Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Wednesday.
1. Asian shares looked set for a sharp fall on Wednesday as Italy’s political crisis provoked a sell-off on Wall Street, sent the euro to a 10-month low, and spiked borrowing costs for the government in Rome. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.50%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng index is down 1.30% at the time of writing (7.20 a.m. BST/2.20 a.m. ET), and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 1.58% at the same time.
2. Sir Martin Sorrell, the recently ousted boss of WPP, has taken control of a listed shell company to use it as a vehicle to buy marketing firms, replicating the approach he took in the 1980s to build the world’s biggest advertising group. Reuters reports that Sorrell said in a statement he would invest £40 million of his own money into Derriston Capital, a little-known two-year-old listed shell company, which would be renamed S4 Capital, an entity controlled by Sorrell.
3. IWG, the world’s largest serviced offices provider, has rebuffed yet another takeover offer – the fifth attempted bid in as many months. The Telegraph reports that Prime Opportunities, a Los Angeles-based family office, said on Tuesday that IWG had rejected an approach by its consortium.
4. Salesforce continued its upward climb in first-quarter earnings on Tuesday with a major beat across the board that sent its stock up in after-hours trading, despite downward trends across Wall Street. Revenue for the first quarter was $US3.01 billion, up 25% from the year before. Analysts expected $US2.94 billion.
5. HP reported an 89.3% rise in second-quarter profit on Tuesday, partly helped by strong growth in its personal systems business that includes notebooks and desktops. Net earnings rose to $US1.06 billion, or 64 cents per share, in the second quarter ended April 30, up from $US559 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.
6. Investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) is buying software company BMC for an undisclosed amount. BMC is worth around $US10 billion, as reported by The New York Post.
7. Electric scooter startup Bird is raising $US150 million in a series C funding round led by Sequoia Capital, which will value the company at $US1 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The valuation will make Bird the first electric scooter unicorn, the term given to startups that are worth more than $US1 billion.
8. A former Snap employee highlighted her qualms with what she described as Snap’s “toxic” and “sexist” culture in an email sent to about 1,300 people on her last day of work, Cheddar’s Alex Heath reports. Shannon Lubetich, who worked in Snap’s software engineering department, sent the email last November.
9. A former Cambridge Analytica engineer told Business Insider that he’s gotten more than 30 job inquiries on LinkedIn since the firm shut down earlier this month. He said big data companies were interested in hiring him and didn’t see his experience at the embattled firm as a liability.
10. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged another blockchain startup with a fraudulent initial coin offering months after it raised $US21 million from investors around the world. The SEC alleges that Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services (TBIS) raised its millions using fraudulent claims.
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