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Summing Up the 10 Biggest Fintech Deals of 2015

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Summing Up the 10 Biggest Fintech Deals of 2015

Image courtesy of: Raconteur

Summing Up the 10 Biggest Fintech Deals of 2015

How hot is fintech right now?

This one statistic sums it up: in 2015, a record amount of fintech deals were done for a total deal value of $24.6 billion. That number is higher than the last five years put together.

With everything seemingly turning up “fintech”, here is a summary and some reflection on the 10 biggest fintech deals of last year.

Summing Up the Biggest Fintech Deals of 2015

1. FIS acquires SunGard for $9.1 billion

The acquisition, financed with a mix of 45 percent cash and 55 percent stock, yields a combined company with $9.2 billion in annual revenue, 55,000 employees, and operations in more than 130 countries. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS is the world’s largest global provider dedicated to banking and payments technologies. Their technology underscores $9 trillion in global transactions each year.

SunGard, which was the target of the acquisition, was previously taken over in 2005 by a consortium of private equity firms in the largest tech privatization deal ever. It was valued at $11.3 billion.

2. ICE acquires Interactive Data Corp

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) bought Interactive Data Corporation (IDC) from private equity firms Silver Lake Group LLC and Warburg Pincus LLC. Valued at $5.2 billion, including $3.65 billion in cash and $1.55 billion in stock, the deal allows ICE to expand the markets it serves while bringing in new technology platforms and data services.

ICE owns and operates 23 exchanges and marketplaces, with the most famous of these being the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

3. McGraw-Hill Financial acquires SNL Financial

McGraw-Hill Financial, the parent of the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency, paid $2.23 billion in cash to buy SNL Financial from private equity firm New Mountain Capital.

McGraw-Hill is also known for some of its other subsidiaries, such as S&P Dow Jones Indices and Platts.

4. D+H Corporation buys Fundtech

D+H, a Canadian corporation which was historically a manufacturer of cheques, has recently shifted its focus on more technology-related endeavors. Part of this includes buying global payment services provider Fundtech for $1.25 billion in cash.

In a recent press release, D+H described the transaction as a key piece in their transition to technology: “The Fundtech acquisition significantly advanced D+H in our FinTech journey and was evidence of our commitment to continue providing clients the innovative solutions they need to grow and compete.”

5. Lufax is funded by multiple investors

Lufax, also known as the Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co., is an online Internet finance marketplace in China. Focusing on peer-to-peer loans, Lufax connects individual investors with borrowers for loans of around $10,000 while collecting a 4% fee off each loan.

Domestic and overseas institutions participated in the most recent $1.2 billion financing in December, including the investment arm of COFCO Group and Guotai Junan (Hong Kong). The company is considered a mover and shaker in the Chinese lending space, and is now valued at $18.5 billion.

6. Lufax is funded by multiple investors

Lufax was also responsible for the sixth biggest deal of 2015, as it did an earlier raise in March 2015 for $488 million from a group of investors at a valuation of nearly $10 billion.

7. Markit

Markit, which recently announced a merger with IHS to create a data heavyweight, was also very active last year.

In 2015, it initiated a secondary public offering of its common shares to investors worth $350 million.

8. Learnvest acquired by Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual went all-in on personalized financial planning by buying New York-based startup LearnVest for over $250 million.

9. Neustar acquires TNS

Real-time information services provider Neustar bought caller authentication assets from Transaction Network Services (TNS), an affiliate of Siris Capital Group, for $220 million in cash.

10. Markit buys CoreOne

Earlier in 2015, market data company Markit bought CoreOne Technologies, a global leading provider of regulatory reporting for $200 million.

Original graphic by: Raconteur

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Cars

Tesla’s Valuation Surpasses Ford and GM Combined

Tesla is not only the top valued U.S. automaker, it’s now worth more than Ford and GM combined. Will the rally continue, or will short sellers win the day?

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Chart: Tesla is Worth More than Ford and GM Combined

Tesla has been on a roller coaster ride of market sentiment in recent years, but the electric car company is starting off the new decade on a high note.

The company is not only America’s most valuable automaker, it’s now worth more than Ford and GM combined.

tesla ford gm market caps

Tesla’s valuation has already surpassed the $100 billion mark – a significant milestone for a company that produces a fraction of the vehicles of its direct competitors.

