Tag Archive | "north"

Senior Deutsche Bank Employee Didn’t Know You Couldn’t Bring Guns On An Airplane

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Getting out of town for the long weekend? If you’re traveling by plane, perhaps we should take a moment to review a couple of items the FAA is not cool with you stashing in your carry-on. Gulf-clubs. Cattle prods. Regular-sized bottles of shampoo. Gel-type candles. Guns. Yes, guns! It’s pretty wild but they’re still not letting people bring them on planes. If this comes as a shock, don’t feel bad because you’re not alone- it’s a crazy rule one Deutsche banker was unaware of, as well.

Shen Yan, head of North Asia institutional clients group of Deutsche Bank, was arrested at Hong Kong airport last week after a gun was found in his luggage, the sources said. Yan had been granted bail and was charged by the Hong Kong police, said the sources who asked not to be identified.

According to a spokesperson for DB, “this is a personal matter for Mr Yan and has nothing to do with Deutsche Bank,” which has put him on a time-out until “the matter is resolved.”

Senior Deutsche Bank banker nabbed for carrying gun at HK airport [Reuters]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Peak Games raises $5M for social gaming

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Turkish game publisher Peak Games has raised $5 million to make social games for emerging markets.

The deal shows that investors are looking beyond established markets to emerging countries where social games are still catching on. Peak Games, which has more than 10 million monthly active users on Facebook, is targeting its games at Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

The investment comes from Earlybird Venture Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Munich, Germany.

Sidar Sahin, chief executive of the game company in Istanbul, said in an interview that it hopes to expand its roster of social games into markets such as Brazil and the broader Middle East region.

“We believe the next big Facebook games will come from an emerging market,” Sahin said.

While other companies try a one-size-fits-all approach for international markets, Peak Games focuses on making local versions of games that are culturally relevant to the people in the region. That’s key to getting a higher monetization than normal for an emerging market, said Rina Onur, co-founder and chief strategy officer.

Michael Pachter, analyst for Wedbush Morgan, said Peak Games shows that the social gaming market is a global one and that it may already own a leadership position in markets such as Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

Sahin founded the company in October, 2010, and it already has 50 employees and 10 games. The company has 10 million monthly active users playing traditional Turkish and Arabic card and board games on Facebook.

Onur said the company’s method is to understand its audience and make games directly for them. She noted that Turkey is the fourth-largest market for Facebook, with more than 28 million users. The number of Facebook users in the broader region grew 78 percent from a year ago.The company says it can reach as many as 56 million Facebook users now and expects that to grow to 250 million by 2015.

Previously, Peak Games raised $2.5 million from Hummingbird Ventures and serial business angels Evren Ucok and Demet Mutlu, bringing its total fundraising to date to $7.5 million in six months.

On a daily basis, 2 million people play the company’s games across five time zones, four continents, and five languages. The titles include Okey, Okey Plus, Poker Star, Komşu Şehir, Komşu Kabile, İkon Kız (FabGirl), Bizim Dünya, Komşu Çiftlik and Petiler. Okey, a card-based game, has more than 4.5 million monthly active users.

The company develops its own games and has also partnered with several leading social game developers in the West, including The Broth and MagnetJoy.

Rivals include Zynga, Disney-Playdom and EA-Playfish, as well regional players such as Brazil-focused firms Mentez and Vostu.

We’ll be exploring the most disruptive game technologies and business models at our third annual GamesBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the disruptive trends in the mobile games market. GamesBeat is co-located with our MobileBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at sponsors@venturebeat.com. To pitch a startup at the Who’s Got Game contest at GamesBeat 2011, click here.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

How To Destroy Evidence Of Insider Trading: Lesson 3

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If you’ve been closely following the government’s Insider Trading Fest(ivus) 2010/2011 you know that one thing that’s emerged is a detailed guide to how one should go about destroyed evidence of securities violations that a jury would not look upon kindly. Garrett Bauer spoke to us at length about the benefits of washing versus burning dirty money while Donald Longueuil, the foremost expert on the matter, provided a step-by-step guide to getting rid of incriminating USB drives (you’ll need: two pairs of pliers, four plastic baggies, one North Face fleece). Yesterday, an (alleged) accomplice of (accused) insider trader/former Galleon employee Zvi Goffer added a chapter on getting rid of a cell phone that could cause trouble.

Santarlas, testifying under a cooperation agreement with the government, said he and another former Ropes & Gray attorney, Arthur Cutillo, told Brooklyn, New York, lawyer Jason Goldfarb in 2007 about acquisitions involving 3Com Corp. and Axcan Pharma Inc. He said Goldfarb gave him $25,000 for the 3Com information and $7,500 for Axcan.

“When I received the cash, Jason had told me to dispose of the phone — break it in half, submerge it in water and put it in a garbage can,” Santarlas testified.

