducted before other expansions to things like landfill, permits and licenses.

Citizens will have the option by June 2021 to pay using Apple Pay, Google Pay and pay-by-text, and PayPal and Venmo will be added as options before the end of the year, the release says.

India’s central bank is telling lenders to cut their ties with cryptocurrency exchanges, a report from Investing.com says.

The market for crypto is currently booming in India. India has also been looking at a law to ban cryptocurrencies and penalize those who deal in them.

That would be among the strictest crypto laws passed around the newest facet of finance – although with the advent of COVID-19, no one is sure when it might be passed.

As it is now, thousands of users have been entering the system daily and the price of major cryptos has been on the rise.

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May 17, 2021 at 02:57AM
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Wells Fargo Analyst Predicts US Banks To Shed 10 Pct Of Jobs

Wells Fargo Analyst Predicts US Banks To Shed 10 Pct Of Jobs

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/news/banking/2021/wells-fargo-analyst-predicts-us-banks-to-shed-10-pct-of-jobs/
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PYMNTS
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Bank analysts say the U.S. banks might end up cutting as many as 200,000 jobs in the next decade as consumer banking behavior undergoes shifts, a report from Financial Times says.

Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo said it could be “the biggest reduction in U.S. bank headcount in history.”

In Mayo’s estimation, jobs at places like branch offices and call centers are likely to be the first to the chopping block.

That’s because banks have been working around the new reality of banking, with the pandemic having coincided with the arrival of new banking services from fresh competitors like Amazon and PayPal threatening the hegemony of traditional banks. Mayo says regular banks likely only make up around a third of the current financing market, with digitization having shifted the landscape.

The FT report notes that many of the banks that closed during the pandemic will likely stay closed.

And among those that are open, the staff will likely see some slimming down, with banks pivoting to a model more focused on providing advice than facilitating transactions.

Several back office roles are also more likely to be automated. Mayo said the number of reductions could be tempered by attrition over the next 10 years. That could cut down on the risk of a backlash.

J.P. Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon recently expounded on the challenges banks are facing from the newer FinTechs and competition from nonbanks. Dimon said those facilities do not have the same capital rules and regulations.

He said the intrusion of Big Tech firms would only become more pronounced in the future as reliance on the cloud and artificial intelligence increases, too.

According to PYMNTS, he also said the economy was likely to be seeing good times ahead due to a series of factors including excess savings and the stimulus payments sent out earlier in the year.

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May 17, 2021 at 02:54AM
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Amazon India Debuts Free In-App Video Streaming To Rival Flipkart Videos

Amazon India Debuts Free In-App Video Streaming To Rival Flipkart Videos

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/amazon/2021/amazon-india-debuts-free-in-app-video-streaming-rival-flipkart-videos/
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PYMNTS
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Amazon has put a video player called miniTV inside its Android shopping app for customers in India, and it will soon extend the service to its iOS app and web apps, according to a company blog post.

Amazon India described the offering in the post as providing “trendy and fresh videos for free — no paid subscription required.” Within the months, it will add additional “exclusive” content.

“miniTV has professionally-created and curated content across web series, comedy shows, tech news, food, beauty, fashion and more,” the post stated. “The list includes leading studios, such as TVF, Pocket Aces and leading comedians — Ashish Chanchlani, Amit Bhadana, Round2Hell, Harsh Beniwal, Shruti Arjun Anand, Elvish Yadav, Prajakta Koli, Swagger Sharma, Aakash Gupta and Nishant Tanwar.”

Amazon also offers Prime Video in India — in English and also, according to the post, in nine languages spoken in India. Unlike Prime Video, miniTV doesn’t require a separate app for users of smart devices. Prime Video, however, can be streamed to separate screens, but miniTV can’t.

In addition to shopping and enjoying free entertainment, users of Amazon mobile apps also can make payments, the post stated.

The latest offering, available only in India, comes about a month after the company stated it is “on track” to meet its public forecast for growth in the country, PYMNTS reported.

“As we continue to work with small and medium businesses in our ecosystem, we remain committed to bringing new tools, technology and innovation that will unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of Indian businesses, boost exports from the country, help create jobs at scale and contribute to the vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” Global Senior Vice President and Country Head of Amazon India Amit Agarwal said in a prepared statement in April. “As the world around us is more digital than ever with the internet and technology becoming an integral part of our lives, we see a massive opportunity to empower millions of SMBs across the country and remain committed for Amazon to be a catalyst for such accelerated progress.”

The expression “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” in Hindi has been used in political circles to mean, in English, “a self-reliant India.”

