Investment & Company Information

Reddit files for IPO and will let some longtime users buy shares

After years of speculation, Reddit has officially filed paperwork for an Initial Public Offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The company, which plans to use RDDT as its ticker symbol, will also allow some longtime users to participate by buying shares.

In a note shared in the company’s S-1 filing with the SEC, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said that many longtime users already feel a “deep sense of ownership” over their communities on the platform. “We want this sense of ownership to be reflected in real ownership—for our users to be our owners,” he wrote. “With this in mind, we are excited to invite the users and moderators who have contributed to Reddit to buy shares in our IPO, alongside our investors.”

The company didn’t say how many users might be able to participate, but said that eligible users would be determined based on their karma scores while “moderator contributions will be measured by membership and moderator actions.”

The filing also offers up new details about the inner workings of Reddit’s business. The company had 500 million visitors during the month of December and has recently averaged just over 73 million “daily active unique” visitors. In 2023, the company brought in $804 million in revenue (Reddit has yet to turn a profit). The document also notes that the company is “exploring” deals with AI companies to license its content as it looks to expand its revenue in the future.

Earlier in the day, Reddit and Google announced that they had struck such a deal, reportedly valued at around $60 million a year. “We believe our growing platform data will be a key element in the training of leading large language models (“LLMs”) and serve as an additional monetization channel for Reddit,” the company writes.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/reddit-files-for-ipo-and-will-let-some-longtime-users-buy-shares-234127305.html?src=rss

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Walmart is buying smart TV maker Vizio for $2.3 billion

Walmart is buying Smart TV manufacturer Vizio for $2.3 billion, the US retail giant announced as part of its latest earnings report. While Walmart has long been one of the major sellers of Vizio TVs, the company says the acquisition "enables a profitable advertising business that is rapidly scaling" via the company's SmartCast OS. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval. 

Vizio sells solid mid-range TVs, most equipped with its SmartCast operating system that supports free ad-supported content. The company recently refreshed its lineup with a more intuitive user interface and faster startups and app switching

Walmart, meanwhile, prominently features the brand on its shelves (along with TCL), as anyone who has gone there lately has probably noticed. The retailer already has its own TV house brand, ONN, but those sets are very much on the low end, usually selling for under $500. 

More importantly, the companies plan to combine their respective ad businesses. Walmart already has a $2.7 billion ad business, but Vizio would increase its access to key consumer info like viewership data. It would also effectively give Walmart more eyeballs for its ads — for instance, companies that sell goods at Walmart could also run ads on Vizio TVs, all of which could be tracked by the retailer. 

"We believe the combination of these two businesses would be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment," said Walmart VP Seth Dallaire. "Our technology will help bring a scaled, connected TV advertising platform to Walmart Connect," added Vizio CEO William Wang. 

The acquisition may also be a counter to Amazon's in-house Fire TV business, both in terms of television retailing and advertising, as The Wall Street Journal reported last week. Amazon has one of the largest ad businesses in the US behind Alphabet and Meta, and smart TVs help it gather personalized consumer data for targeted advertising. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/walmart-is-buying-smart-tv-maker-vizio-for-23-billion-130725953.html?src=rss

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NVIDIA becomes the third most valuable US company at Alphabet’s expense

NVIDIA is doing very well for itself, so much so that the chip maker has overtaken Alphabet, Google's parent company, to become the third most valuable company in the United States, Reuters reports. The news comes almost immediately after NVIDIA pushed past Amazon in the rankings, with the company now valued at $1.83 trillion. Worldwide, it sits in fourth, behind American companies Microsoft ($3.04 trillion) and Apple ($2.84 trillion) and the Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco ($2.07 trillion).

AI's boom over the last year is largely to thank for NVIDIA's jump in valuation, with about 80 percent of the high-end chip market in its hands. It created the H100 chip, which powers LLMs at OpenAI, Amazon, Meta and more. In January, Mark Zuckerberg said Meta will buy 350,000 of NVIDIA's H100 chips by the end of the year. 

Unlike most companies that are engaged in a competition over which will advance in AI the quickest, NVIDIA has its figurative hands in all baskets. The chip maker is also expanding its business to create custom chips for cloud computing firms. This additional offering can keep NVIDIA in the mix, even as AI manufacturers seek more bespoke options. 

NVIDIA's quarterly report will drop on Wednesday, February 21, and while it's expected to be positive, anything less than excellent could lower the company's valuation and, thus, ranking. Predictions set NVIDIA's quarterly earnings tripling to $20.37 billion and net profits jumping 400 percent to $11.38 billion. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nvidia-becomes-the-third-most-valuable-us-company-at-alphabets-expense-123503967.html?src=rss

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An earnings typo sent Lyft’s stock price into the stratosphere

In an absolutely bananas turn of events, a typo in an earnings report caused Lyft shares to skyrocket nearly 70 percent after Tuesday’s closing stock market bell, as reported by CBS. There was an extra zero in the report that suggested a five percent margin expansion in 2024, instead of a .5 percent margin. This sent investors into a tizzy, as the company has long struggled to turn a profit.

