Monday, 18 Jan 2021

Facebook Buys Customer-Service Software Maker Kustomer

Francisco Partners To Buy CDK Global’s International Business For $1.45 Bln

Global investment firm Francisco Partners said Monday it has agreed to acquire the international business segment of CDK Global, Inc. (CDK) for $1.45 billion.

CDK’s International business segment is a provider of automotive retail software solutions in EMEA and Asia.

“With its leading market position in EMEA and Asia, we believe CDKI is uniquely placed to support this transformation in these regions, and that by becoming a standalone company it will better be able to execute on this exciting opportunity,” said Petri Oksanen, Partner at Francisco Partners, who will join the CDKI board of directors upon closing of the transaction.

New Jersey Resources Q4 Profit Matches View, But Revenues Miss

New Jersey Resources (NJR) reported that its fourth-quarter net income rose to $43.3 million or $0.45 per share, from $18.1 million or $0.20 per share last year.

Net financial earnings were $54.7 million or $0.57 per share, compared to $26.0 million, or $0.29 per share in the previous year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.57 per share. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

Total operating revenues for the quarter declined to $400.04 million from $479.08 million in the prior year. Analysts expected revenues of $701.52 million for the quarter.

The company anticipates fiscal 2021 net financial earnings to be in the range of $1.55 to $1.65 per share. Analysts expect annual earnings of $2.30 per share.

The company expects approximately 30% year-over-year growth in net financial earnings in fiscal 2022, with a 6-10% long-term growth rate thereafter.

Biden Taps Yellen as Treasury Secretary to Rebuild U.S. Economy

President-elect Joe Biden named former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary, the first woman to run the agency.

He also named Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, Cecilia Rouse to lead the Council of Economic Advisers. Long-time advisers Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey will also be on the CEA.

Yellen and others will be tasked with steering the economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.

Super Nintendo World Gets New Opening Date At Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan has set a February 4, 2021 grand opening for the first Super Nintendo World, after the launch at the Osaka theme park was delayed earlier this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. The opening will now coincide with the park’s 20th anniversary celebration.

The park’s first multi-level land includes themed rides based on Nintendo staples including Mario Kart and Yoshi, with attractions including Bowser’s Castle and Peach’s Castle. The main attraction: the first-ever Mario Kart theme park ride, Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, in which riders in headsets will race through the video game’s iconic courses and be immersed in the world.

The park will also offer Power-Up Bands, which enables guests to complete challenges, collect virtual coins and items and more. Users will also be able to link the bands to their smartphones to track their score, coins and digital stamps and compete with other guests.

Universal Studios Japan reopened to the public in June in restricted capacity after being shut down because of the pandemic.

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European Economics Preview: German Ifo Business Confidence Data Due

Business confidence survey results and revised quarterly national accounts from Germany are due on Tuesday, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

At 2.00 am ET, Destatis is slated to issue Germany’s revised quarterly GDP data for the third quarter. The economy is forecast to grow 8.2 percent sequentially, as initially estimated.

At 2.45 am ET, France’s statistical office Insee releases business confidence survey results. The sentiment index is forecast to fall to 91 in November from 93 in October.

At 3.30 am ET, Statistics Sweden publishes producer prices data.

At 4.00 am ET, Germany’s ifo business confidence survey results are due. Economists forecast the business sentiment index to drop to 90.1 in November from 92.7 in October.

At 6.00 am ET, the Confederation of British Industry publishes Distributive Trades survey results. The UK retail sales balance is seen at -35 percent in November versus -23 percent in October.

Facebook Buys Customer-Service Software Maker Kustomer

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Facebook Inc. has acquired Kustomer Inc., a New York-based software company that helps businesses manage customer conversations from multiple services on one dashboard.

The social media giant made the deal to bolster its nascent messaging business, which is expanding to include customer-service products that help companies interact with people via chat apps, like WhatsApp and Messenger.

“Any business knows that when the phone rings, they need to answer it. Increasingly, texts and messages have become just as important as that phone call — and businesses need to adapt,” Facebook executives wrote in a blog post. Kustomer also offers automated tools so companies can handle easier customer requests using bots.

Facebook didn’t disclose terms of the acquisition, but the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the deal could value privately held Kustomer at more than $1 billion. Facebook said the deal will close pending regulatory approval.

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