With 12.5 million shares for sale, the initial public offering raised some $175 million that Box can now use to invest in its business, and a market capitalization of $1.6 billion.
By Friday afternoon, the stock — trading under the symbol “BOX” — had reached as high as $24.73 per share, or 77 percent above its IPO price.
“It was unbelievable,” said Steve Sarracino, a founder and partner at Activant Capital, noting that current prices were giving Box a valuation on a par with the $2 billion it saw in its last private funding round in July.
“We were watching closely because for the first time it looked like the public market was going to impose discipline on the private market, but they blew right through there. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it tells us the market is risk-on,” he said.
Wall Street’s warm reception can only come as welcome reassurance for Box, whose IPO journey has been a rocky one. After originally filing to go public last March, the company ended up postponing those plans, citing unfavorable market conditions.
Looking ahead, though, there’s no doubt Box will have to move quickly. Storage is a commodity business,analysts have noted, and Box will have to make sure customers see it as a provider of more than just storage.
For a while, the rumor mill has manufactured hell on earth yarns claiming that Samsung is set to buy the Canadian smartphone maker Blackberry.
The deal always seems to fall through, and in any event has never happened.
However the Financial Post has found evidence that this time Samsung is actively pursuing a plan to take over or buy a significant stake in BlackBerry.
The story is still a rumour because both companies have denied such a plan may be in the works, but a document obtained by the Financial Post, prepared for Samsung by New York-based independent investment bank Evercore Partners, outlines the case for, and the potential structure of a possible purchase of BlackBerry.
The paper is a little elderly and was written in the last quarter of 2014, but a source familiar with the matter said that Samsung remains very interested in acquiring all or part of BlackBerry for the right price.
J.K. Shin, Samsung’s co-chief executive, told The Wall Street Journal that his company is in talks to use some of BlackBerry’s technology in the South Korean company’s devices, but is not interested in an acquisition. “We want to work with BlackBerry and develop this partnership, not acquire the company.”
But it appears that Samsung was caught off guard by a Reuters leak earlier this week. It had hoped it could move in quickly on BlackBerry, and the company’s share price would stay low. When the news went up and the share price rose its bid looked a little weak.
BlackBerry appears to have learned of the price Samsung was hoping to pay through the Reuters leak, before the company could make a formal offer. This is the sort of thing Samsung wanted to avoid.
In five years, BlackBerry thought the return on their turnaround strategy as implemented by John Chen was going to do better than the cash they will be receiving today.
Still, the source maintains that Samsung is still keen on making a deal happen. The talk earlier this week about Samsung extending its cooperation with BlackBerry, which was notably lacking in specifics, is “just setting it up,” the source said. “Samsung hasn’t walked away” from an acquisition. “They’re leaning towards it.”
Such an outcome would be a blow for Qualcomm’s prospects for 2015, with the company already having guided for weaker-than-usual annual revenue growth in a five-year outlook issued in November. Samsung, the world’s No.1 smartphone maker, has been one of the U.S. company’s top customers.
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 810 chip overheated during Samsung’s testing, Bloomberg reported. The South Korean company will use its own processors instead, Bloomberg said.
A Qualcomm spokesman declined to comment on the report. A Samsung spokeswoman said the company does not comment on rumours.
Analysts have said the Snapdragon 810 chip has been dealing with a variety of performance issues that may not be corrected in time for the launch of Samsung’s next Galaxy S smartphone.
The South Korean firm is widely expected to unveil the device on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress trade show in early March. Samsung will need to ensure that the phone does not disappoint in order to keep its global market share from slipping further, analysts said.
Samsung has already used its own Exynos processors in flagship devices such as the Galaxy S5 to some extent, though analysts said Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips were more widely used. Greater adoption of Exynos chips in Samsung smartphones would help boost sales for the struggling foundry business.
“Samsung will likely show off the new Galaxy S phone in about a month and a half, so one would have to assume that the chips have been tested a fair amount in order for them to be used,” said HMC Investment analyst Greg Roh.
“Most of our acquisitions will probably be on an ‘as a service’ basis, as opposed to an on-premise model,” CFO Martin Schroeter said during IBM’s quarterly earnings call, in response to a question.
“That’s the nature of the market and where we have a lot of opportunity, because we don’t play in some of those areas today,” he said.