[Bloomberg]

Earlier: If You’ve Ever Wondered What Donald Longueuil Might’ve Sounded Like On The Cold December Night He Told A Colleague How To Destroy Evidence Of Insider Trading, Wonder No Longer (MP3)



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

How To Destroy Evidence Of Insider Trading: Lesson 3

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If you’ve been closely following the government’s Insider Trading Fest(ivus) 2010/2011 you know that one thing that’s emerged is a detailed guide to how one should go about destroyed evidence of securities violations that a jury would not look upon kindly. Garrett Bauer spoke to us at length about the benefits of washing versus burning dirty money while Donald Longueuil, the foremost expert on the matter, provided a step-by-step guide to getting rid of incriminating USB drives (you’ll need: two pairs of pliers, four plastic baggies, one North Face fleece). Yesterday, an (alleged) accomplice of (accused) insider trader/former Galleon employee Zvi Goffer added a chapter on getting rid of a cell phone that could cause trouble.

Santarlas, testifying under a cooperation agreement with the government, said he and another former Ropes & Gray attorney, Arthur Cutillo, told Brooklyn, New York, lawyer Jason Goldfarb in 2007 about acquisitions involving 3Com Corp. and Axcan Pharma Inc. He said Goldfarb gave him $25,000 for the 3Com information and $7,500 for Axcan.

“When I received the cash, Jason had told me to dispose of the phone — break it in half, submerge it in water and put it in a garbage can,” Santarlas testified.

[Bloomberg]

Earlier: If You’ve Ever Wondered What Donald Longueuil Might’ve Sounded Like On The Cold December Night He Told A Colleague How To Destroy Evidence Of Insider Trading, Wonder No Longer (MP3)



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Tablets: 115-Page Jefferies Note Sees PC Threat, China Demand

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Folks, it wouldn’t be Tuesday without a massive report on the outlook for tablet computing.

And so, this morning, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek offers a 115-page note in which he goes through the findings of a survey of 1,400 consumers in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and Asia.

Misek cut his 2011 unit shipment outlook for tablets to 70 million units from 100 million units because he now has a somewhat less enthusiastic view of tablets based on Google’s (GOOG) “Android” operating system, given that the “Honeycomb” version of Android “needed polishing” and given that he believes Android tablets are priced too high to compete with Apple’s (AAPL) iPad and will have to cut prices. Misek thinks there’s little chance PC makers (Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL), among them, I would imagine) will have competitive tablets this year, “due to their dependence on Taiwan ODMs for notebooks.” (Though I would note HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker this morning touted the company’s upcoming “TouchPad” tablet.)

Misek thinks tablets will, indeed, cannibalize PCs, as the survey his firm conducted shows that “production” tasks, such as writing, editing, creating spreadsheets, and editing photos, are done as much on a tablet as on a PC, meaning the tablets are not just for content “consumption,” in his view.

Misek thinks Apple will remain the dominant supplier by a wide margin this year, commanding 64% of tablet shipments, which will make up 20% of Apple’s revenue this calendar year. Research in Motion (RIMM) will have just 1% share this year, and Motorola Mobility (MMI) will have just 2%. Apple next year may hold 41% of shipments, RIM, 1%, and MMI 3%, he thinks.

Misek does not project tablet cannibalization figures, besides saying cannibalization is already evident in Q1′s PC numbers (Again, see HP’s report this morning and some of the commentary from Citigroup.) He argues that developers are already shifting resources to tablet and smartphone software development, which is easier, he opines.

He expects PCs will become servers of a sort, but that they will also adopt various technologies of tablets, and he projects Apple using chips based on ARM Holdings (ARMH) designs in its MacBooks as soon as 2013, a bit of speculation that has been rampant of late.

Two big developments that go hand in hand with tablets, in Misek’s view, are the rise of “super data centers” that will “bring cloud-based services and media to the masses,” and also a surge in wireless and wireline broadband traffic well ahead of current estimates as mobile video becomes “a significant drive of bandwidth usage.”

Perhaps the most suprising element of the consumer survey, Misek notes that China has by far the strongest interest in purchasing tablets, with consumers surveyed in that country suggesting an 80% interest in purchasing tablets, versus just over 40% in North America, 50% in Europe, just under 50% in the Middle East, and about 65% in Asia-Pacific.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

SunPower: ThinkEquity Cuts To Hold, Slashes ’11 Estimates

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Shares of SunPower (SPWRA) are down 14 cents, or 0.7%, at $21.24 after the company last night met pre-announced Q1 results but forecast the current quarter’s revenue below analysts’ expectations and said that it will revise its full-year forecast later this quarter.

The company is in the midst of going through a tender offer by oil company Total (TOT), which plans to buy up to 60% of the stock.

