BuzzFeed agrees deal to go public via a SPAC merger with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners

Buzzfeed
  • BuzzFeed agreed to go public via a merger with SPAC 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a SPAC focused on media and entertainment.
  • It plans to acquire youth-focused digital publisher Complex Networks under the deal.
  • The parent company will be named BuzzFeed, and will be listed under the ticker “BZFD.”
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BuzzFeed agreed to become public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, according to an announcement on Thursday.

As part of the deal with media-and-telecom focused SPAC 890 Fifth Avenue, named after the fictional Avengers mansion, BuzzFeed plans to acquire digital-publisher Complex Networks for $300 million.

The New York-headquartered company’s acquisition of HuffPost last year sparked speculation that it could attempt to buy other digital media rivals by combining with a blank-check company.

Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti and CFO Felicia DellaFortuna will continue to hold their roles, along with other executive board members. Adam Rothstein, executive chairman of 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, and Greg Coleman, an advisor to the SPAC and former BuzzFeed president, will join the company’s board, according to the announcement.

Peretti hopes the Complex acquisition will help the combined organization to scale up in the face of competition from Google and Facebook for digital advertising business, according to the WSJ.

SPACs typically aim to first secure a stock-market listing and then identify a private company to acquire and merge with, offering businesses an alternative to the traditional IPO process. There have been about twice as many listings through blank-check companies so far in 2021, compared with traditional offers. Around $108 billion has already been raised across 349 SPAC IPOs year-to-date, according to data from SPACInsider.com.

The emergence of SPACs is a positive force for digital media, because large-scale companies like BuzzFeed and Vox have mostly given up on selling to major cable or media companies, a media executive told Insider in December.

After the merger, expected to close in the fourth-quarter, the parent company will be called BuzzFeed and will be listed on the stock exchange under the ticker symbol “BZFD.”

Read More: Bank of America says to buy these 31 small- and mid-cap stocks with average implied upside of nearly 30% as they represent its best ideas for the second half of 2021

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BuzzFeed is nearing a deal to go public via a SPAC merger, report says

Buzzfeed
  • BuzzFeed is closing in on a deal to go public via a merger with SPAC 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, WSJ reported.
  • The deal with the blank-check company could come this week, people familiar with the situation told the WSJ.
  • Capital raised would let BuzzFeed go after other digital publishers, as it aims to compete wth Google and Amazon for ad dollars.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

BuzzFeed is closing in on a deal to go public through a merger with special-purpose acquisition company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The deal with media-and-telecom focused SPAC 890 Fifth Avenue, named after the fictional Avengers mansion, could be announced as early as this week, people familiar with the situation told the WSJ. The terms of the deal are not publicly known.

Proceeds from the merger would be used toward making further acquisitions, with Complex Networks seen as a potential target. A deal for the publisher focused on youth culture could significantly boost BuzzFeed’s revenue.

The New York-headquartered company’s acquisition of HuffPost last year sparked speculation that it could attempt to buy other digital media rivals by combining with a blank-check company.

BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti hopes the Complex acquisition will help the combined organization to scale up in the face of competition from Google and Facebook for digital advertising business, the WSJ report said.

SPACs typically aim to first secure a stock-market listing and then identify a private company to acquire and merge with, offering businesses an alternative to the traditional IPO process. There have been about twice as many listings through blank-check companies so far in 2021, compared with traditional offers. Around $108 billion has already been raised across 349 SPAC IPOs year-to-date, according to data from SPACInsider.com.

The emergence of SPACs is a positive force for digital media, because large-scale companies like BuzzFeed and Vox have mostly given up on selling to major cable or media companies, a media executive told Insider in December.

BuzzFeed declined to comment on the WSJ’s report when contacted by Insider.

Read More: Bank of America says to buy these 31 small- and mid-cap stocks with average implied upside of nearly 30% as they represent its best ideas for the second half of 2021

Read the original article on Business Insider

I used Robinhood, WeBull, and Public for the first time. They all have their advantages, but WeBull outshines the competition with its resources for new traders.

robinhood gamification trading app 4x3
  • I opened brokerage accounts with three trading apps this week and compared the experience of using each.
  • Robinhood by far has the best looking app. But if you want more resources to help you make investing decisions, use WeBull.
  • Robinhood launched in 2013 and is now seeking to go public. WeBull and Public both launched in 2017.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Robinhood launched in 2013 and quickly gripped new and young investors wanting to try their hands at retail trading.

The trading app, which is seeking to go public with a valuation as high as $30 billion, had about 13 million users at the end of 2020.

