Loss of Depop to US Shifts UK Tech Sector to Second Rank | applications

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Depop, the fashion resale app, has joined other UK tech companies such as Arm Holdings and DeepMind in heading towards a large pool of investments outside of its home country.

The acquisition of London-based Depop by Brooklyn-based Etsy for $ 1.6 billion (£ 1.1 billion) last week came just days after WaveOptics, a maker of screens used in augmented reality glasses, was purchased by the Santa Monica-based owner. Snapchat for $ 500 million.

Depop may not be of strategic importance to the UK economy like Arm, or another chipmaker Imagination Technologies, both bought by overseas buyers. But its 30 million users – a number that has tripled in less than three years – are mostly under 26 and mark the future direction of retail: more online, sustainable and social.

London has boasted of having been listed on Deliveroo, where the poor share price performance reflected concerns about the welfare of its thousands of delivery drivers. Depop marked a brighter future – but now that it’s in Etsy’s hands, UK retailers have no obvious way to follow the lead of John Lewis and then Marks & Spencer, who invested in Ocado, allowing the two of them to buy their way into the fast-growing world of online grocery shopping.

Initially, Depop was a story of triumph for the UK. Entrepreneur Simon Beckerman founded the company in Italy in 2011, but moved to London in 2015 after securing $ 8million in funding from Balderton Capital, the UK-based investment firm that previously backed Betfair and online lingerie specialist Figleaves.

The company now has offices as far away as New York and Sydney, but is run from the UK, where it has built its market from an aesthetic steeped in British fashion trends, Burberry coats and sneakers. chunky fit for a trendy Y2K Spice Girl born in clubs in London and Manchester.

He taps into Generation Z’s obsession with “side activities” – a way to make money outside of his daily life. The scrap business is a rapidly expanding business that is expected to grow 15-20% per year over the next five years, overtaking fast fashion.

This growth is not only fueling more established players such as eBay, but also generating new entrants such as Vinted, Poshmark and The RealReal, which present a challenge for traditional brands.

The resale market is becoming more and more mainstream, even the UK supermarket Asda is trying out second-hand sections in stores, partnering with Preloved Vintage Wholesale. John Lewis department store, furniture group Ikea and sports retailer Decathlon are also experimenting with resale activities.

Technology is enabling this growth, as parents sell baby clothes through Facebook and young people swap sought-after sneakers in their own Instagram stores. Selfridges now has a point of sale for vintage fashion specialist Vestiaire Collective, while handbag brand Mulberry repackages and resells its used products online.

Etsy is to allow Depop to continue as a stand-alone business run by the existing London team. That’s good news, at least for jobs and craftsmanship in the UK, although with upstarts like Vinted and the Asos market already chasing it, it’s unclear whether Etsy will allow Depop to keep its trendy and underground side.

The change of ownership will also not prevent young UK entrepreneurs from developing, through Depop, online sales, design and merchandising skills that could lay the groundwork for new stand-alone businesses.

Hopefully the UK can capitalize on its expertise to keep the resale business on UK shores, even though we can’t compete with the deep pockets of US tech giants.

AMC Theaters Star in Their Own Wall Street Drama

What do you do when legions of small investors buy shares in your company to use as a stick to beat Wall Street? The answer for AMC Entertainment – the world’s largest film company and owner of the Odeon channel in the UK – is to make sure they buy at least some of those shares from you.

AMC has become a focal point for amateur investors who coordinate via Twitter and Reddit to buy shares in previously unpopular companies – called “meme stocks” – in hopes of catching pantomime-villain hedge funds in “shorts.” squeeze ”.

When the same thing happened to GameStop, the US video game retailer was little more than a passenger in the proceedings.

AMC tries to ride the tiger. In January, he escaped bankruptcy thanks to a $ 917 million fundraising exercise. Now, instead of thinking about survival, she takes advantage of the surge in her stock price to issue more new stocks at higher values ​​than she might otherwise have achieved. He even offered investors free popcorn.

Cash from new investors can be used to pay off some of the bailout debt and even grow.

Last Tuesday, he sold shares for $ 230.5 million to Mudrick Capital Management (a hedge fund, ironically), after raising $ 428 million in mid-May, when the frenzy of small investors started to escalate. the course of its action. And on Thursday, he filed a request to sell an additional 11.5 million shares.

Speaking via Twitter, increasingly the platform of choice for market development reports, chief executive Adam Aron said it was “not a senseless dilution, but rather a ‘very smart fundraising so that we can grow this business.

He’s banking on vaccinations and a pent-up flurry of blockbuster movies to deliver a dramatic turnaround for a business that looked like a total turkey just a few months ago.

Whether one considers the “same stock” phenomenon embodied by GameStop and AMC as an exercise in futility, borderline market manipulation, or a welcome element of anti-Wall Street online activism, Aron seems to have found a solution that works. for AMC. It might not be long before its own theaters show the film.

Exxon boss on short leash after shareholder uprising

ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods has the dubious honor of overseeing possibly the most calamitous period in the oil giant’s history since he took the reign just over four years ago. Under his leadership, the company lost a third of its market value, was ousted from the Dow Jones Index, and recorded its first annual loss since the Exxon and Mobil merger in 1998.

But it is Woods’ handling of ExxonMobil’s first major shareholder rebellion that is likely to raise questions about his future at the helm of America’s largest oil company. Engine No 1, the upstart hedge fund that toppled three business executives on Exxon’s board last week, has not targeted Woods. But his coup was seen by industry watchers as a clear indictment against his leadership.

Engine No 1 proposed four alternative board members after accusing Exxon of not adapting to the climate crisis – and the company’s major shareholders agreed. Investors may be ready to forgive Woods for inheriting a predicament before the Covid-19 oil crisis, but his inability to set a vision for the future to navigate the transition to low-emission energy of carbon has become of deep concern for its long-term institutional stakeholders. , which include some of the world’s largest fund managers.

Woods survived the board battle because a greater concern – in the short term – would be losing the CEO at a time of major upheaval for the board and when existential decisions for the company. are still on the line. Shareholders voted in favor of his position on the board of directors at the annual meeting, but the disruption ensured that that future will be much more difficult than expected.

Before next year’s meeting, Woods will need to prove he is up to the challenge and define a clear future for one of the world’s biggest climate polluters in a net zero carbon world. The GM might be down, but he’s not. Again.



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