IBM could use the growth. On Tuesday it said revenue for the last quarter declined across all major segments — hardware, software and services. Profits were down as well, though they beat the forecast of financial analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
IBM sees cloud services as one of its best chances for growth, as sales of its more traditional products, including mainframes and Unix servers, continue to decline.
Two years ago it bought SoftLayer to help it compete with Amazon Web Services, and last year it bought Cloudant, which provides a database as a service, and Light House Security, another cloud provider. This year, it looks like more cloud deals will be in the works.
Meanwhile, CEO Ginni Rometty has been selling off businesses that produce little or no profit. In October, she announced a plan to sell IBM’s chip manufacturing business for US$1.3 billion to Global Foundries, and before that she sold its x86 server business to Lenovo.
So IBM’s revenue is shrinking in part by design, but it needs to expand its other, more profitable businesses to compensate for the losses. And that isn’t yet happening at a fast enough rate.
Samsung Electronics recently offered to purchase BlackBerry Ltd for as much as $7.5 billion, hoping to acquire its valuable patents as it battles Apple in the corporate market, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents seen by Reuters.
South Korea’s Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, representing a premium of 38 percent to 60 percent over BlackBerry’s current trading price, the source said on Wednesday.
Representatives from the two companies, which are working with advisers, met last week to discuss a potential transaction, the source said, asking not to be identified because the conversations are private.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in a statement that it “has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry. Shares of BlackBerry, which soared nearly 30 percent following the Reuters report, fell back about 15 percent in after-hours electronic trading following the statement.
Samsung also told Reuters in Seoul that it has no plans to acquire Blackberry. “Media reports of the acquisition are groundless,” a company spokeswoman said.
Separately on Wednesday, Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail reported BlackBerry has shunned a handful of takeover overtures in recent months as its board and largest investor think its restructuring strategy will deliver greater shareholder value than current acquisition offers.
Mark Zuckerberg and Xiaomi Inc CEO Lei Jun held talks about a potential investment by Facebook in China’s top smartphone maker ahead of its $1.1 billion fundraising last month, but a deal never materialized, several people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The discussions, at a private dinner when Zuckerberg visited Beijing in October, were never formalized, three of those people said, as the two CEOs weighed the political and commercial implications of Facebook - which has been banned in China since 2009 – buying into the Chinese tech star now valued at $45 billion.
One individual with direct knowledge of Xiaomi’s fundraising said the mooted Facebook investment was “not huge,” but the talks underscore how ties between U.S. and Chinese companies have deepened as China’s tech industry matures.
A Facebook investment in Xiaomi would have raised the international profile of the popular handset maker dubbed “China’s Apple” by its fans and linked it to a U.S. social networking phenomenon with more than 1.3 billion users.
Facebook, for its part, has long harbored ambitions to expand into the world’s most populous country, potentially with partners. One of the individuals said Facebook and Xiaomi began discussing a possible investment in mid-2014.
Xiaomi’s Lei was partly put off by the potential for political fallout at home of selling a stake to Facebook while the U.S. social network is still banned in China, two of the people said, adding Xiaomi also feared a tie-up with Facebook could threaten its relationship with Google Inc, a crucial business partner. Xiaomi’s phones are built on Google’s Android operating system.
Xiaomi ultimately announced last month it raised $1.1 billion from investors including Hong Kong-based tech fund All Stars Investment; DST Global, a private equity firm that has invested in Facebook and Alibaba Group; Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC; Chinese fund Hopu Management; and Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital.
The fundraising valued Beijing-based Xiaomi at $45 billion just three years after it sold its first smartphone. The company had revenue of close to $12 billion in 2014.
Zuckerberg has eyed China as a critical piece of his vision to connect the global population. But, like Google and Twitter, the social networking giant has been blocked by China’s internet censors, who cite national security concerns.
Huawei Technology Co Ltd’s smartphone sales increased by almost a third to $11.8 billion in 2014, according to an internal memo, detailing the Chinese telecoms firm’s continued ascent in the global handset wars.
The division shipped about 75 million smartphones in 2014, according to the year-end memo to employees sent by Richard Yu, the head of Huawei’s consumer business. Although that represented a more than 40 percent year-on-year increase, the figure lagged behind Huawei’s previously stated sales target of 80 million units.
Huawei spokeswoman Maggie Qi said the company does not comment on internal memos.
