STLR Link Roundup – February 24, 2017

Snapchat Goes Public
Earlier this month, Snap Inc. filed the necessary disclosures with the Securities and Exchange Commission to take the social media giant, Snapchat, public.  The tech company is estimated to raise $3 billion in its initial public offering—an important indication for the value and viability of other technology and social media startups.  The IPO is expected to happen later next week.  The market valuation of the company is expected to be somewhere between $16.2 billion and $18.5 billion, depending on the valuation method used.  However, some are concerned that the projected largest tech IPO in history may not go as planned.  Recent tech giants “nosedived in their first year” after going public, including Facebook, Twitter, and Fitbit.  While the future of Snap Inc. is yet to be seen, the valuation of the start-up does indicate the growing value in other tech companies.

Uber’s Newest Legal Troubles
Uber’s latest legal troubles involve an intellectual property case over self-driving car technology.  Waymo, a company spun off from Google’s parent company (Alphabet, Inc.), is alleging that Uber was “using intellectual property stolen by one of Google’s former project leaders.”  In the complaint, Waymo claims that the former employee downloaded 14,000 files from Google a month before leaving the company, and those files made their way to Uber’s self-driving group.  Uber responded publicly to say the claim is “baseless.”  Recently, Uber has faced several legal battles over antitrust, employment, and tax concerns.  Waymo is seeking damages and an injunction preventing Uber from using the proprietary information.

Bitcoin to receive US regulatory approval

Investors began speculating that the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund will receive regulatory approval in the United States soon.  Bitcoins, a currency created in 2009, are exchanged anonymously on marketplaces called bitcoin exchanges.  Transactions using the currency do not involve banks or fees.  A bitcoin exchange-traded fund would allow bitcoin investments to be traded on the stock exchange in the US.  The Securities and Exchange Commission will decide by March 11th whether to approve the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

Facebook’s Half a Billion Dollar Loss

Earlier this month, ZeniMax Media, a video game publisher, won a verdict in Dallas federal court for $500 million against Oculus, Facebook’s virtual reality group, for copying computer code.  ZeniMax developed software for video game headsets that was later used by an employee who left the company and began working at startup that was eventually acquired by Facebook.  The damages stemmed not from the trade-secret theft claim, but mostly from the violation of a non-disclosure agreement that the former employee signed. The jury also awarded damages for copyright infringement and improper use of the video game publishers trademark.  Facebook plans to appeal.

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