The mistake was even present in Lyft’s slide deck, which was part of that earnings report, and an accompanying press release. The company quickly corrected the mistake, calling it a clerical error, but the stock surge had already begun. Lyft CFO Erin Brewer addressed the issue in an earnings call yesterday evening which caused the stocks to reverse course. It’s worth noting that the earnings report was still good news for Lyft, even without that mistake, so the stock price experienced a more stable increase of around 35 percent.

Now, onto the blame game. Lyft CEO David Risher appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box to take responsibility for the mistake, saying “look, it was a bad error, and that’s on me.” Risher went on to note that it was “super frustrating” for everyone on the team and said that he could see a fellow employee’s “jaw drop” when discovering the issue.

The good news? Even with that adjustment, this is Lyft’s best day since the company’s initial IPO offering back in 2019. Yesterday’s earnings report indicated $1.22 billion in revenue for the quarter, an increase of four percent from last year. Bookings increased 17 percent for the quarter, accounting for $3.7 billion. Risher called it a “great quarter.”

A misplaced zero on a spreadsheet isn’t the ridesharing giant’s only concern. Thousands of Lyft and Uber drivers are going on strike today to demand better pay and safer working conditions. The striking workers are primarily clustered around ten major US airports, though it’s only planned to last for a few hours.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/an-earnings-typo-sent-lyfts-stock-price-into-the-stratosphere-193904095.html?src=rss

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Instacart cuts 250 jobs after reporting increased revenue

Another day, another layoff occuring in the tech world. Instacart, the popular grocery delivery and pick-up service has announced the termination of 250 employees — about seven percent of its workforce. The layoffs are primarily individuals from middle management or who work on advertising through platforms like Google Ads and Roku. Most of the layoffs will go into effect by March 31 with Instacart estimating that the process will cost the company between $19 million and $24 million due to factors like severance pay and employee benefits.

Instacart released the news along with its fourth-quarter earnings. Despite choosing to layoff employees, the company reported a six percent increase in revenue, jumping from $803 million to $804 million, year-over-year. At the same time, Instacart is seeing the voluntary departure of three of its executives: the chief operating officer, chief technology officer and chief architect.

The layoffs follow only a short time after Instacart's September 2023 IPO. Unlike many companies that barely (or didn't) survive the COVID-19 pandemic, Instacart thrived. It allowed people to stay and still receive their groceries and other necessary items. Now, it exists in 5,500 cities and, like most companies of the past year, is focusing on building its AI capabilities. But, despite its increased revenue, the company's layoffs signal that not everything is going as planned over at Instacart

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/instacart-cuts-250-jobs-after-reporting-increased-revenue-112503431.html?src=rss

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Sony predicts it’ll sell fewer PS5s than first thought

Sony has lowered its PlayStation 5 sales forecast for fiscal 2023 significantly and now expects to sell 21 million units, down from a previous forecast of 25 million. That's despite posting record quarterly revenue and selling 8.2 million PS5s over the holiday season. So far this fiscal year, Sony has sold 16.4 million consoles, bringing its total to 54.8 million overall. (The company sold 19.1 million PS5s in fiscal 2022.)

Sony announced in December that it had sold 50 million PS5 units over three years, as of December 9, 2023. That's just a week longer than it took the PS4 to achieve the same number, and the latter wasn't bogged down by supply chain issues and a worldwide pandemic. 

Revenue was up 16 percent over the same quarter last year, thanks in part to improved sales of non-first-party titles. However, operating income was down significantly (26 percent), due a drop in first-party sales and losses on hardware due to promotions. In other words, PS5 sales aren't meeting the company's expectations despite discounts. 

Sony has seen higher sales in all three quarters this year compared to last. That might not continue this year though, as it's forecasting sales of just 4.6 million for Q4 2023 (February to April), down from 6.3 million in Q4 2022. 

In terms of new first-part games, Sony noted that Marvel's Spider-Man 2 has sold 10 million units (as of February 4) since its release in October 2023.

Almost all other Sony divisions saw higher revenue, including its Imaging & Sensor Solutions division (Sony makes sensors for iPhones and many other devices), along with Pictures and Music. That resulted in a record 3.75 trillion yen for Q3 ($24.9 billion) compared to 3.08 trillion yen the year before ($20.5 billion). 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sony-predicts-itll-sell-fewer-ps5s-than-first-thought-091816189.html?src=rss

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