Grab inks tie-up with Maybank for e-payment

Ride-hailing company Grab has teamed up with Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) for its Grab’s new cashless payment method, the GrabPay mobile wallet.

Grab, which has morphed into a fintech platform, said on Monday with the partnership and support of Maybank, its consumers will also be able to eventually use their mobile wallet at Maybank’s key merchants.

Hence, GrabPay mobile wallet will not only be able to be used at GrabPay merchants, but also at more merchants. Maybank customers can eventually opt to paying via Maybank QRPay at GrabPay merchants.

To recap, in December 2017, Grab received its e-money licence from Bank Negara Malaysia. It is set to launch its GrabPay mobile wallet in beta in the coming weeks.

Consumers will soon be able to directly top up cash to their mobile wallet via Maybank2U, Maybank’s internet banking portal.

Plans are underway for Grab and Maybank to bring more merchants into the mobile payments network. Merchants can leverage on new marketing possibilities through the GrabRewards platform and easy new ways to track transactions through the GrabPay app.

GrabPay Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines managing director Ooi Huey Tyng said this partnership underlines the strength of Grab’s collaborative approach.

“The whole industry needs to come together to make the cashless economy a reality in Malaysia.

“We are honoured to partner with Maybank which not only shares our vision of a cashless payments future, but also recognises Grab as ideally poised to help make this a reality.”

Maybank group president & CEO Datuk Abdul Farid Alias said the collaboration with Grab was part of the bank's efforts to provide customers with even more digital conveniences.

“We are continuously looking to introduce products and services which offer better value by leveraging on cutting-edge technology and a deep understanding of our customers’ needs.

“With this partnership, our customers will not only enjoy a seamless experience when transacting through GrabPay but also a host of exclusive benefits that would reward them with substantial savings in the long run. This is very much in line with our strategic objective of becoming the digital bank of choice in the region.”

Through the same Grab app, consumers will be able to access not just transport services, but other important everyday services such as ordering and paying for food and drinks, paying for items purchased at shops or making money transfers to friends.

Maybank has been at the forefront in in helping build a cashless society in Malaysia, through its online banking and cards business as well as pioneering products and services such as Maybank QRPay, MaybankPay, and SamsungPay.

The group has leading market share in both the cards and online banking businesses in Malaysia.

This partnership is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

By –The Star

Sony to Buy Out EMI Music Publishing for About $2 Billion

Sony Corp. is buying EMI Music Publishing, getting its hands on a catalog of 2.1 million songs from Beyonce, Carole King and other artists as it embarks on a new growth plan built on content and services.The Japanese company will buy about 60 percent equity interest from a consortium led by from Mubadala Investment Co. for about $2 billion, Sony said in a statement. The Tokyo-based company already owns almost 40 percent of EMI, operates the business and had been in talks to buy the library for the past few months.

EMI’s extensive catalog will solidify Sony’s position as the largest music publisher amid a boom in streaming services that has fueled valuations for music copyrights. The transaction is the first major strategic move by Kenichiro Yoshida, who took over as chief executive officer in April. He also unveiled a three-year plan Tuesday that embraces Sony’s growing reliance on income from gaming subscriptions and entertainment.

“We are thrilled to bring EMI Music Publishing into the Sony family and maintain our number one position in the music publishing industry,” Yoshida said in the statement.

Sony is paying $1.9 billion for the 60 percent equity stake from the consortium. With the cost of warrants for stock and management incentives, the price is $2.3 billion, a spokesman for the company said.

“This is certainly on the high side of what we previously expected,” said David Dai, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Hong Kong. “It is a high price to pay for the strategy to shift from hardware to content.”

In its midyear plan, Sony predicted profit growth across most divisions over the next three years, but provided a mostly conservative outlook that weighed on shares. For example, annual operating profit in the game and networks is projected to be 130 to 170 billion by March 2021, compared with the outlook for 190 billion in the current year. Sony shares fell as much as 3.7 percent, the biggest intraday decline since May 1 following the earnings announcement.

Mubadala said the EMI deal is based on an enterprise value of $4.75 billion, exceeding its target of getting at least $4 billion. That’s double what the Sony-led group, which also includes billionaire David Geffen, paid for the business six years ago. That makes the sale the largest music-industry transaction since the last time EMI changed hands.

Music publishing has long offered owners a steady source of cash, in contrast with the more cyclical recorded music business, which is dependent on hits and retail sales and has historically gone up and down depending on the success of new releases in a given quarter.

Growing paid streaming services from Spotify Ltd. and Apple Inc. have boosted music-industry sales for three years in a row and enticed investors to splurge on catalogs. Labels own the recordings of songs, while publishers own the songs as originally written.

Last month, Sony disclosed that it will record a gain of almost $1 billion from its stake in Spotify following the streaming service’s public debut.


The Lucky 56: Xiaomi IPO to Make Dozens of Workers Millionaires

Eight years ago, before China’s Xiaomi Corp. had sold a single smartphone, 56 of the earliest employees pulled together $11 million to invest in the startup. Rank-and-file workers dipped into savings and borrowed from parents. One receptionist tapped her dowry.

Today, they’re the Lucky 56. Xiaomi is one of the most successful smartphone makers in the world and it’s prepping a blockbuster initial public offering. Their stake in the company may soon be worth $1 billion to $3 billion, depending on the stock sale. That works out to $36 million each at the midpoint.

The fortuitous decision began with workers like Li Weixing, an ex-Microsoft Corp. engineer who was employee No. 12. Back in 2010, staffers were working seven days a week out of a bare-bones Beijing office park to get the unknown mobile phone maker up and running. When word spread that Lei Jun and his co-founders were chipping in their own money for a venture financing round, Li and others wanted to join them.

Li, who helped create Xiaomi’s mobile operating system, had around 500,000 yuan ($79,000) saved up. “It wasn’t enough to buy a house, so he asked if he could invest in Xiaomi instead," CEO Lei said in a March interview at Beijing headquarters. "We said, we can’t let only Weixing invest, so we let everyone in."

Some early Xiaomi employees were already wealthy, including Lei who made his first fortune leading software developer Kingsoft Corp. and investing in Chinese startups. But many staffers in those days had to scrape together cash to participate. Li and others preferred investing in an effort they knew rather than the uncertain stock market. Now Li stands to make $10 million to $20 million, depending on Xiaomi’s IPO value.

It was employee No. 14, a receptionist now working in Xiaomi’s human resources office, who contributed her dowry of around 100,000 to 200,000 yuan ($16,000 to $31,000). That stake could be worth between $1 million and $8 million. Xiaomi declined to make her or other early employees available for interviews. Li declined to comment.

After a first surge of interest, Lei decided to cap rank-and-file investments at about 300,000 yuan each to limit risk and stop employees from taking out loans to invest. "The interest was overwhelming, but we put a cap on it because we worried, if everyone put in too much money, it would be very bad if the company failed," said co-founder Li Wanqiang in a March interview.

The group collectively stands to gain as much as $3 billion if Xiaomi floats 15 percent of the company at a $100 billion valuation when it goes public in Hong Kong later this year, according to calculations based on Xiaomi’s prospectus. A more conservative estimate would yield a $1.4 billion payout for the 56 employees if Xiaomi floats 25 percent of the company at a $50 billion valuation. (Calculations assume existing shareholders haven’t sold their stakes and the $11 million from employees was invested during what Xiaomi’s prospectus refers to as Series B-2.) Employees stand to make roughly 200 times their original investment. A greater number of Xiaomi’s workers should be enriched through stock options, which don’t require capital upfront.

Lei and his co-founders put in the heftiest amounts in that round and stand to make far more than the average. Five are poised to become newly-minted billionaires, according to Bloomberg calculations, and Lei’s stake, accumulated over several investment rounds, could be worth $27 billion. Investment powerhouses from Qiming Venture Partners to Morningside Group are also expected to reap mega-returns when Xiaomi goes public this year in what may be the biggest IPO since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s 2014 debut.

None of this was obvious in 2010. Back then, Xiaomi was really just an idea in Lei Jun’s head, said Hans Tung, one of his earliest backers. Lei was a local tech celebrity with 1 million follows on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, but it was far from clear he could compete with Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Huawei Technologies Co. He would host smoke-and-booze-filled meetings at Beijing hotels, showing up with bags of cell phones and gadgets for his friends to try.

