Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Djokovic, truly the greatest all-court player. He has even won on the Australia's Federal Court!
A doctor arrested for selling up to RM900k worth of fake vaccination certs. Farmville creator, Zynga, to be acquired for USD11 bil. Asia's richest person - CZ, founder of crypto exchange, Binance.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
USD5.5 bil — the cost of internet censorship in 2021, according to an annual report by digital security and rights group Top10VPN. Myanmar lost an estimated USD2.8 bil to shutdowns due to the military coup in February 2021. What constitutes a shutdown? Internet blackouts, social media shutdowns, and bandwidth-throttling by governments. Top10VPN estimated 486 mil people were affected by government-imposed internet blackouts in 2021.
South Korea exported USD607.9 mil worth of instant noodles between Jan to Nov 2021, up 10.6% from the same period of 2020. The figure is an all-time high! Were you one of the contributors?
USD295 mil — the most expensive listing in the US. “The One” is a 105,000 sq ft megamansion overlooking downtown Los Angeles. There are 21 bedrooms and 42 bathrooms in total. It’s up for auction after the house was placed into receivership (i.e. “lelong”) last year.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Just like the virus itself, early symptoms of the Covid-19 are evolving. Sore throat appears to be a common, early symptom of an Omicron infection. Some experts say Omicron could infect the throat before the nose.
T-cells from common cold illnesses may protect people from COVID-19, according to a small study (n=52) by Imperial College London. Those who had developed a “memory bank” of specific immune cells after a cold appeared less likely to get Covid. The study could impact second-generation vaccines.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
An NGO calling itself Rakyat Malaysia Prihatin has lodged a report with the MACC alleging corrupt practices by high-ranking officials in the Securities Commission (SC). It cited 3 cases involving nepotism, cover-up of wrongdoings, conflict of interest and bribery. The so-called NGO said it would provide the MACC with evidence of wrongdoings once investigations begin.
How timely this report was made when SC said it would investigate MACC chief commissioner, Azam Baki, breach of the Security Act. Distraction ploy?
Police have arrested a doctor from a private clinic in Marang, Terengganu, that is suspected of issuing fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates. Preliminary investigations revealed that a total of 1,900 individuals were found to be dealing with the clinic for vaccination purposes, but it is yet to be determined how many bought the fake certifications.
A fake certificate cost between RM400-600 and also had an agent who was paid RM50 commission to promote his services. The doctor has admitted to being an anti-vaxxer and is said to carry out the activity alone in the treatment room without the help of clinic staff.
The number of unemployed persons has fallen below the 700,000 mark for the first time in Nov 2021, the lowest since Apr 2020, bringing the unemployment rate to 4.3%, according to the Department of Statistics of Malaysia (DOSM).
Listed companies on Bursa Malaysia raised a total of RM8.1 bil in private placements in 2021 - the largest in Malaysia’s history. Nearly 1 in 5 or 19% of the 923 companies listed on Main Market and ACE Market have successfully raised their private placement. Relaxation of fundraising rules due to the pandemic and ample market liquidity led to an active share placement market.
Vision-inspection equipment maker Vitrox Corp Bhd plans to invest between RM80-100 mil in a new expansion in Batu Kawan this year, adding 447,000 sq feet of floor space for production, business development, design and development and shared services at the plant. The company said its advanced robotic vision solution system has received good responses from tier-one customers and this product is expected to grow significantly in the next 3 to 5 years. Vitrox current market cap stands at RM9.03 bil.
ACE-bound Coraza Integrated Technology Bhd, an integrated engineering supporting services provider, said its Malaysian public portion of its IPO was oversubscribed by 132.5 times. Set to list on 20 Jan 2022, the company received 26,781 applications seeking for 2.86 bil new shares for the 21.4 mil new shares made available for the Malaysian public. The company expects to raise RM33 mil in this IPO and upon listing, the company will have a market cap of RM119.9 mil.
