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TikTok draws interest from bidders other than Microsoft



By: Bloomberg |

Updated: August 1, 2020 11:39:14 am

tiktok, tiktok banned, tiktok donald trump, tiktok microsoft, tiktok in US, tiktok bidders ByteDance is considering changes to the structure of TikTok because President Donald Trump is weighing ordering a divestiture of TikTok’s U.S. business, a decision that could come at any time. (Bloomberg)

Microsoft Corp. isn’t the only company interested in buying TikTok’s U.S. operations, according to people familiar with the matter.

U.S. government officials probing national-security concerns around the Chinese-owned video-sharing app have had talks with at least one other large company as well as investors in TikTok parent ByteDance Ltd. who are interested in taking a stake in TikTok, according to one of the people, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private. This person declined to identify these companies.

ByteDance is considering changes to the structure of TikTok because President Donald Trump is weighing ordering a divestiture of TikTok’s U.S. business, a decision that could come at any time.

Venture investors in ByteDance have approached Chief Executive Officer Zhang Yiming with a range of proposals to address U.S. concerns that the app, especially popular with teens, is a security threat, people familiar with the matter have said. Any solution would likely have to pass scrutiny from U.S. regulators in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, as well as U.S. antitrust regulators.

The deal provides a rare opportunity to profit off the momentum of the fastest-growing social media app in the U.S. Still, not all companies likely to be attracted to such a deal will even be in the running. TikTok’s valuation is estimated at $20 billion to $40 billion, so few companies would be able to afford it. Most of those that would are likely to find it politically difficult to make the move.

The CEOs of Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Inc. and Apple Inc. testified this week in the U.S. House of Representatives to answer lawmakers’ questions about their enormous market power. While any one of the four companies could fit TikTok into their product offerings, deals by these giants are already under a microscope.

Google, whose YouTube is a competing video offering, is already facing a European Union probe for its much smaller acquisition of Fitbit Inc. Apple doesn’t tend to make acquisitions anywhere near large as TikTok. And Facebook’s years-ago purchases of smaller rivals Instagram and WhatsApp have been brought up anew amid the antitrust scrutiny. The world’s largest social network has already worked to turn lawmakers against TikTok, and is unlikely to court further risk to its already tenuous position on data security. Facebook also looked at purchasing, the predecessor to TikTok, in 2016, and passed.

Microsoft, with a market value of $1.55 trillion, is bigger than Google or Facebook, but currently has a better reputation in Washington. The company wasn’t invited to the antitrust hearing on July 29, and has largely escaped recent criticism of Big Tech’s outsize influence. It’s unclear whether Microsoft would seek to integrate TikTok into its own operations, or join with other investors from private equity or venture capital to finance spinning out TikTok as a separate entity based in the U.S. With the second option, investors could seek to gain even more from a TikTok stock listing in the future.

Media companies, such as Walt Disney Co. and Verizon Communications Inc., have been interested in purchasing social-media assets in the past. Disney in 2016 considered but ultimately decided against purchasing Twitter Inc., for instance. TikTok’s U.S.-based CEO, Kevin Mayer, was formerly the head of streaming for Disney, and may be better positioned to help broker a deal in the media world.

Other social-media companies, such as Twitter and Snapchat parent Snap Inc., have smaller valuations than TikTok and therefore are unlikely bidders. They would need to use stock or outside financial help to complete such a transaction.

It’s still not clear how a U.S. divestiture of TikTok would work, and how completely the app would have to separate from its current Chinese ownership. The company hasn’t said how such a move would affect employees, the technology or its product. However the ownership shakes out, there is one group that no potential buyer or investor wants to alienate: TikTok’s 165 million American users.

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InnerPlant Launches Sensor Plants, $3.5 Million Grant for Cultivated Meat




I’m taking over the weekly Food Tech News post, and this week I bring you both plant-centric and meaty news. Money is being pumped into cultivated meat research, a plant-based burger company signed a partnership with a football team, and tomato plants can now tell you if they are feeling stressed. Oh, and the world’s smallest gum company raised $1.2 million in funding.

InnerPlant Launches “Living Sensor” Plants

InnerPlant, based in Davis, California, announced the launch of the InnerTomato™ this week. The tomato plants are fed a protein that amplifies the natural signals a plant releases to warn neighboring plants of different stressors. A farmer can use an iPhone, drone, or satellite to take a photo of the plants, and through augmented reality, will be able to see if the plant is a certain color. Different colors signal if the plant needs water, is stressed, or under attack from a certain disease or pest. This is InnerPlant’s first proprietary plant.