But the app came under intense scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators, and customers after it halted trading of GameStop as retail traders drove up the stock price to all-time highs in January.

Some have said the app makes investing too much like a game, as others complained of market manipulation amid the GameStop frenzy.

The situation has allowed competitors to muscle in.

WeBull, the Chinese-owned brokerage that launched in 2017, said it saw a 16-fold jump in new account signups following the Robinhood backlash, Bloomberg reported at the time. Meanwhile, Public, which also launched in 2017, has doubled in size year-to-date with more than 1 million users.

These trading apps are all competing for attention from Millennial and Gen Z investors alongside more established brokerages, like TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and others.

For this story, I downloaded each of the three apps to compare the user interface, the variety of features, security, and the educational resources, to see which one came out on top.

The bottom line? Robinhood was hands down the most enjoyable to use and interact with, but WeBull came out on top with readily available data and resources to help me improve my investing strategies.

My view as a first-time retail investor

I will start by saying I’ve never done this before. I started my professional journalism career at Bloomberg and am now the Millennial Investing reporter on the markets team at Insider. Those roles come with strict rules on what I can and can’t do in terms of investing.

For example, I write a lot about meme stocks like GameStop and AMC. If I were to invest in one, that would be a conflict of interest and would land me in hot water with my employer. Besides contributing to a 401(k), I’ve stayed away from any other investing.

To open accounts with each of the apps, I had to answer a lengthy list of questions, from my investment experience to a lot of personal identifying information, and then input my banking information. This experience is standard across all services.

Though I did not claim the offer, all of the apps I tested award users one free stock as a perk of signing up.

Also, importantly, all of these services are commission-free. This is the case for both stocks and crypto on Robinhood and WeBull, while Public does not offer crypto trading at this time.

Read more: BANK OF AMERICA: Buy these 36 dirt-cheap small- and mid-cap stocks that will soar as the global economy reopens and inflation heats up – including 5 expected to surge at least 60%

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Screenshot from Public app

I see why Robinhood has been described as “gamifying” investing. The app is well-designed and exciting.

My retail investing journey began with Robinhood. I got the go-ahead to transfer exactly $1 to my new brokerage account to invest in an exchange-traded fund. I chose the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, which trades under the ticker VOO.

With $1 in buying power, I received .002602 shares, the app said. I swiped up to submit the purchase. It said my order was completed and showed me a summary.

When I clicked “Done,” a full-screen graphic appeared saying, “Congrats on making your first trade, Natasha!”

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Screenshot from Robinhood app

As someone who writes about markets for a living, this was extremely fun. If I’d had more than $1, I would have clicked the shiny green button on the bottom that read, “Continue your journey” to buy more.

I started to understand how young people could become addicted to an investing app.

Public made the buying experience just as easy. Instead of the bright white-and-green color scheme on Robinhood, Public has a sleek black-blue-and-white design.

I easily found the Vanguard ETF, input my $1 of buying power, and clicked “confirm.” No confetti, but it was straightforward and easy.

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Screenshot from Public app

WeBull was more of a challenge. I transferred my $1 from my bank account only to discover the app doesn’t offer fractional trading, meaning I had to buy a whole share, which would have cost $386.91 as of 2:45 p.m. on Friday.

The discovery was a let down. I would either have to find an ETF trading at $1, which does not exist, or transfer more money for something more expensive.

I decided on a single share of the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF, trading under the ticker symbol XLF, for $37.54.

After transferring more funds, I hit the blue “trade” button on the ETF’s main page, input the quantity as 1, and hit “confirm.” It brought up a receipt page that read “working” and would allow me to cancel or modify my order in the meantime. Again no fireworks, but a relatively simple process.

WeBull has everything a young investor would need – except fractional trading and a fun user interface

If you overlook the lack of fractional trading, which can be a great way for investors to own otherwise prohibitively expensive stocks, WeBull felt like the most serious investing app. Here’s why.

First of all, it had the most security features. I opted to set an unlock pattern for each time I open the app. On top of that, when I decide to go into my brokerage account within the app, I have to enter a six-digit pin.

It felt like bank-level security, which is something I found important out of a broker that has all of my personal information and bank account details.

Robinhood and Public have security features, too, just not as many. Robinhood requires my phone passcode each time I open the app. On Public, I opted to turn on the face-ID feature for more security.

WeBull also provided the most market data.

Though the deluge of data meant the app wasn’t as sleek as Robinhood, it also meant I had more access to important information before investing.

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That’s not to say Robinhood and Public don’t have market data. They do (on Robinhood investors can pay $5 for a subscription to market research and level 2 data), but neither app has near the amount of information WeBull provides up front.