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May 17, 2021 at 02:43AM
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Credit Solutions Experian Temenos Offer Instant Prescreen

Experian, Temenos Offer Instant Prescreen, Credit Solutions

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/news/partnerships-acquisitions/2021/experian-temenos-offer-instant-prescreen-credit-solutions/
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PYMNTS
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Credit rating giant Experian and major banking software player Temenos have integrated their offerings to create “a seamless way for lenders to extend credit,” according to a press release.

The collaboration connects Experian’s PowerCurve product with Temenos’s Infinity product, the release stated.

“During this unprecedented time, organizations have to be agile in how they approach the user journey,” said Experian President of Decision Analytics, North America, Robert Boxberger in the release. “Through this integration, we’re harnessing the power of data and technology to enable financial institutions to make real-time decisions that maximize opportunities, mitigate risk and improve the customer experience. These combined offerings showcase our commitment to continually innovating and finding effective, secure solutions for decisioning automation that businesses can easily scale and rapidly deploy to meet today’s emerging needs.”

The arrangement relies on what Experian calls a “prequalification” process that Experian stated in the release is “initiated by the consumer and, if criteria is met, provides them with a variety of credit options. Prequalification is a soft pull, so it doesn’t affect a consumer’s credit score, and Experian is the only provider configured with Temenos to provide a soft-pull prequalification process across mobile and digital channels.”

The system also lets lenders quickly compare data with their lending criteria, according to the release.

Larry Edgar-Smith, senior vice president of the Business Solutions Group, Temenos Infinity – North America, said in the release: “It’s a natural evolution to our integration with Experian as lenders and consumers alike continue to demand automated decisioning, relevant digital experiences and frictionless access to their credit options.”

Temenos has more than 3,000 banks among its customers and those banks use Temenos to process the transactions of 1.2 billion customers, the release stated.

Credit scores and lending practices are in the spotlight as the pandemic eases in parts of the world and policymakers seek to determine how much difficulty businesses and individuals are having borrowing. The Federal Reserve warned in fall 2020 of potential headwinds for borrowers, PYMNTS reported.

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May 17, 2021 at 02:26AM
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Marqeta Files For IPO

Marqeta Files For IPO

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/news/ipo/2021/marqeta-files-ipo/
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PYMNTS
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Marqeta, an Oakland, California-based firm that specializes in helping companies issue debit and credit cards to employees or contract workers, has filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to go public.

The filing was widely expected. Marqeta lists customers including Instacart, DoorDash and Square. The IPO could value Marqeta at about $10 billion.

Among business metrics contained in Marqueta’s S-1 statement filed with the SEC: $350 million in annualized net revenue based on fourth quarter 2020 data; more than 100 percent year-over-year growth in net revenue for 2020; and more than 320 million cards issued to date. According to the filing, Marqueta does business in 36 countries.

Explaining its business proposition in the S-1, Marqeta wrote: “As technology-centric organizations with novel business models and needs, such as Uber and Expensify, have gained popularity over the last decade, the inherent constraints of legacy issuing technology needed a new approach. Developers, technical product managers and visionary entrepreneurs desire the tools and infrastructure necessary to build their products to serve customers around the world. They require open, configurable and well-documented [application programming interfaces (APIs)] to embed advanced payment technologies natively into their platforms to programmatically authorize and direct these payment flows without needing to integrate directly with issuing banks and card networks. Open APIs have spurred innovation in previously entrenched industries.

“We built the Marqeta platform to address these needs. Our modern architecture allows for flexibility, a high degree of configurability and accelerated product development, democratizing access to card issuing technology.”

The S-1 also included a forecast for the expansion of digital payments that read, in part: “Digital commerce is increasing rapidly. Visa estimates that from 2016 to 2022, the share of global retail commerce conducted online is expected to more than double from 9 percent to 19 percent. Similarly, Euromonitor projects electronic payments will represent 46 percent of the total global transaction volume by 2025, up from 31 percent in 2017. We believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these shifts to digital payments. Indeed, Bain & Company estimates that because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the percentage of global digital transaction volumes in 2025 will increase from 57 percent to 67 percent. According to McKinsey, a half-decade of change has happened in a few months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with global cash payments dropping four to five times the annual decline rates seen over the last few years as consumers and businesses purchase a wider range of goods and services online.”

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May 17, 2021 at 01:51AM
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Dltledgers Launches Blockchain Platform For Alt Trade Financing

Dltledgers Launches Blockchain Platform For Alt Trade Financing

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2021/dltledgers-launches-blockchain-platform-alternative-trade-financing/
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PYMNTS
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FinTech dltledgers has formally launched its SmartFIN program, which uses a blockchain-based system for connecting microbusinesses and small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are seeking trade financing with non-bank lenders.

The Singaporean company stated on its website that a prospective borrower can register in the SmartFIN system in 24 hours and then can begin the process of obtaining a loan at what dltledgers stated are lower rates than through more typical channels.