Photo from UC Davis’ Aggie Transcript

UC Davis Receives Funding For Cultivated Meat Research

UC Davis recently received a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to research cultivated meat. One of the main goals of this five-year grant is to develop methods to amplify stem cells efficiently. Researchers aim to create methods that enable sustainably lab-grown meat to be an option for feeding a rapidly growing world population. This is the first major grant in the U.S. for cellular agriculture.

The World’s Smallest Gum Factory

Copenhagen-based True Gum just raised $1.2 million (USD) from a German VC Oyster Bay. True Gum makes plant-based gum that is free of petroleum ingredients (which are found in many gum brands), and instead uses a sustainably-sourced tree sap, called chicle, from South America as the main ingredient.

Planterra’s Brand, OZO, Partners With Denver Broncos

OZO, a brand of Colorado-based Planterra Foods, just signed a three-year partnership with the Denver Broncos. Planterra is a subsidiary of JBS Foods, the largest beef and pork processor in the world. OZO’s products include plant-based ground beef and burger patties made from pea protein, and are currently available in 12 U.S. states. As part of the partnership, OZO will be advertising at the Mile High Stadium and serving up its vegan burgers from its traveling food van.

The last time we brought up the Denver Broncos and the Mile High Stadium on The Spoon, it was to announce the installment of a beer-pouring robot at the stadium. Vegan stadium burgers and beer robots might be convincing enough to get me into a football stadium during a pandemic.

Tesco and Olio Team Up to Fight Food Waste

And in some non-meaty but still-sustainable news, Tesco and food-sharing app Olio announced this week they have partnered to fight food waste. Olio volunteers (of which there are around 8,000) will pick up surplus food at Tesco stores then upload it to the Olio app. Food is then distributed for free to households in need and community groups looking to help.

Tesco is launching this food-drive-like initiative across all 2,700 of its U.K. stores. The company said it was able to redirect 36 tons of food — which would have otherwise gone to waste — through an earlier trial of the program.  

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Parcel2Go Enhance Customer Experience with New App




There couldn’t be a better time to bring a brand-spanking new app to the world of home delivery – so kudos to Parcel2Go for striking while the iron is at its hottest.

The sight of delivery drivers hopping out of vans and delivering cardboard boxes to houses on our streets has become an increasingly common site in recent months, with coronavirus restrictions driving a surge in online shopping that even exceeds the demand during the Christmas period.

If your lockdown hobby has become a little cottage industry you might be on the search for local couriers at the best price – that’s where Parcel2Go come in.

What’s New?

  • Multiple parcel-sending options: No need to go slow – you can track and update several orders all from the same interface.
  • Biometric sign in: Use your device’s fingerprint scanner or face-recognition technology to sign in. You can also scan a QR code on your computer to sign in to the app via Magic Link.
  • New and improved order journey: You can set address preferences for returned items, and save details of repeat customers for faster processes.
  • Wallet option for in-store label printing: Use Apple Wallet to scan and print labels in-store on selected services.

What Parcel2Go Had to Say

A spokesperson for Parcel2Go said: “We’ve updated our app with new features that new and existing customers will love. In fact, there’s very little you can’t do with our app that you can do on our website.

“Compare parcel prices and postal rates from the most reliable parcel delivery companies – saving you time, effort and money. And because we work with all of the industry’s biggest and best couriers you still get the widest range of services right at your fingertips.”

The best bit about the new Parcel2Go app? It’s been designed for the customers with users’ feedback specifically driving its innovations.

Adam Harris, Parcel2Go managing director, said: “We’re delighted to launch the ‘new and improved’ Parcel2Go App. We listened to customer feedback every step of the way, and our team has worked hard to design an app that gives users the best possible parcel delivery experience – and the most features and functionality of any parcel comparison app on the market.”

How to Download the Parcel2Go App

The Parcel2Go app is available on both Apple and Android devices.

iPhone users can find it in the App Store, while Google Play is the destination for Android users.

This piece will focus on P2G release of their new app. Please discuss the new features of the app such as fingerprint tech/ face id, wallet, options within the app.

This app is designed to help the process of ordering parcels easy for customers and is an upgrade from their old app.


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