But after Lei lured seven co-founders away from cushy jobs at Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google in a matter of months, Qiming, where Tung worked at the time, and Morningside decided to bet on him. They led fundraising rounds in late 2010 and early 2011 that valued the company at about $250 million. That’s when employees put in their $11 million too. Now Xiaomi is the fourth-largest smartphone maker in the world and likely will be valued at more than 200 times that amount.

"Lei Jun is the founder. He could afford all the capital. But why did he share with everyone?" said Morningside co-founder Richard Liu. "He has a vision and he can build up that strong belief and people are willing to take the huge risks."

Silicon Valley is known for its secret millionaires who were early joiners at companies like Facebook Inc. Among the more famous examples is Bonnie Brown, the massage therapist who bargained for stock options to accompany the $450 a week she was making at her part-time job at Google. She retired a millionaire after five years at the company.

In China, such riches are virtually unknown. “These employees already had enough risk working for a small, untested startup and it showed this great enthusiasm," said Tung. "They turned out to be right."

From – Bloomberg

Adobe Buys Magento for $1.68 Billion to Target E-Commerce

Adobe Systems Inc. agreed to buy e-commerce company Magento for $1.68 billion, in a bid to capture a bigger slice of the digital-commerce industry from Salesforce.com Inc. and Oracle Corp.

The Photoshop software provider is making its third-biggest acquisition to create an end-to-end system for designing digital ads, building e-commerce websites and other online customer experiences and completing transactions, the company said Monday in a statement.

Campbell, California-based Magento offers software to build and run web stores, handle online purchases, shipping and returns. It also helps merchants sell products through social media ads and competes with Shopify Inc. Magento technology supports more than $155 billion in gross merchandise volume, and customers include Canon Inc. and Rosetta Stone Inc. EBay Inc. sold Magento in 2015 and it has been backed by private equity firm Permira Holdings LLP since then.

Adobe has sought to diversify from the digital media products that made it one of the world’s largest software companies. The deal is slightly smaller than Adobe’s 2009 purchase of Omniture, which made the company a player in digital advertising. The Magento purchase would see the company battle cloud-based commerce services from Salesforce, Oracle and SAP SE. This part of Adobe’s business, known as its Experience Cloud, generates less revenue and grows more slowly than its creative software offerings like Photoshop.

Adobe also announced an $8 billion share buyback program through fiscal year 2021. The program is expected to be funded from its future cash flow from operations and won’t have a material impact on the company’s earnings this fiscal year. It expands on the company’s current $2.5 billion repurchase plan scheduled through fiscal year 2019, Adobe said in a statement. The company’s shares rose about 1 percent in extended trading after closing at $238.10 in New York.

Permira made five times its initial stake of about $200 million, said a person familiar with the matter. The investment was made out of its Permira V fund, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The deal for Magento is expected to close in the third quarter of Adobe’s fiscal year, pending regulatory approval. Adobe will gain access to Magento’s mid-market and large corporate customers, and gain a foothold in physical store and online transactions.

Magento Chief Executive Officer Mark Lavelle said the sale would accelerate his company’s commerce progress and reflected a shared vision between the two firms, which were partners before the transaction.

Magento rival Shopify fell as much as 5.5 percent in extended trading following the announcement.

From –Bloomberg

Record-breaking 100Gbps wireless transmission is a world first

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) has successfully demonstrated the world's first 100Gbps wireless transmission, using a new technology that already surpasses the upcoming 5G standard. But this new tech, called Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) multiplexing, isn't likely to roll out on a large scale before 2030.

The technical feat was part of NTT's laboratory experiments. NTT conducted transmission experiments at a distance of 10 metres using a system operating in the 28GHz frequency band.

In total, NTT simultaneously generated 11 data signals, each at a bitrate of 7.2 to 10.8Gbps, achieving large-capacity wireless transmission at 100Gbps – a world first.

This level of wireless capacity reaches a level around 100 times that of LTE and WiFi, and about five times that of 5G, launching in 2020.

In the short-to-medium term, this technology could be used to help boost 5G performances for new domestic uses requiring higher transmission capacities (autonomous and connected vehicles, VR, high-definition video transmission, etc.).

NTT will present the results at Wireless Technology Park 2018 in Tokyo, Japan, May 23-25. Although the concept is still relatively new, the successful experiment paves the way for a host of exceptional possibilities.

From –The Star

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