Once registered, the would-be borrower posts its financing needs. Then, dltledgers’ website stated: “Sit back and let SmartFIN do the work for you. Financiers will contact you within hours. You pick the financier that best meets your needs. And thats it. It is as simple as that.”

Dltledgers added: “A single login for any trader to utilize a scalable, global technology and legal infrastructure to service all your working capital and trade finance needs with a few clicks of a button… Ask for the best rates for each transaction. Connect your existing trade flow without hassle and grab on the spot.”

Global Trade Review quoted a dltledger spokesman as having said: “On SmartFin, [SMBs] can compare financing rates, and also see which lenders on the platform specialize in lending to particular industries, such as copper, cotton or sugar.”

Global Trade Review further quoted the spokesman for dltledger as having said: “The whole play here is around how we leverage blockchain technology not just for large enterprises and commodity players and banks but also for [SMBs]. This is one of the use cases from the [SMB] perspective. Eventually, we would anticipate that banks will come on board, as this is another use case where banks can validate all of the documents on an [SMB] before they finance their trade.”

In addition to Singapore, dltledgers lists offices in India, the United Arab Emirates, Tokyo, New Zealand and Thailand.

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May 17, 2021 at 12:52AM
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B2Z Insurance Debuts New Commercial Policies For SMBs

B2Z Insurance Debuts New Commercial Policies For SMBs

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2021/b2z-insurance-debuts-new-commercial-policies-smbs/
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PYMNTS
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Online business insurance company B2Z Insurance has rolled out a new suite of insurance policies for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), including a business owners policy, cyber insurance and more, according to a press release.

Other features include professional liability, hired and non-owned automobiles and workers’ compensation, the release stated.

The business owners policy goes beyond general liability and covers buildings, structures, customer injuries and more, according to the release. Cyber insurance offers help for SMBs to pay for customer notification, fraud monitoring, legal fees and system damage.

Meanwhile, the professional liability features offer coverage for businesses providing expertise and consulting services, offering help with claims of substandard work like missed deadlines, the release stated.

The suite’s hired and non-owned automobile product aids with third-party losses involving vehicles driven for business purposes, but personally owned by the employees, as well as rented vehicles, according to the release.

And workers’ compensation constitutes a way for employees hurt at work to access coverage to help with medical payments and possible litigation-related expenditures, the release stated.

“In today’s business environment, small business owners understand the importance of resilience and the need for full-scale coverage to keep their assets, employees and customers safe,” said B2Z Insurance Founder and CEO Kuldeep Malik in the release. “But the insurance offerings on the marketplace today are complicated and slow, which leaves many companies with coverage gaps — or even uninsured entirely. The launch of our full suite of policies, combined with our customer-focused platform, marks the beginning of our journey to raise the bar for a better insurance shopping experience.”

PYMNTS reported that slow insurance payouts can be detrimental SMBs. Those payments are supposed to make things right, but waiting for paper checks in the mail could just add to the problems for those companies. Switching to digital payments could soothe those companies’ troubles.

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May 16, 2021 at 11:54PM
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Inflation Fears Prompt Investors To Move Away From IPOs

Inflation Fears Prompt Investors To Move Away From IPOs

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PYMNTS.com
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https://www.pymnts.com/news/ipo/2021/inflation-fears-prompt-investors-move-away-ipos/
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PYMNTS
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Volatility in the stock market has driven a wedge in the initial public offering (IPO) market, which was surging until recently, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Some investors think next week could be a turning point, with the possibility of a calmer stock market and the IPOs coming up for Oatly Group, a Swedish oat milk maker, and software company Squarespace, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the shares of quickly growing companies have hit a wall, with investors not interested in shares for some companies. Other companies have postponed their IPOs due to the market volatility. WSJ reported that the S&P 500 has recently had its “biggest three-day swoon” in almost seven months.

An IPO market that is robust and doing well, according to WSJ, will be instrumental in determining how the rest of the year goes, as there are some big potential debuts set for later in 2021, including those of brokerage app Robinhood and delivery app Instacart.

There will also be a continuing focus on special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), WSJ reported. Hundreds of them are slated to go forward with mergers with private companies. The companies collectively manage over $100 billion.

But that could be jeopardized due to the market conditions, including the fact that many investors are skeptical of participating in deals, according to WSJ.

PYMNTS reported on the juxtaposition of conditions last week, with the IPO market seeing record-number highs for both money raised and shares sold.

At the same time, volatility caused some IPOs to be shelved, including ones from Hear.com and Enact Holdings, which is a subsidiary of Genworth Financial.

There have also been numerous companies with shares falling below their IPO prices, including Bumble, Honest, Affirm and Coupang.

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May 16, 2021 at 11:25PM
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