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Breakfast Briefing: Falcon Heavy, Coffey’s Return & a Tech Coalition

Greg Coffey Returns

The Australian star hedge fund trader has raised a $2bn macro fund.

Editor’s Remarks: Despite poor performance across the board and significant capital outflows in the hedge fund industry, Coffey is staging a comeback. Famous for his stellar performance at both GLG Partners and Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital, Coffey’s new fund, Kirkoswald, will take positions in emerging markets and launches in the next six months. The fund was oversubscribed by 75%; despite capping the fund at $2bn, Coffey received commitments of over $3.5bn from investors. Prior to his retirement five years ago (aged just 41), Coffey was one of London’s most high profile traders and was famously offered a $250m deal to remain at GLG – which he ultimately turned down to join Moore Capital.

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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Launches

SpaceX will launch its first Falcon Heavy rocket today, with Elon Musk’s own Tesla as its payload.

Editor’s Remarks: Elon Musk’s space exploration company will launch what it terms “the most powerful operational rocket” later today from the Kennedy Space Center – the same pad that launched the famous Apollo missions. Musk is not particularly optimistic about the rocket’s prospects: he has said that if that rocket makes it far enough from the launch pad so as not to cause it damage, he “would consider even that a win”. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of SpaceX’s flagship Falcon 9 rockets that have been lashed together and costs $90m, making it a market leader if the launch is successful.

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Tech Coalition Fights Big Tech

Former Google and Facebook employees are fighting against the companies they helped build.

Editor’s Remarks: The Center for Humane Technology is a union of former Silicon Valley employees who have grown concerned with the negative impact of the technologies that they helped to build. So far, the Center has planned an ad campaign at 55,000 public schools across the US and is launching an anti-tech addiction lobbying initiative. Backlash against social media giants reached new heights towards the end of 2017 after venture capitalist and former Facebook employee Chamath Palihapitiya said that his former employer was “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”.

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Samsung’s Jay Y. Lee Freed

In an unexpected twist, the Samsung executive has walked free from prison.

Editor’s Remarks: The Samsung Vice Chairman was freed after a South Korean appeals court suspended his bribery sentence. The move has led to further questions as to whether the South Korean government can make good on its efforts to crack down on corporate corruption and the purchase of influence. Lee is the heir to Samsung, and had his sentence reduced to just two and a half years yesterday after serving one year. Although Lee is said to have been surprised by the court’s decision, critics have pointed to the worrying pattern of leading executives – including Lee’s own father – being jailed only to then receive a suspended sentence.

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Broadcom Ups Qualcomm Bid

Broadcom’s hostile bid for rival chipmaker Qualcomm now stands at around $121bn. 

Editor’s Remarks: The deal values Qualcomm at around $82 per share, a significant premium to the company’s current share price of around $66, and could be the biggest ever tech deal. The Qualcomm board previously rejected a $105bn offer, which it said was not worth consideration. Broadcom’s CEO Hock Tan has now upped the bid with the caveat that it will be his final offer. The deal is all the more spectacular because Qualcomm is actually larger than Broadcom, which has grown into one of the world’s largest chipmakers through a series of ambitious acquisitions over recent years.

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