TECH WEEKLY

March 5, 2021

GM and LG Chem considering a second EV battery factory in US

General Motors and Korea’s LG Chem are exploring a project to build a second battery plant in the U.S. to make cells for the future electric vehicles that the automaker has planned for its home market, a spokesman said Thursday.

The two companies are looking at different sites to build a plant that would be similar in size to the $2.3 billion facility currently being built in Lordstown, Ohio, and have talked to public officials in Tennessee. GM will make a decision in the first half of this year.

One source said GM expects to need additional battery plants – beyond the one considered for Tennessee – to meet aggressive EV targets through the end of the decade. GM unveiled a bold aspiration in January to halt sales of all light-duty gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035.

GM, the largest automaker in North America based on sales, is increasingly staking its future on electric vehicles. The company has vowed to spend $27 billion on the development and production of 30 new electric vehicles by 2025, more than two-thirds of which will be available in North America. GM even redesigned its logo to look more like an electrical plug to emphasize its pivot to battery-powered vehicles.
Source: WSJ

Okta to acquire identity management startup Auth0

Identity management company Okta said on Wednesday it has agreed to buy its smaller rival Auth0 in a $6.5 billion all-stock deal, one of the largest software deals so far this year.

Founded in 2013, Auth0 has more than 9,000 enterprise customers, and it has a presence in more than 70 countries. Okta provides identity management tools – used to identify employees and customers – for more than 10,000 organizations.

Customers use San Francisco-based Okta’s security software to support workers who need to access corporate systems, students who must use remote-learning apps and consumers who are required to authenticate their identities online. Okta, which counts Microsoft Corp. as one of its main rivals, saw shares more than double last year as the pandemic-related shift to home-based working and learning boosted the need for users to securely get into apps and networks.

Auth0 will operate as an independent business unit within Okta and both companies’ products will be supported and developed going forward, Okta said, giving customers the ability to choose which one is the right fit.

The company expects the deal to close in its second quarter, ending July 31.


Source: CNBC

Square to acquire majority stake in Tidal

Payments firm Square agreed to buy a majority ownership stake in Tidal, a music streaming service owned by rapper Jay Z, for $297 million in cash and stock. Square, co-founded by Twitter Inc Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, said Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, would become a member of Square’s board of directors.

Square said it doesn’t expect Tidal’s financial results to have a material impact on Square’s consolidated revenue or gross profit in 2021. Tidal has struggled to keep up in the music streaming wars since its launch, and Dorsey’s stake could help push the company forward.

Billboard reports that as of 2020, Tidal was still behind on payments to rights holders, a problem Square’s cash injection might solve. The company’s revenue reportedly grew 13% to $166.9 million in 2019, according to financial documents filed in the UK by parent company Project Panther Bidco, but losses also rose from $36 million to $55.19 million in that same period.

Tidal was founded in Norway in 2014 before being bought by a consortium of artists led by Jay-Z the following year for $56 million. Artist-owners included Coldplay, Rihanna, Daft Punk, and Madonna. The new owners positioned Tidal in opposition to big tech’s streaming services, promising fans high-quality audio and exclusive content.
Source: Bloomberg