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Council supports push for more investment in broadband – Belleville Intelligencer

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Belleville city council has added its voice to a growing group of municipalities pushing for further action on increasing broadband internet in rural Ontario.
FILE PHOTO


Luke Hendry

Belleville city council has strongly supported a letter from the Township of Amour calling for governments to make a substantial investment in high-speed internet connectivity in rural areas of Ontario.

“The letter we received from Armour Township and Coun. Roy Ward summarizes the difficulties of people in rural areas have with poor connectivity and they say, and I agree, ‘high speed connectivity cannot be seen as a luxury or nice to have anymore than hydro should be’. The wise investment is providing connectivity for every resident in the province, and with the increased demand on internet and so many people using the internet and working from home it must make it very difficult in the rural areas and it can’t get anything but worse, so I’m asking that we support this motion,” said Coun. Pat Culhane.

Thurlow Ward Councillors Paul Carr and Bill Sandison both supported the proposal, noting they have been advocating for improved service in their rural area of Belleville.

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“High speed internet in rural sections of Ontario has been a screaming need for at least a decade and over the course of the last year-and-a-half, maybe even two years, we’ve had federal announcements of money, we’ve had provincial announcements of money, we most recently had the Eastern Ontario Regional Network take on the procurement of expanding internet in the rural Ontario, and specifically in our region,” said Sandison.

However, Sandison said the deployment schedule for the monies that have already been committed is needed. He said a schedule, rather than just discussion of funds, would indicate progress.

“This has been a message to the feds and the province for the last 10 to 15 years, and it seems to be no better today then it was in 2008,” said Coun. Sean Kelly.

Carr said the issue has been one for many years and recalled meeting with former MP Mike Bossio on Parliament Hill in early 2018 as well as a Connect to Innovate announcement the same year in Corbyville.

“We were told at that announcement that as far as rural Belleville goes and even rural Hastings County goes, and even rural Eastern Ontario goes that this would be the solution, and interestingly enough, the one thing that we don’t see is the timeline and we don’t see the deliverables,” Carr said.

Carr noted while he supported the motion wholeheartedly, “the more we pile on the better, but perhaps the mayor could send a letter to the Member of Parliament to get a timeline on some of these things. The announcements are great, and that Connect to Innovate announcement was supposed to solve all our broadband issues in Eastern Ontario and certainly in Belleville we would have high speed internet right to our northern border, and that hasn’t been the case, and I don’t even know how much work has been done.”

“The money has been promised, but it has not flowed yet because in our system of government we have to have contracts signed, you have to have RFPs released before the money gets released by those federal and provincial governments,” said Mayor Mitch Panciuk. “Successive governments have promised and have in some cases re-promised monies, meanwhile the Eastern Ontario Regional Network has been doing all the prep work and figuring out what the game plan is, and right now there is an RFP out for the installation of these towers and once that is received and a decision is made to award the contract only then will some of those funds move forward.”

Panciuk he has been told the project will be completed by 2025.

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HackCapital launches investment platform competitor to Odin and Vauban – TechCrunch

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Much in the way that AngelList and CircleUp have helped U.S. startups with angel investing, HackCapital wants to do the same for Europe’s impact solution-focused startups.

Co-founders and industry angel investors, Arman Anatürk, Camille Bossel and Emilie Dellecker launched the Switzerland-based entity out of stealth Tuesday to join similar groups, like Vauban, Odin and Roundtable, in helping founders, fund managers and syndicates in the climate tech industry raise capital from their networks for their own raises.

HackCapital is the fundraising and financing arm of Hack Group, the creators of the food tech community FoodHack and HackSummit. It provides a way for startups, funds and syndicates to use the HackCapital platform to launch an investment vehicle and pool capital from multiple investors in their network into the funding round, said Anatürk, co-founder and CEO of HackCapital, via email.

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HackCapital manages the legal and administrative services behind these pooling mechanisms via a fully digitized platform that makes issuing and investing easier and more affordable.

To date, over 30 funds and startups have used the infrastructure to roll up investors into their rounds, including Vienna-based Arkeon and Canada-based New School Foods, Anatürk said.

Where Anatürk said HackCapital is doing something different is that it is using a securitization structure, which centralizes the administration to bypass the needs of traditional special purchase vehicles, which limits the number of investors.

“HackCapital’s infrastructure is specifically designed for liquidity and secondaries,” Anatürk said. “We believe that the private markets will play a critical role in solving climate and health in the next decades, but the lack of liquidity is one of the main factors that prevents more capital flowing towards meaningful innovation and impact, especially in deep-tech fields, where the innovation cycles take longer than the typical 10 years fund return.”

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Twitter may be worth one-third what Musk paid for it last fall as Fidelity marks down investment – ABC News

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Twitter may now be worth one-third of what Elon Musk paid for the social media platform just seven months ago

ByThe Associated Press

May 31, 2023, 9:39 AM

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FILE – Twitter logos hang outside the company’s offices in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022. Twitter may now be worth one-third of what Elon Musk paid for the social media platform just seven months ago. Financial services company Fidelity has reduced the market value of its equity stake in Twitter for a third time, now putting it at $6.55 billion. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

The Associated Press

Twitter may now be worth one-third of what Elon Musk paid for the social media platform just seven months ago.

Financial services company Fidelity has reduced the market value of its equity stake in Twitter for a third time, now putting it at $6.55 billion. That’s down from the nearly $20 billion Fidelity valued its stake at in October.

It is unclear how Fidelity came up with its valuation figures, but as a public company it’s required to provide investors with updates on its holdings. Because Twitter is a private company now called X Holdings Corp., information about its finances can’t be verified.