In terms of educating young or new investors, WeBull also wins. The app regularly sent me messages with how-tos on investing and explainers on topics like initial public offerings.

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Screenshot from WeBull.

There wasn’t much for educational resources within the Robinhood app. Public offered some. All three gave access to relevant news articles.

WeBull also had a social media feature, where users can share their views and investments.

Public, though, has a much more visible social aspect, and markets that as a selling point. Its slogan is “Public makes the stock market social,” and it recently launched a live audio feature, similar to that of the Clubhouse app.

Among the apps, investors have to choose among a sleek and exciting platform with Robinhood, a less sleek yet more informational app in WeBull, or a social-media driven platform in Public.

Overall, my experience would lead me to choose WeBull if I was in the market for a trading and investment platform.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Panera Bread may go public again after the pandemic made it determine how to be ‘better and stronger’

Panera Bread.
Panera Bread. Scott Olson/Getty Images

  • JAB Holdings just completed an $800 million refinancing of restaurant chain Panera Bread: DealBook.
  • That may pave the way for Panera to return to the public market after going private in 2017.
  • Panera used the pandemic to become “better and stronger,” the chain’s CEO said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Panera Bread may be looking to go public – again.

Panera-owner JAB, the holding company with chains such as Krispy Kreme and Caribou Coffee in its portfolio, completed an $800 million refinancing deal of the restaurant this month, and that could open Panera’s path back to the public markets, The New York Times DealBook reported Wednesday.

JAB declined to comment on the matter. Panera, which has more than 2,000 locations in the US, went private in 2017 after 26 years as a publicly traded company, when JAB bought the business in a $7.5 billion deal.

If Panera were to go public, it may happen with or without an initial public offering, DealBook said, noting that JAB has taken its holdings public through both traditional IPOs and mergers.

SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, are one path private businesses can take to the public market, and restaurant SPACs have been booming so far this year, Insider reported previously.

Read more: These are the 9 new restaurant SPACs to know, as they raise millions to take restaurant chains and hospitality tech brands public

Panera did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on going public.

In an April 25 interview with the Associated Press, Panera Chief Executive Officer Niren Chaudhary said the pandemic forced the company to determine how to become “better and stronger.”

The company’s shift to e-commerce, and customer desire for convenience were “irreversible” trends that emerged during the pandemic, the CEO said. Now, 85% of customers opt for carryout or delivery options, compared to 40% pre-pandemic, the AP reported.

“It’s not that on-premise consumption would disappear, but delivery, rapid pickup, curbside pickup and drive-thru, those kinds of things are here to stay,” Chaudhary said to the AP.

Just this month, Panera announced a partnership with Adobe to help the chain improve its mobile-ordering and curbside pickup experience. Adobe will collect data from customer orders to help smooth out the ordering process and suggest re-ordering the same items.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Bankrupt car-rental firm Hertz’ lenders are proposing a shakeup that would take a newly reorganized company public, report says

hertz
  • Hertz’ lenders are proposing a shakeup that would take a reorganized company public, according to Bloomberg.
  • If Hertz approves the proposal, its planned sale to two investment funds for $4.2 billion would not go through.
  • The creditor group believes Hertz has an enterprise value of $5 billion.
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Hertz‘s unsecured creditors are proposing a restructuring of the car-rental firm that clashes with the company’s plan to exit from bankruptcy via a sale to two investment funds, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

As part of the planned shakeup, the lenders want to convert their holdings in the bankrupt firm into shares of the reorganized company which could be taken public, Bloomberg said, citing sources.

If the proposal is approved by Hertz’ board, the company would no longer go ahead with its planned sale to Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management for $4.2 billion. Hertz began negotiations with potential buyers in November, according to court documents. 

The creditors view Knighthead’s bid, which values Hertz at $5.85, as too low, Bloomberg reported. They believe Hertz has an enterprise value of $5 billion and could fetch more under the group’s reorganization plan. The proposal hasn’t yet been sent to Hertz and terms aren’t fixed as yet.

Hertz did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Among options being considered, Hertz’ stock would become public upon its exit from bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg. The company’s creditor group counts Alliance Bernstein, Bank of America, Invesco, Fir Tree Partners, and JPMorgan Asset Management among its members.

Hertz, one of the first so-called “meme stocks” in Reddit’s Wall Street Bets subreddit, gained immense popularity as its stock price grew tenfold in a matter of weeks last year. In mid-2020, the company looked to cash in on the interest compounded by the hive mind of the community. But the market eventually soured and it ultimately delisted in October. 

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