Here’s a comparison of the top selling models in the U.S. for Ford, GM, and Tesla.

RankModelUnit Sales (Q4 2019)
1Ford F-Series233,952
2Chevrolet Silverado163,311
3Chevrolet Equinox92,092
4GMC Sierra68,722
5Ford Explorer51,284
6Ford Escape47,587
7Tesla Model 347,275
8Ford Edge37,621
9Ford Transit36,885
10Chevrolet Malibu34,314

A quick glance at this list is revealing. Though Tesla’s Model 3 put up strong sales numbers, it’s still only a small percentage of vehicles sold by U.S. automakers.

So, what’s driving Tesla’s meteoric growth, and is it sustainable? Below, we’ll take a high-level look at the bull and bear cases for the company.

The Bull Case for Tesla Motors

Tesla posted losses of $1.1 billion in the first half of 2019, but since then, the company has turned the situation around in dramatic fashion.

The automaker had a surprising third quarter with not only record deliveries of 97,000 cars, but also a profit of $143 million. Deliveries broke yet another record in Q4 2019, totaling 112,000 vehicles. These announcements helped improve market sentiment, sending the company’s stock back on an upward trajectory heading into 2020.

tesla bull quotes

Here are three reasons some analysts and media are still bullish on Tesla:

1. Tapping into the World’s Largest Electric Car Market

For a long time, foreign companies looking to manufacture products in China couldn’t do so without working through a domestic partner. Recently though, Tesla became the first major benefactor of a policy change, becoming the first wholly foreign-owned automaker in China.

Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai was completed in October, and was built in just 10 months – an impressive feat. Furthermore, cars have already begun rolling off the assembly lines, as Tesla targets an annual production of 150,000 Model 3s.

Perhaps the best part for a company with historically volatile earnings: Tesla claims the facility was 65% cheaper to build than its production plant in the U.S.

2. Still the Range King

2019 saw many of the more established automakers take their first swings at Tesla.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handed out official range ratings for several new electric cars, but none could unseat the king:

ev range ratings

3. Musk’s Megaphone

Few CEOs capture the attention of media quite like Elon Musk. While his actions can sometimes have unintended consequences for the company – the infamous “funding secured” tweet, for example – Elon Musk’s massive reach allows the company to sell vehicles without spending a dime on advertising.

By contrast, in 2018, Ford and GM spent $2.3 billion and $3.1 billion respectively on advertising in the U.S. alone.

The Bear Case for Tesla Motors

While the second half of 2019 has given Tesla bulls much to celebrate, many investors are remaining vigilant, if not skeptical.

tesla bear quotes

1. Stiff Competition in China

Tapping into the world’s largest EV market is a double-edged sword for Tesla, as they face an onslaught of domestic and foreign competitors.

The Chinese government has also generously supported its own EV industry, handing out over $60 billion in subsidies to over 400 companies. Tesla will be competing against state-owned enterprises like BAIC, one of the largest players in the Chinese EV market.

Western automakers are also gaining a foothold in China as well. Volkswagen and its Chinese joint-venture partner, SAIC Motor, will begin producing cars at two factories in China in the autumn of 2020.

The German automotive giant has also forged partnerships with Chinese battery manufacturers, including China’s biggest battery company Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL).

2. Getting Ratio’d

Tesla has an extremely high premium on earnings when compared with its more established counterparts in the auto industry.

CompanyTickerEnterprise Multiple* (last 12 months)
ToyotaNYSE: TM8.4x
GMNYSE: GM10.0x
FordNYSE: F14.5x
TeslaNASDAQ: TSLA50.2x

The enterprise multiple (EV/EBITDA) measures the dollars in enterprise value for each dollar of earnings. The ratio is commonly used to determine if a company is undervalued or overvalued compared to peers.

The Bottom Line is… the Bottom Line

Of course, Tesla’s future will be dictated by variables more complex than can be summed up in a tidy pro/con list.

Musk has shown a willingness to sacrifice profitability in the name of growth – Tesla has yet to prove it can deliver consistent, quarterly profits.

It’s hard to be profitable with that level of growth. We could slow it down, but then that would not be good for sustainability and the cause of electric vehicles.

