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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Hedge funds and private equity hope to score with football

Hedge funds and private equity hope to score with football investments: While jersey-clad fans watch their favorite teams run across the field, the financial world calculates how profitable this match will be for them, writes Bloomberg. Investors have piled into football clubs in past years, from funds in the US to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East — despite football’s often ugly business model. “It is very volatile, you can be relegated, don’t know how well a specific player you’ve bought will perform and the value of the assets is very difficult to assess,” said Nicolas Blanc, founder of Sport Value.

What’s the game plan? With the various sizes and geographies of football clubs worldwide, investors have gotten creative with how to monetize the group of athletes. Some chose to invest in smaller clubs, such as Brugge, which sometimes play in major leagues or sell players to bigger clubs. Others are targeting big clubs in financial crisis, such as Internazionale Milano, with agreements that will see them either make a profit or take over the team. Meanwhile, others have taken the advice to diversify the games they play, with Blanc recommending the approach taken by City Football Group, which has a portfolio of clubs of different sizes and countries. Finally, some investors take on the bull from its horns and choose to buy into a league. That’s not to say that it’s an easy move — just take CVC who has been in talks for years to acquire 10% of Serie A’s new media unit.

BTC miners are targeting partnerships with nuclear power plants — what could possibly go wrong? As nuclear power plants struggle with competition from cheaper resources, BTC miners are saying they could help stabilize the nuclear industry. Energy firms Talen Energy, Oklo, and Energy Harbor Corp have all recently embarked on partnerships with BTC miners amid a backlash from environmentalists who criticize the growing use of fossil-fuel by the industry. The Wall Street Journal has a deep dive.

There’s hope for cancer patients that new types of targeted therapies will help an increasing number of them avoid chemotherapy. We’re not suggesting you plan your medical care based on a New York Times article, but being educated enough to help participate in decisionmaking about your own health? Kind of priceless.

** Need a break? May we suggest the latest teaser for Stranger Things season four, which is set to make its debut in 2022 (watch, runtime: 1:35).

Soft-spoken former head designer at Apple, Jony Ive, is helping Ferrari build its first electric vehicle: Ive’s company, LoveFrom, has reportedly entered a “long-term, multiyear collaboration” with Exor group, Ferrari’s largest shareholder, to bring the Italian carmaker’s first fully electric vehicle to market by 2025, the FT reports. Jony Ive helped bring the Mac, iPod and iPhone to life during his 27-year tenure at the company between 1992 and 2019. He’s also the man with the hypnotizing voice from those dreamlike product introductions Apple ran in the last two decades.

Meanwhile, Chinese automaker Geely is getting into the smartphone business after Eric Li-founded Hubei Xingji Shidai Technology signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Wuhan Economic and and Technological Development Zone to make mobile phones, according to CNBC. The company is looking to go head to head in the high-end smartphone market, positioning its new product as an Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi competitor. The move comes as part of what executive Eric Li says is a trend in creating “more convenient, smarter, and seamlessly connected multi-screen experiences.”

Instagram’s kid version has been shelved temporarily so that the platform can “listen to concerns” from parents, experts and policymakers and do more to demonstrate the value of a version focused on minors, according to a statement (pdf) from Instagram. The decision comes after a Wall Street Journal piece found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of young users. For example, one in three teenage girls said that the platform amplifies their body-image concerns.

Instagram brushed off the allegations, saying that in 11 out of 12 issues surveyed about such as anxiety, loneliness, sadness, and eating problems, teenage girls said that Instagram helped make the matter better, not worse.

What even is “Instagram Kids”? Facebook was planning on rolling out a children’s version of Instagram with no advertising — and promise parents can monitor their kids’ activity on the platform. It was initially intended for children between the ages of 10 and 12, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said.

A hearing on the subject will take place in the US Senate later this week, also prompted by the WSJ series, headlined The Facebook Files.

Even Microsoft’s Satya Nadella can’t get his head around TikTok, with the CEO commenting that his company’s failed takeover bid was “the strangest thing I’ve ever sort of worked on,” according to CNBC. Nadella did not comment on whether Microsoft was still eyeing the video app, but gave a salute to its technical design and called it an “interesting product.” Last year’s potential acquisition was spurred by former President Donald Trump threatening to ban the app unless parent company ByteDance found a US buyer. Afraid of losing a huge market share of users, TikTok began to sift through cloud providers that could also offer security services, with Oracle and Microsoft being top candidates. The whole shebang was eventually abandoned after the Biden administration revoked Trump’s order. ByteDance is now looking closer to home, heading toward a Hong Kong IPO despite Beijing’s escalating crackdown on its tech industry.

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