This morning, there’s one downgrade of the stock, from Buy to Hold, by ThinkEquity’s Colin Rusch, who cut his price target to $19 from $22. He cut his 2011 estimate to $1.13 in EPS, down from $2.15 previously, and cut his revenue estimate to $2.44 billion from $2.86 billion.

“While we are bullish on SunPower’s position and believe the company is executing well on its cost reduction and should benefit from the flexibility of its business model as the solar industry rationalizes, we are lowering estimates for 2011 and 2012 to reflect a more cautious outlook,” Rusch writes. Rusch expects the company may need to write down “at least a portion of its SunRay acquisition,” even though it should be able to monetize its land and permits, he thinks. He also thinks SunPower will move closer to 75% of shipments coming from modules, versus an expectation previously of just 50%.

Bullish!

Robert Stone, Cowen & Co.: Reiterates an Outperform rating, while raising his revenue estimate for this year to $2.83 billion from a prior $2.39 billion, and cutting his EPS estimate to $2.05 per share from a prior $2.11. He also cut his numbers for revenue and profit for next year. He sees the company benefitting from a shift to rooftop installations in Italy and away from utility-scale projects: “About 15MW of UPP projects (vs. 130MW planned) are expected in Italy. But, new FIT policies should favor SPWRA’s strength in rooftops; it is #2 in Italy with 500 dealers, and the small system segment is uncapped.” The company’s North America business, 45% of revenue in the quarter, should help as well, he thinks.

Ben Pang, Caris & Co.: Reiterates an “Above Average” rating and a $24 price target. “The near term performance of SPWRA shares will be capped by the offer from TOT,” he writes, though he expects “no roadblocks” to the offer. As for the expected forecast update, he thinks it will be below the current consensus estimate of $2.8 billion in revenue and $1.92 EPS. Hence, Pang cut his 2011 estimate to $2.65 billion and $1.81, from a prior $2.85 billion and $2.11. “We do not expect any new bidders to come in above TOT’s offer of $23.25, but a resolution to some of the overhanging legisla- tive issues should be an additional positive catalyst.”

Bearish!

Mark Bachman, Auriga Securiites: Reiterates a Sell rating and a $13 price target. The Total bid puts a floor under the stock, and he wouldn’t recommend shorting the shares, but, “but we do suggest existing holders of SPWRA and SPWRB tender their shares and/or consider selling June or July calls against any shares at these levels given risk of the deal possibly not completing.” The Q1 report was “the worst we have heard so far this reporting season,” he writes. SunPower has gone from net cash to net debt on the balance sheet, he writes, while inventory days tripled. “In short, this is not the company of a few years ago and investors looking for exposure to the solar space are encouraged to look elsewhere.”

Timothy Arcuri, Citigroup: Reiterates a Hold rating on the shares and a $16.50 price target. “While inventory should begin to clear given resumption in the Italian rooftop and a seasonally better German market,” he writes, it will come at a price because Chinese solar modules are selling for about $1.40, below the $2 per watt or so that SunPower is used to getting. “So we see further risk in estimates.” Arcuri is maintaining his 87-cent EPS estimate for this year.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Prosecutors Looking Into Steve Cohen’s Book O’ Trades

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Last February two former SAC Capital employees, Noah Freeman and Donald Longueuil, were charged with insider trading, with Longueuil pleading guilty in April and Freeman doing so from the get-go, having chosen to cooperate with the FBI (cooperation that included wearing a wire while having conversations with his ex-best friend, Longueuil, in which he got Don to vividly describe destroying evidence with two pairs of pliers and a North Face fleece). At the time of the accusations, SAC said that they were “outraged” by the actions of the duo, who’d been fired in 2010 for “poor performance.” That should have been the end of it, but now the Feds are taking a look-see at whether or not these punks got their stink on The Cohen Account AKA The Big Book.

The Big Book would be the $3 billion portfolio overseen by the Big Guy (described as The Cohen Account in court filings), where many of the trades come from “high-conviction” ideas suggested by portfolio managers to SC, successful ones earning them a few extra zeros at the end of the year and/or a brand new all-fleece wardrobe. According to the Journal, prosecutors are checking out the suggestions made by Longueuil and Freeman to Cohen (which a) may have been legitimate ideas they came up with on their own, sans material non-public info or b) based on tainted info that SC didn’t know was dirty), among other things.

The filings don’t say that the trades suggested by Messrs. Freeman and Longueuil were based on inside information, nor that Mr. Cohen had any knowledge of the portfolio managers’ rationale for recommending the trades. The documents filed in court don’t include specific details about the trades or the timing of them.

The SAC documents under scrutiny by the government were referenced in communications between the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office and lawyers for Mr. Longueuil and a co-defendant, in which prosecutors described evidence they were turning over in the case. The defense lawyers attached the prosecutors’ letters to filings in a New York federal court last month, before Mr. Longueuil pleaded guilty.