Musk took control of Twitter in October, after a protracted legal battle and months of uncertainty. The CEO of Tesla, who also owns SpaceX, bought Twitter for $44 billion.

The billionaire financed the purchase with funds including loans from a group of banks. Musk has said the $44 billion price tag for Twitter was too high but that the company had great potential.

By April Musk was telling the BBC that running Twitter has been “ quite painful ” but that the social media company is now roughly breaking even after he acquired it late last year. Musk predicted at the time that Twitter could become “cash flow positive” in the current quarter “if current trends continue.”

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Paramount stock rises another 6% as investors cheer Loop Capital upgrade, new investment deal

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Paramount Global (PARA) closed Tuesday’s trading session more than 6% higher after Loop Capital upgraded the stock late last week, suggesting financial pressures surrounding the company will force it to find a buyer.

Loop Capital upgraded shares to Hold from Sell but reiterated its price target of $14 a share with analyst Alan Gould telling investors, “We no longer believe the downside is that much greater than the upside.”

“While we still believe a turnaround of PARA will be a challenge, investors’ perception of the company could change with a motivated seller, clever bankers, and Berkshire’s purse strings,” he said.

“The bull case is that the financial pressure will force PARA to find a buyer and shareholders will achieve private market value. The bear case is that there are no buyers for the cable assets, the streaming business is a work-in-process, and Shari Redstone will not sell just the studio, the only asset that would have multiple highly interested buyers,” Gould added.

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Shari Redstone currently serves as the non-executive chairwoman of Paramount Global, in addition to president of her family’s holding company, National Amusements (NAI), which controls the company through its class A shares.

Paramount closed Friday’s trading session up 6% after BDT Capital Partners, an affiliate of BDT & MSD Partners, funded a $125 million preferred equity investment in National Amusements.

The investment will help NAI pay down its revolving loan and recent term loan borrowings, according to a press release. Paramount has recently battled layoffs, business restructurings, and a dividend cut that sent the stock plummeting nearly 30%.

“Our expanded partnership with BDT & MSD reflects our strong belief in Paramount’s ability to deliver value to all shareholders,” Redstone said in the release.

“NAI has conviction in Paramount’s strategy and execution, and we remain committed to supporting Paramount as it takes the necessary steps to build on its success and capitalize on the strategic opportunities in our industry,” she continued.

Shari Redstone is president of her family's holding company National Amusements, which controls Paramount. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Shari Redstone is president of her family’s holding company National Amusements, which controls Paramount. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Paramount has long been viewed as a potential acquisition target due to its small size relative to competitors. The company boasts a current market cap of about $10 billion, compared to Disney’s (DIS) $161 billion and Netflix’s (NFLX) $176 billion.

Paramount CEO Bob Bakish hinted more media M&A was on the horizon while speaking at a UBS media conference late last year.

“Consolidation has been the rule in business for a long time, certainly been the rule in media,” he said at the time. “So, it’s hard for me to bet on anything other than consolidation will happen in the future.”

In February, shortly following the announcement that Paramount would be folding Showtime into Paramount+, The Wall Street Journal revealed the company had turned down a more than $3 billion offer from executive David Nevins to buy Showtime.

Nevins’ proposal was one of many offers the company had received for Showtime over the past several years, the Journal said. The network, which is home to popular shows like “Billions” and “Yellowjackets,” was said to be a key driver in unlocking value for the media giant.

In addition to the Showtime offer, the company has tip-toed around recent reports of a potential sale of the company’s BET Media Group, which includes cable channels BET and VH1, after producer Tyler Perry and media mogul Byron Allen reportedly expressed interest in purchasing a majority stake.

FILE - Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett smiles during an interview in Omaha, Neb., May 7, 2018. Buffett recommitted to his favorite bank stock, Bank of America, during the first quarter while dumping two other banks as part of a number of moves in Berkshire Hathaway's stock portfolio. Berkshire provided a quarterly update on its U.S. holdings Monday, May 15, 2023, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)FILE - Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett smiles during an interview in Omaha, Neb., May 7, 2018. Buffett recommitted to his favorite bank stock, Bank of America, during the first quarter while dumping two other banks as part of a number of moves in Berkshire Hathaway's stock portfolio. Berkshire provided a quarterly update on its U.S. holdings Monday, May 15, 2023, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
FILE – Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett smiles during an interview in Omaha, Neb., May 7, 2018. Buffett recommitted to his favorite bank stock, Bank of America, during the first quarter while dumping two other banks as part of a number of moves in Berkshire Hathaway’s stock portfolio. Berkshire provided a quarterly update on its U.S. holdings Monday, May 15, 2023, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) boosted its stake in Paramount Global in the fourth quarter of 2022, purchasing an additional 2.4 million shares worth more than $40 million, according to a regulatory filing released on February 14, pushing its stake in the company north of 93 million shares.

Another Buffett connection lies in BDT & MSD Partners’ Chairman and Co-CEO Byron Trott — long known as a trusted advisor of Buffett.

“Paramount has an incredible legacy, underpinned by its industry-leading content and media assets. We believe strongly in the value creation opportunities ahead for the company and its shareholders,” Trott said in Friday’s release.

Still, not everyone is convinced a sale is on the horizon — at least not right away.

Wells Fargo analyst Steve Cahall suggested on Tuesday that Redstone’s “conviction” in Paramount’s strategy implies “a break up of the company is not likely anytime soon.”

Alexandra Canal is a Senior Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @allie_canal, LinkedIn, and email her at alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

 

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