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Breakfast Briefing: Ant Raises Cash, Faraday Struggles & Zuma Out

Ant Financial Seeks $5bn

The Alibaba payments startup intends to raise the sum ahead of its planned IPO.

Editor’s Remarks: Ant Financial is seeking to raise the sum in a round that values the company at an enormous $100bn, according to sources near the deal who say the total figure could be near $120bn. This would make the Alibaba affiliate worth twice as much as Uber, given that SoftBank’s recent investment in the ride-hailing app was at a $48bn valuation. Ant Financial runs both Alipay, the largest online payments platform, and Yu’e Bao, the world’s largest money-market fund. The fresh capital would set a high bar for Ant Financial’s planned IPO later this year.

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Faraday & Future Struggles On

The company’s founder, Jia Yueting, is trying to keep his debt-fuelled business empire afloat.

Editor’s Remarks: Jia started Faraday with the goal of becoming China’s answer to Elon Musk and Tesla. He even funded Faraday off the back of his previous business successes, which in fact were of a greater scale than Musk had achieved at Zip2 and even PayPal. Yet, whereas Musk sold stakes in his previous businesses to fund Tesla and SpaceX, Jia leveraged shares in his video-streaming service Leshi, which once carried a $24bn market cap. However, those shares have now tanked 60% and Jia is largely bereft of the cash needed to get production at Faraday rolling.

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South Africa’s Power Shift

Cyril Ramaphosa said that the transition of power is being “finalised”.

Editor’s Remarks: The nation’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) is finishing up a shift of power from incumbent President Jacob Zuma to the party’s leader, Cyril Ramaphosa. Back in December, Ramaphosa was elected head of the ANC, which sparked a power struggle between himself and Zuma that has not yet been resolved. The ANC’s national executive committee is now expected to ask Zuma to resign, though it has no actual powers to remove him from office. South Africa heads to a general election next year, which many in the ANC fear might end the party’s 24-year reign.

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Snapchat Wins UK Users

UK teenagers are moving to Snapchat from Facebook according to a new study.

Editor’s Remarks: Currently, 71% of UK social media users between 12 and 17 years-old will regularly use Facebook, down from 79% last year. Meanwhile, Snapchat will enjoy a 41% share of the same demographic – double the number that used the platform just three years ago. It’s a similar story in the US, in fact, where 68.5% of teenagers use Facebook, compared to 90% in 2013. Overall, however, Facebook is still leading the way with around 2.1bn users worldwide and well over half the UK population currently on the platform. Yet, the numbers do show that the company is losing its appeal to younger users.​

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Ford’s Funding Plan

The carmaker is focusing on large SUVs to fund its plans for electric and autonomous cars.

Editor’s Remarks: The decision is being bolstered by a $25m investment at Ford’s Kentucky factory, which will now churn out 25% more of the company’s big SUVs, including the Lincoln Navigator and the Ford Expedition. Ford’s Kentucky factory is enormously efficient and many analysts believe some of the models built there fetch profits of around $10,000 per vehicle. That extra cash is needed by Ford, the US’ second-largest automaker, as it catches up with developments in electric vehicles and self-driving at its rivals Tesla and General Motors. Ford’s CEO Jim Hackett has already warned that investments in technology will likely lead to a profit fall this year.

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