Mineral water brand Spritzer and cooking oil brand Red Eagle are no strangers to Malaysians. Inspiring story here how its founder, Lim Kok Cheong, 76, son of impoverished rubber tappers rose to build Malaysia’s largest mineral water company from humble beginnings.
Carsome Group, which operates a used-car marketplace in Southeast Asia confirmed that it has raised USD290 mil (RM1.22 bil) at a USD1.7 bil (RM7.16 bil) valuation in its latest fundraising round. Led by subsidiaries of Singapore state investment firm, Temasek Holdings as well as Qatar Investment Authority, the state investment firm of Qatar, other investors include local conglomerates such as Sunway and YTL Corp.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Judge Anthony Kelly of the Federal Circuit Court has ruled in favour of Novak Djokovic by quashing the cancellation of Mr Djokovic’s visa. Judge Kelly ordered Djokovic be released from Immigration detention and have his passport returned to him. One interesting (rhetoric) question asked by the judge — “What more Djokovic could have done for a visa?”
The world number one still has another hurdle — the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Alex Hawke. Hawke can use his discretion and exercise his personal power to cancel Djokovic's visa. If it happens, Djokovic will be banned from entering Australia for three years. He truly is the greatest all-court player.
Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was overthrown in last February’s coup, has been found guilty of possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies and breaching coronavirus curbs. A military-run court has sentenced the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner to an additional four more years in prison.
Tencent Holdings Ltd is nearing a deal to acquire Chinese gaming handset maker Black Shark, in a move to bolster its ambitions for the metaverse, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Black Shark will pivot to making virtual reality (VR) headsets for its new parent after the deal. The firms did not respond to requests for comment. The potential acquisition was previously reported by local trade publication 36Kr.
According to local media, China Evergrande Group has evacuated out of its headquarters in Shenzhen and relocated to Guangzhou. The company's logo had been partially removed on one side of the building. Sources have also said that lawsuits against the company from around China are handled by a court in Guangzhou.
Take-Two Interactive will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Zynga in a cash and stock transaction valued at USD9.86 per Zynga share, representing a 64% premium to Zynga’s closing share price on Jan 7, 2022. The deal gives FarmVille creator Zynga an enterprise value of USD12.7 bil (including debt). The transaction is expected to deliver approximately USD100 million of annual cost synergies within the first two years after closing.
Fun fact — Binance’s founder Zhao Changpeng (CZ) used to flip burgers at McDonald’s. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, his net worth is USD96 billion — exceeds that of Asia’s richest person, Mr Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries Ltd. CZ’s road to riches began back in 2013, during a friendly poker game with Mr Bobby Lee, then chief executive of BTC China, and investor Ron Cao. Both encouraged him to put 10% of his net worth into Bitcoin and he ended up selling his apartment for Bitcoin.
Zhao, a Canadian, founded Binance in 2017. Up until today, the exchange does not have a formal headquarter but Zhao did say the headquarters would be coming soon during an interview in November. Read the full story to learn more about CZ.
Goldman Sachs predicts the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as many as four times in 2022 and as much as a full percentage point (100 basis points). The Wall Street firm’s chief economist Jan Hatzius wrote declining labour market slack has made Fed officials more sensitive to upside inflation risks and less sensitive to downside growth risks in a report. The inflation figure will be released on Wednesday, hang on tight.
Pine Labs Pvt, an Asian digital payments provider, backed by Sequoia India and Mastercard Inc., is seeking to list in the US to raise USD500 mil. The company has filed confidentially with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering in New York that will value the firm between USD5.5 bil to USD7 bil.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
The fossilised remains of an ichthyosaur, a ten-metre long sea predator.
Great read by James Clear — How to Be Thankful For Your Life by Changing Just One Word. Change “I have to work” to “I get to work”, and your life changes!
“I think it’s important to remind yourself that the things you do each day are not burdens, they are opportunities. So often, the things we view as work are actually the reward.” — James Clear.
Quetzalcoatlus northropi, the largest known flying animal to have ever existed, more than 67 mil years ago.