The results, which are due to be publicly announced in the coming weeks, reaffirm Huawei’s place among a small coterie of rising smartphone makers, including Xiaomi Inc and LG Electronics, whose growth rates are eclipsing those of industry leaders.
Pressured by low-cost vendors, top ranked Samsung Electronics Co is likely to see its shipments nearly unchanged this year, while second-ranked Apple Inc may have posted around 20 percent growth after launching the iPhone 6, analysts estimate.
Those growth rates, however, pale in comparison to the expansion of Xiaomi, which sold 26 million handsets during the first half of 2014.
If it reaches its sales target of 60 million for the year, Xiaomi will have more than tripled its 2013 sales of 18.7 million. Private investors believe it will continue to soar: the Beijing-based company announced this week a new round of equity financing at $45 billion valuation, making Xiaomi the most highly valued private technology company in the world.
Meanwhile, close rival LG Electronics Inc may have seen its smartphone shipments rise around 26 percent this year, according to analysts.
Trendforce analyst Alan Chen said in a research note this month that Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo Group Ltd, which recently purchased Motorola from Google in a $2.91 billion deal, will battle to be the top Chinese smartphone vendor in 2015.
China’s Xiaomi Inc, one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone makers, has raised $1.1 billion in a round of funding that solidifies its status as one of the world’s most valuable private technology firms at a valuation of $45 billion.
Investors include private equity funds All-Stars Investment, DST Global, Hopu Investment Management, and Yunfeng Capital, as well as Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, Chief Executive Lei Jun said Monday on Weibo, confirming earlier media reports.
The deal is one of the first high-profile scores for All-Stars, a recently established fund headed by former Morgan Stanley tech analyst Richard Ji. It also strengthens ties between Lei and fellow tech magnate Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd executive chairman who invests privately through his Yunfeng Capital fund.
Industry sales data from recent quarters show Xiaomi has risen in just three years to become the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker – behind only Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc - and the latest round of investment enforces its standing as one of the world’s most valuable private companies.
At $45 billion, Xiaomi is now worth nearly three times the market capitalization of Lenovo Group Ltd, the world’s No. 1 PC maker, and more than quadruple the $10 billion valuation it garnered during its last financing round in 2013.
Xiaomi’s skyrocketing valuation reflects investors’ belief that it will grow into a global powerhouse despite signs it is encountering intellectual property challenges outside China. This month sales in India were temporarily halted after Swedish telecommunciations firm Ericsson filed a patent complaint.
Xiaomi brands itself as an Internet company that eschews traditional marketing and sells hardware at low prices as a distribution channel for its real money maker – software and services.
CNBC.com reported that Robert Peck, an analyst at investment bank SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, predicted that Costolo will leave the social network in 2015.
“We think there’s a good chance he’s not there within a year,” Peck said. He also said there are “a lot of interesting candidates” that could take over Twitter’s helm.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said he’s not surprised that interest in Twitter spiked on even speculation that Costolo might be leaving.
“I know there’s a lot of questions about his ability to run Twitter,” Kerravala said. “If the company doesn’t perform well or the company misses a couple of quarters, there will be tremendous investor pressure to oust him. If the company performs, he’s OK.”
Twitter, though it’s increasingly used for political and social protest and company branding, has suffered from slowing growth.
In October, the company reported slower growth in active monthly users than it had in the previous quarter. In the quarter ending in September, Twitter’s monthly user base grew by 4.8%, to 284 million users around the world. In the previous quarter, however, the user base grew by 6.3%.
Earlier this month, Twitter received more unsettling news when photo-sharing site Instagram announced that its monthly user base had jumped 50%, taking its base to 300 million users.
With that leap, Instagram surpassed Twitter in number of users.
The company also shuffled several executives this year, with three different heads of product in 2014 alone. Daniel Graf, one of Twitter’s head of products this year, was demoted in November and then left the company in December,according to re/code.
“There appears to be a lot of executives leaving for other companies,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “Twitter has had a tough time compared to Facebook and that’s what investors are fixated with. I think they’re feeling mounting pressure from shareholders and employees.”
AT&T now says it will continue its already-announced fiber optic network expansion to 100 cities, moving away from comments by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson after President Obama voiced support for net neutrality last month.
The move brought a strong response from critics who say the carrier’s fiber optic plans are mostly bogus and were designed as a competitive play against the ongoing Google Fiber rollout. The purported delay in AT&T’s investments was quickly seen as an empty threat.
