Tag Archives: Banking/Credit

CEO of ‘Builderman’ Roblox Goes to Wall Street with Troop of Young Gamers | Instant News


Chief Executive Roblox Corp. David Baszucki won the loyalty of tens of millions of videogamers with a do-it-yourself gaming approach that defies industry-specific formulas for success.

Roblox is slated to make its public market debut March 10 through direct listing, an unconventional process that allows companies to trade on the stock exchange without raising new capital. The company based in San Mateo, California, was founded in 2004, rotated from traditional public offerings last year after

By Dash Inc.

and

Airbnb Inc.

jumped beyond expectations in their IPO.

Roblox founder and CEO David Baszucki, pictured in 2018, is a frequent presence on the platform, under the name ‘Builderman.’


Photo:

Steve Jennings / Getty Images for TechCrunch

Roblox’s debut is coming as the coronavirus pandemic has prompted people to do so spend more money and time on video games than before. Tech valuations have surged over the past year – Roblox was personally worth $ 29.5 billion in January, up more than seven times from early 2020 – although the stocks have recently faltered amid shifting investor sentiment that an improved economy will benefit the sector other.

Instead of relying on Hollywood-like budgets and rock star talent to produce a few blockbuster games each year, Roblox is shifting game development to its own players. These players, especially teenagers and preteens, in turn produce their own hits and earn 70% of the revenue their work generates.

“We are like YouTube, except our content is a game, and our content allows everyone to play together,” Baszucki said in 2018 while speaking at his alma mater, Stanford University. The 58-year-old man himself often appears at Roblox, using the name “Builderman”.

This approach has earned Roblox an estimated 33 million daily users who can choose between tens of millions of multiplayer games, ranging from obstacle challenges and catch the flag iterations to contests based on popular characters like Peppa Pig and Sonic the Hedgehog. The company provides free tools and instructions that players – even those with no coding experience – can use to create games for its platform.

Samuel Jordan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, took a hiatus from college about a year ago to focus on creating games and other digital content for Roblox with his business partners. The 21-year-old, who participated in the company-run accelerator program in the summer of 2019, says he made about $ 600,000 last year from his Roblox creations, up from $ 30,000 in 2019.

“This is crazy,” Jordan said, adding that the pandemic was likely to contribute to a tremendous increase. More than 300 Roblox developers made $ 100,000 or more last year, the company said.

The health crisis provided significant fuel for Roblox’s business. Revenue grew 82% last year to $ 923.9 million, while orders – sales of virtual items on the platform – more than doubled to about $ 1.9 billion.

Samuel Jordan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says he made an estimated $ 600,000 last year from his Roblox creations.


Photo:

Maria Alejandra Cardona for The Wall Street Journal

London’s Alan and Sinéidin Cooper said their two daughters, ages 5 and 10, and 7-year-old son each spent about five hours a week at Roblox before the pandemic. Now that time is doubled because they are using the platform to connect with friends. The couple treated their kids to Robux worth around $ 40 to $ 45 per month.

“It’s a great way for them to socialize,” Mr said. Cooper.

Roblox hasn’t been able to turn user loyalty into profit, as its net loss in 2020 swelled to $ 253.3 million from $ 71 million a year earlier. The company has said it plans to continue investing in the platform, which can be used for distance learning, conferences and other group experiences, such as concerts.

SHARE YOUR MIND

In your opinion, what is the price of Roblox on the public market? Join the conversation below.

Like other online hangouts featuring user-generated content, Roblox has to contend with predators and troublemakers who target children with inappropriate material – a particular concern given that more than half of the platform’s users are under 13. The company says it has made significant steps to keep users safe, such as by adding a communication filter to eliminate offensive speech.

Supporters include the large venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Altos Ventures and Greylock Partners. David Sze, a Greylock partner, said the company invested in Roblox partly because of Mr. Baszucki. While other CEOs may have switched from business models after modest initial growth, Mr. Baszucki remains confident in Roblox’s user-created mission, says Sze.

“It’s like 10 years walking through the desert without anyone trusting you,” he said. “Dave against all odds.”

Mr. Baszucki, who declined to be interviewed for this article, started and then sold a software company that specialized in physics simulation before founding Roblox with fellow programmer Erik Cassel, who died of cancer in 2013. They started making games for the platform, but soon invite other players to create their own. Roblox was released to the public in 2006.

“We immediately realized what they were building was much more interesting and exciting than anything we had ever made,” Baszucki wrote in a Roblox securities filing. Mr Baszucki is the largest shareholder of the company and holds 70% of the voting rights. He will forego cash and equity compensation for seven years after Roblox goes public, and in return qualify for a performance-based stock award, which he intends to donate for philanthropic causes.

Mr. Baszucki was an investor in Friendster, an early competitor for

Facebook Inc.,

and he sees Roblox as a combination of Second Life’s social networking platform and online virtual world, said Matt Dusek, a Roblox start-up employee who left the company in 2019. “He sees things as further away than anyone else around him often does,” Said Mr. Dusek.

Samuel Jordan and his business partner Kyle Hulse outside their shared office space in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.


Photo:

Maria Alejandra Cardona for The Wall Street Journal

In the following years, Roblox gradually expanded its user base. Mr. Baszucki, as “Builderman,” will greet new players digitally, appearing as one of the platform’s signature box avatars and offering tips on how to get started. Popular games inspire players to become developers, who then make more games, attracting more users – the so-called network effect.

Roblox’s user-generated gaming strategy has won praise from industry leaders. Tim Sweeney, CEO of “Fortnite” creator of Epic Games Inc., credits the company for helping gamers become game makers. “Roblox has done a tremendous job building the ecosystem,” he said in an email.

Although the company has warned that people may spend less time with its games as the pandemic fades, it wants to continue to add to its base of more than 8 million developers. Similar to other videogame publishers, Roblox is also looking to join more brands like

Nike Inc.

and

Mattel Inc.

about marketing promotions.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at [email protected]

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

.



image source

Texas Blackout Raises Australian Banks To $ 215 Million | Instant News


Freeze it plunging millions of Texans into darkness rippling through energy markets in unpredictable ways, yielding financial gains for Australian banks and severe suffering for other companies caught in the disruption.

Extreme weather froze wind turbines and oil and gas wells, shut down oil refineries and pushed power plants out of operation, sending shocks through energy markets. Wholesale electricity prices skyrocketed, as did spot prices for natural gas in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas.

The turbulence brings profit to commodity traders at Macquarie Group Ltd. Australia, whose ability to deliver gas and electricity across the country allows it to take advantage of soaring demand and prices in states like Texas.

The bank raised its guidance on Monday for revenue this year through March to reflect windfall winds. It said that the net profit after tax would be 5% to 10% higher than for fiscal year 2020. That equates to an increase of up to 273.1 million Australian dollars or the equivalent of approximately $ 215 million. In an earlier guide, issued Feb.9, Macquarie said it expects profits to drop slightly in 2020.

“Extreme winter weather conditions in North America have significantly increased short-term client demand for Macquarie’s ability to maintain critical physical supplies across the commodity complex, and in particular in relation to gas and electricity,” the bank said.

.



image source

Credit Suisse Booked Losses Despite Encouraging Investment Bank | Instant News


Credit Suisse Group AG said a strong start to the first quarter boosted its growth ambitions this year large legal fees and impairment pushing it to a fourth quarter loss.

The Swiss bank reported a loss of 353 million Swiss francs Thursday, the equivalent of $ 393 million, for the fourth quarter. Analysts estimated the loss to be around 566 million Swiss francs.

Even in a difficult year, Credit Suisse fared better than many European rivals as its loans in Switzerland and the global wealthy were caught in the pandemic. Together with Wall Street competitors, his investment bank booked additional fees from clients trading in the volatile market last year and from companies that raised capital or needed deal advice.

On Thursday, it said the investment banking arm experienced a more than fivefold jump in pretax profit to $ 318 million in the fourth quarter, with the largest revenue contribution coming from helping companies increase their equity and bond financing.

Fourth quarter profit before tax also rose in Credit Suisse Asia-Pacific division, by 18% to 237 million Swiss francs, while revenue and profit before tax fell at Swiss banks and international wealth management units.

.



image source

DNB Says Authorities Have Ended Investigations on Alleged Money Laundering | Instant News


Prosecutors suspended an investigation into the alleged involvement of Norwegian bank DNB in ​​handling payments from an Icelandic fishing company involved in the bribery investigation.


Photo:

ints kalnins / Reuters

Bank of Norway

DNB AS

A said on Friday that an investigation into his alleged involvement in handling payments from an Icelandic fishing company involved in the bribery investigation had been dropped.

The Norwegian National Authority for the Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, known as Okokrim, launched an investigation in November 2019 following the disposal of WikiLeaks data and the subsequent allegations made in the Icelandic media.

DNB said in a statement on Friday that it had been informed that the investigation had not yielded any information that provided a basis for criminal prosecution of the individual and that the public prosecutor did not think the company sentence was applicable in this case. “Because of that the case has been closed,” said DNB.

WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 documents called “Fish Files”, which show that the Icelandic fishing group Samherji hf has for years paid billions of dollars to Namibian officials for fishing quotas in the country’s waters.

Icelandic media later claimed that Samherji used DNB to funnel more than $ 70 million to a shell company in the Marshall Islands, part of the proceeds from his activities in Namibia.

Samherji said the figure was actually $ 28.9 million and related to fees for the crew but did not disclose which bank was used for the transaction.

“The dismissal of the case confirms that the allegations are pointless,” Samherji said in a statement on Friday. “Samherji is pleased with this result, because the company has always maintained that the allegations regarding Samherji’s affiliated transactions with DNB are baseless.”

Write to Dominic Cut in [email protected]

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

.



image source