– Elon Musk

After reporting a record number of deliveries in the final quarter of 2019, there’s no doubt that true believers and short sellers alike will be watching the company’s January 29, 2020, earnings call with much anticipation.

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History

Internet Browser Market Share (1996–2019)

This animation provides a nostalgic look back at the market share of various web browsers, from Netscape Navigator to Google Chrome.

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Internet Browser Market Share (1996–2019)

Web browsers are a ubiquitous part of the internet experience and one of the most commonly used digital tools of the modern era.

Since the first rudimentary interfaces were created in the 1990s, a number of browsers have entered the market, with a select few achieving market dominance over our access to web content.

Today’s bar chart race video, by the YouTube channel Data is Beautiful, is a nostalgic look back at how people used to access the internet, from Mosaic to Chrome.

The First Wave of Browsers

Simply put, web browsers are the software applications that act as our portal to the internet. Today, aside from the occasional pop-up box, we barely notice them. In the early ’90s though, when the web was in its infancy, the crude, boxy interfaces were a revolutionary step in making the internet usable to people with access to a computer.

The first step in this journey came in 1990, when the legendary Tim Berners-Lee developed the first-ever web browser called “WorldWideWeb” – later renamed Nexus. Nexus was a graphical user interface (GUI) that allowed users to view text on web pages. Images were still beyond reach, but since most connections were dial-up, that wasn’t much of a limitation at the time.

Nexus browser example

The precurser to the modern browser was Mosaic, originally developed as a temporary project by the the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

After his graduation from UIUC in 1993, Marc Andreessen teamed up with Jim Clark, the founder of Silicon Graphics, to produce a commercial version of the browser. The resulting software, Netscape Navigator, became the first widely used browser, moving the internet from an abstract concept to a network that was accessible to everyday people. The company soon staged a wildly popular IPO, which saw the 16-month-old startup reach a valuation of nearly $3 billion.

Naturally, the fanfare surrounding Netscape had captured Microsoft’s attention. Immediately after Netscape’s IPO, the first version of Internet Explorer (building off a licensed version of Mozilla) was released. The browser wars had begun.

The Internet Explorer Era

In 1995, Bill Gates was looking to capitalize on the “Internet Tidal Wave”, and was up to the challenge of eating into Netscape’s market share, which stood at about 90%.

A new competitor “born” on the Internet is Netscape. We have to match and beat their offerings…

– Bill Gates

Ultimately, Netscape was no match for Internet Explorer (IE) once it was bundled with the Windows operating system. By the dawn of the new millennium (beware Y2K!) the situation had reversed, with IE capturing over 75% of the browser market share.

With Netscape mostly out of the picture, IE had a stranglehold on the market. In fact, Microsoft’s position was so comfortable that after IE6 was released 2001, the next full version wouldn’t ship until 2006.

It was during this time that a new player came onto the scene. Mozilla Firefox was officially launched in 2004, seeing over 60 million downloads within its first nine months. For the first time in years, Microsoft began to feel the heat of competition.

Goliath and Goliath

Despite the growing popularity for Mozilla Firefox, it was a browser backed by another tech giant that would eventually lead to IE’s downfall – Google Chrome.

Chrome was pitched to the public in 2008 as “a fresh take on the browser”. While Microsoft struggled with open web standards, Chrome’s source code was openly available through Google’s Chromium project.

By 2011, Firefox and Chrome had eroded IE’s market share to below 50%, and a year later, Chrome would end Internet Explorer’s 14-year reign as the world’s top internet browser.

Today, the browser market has come full circle. Chrome has now become the dominant browser on the market, while competitors fight to increase their single-digit market shares. IE has dropped to fourth place.

Looking Back at the Peaks

In the 25 years since Netscape gave people access to the internet, a few browsers have had their moment in the sun. Here are the years of peak market share for all the major browsers:

BrowserPeak Market SharePeak Year
Netscape Navigator90%1995
Internet Explorer95%2004
Opera3%2009
Mozilla Firefox32%2010
Safari7%2012

Once a browser becomes popular, it can be incredibly difficult to carve into its market share. Even during the height of the iPhone era, Apple’s browser, Safari, was only able to manage a 7% market share.

For now, it looks like Chrome will continue to be the world’s preferred method of experiencing the internet. If Chrome’s current trajectory continues, it could become the third major browser to surpass a 90% market share.

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