In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent Nov. 25, AT&T said won’t limit future fiber-to-the-premises deployments to 2 million homes as part of its $49 billion deal to acquire DirecTV. That contrasts with what Stephenson said Nov. 12.
“To the contrary, AT&T still plans to complete the major initiative we announced in April to expand our ultrafast GigaPower fiber network in 25 major metropolitan areas nationwide.” Robert Quinn, AT&T senior vice president for regulatory matters, said in the letter.
In his Nov. 12 appearance at a Wells Fargo investors conference, Stephenson had said AT&T would stop fiber rollouts beyond the 2 million for the DirecTV deal: adding: “We can’t go out and just invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities other than these 2 million not knowing under what rules that investment will be governed.” The 100 cities are included in the 25 metro areas AT&T cited in its letter to the FCC. Stephenson later said to Fox Business Network that it might be two to three years before AT&T starts investing again in fiber optic network rollouts to 100 cities.
Since it won’t limit its fiber deployment to 2 million homes, AT&T also told the FCC that it didn’t need to provide documents surrounding any decision to delay. AT&T also redacted from public view any details on its fiber rollout in the letter.
An Israeli firm claims it has developed technology that can charge a mobile phone in a few seconds and an electric car in minutes, advances that could transform two of the world’s most dynamic consumer industries.
Using nano-technology to synthesize artificial molecules, Tel Aviv-based StoreDot says it has developed a battery that can store a much higher charge more quickly, in effect acting like a super-dense sponge to soak up power and retain it.
While the prototype is currently far too bulky for a mobile phone, the company believes it will be ready by 2016 to market a slim battery that can absorb and deliver a day’s power for a smartphone in just 30 seconds.
“These are new materials, they have never been developed before,” said Doron Myersdorf, the founder and chief executive of StoreDot, whose investors include Russian billionaire and Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich.
The innovation is based around the creation of “nanodots”, which StoreDot describes as bio-organic peptide molecules. Nanodots alter the way a battery behaves to allow the rapid absorption and, critically, the retention of power.
The company has raised $48 million from two rounds of funding, including backing from a leading mobile phone maker. Myersdorf declined to name the company, but said it was Asian.
With the number of smartphone users forecast to reach 1.75 billion this year, StoreDot sees a big market, and some experts think that — with more work — it could be on to a winner.
“We live in a power hungry world … people are constantly chasing a power outlet. StoreDot has the potential to solve this real big problem,” said Zack Weisfeld, who has worked with and evaluated ventures in the mobile phone sector globally.
“They still have some way to go, to deal with size of battery and power cycle rounds, but if solvable, it’s a very big breakthrough,” he told Reuters. A power cycle round refers to the number of times a battery can be re-charged in its lifetime.
Myersdorf said a fast-charge phone would cost $100-$150 more than current models and would ultimately be able to handle 1,500 recharge/discharge cycles, giving it about three years of life.
The action was taken in reference to events dating back to 2007, which saw employees of SAP’s TomorrowNow unit accused of illegally downloading Oracle software.
German company TomorrowNow was bought by SAP as a means to undercut Oracle’s internal tech support rates, with the ambition of getting customers to migrate to SAP solutions, reports Reuters.
In 2006, TomorrowNow started the process of undermining its parent’s position, offering cut-price support to users of the Siebel database and CRM.
Oracle was originally awarded $1.3bn back in 2010, but this was adjusted downwards on multiple appeals.
SAP acknowledged that its employees had been in the wrong, but disputed the damages awarded. SAP offered a $306m payment in 2012, but did so more in hope than expectation given its admissions.
Earlier in the year, a federal judge gave Oracle the option to settle for $356.7m or force a retrial, and the company has now decided on the former with a further $2.5m in interest.
“We are thrilled about this landmark recovery and extremely gratified that our efforts to protect innovation and our shareholders’ interests are duly rewarded,” said Oracle’s general counsel Dorian Daley.
“This sends a strong message to those who would prefer to cheat than compete fairly and legally.”
SAP agreed: “We are also pleased that, overall, the courts hearing this case ultimately accepted SAP’s arguments to limit Oracle’s excessive damages claims and that Oracle has finally chosen to end this matter.”
SAP announced a partnership with IBM last month to bring its HANA service to enterprise cloud users.
“We can’t go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told investors on a conference call earlier this week.
“We think it is prudent to just pause and make sure we have line of sight and understanding as to what those rules will look like,” Stephenson added.
His comments came just two days after President Obama urged federal regulators to invoke rules banning Internet Service Providers such as AT&T from requiring payments from content providers like Netflix to get higher network priority.
AT&T has promoted its U-verse GigaPower service in recent months to bring 1Gbps service to cities and has heard from 100 different cities who are candidates for the rollouts. In an online promotional video, AT&T notes that it already has 16.5 million broadband connections and has laid more than 1 million miles of fiber optic cable.
Google, meanwhile, has connected several U.S. cities with its Google Fiber 1 Gbps connections and has plans to serve dozens more cities.
The delay in AT&T’s fiber optic investment could be vast, given AT&T’s estimate in 2013 that it would spend $14 billion over three years for wired and wireless broadband infrastructure in what it called Project Velocity.
AT&T didn’t respond when asked how long the delay in its fiber rollouts could be. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday said it won’t create new rules in its open Internet deliberations until 2015.
The FCC’s delay came shortly after President Obama on Monday called for far-reaching rules to affect cable and phone companies, including AT&T and other wireless carriers, that operate as ISPs. Obama made it clear he opposes any attempt by ISPs to prioritize Internet traffic in exchange for a higher payment by a content provider.
AT&T is part of a large group of carriers, including the CTIA industry group, opposed to Obama’s approach. Members have argued that regulating ISPs like traditional phone companies under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, as Obama prefers, won’t hold up in court.
Groups that favor expanding Internet service to underserved populations in inner cities and rural U.S. areas have largely welcomed fiber optic expansion by both Google and AT&T. The impact of AT&T’s delay on their efforts isn’t clear.
That accounts for 16 percent of all transactions at its coffee shops and, the company says, meant it transacted 90 percent of all of mobile payments in the entire U.S. in 2013.
The company’s slice of the national mobile payments market is sure to dip in the years ahead as other retailers start catching up to Starbucks, in part thanks to the recent launch of Apple Pay, but Starbucks says it sees no slow down in consumer adoption of its mobile payments technology.
Starbucks has integrated payments into its its own app, which allows customers to keep a prepaid Starbucks card on their phone, enabled with automatic refills when it gets low on cash, and keep a list of favorite drinks to make ordering easier.
Starbucks has apps for both Apple iOS and Android devices. On iOS, the prepaid Starbucks card is integrated with the phone’s Passbook digital wallet app.
“What you’re going to see in the years ahead will be a rapid acceleration in mobile device purchases and a continued significant migration away from bricks-and-mortar commerce,” said Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, in a conference call with investors.
Schultz said mobile users represented “a huge prize” for retailers and financial services companies and that’s why there is so much interest in the sector.
“That’s why every tech and financial service company in the world is today chasing the mobile payment opportunity,” he said. But he said that while Starbucks doesn’t have the hardware and software expertise of competitors, it has managed to do something that its competitors, so far, haven’t: change consumer behavior.
“We’ve accomplished this by integrating the convenience of mobile payment to a compelling and enjoyable program that gives our customers rewards,” he said.
The program, which will be marketed as Schwab Intelligent Portfolios to retail investors and independent investment advisers, will create portfolios of exchange-traded funds managed by Schwab and other providers.
In offering the service without management, transaction or account service fees, Schwab intends to be “disruptive” to competitors that have rapidly been introducing “rob o-adviser” platforms that charge fees of about 0.25 percent of money invested, Schwab officials said in a conference call with analysts and investors.
Reuters reported Schwab’s plan to introduce a free rob o-program on Oct. 3.
Schwab said it can make money through fees from managing and servicing underlying ETFs and from investing client cash in the portfolios. While the portfolios could draw investors who use conventional Schwab accounts or hire advisers who trade through Schwab, the company is not afraid of “cannibalizing” its own revenue, executives said.
The service will appeal primarily to Schwab’s traditional self-directed investors who do not want to use its fee-based advice programs, Chief Executive Walt Bettinger said.
He would not name specific competitors Schwab expects to undermine, but said they range from independent firms that offer only automated programs, to “wire houses,” a reference to large full-service firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS AG’s U.S. brokerage unit.
“This has the potential to create impact across the entire market,” Bettinger said.