The court filings indicate that prosecutors are examining the compensation SAC paid to Messrs. Freeman and Longueuil. Among documents gathered by prosecutors are the two fund managers’ pay stubs and tax forms, as well as information on SAC’s net rate of return, management fees and incentive fees, according to the filings.

Neither Cohen nor SAC have been accused of any wrongdoing and it sounds as though prosecutors haven’t uncovered anything beyond the fact that these two guys once worked there and occasionally came in contact with Steve. Longueuil and Freeman are nevertheless advised to get out of town** and certainly not consider asking for Mets season tickets,*** or even entertaining the thought of putting SC down as a job reference.

US Examining Trades By Hedge Fund Titan [WSJ]

**Actually, maybe think about the protection that comes with jail time.
***The only seat you’ll have in that stadium is 5 feet underneath second base.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Commenting startups Disqus celebrates its birthday with $10M more

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daniel ha disqusDisqus, a startup offering a commenting system across a number of sites (including VentureBeat), says it’s turning four years old this week, and it’s using the occasion to reveal some big numbers. Not quite the biggest, but perhaps the most important is the fact that the company has raised $10 million in new funding from North Bridge Venture Partners and Union Square Venture Partners.

The company says it’s seeing rapid growth, having more than doubled the amount of unique visitors to Disqus sites since November 2010, from 200 million to nearly 500 million. There are now 750,000 “communities” using Disqus and 35 million commenters have created profiles. The company is also pointing to a recent study by Lijit showing that 75 percent of sites using a third-party commenting system use Disqus.

All of that adds a little substance to the comments earlier this year by co-founder and chief executive Daniel Ha (no relation to me) that he wasn’t too worried about the threat from Facebook’s new commenting system for publishers.

“They’ve put a stake in the ground –- they see a lot of value in what we do,” Ha said at the time. “But we haven’t seen [Facebook] make a dent in our traction, which is why we aren’t shaking in our boots.”

San Francisco-based Disqus was incubated at Y Combinator. It previously raised a $500,000 round from backers including Union Square, Knight’s Bridge Capital Partners, Naval Ravikant, and Aydin Senkut (who is also an investor in VentureBeat).

[image via Flickr/Robert Scoble]

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Jim Paulsen: Killing Osama Will Translate To People “Feeling Better About Their Portfolio” And The US “Not Having To Take Crap, If You Will”…

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Earlier this morning, Jim Paulsen popped by the Squawk Box set (via phone) for a chat about the death of Osama bin Laden. What does it all mean? According to Paulsen, it’s not so much about the short-term effects on the market but those further down the road. The way Paulsen sees it, what the US did had the potential to “screw up, putting us in deep doo-doo with Pakistan.” That we went for it told the world, “Hey, world, we’ve got balls.” Paulsen woke up this morning “feeling great” and it’s because we’ve got our mojo, confidence, all that jazz back and we didn’t even have to “repair any balance sheets.”

The way JP sees it, Sunday “cutting off the head of the snake” was “just the type of thing that adds up to the confidence to spend cash flow and..to feel better about your portfolio and equities in general.” Another reason to feel “bullish on America”? Putting our balls out there means “we don’t have to take crap, if you will, from China or North Korea or anybody. That’s a good feeling overall.”



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Deals & More: Digitalsmiths brings in $12.5M for video discovery

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Today’s funding announcements include companies that help users discover videos, find babysitters and manage networks:

Video search company Digitalsmiths grabs $12.5M: The developer of video search and discovery products has raised a third round of funding led by Technicolor with participation from existing investors including .406 VenturesAurora Funds,Chrysalis VenturesCapitol Broadcasting and Cisco. Based in Durham, North Carolina, the company helps content owners and consumers easily find relevant videos. During this year’s NCAA March Madness, Digitalsmiths partnered with Turner Sports to provide real-time search capabilities of game videos.

Sittercity gets $22.6M to bring families and caregivers together: The online service has raised a new round of funding led by Baird Venture Partners and New World Ventures to match families with babysitters, pet sitters and other caregivers, the Chicago Tribune reports. The Chicago-based company, which serves individuals along with serving employees of companies through its corporate program, plans to use the funding to expand domestically and abroad.

AppNeta gets $6.2M to manage network performance: The Wellesley, Mass.-based company has raised a new round of funding from Bain Capital Ventures, Egan-Managed Capital, JMI Equity and Business Development Bank of Canada. The company, which relaunched today as AppNeta from Apparent Networks, currently works with more than 1,000 managed service providers and enterprise customers to ensure consistent network performance in data center, cloud, remote office and mobile environments.

Sewichi raises seed round for mobile analytics: The Seattle-based startup has raised an undisclosed amount from Madrona Venture Group with participation from the company’s founder, who was an early employee at airfare prediction site Farecast. The early stage company has not yet released many details but claims it will be focused on mobile analytics and measurement.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals