1.GOOGLE – Microsoft Corp on Wednesday said it has won a deal to sell the U.S. Army augmented reality headsets based on its HoloLens product and backed by Azure cloud computing services.
The contract could be worth up to $21.88 billion over 10 years, a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters.
Over the past two years, Microsoft has worked with the Army to on the prototyping phase of what is called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS. The company said Wednesday that the Army had moved into the production phase of the project.
In a blog post, Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman said the headsets are designed to deliver “enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios.”
The headsets will be manufactured in the United States, a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters.
Microsoft was also in line to win the $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract with the Pentagon, but the contract remains in dispute in a lawsuit filed by Amazon.com Inc Pentagon officials told U.S. lawmakers in February that the Defense Department may jettison the contract if the dispute lingers in the courts.
2.SOFT BANK :Compass Inc, the U.S. real estate technology firm backed by SoftBank Group, said on Wednesday it sold shares in its initial public offering at $18 each, at the lower end of its downsized target range to raise $450 million.
Compass had previously set a price range of $18-$19 per share, downsized from its prior target at $23 to $26. At $18, a fully diluted valuation, which includes securities such as options and restricted stock, would be $9 billion, compared to $6.4 billion in its most recent private funding round in 2019.
The IPO is a sign of investor fatigue for new stocks, with companies already raising over $36 billion through U.S. IPOs this quarter, up more than 360% year on year, according to Refinitiv.
Intermedia Cloud Communications earlier on Wednesday said it has postponed its IPO due to challenging market conditions.
New York-based Compass was founded in 2012 by former Twitter Inc engineer Ori Allon and former Goldman Sachs executive Robert Reffkin. It covers 46 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States and works with over 19,000 agents.
It has raised $1.5 billion from investors including SoftBank, Goldman Sachs and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
3.GOOGLE :-South Korea’s Kakao Mobility has secured a strategic investment from Google of 56.5 billion won ($50.1 million), the transportation firm and parent Kakao Corp said on Thursday.
Kakao Mobility’s app, Kakao T, has 28 million registered users, and offers South Korea’s most popular taxi-hailing service as well as other transportation services.
Carlyle Group Inc agreed to invest $200 million earlier this year, valuing Kakao Mobility at 3.42 trillion won.
4. AMAZON:– President Joe Biden on Wednesday singled out Amazon.com Inc for not paying federal taxes during his address in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as he spoke about raising the burden of taxes on multinational companies and hiking the corporate tax rate.
Biden’s infrastructure plan unveiled earlier in the day increases the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% and changes the tax code to close loopholes that allow companies to move profits overseas, according to a 25-page briefing paper released by the White House.
Biden said Amazon was one of 91 Fortune 500 companies that “use various loopholes where they pay not a single solitary penny in federal income tax,” in sharp contrast to middle class families paying over 20% tax rates.
“I don’t want to punish them but that’s just wrong,” he said.
In response, an Amazon spokeswoman pointed to tweet on research and development tax credits by Jay Carney, the company’s public policy and communications chief and a former White House press secretary under former President Barack Obama.
“If the R&D Tax Credit is a ‘loophole,’ it’s certainly one Congress strongly intended. The R&D Tax credit has existed since 1981, was extended 15 times with bi-partisan support and was made permanent in 2015 in a law signed by President Obama,” Carney tweeted.
After paying $0 in federal taxes for two years, Amazon started paying federal income tax in 2019.
This is not the first time Biden has gone after Amazon. In June 2019, he named Amazon and said no company making billions in profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers.
5.MASTERCARD- Mastercard Inc will invest $100 million in Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations valuing the business at $2.65 billion, the London-listed company said on Thursday.
Mastercard will hold a minority stake in Airtel Mobile Commerce, in line with Airtel Africa’s plan to monetise the mobile money business by selling up to a 25% stake in the unit, the company said.