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Adobe agrees to buy Figma in $20 billion software deal

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By: Bloomberg, September 15, 2022

Adobe Inc. agreed to buy software design startup Figma Inc. in a deal valued at about $20 billion to help it expand tools for creative professionals.

The deal announced by Adobe, which is a mix of half cash and half stock, confirms an earlier Bloomberg report and would mark the biggest ever takeover of a private software company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Adobe shares fell about 9% in premarket trading.

Figma, which allows customers to collaborate on software as they build it, saw demand jump during the pandemic while more people worked remotely. The company expanded its customer base in recent years from software designers at big companies like Airbnb Inc., Google, Herman Miller and Kimberly-Clark Corp. — to also include individuals building lightweight games, maps and presentations. It has also attracted a loyal student following.

The combination benefits “literally anybody who is a knowledge worker,” said Adobe Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen, in an interview.

Adobe, which had been a Wall Street favorite for more than a decade, has been pummeled in the tech downturn, seeing its shares lose more than a third of their value since the start of the year. Investors have become increasingly skeptical about the dominance of Adobe’s line of software for design professionals, which makes up about 60% of its revenue. The company has targeted more accessible web-based offerings such as Photoshop Express to sell its creative software to consumers, small businesses, and social media influencers. The initiative ran into friction from upstarts including Figma, Lightricks Ltd. and Canva Inc.

San Francisco-based Figma was co-founded about a decade ago by Dylan Field and Evan Wallace. The startup introduced browser-based software design tools that allow software designers to work together in real-time, bypassing the sometimes clumsy process of saving and sending their work to collaborators using a collection of disparate apps. The company was valued at $10 billion in its last funding round a year ago. Figma’s backers include venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures and Greylock Partners.

The deal’s “very high” valuation is likely weighing on Adobe’s stock, said Bloomberg Intelligence’s Anurag Rana. But Adobe defended its business strategy.

“We’re confident that if you look at this in the long run, it’s going to be a big value for their shareholders and our shareholders as well,” Narayen said. The transaction is expected to close in 2023, pending regulatory and other approvals, Adobe said. After closing, Field will continue to lead the Figma team, reporting to David Wadhwani, president of Adobe’s digital media business. Figma will continue to exist as a standalone product.

Adobe also announced third-quarter results, with revenue jumping 13% to $4.43 billion. That was in line with analysts’ estimates but marked the third consecutive quarter of growth of less than 15%, as Adobe has been buffeted by economic uncertainty and by the strong dollar overseas. Adjusted earnings per share were $3.40, better than Wall Street expected.

Figma will have a total addressable market of $16.5 billion by 2025, according to the statement. The company is expected to add about $200 million in net new annual recurring revenue this year, surpassing $400 million in total annual recurring revenue by the end of 2022, with a net dollar retention of greater than 150%, Adobe said in an investor presentation. Figma has gross margins of about 90%, and about 850 employees, Adobe said. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Adobe’s adjusted earnings per share at the end of the third year.

According to terms of the deal, about 6 million additional restricted stock units will be granted to Figma’s CEO and employees that will vest over four years after closing. Adobe expects the cash consideration to be financed through cash on hand and, if necessary, a term loan.

Qatalyst Partners advised Figma along with the law firm Fenwick & West while Allen & Co. was Adobe’s adviser along with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

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FIFA World Cup 2022: Cybercriminals Using Fake Sites to Steal Personal Information, IT Security Firm Says

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By Press Trust of India | Updated: 29 November 2022

From fake entry permits and betting sites to fake cryptocurrency, cybercriminals have spun all the tricks to lure football fans in the name of the FIFA World Cup, IT security intelligence firm CloudSEK warned on Monday.

While India is not part of the FIFA World Cup, the Indian community is reportedly estimated to be the largest among the expatriate population in Qatar which is hosting the biggest football tournament.

The Bengaluru-based cyber security firm said that several Telegram channels were found selling Hayya cards (FIFA entry permit) for prices ranging from $50 (roughly Rs. 4,300) to $150 (roughly Rs. Rs. 12,300).

“To create Hayya cards, the threat actors claim to require the buyer’s valid IDs like passports. And payment is only accepted in Bitcoin,” CloudSEK said in a report.

Cyber criminals are also sharing hacking techniques that purportedly allow one to register for a Hayya card without a valid FIFA ticket number, for free.

The technique is based on brute forcing the ticket number based on an alleged ticket number pattern that the threat actor shared.

“Since the FIFA world cup is a popular event, the demand for tickets far exceeds the supply. To exploit this gap between the supply and demand, scammers have set up websites that sell fake tickets,” CloudSEK said.

The threat actors are trying to cheat netizens by selling limited edition fake cryptocurrency as crypto currency platform Crypto.com is an official FIFA sponsor and Binance has partnered with Cristiano Ronaldo to promote soccer-themed NFTs.

“Threat actors are piggy-backing on this hype to sell fake ‘World Cup Coin’ and ‘World Cup Token’ by promoting them as limited edition cryptocurrency. However, most of these purported coins don’t exist,” the report said.

CloudSEK researchers in the report said FIFA sponsors should bolster their security mechanisms and stay up to date on threat actors’ tactics and techniques.

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Amitabh Bachchan Wins Interim Order for Protection of His Personality Rights

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By ANI | Updated: 26 November 2022

Bollywood legend and veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan filed a suit in Delhi High Court seeking protection of his personality rights, image, voice or any of his characteristics without his consent, following which the court passed an interim ex-parte injunction in his favour.

Eminent lawyer Harish Salve along with Ameet Naik and Pravin Anand, instructed by Anand and Naik, appeared for Bachchan in the High Court. The matter was heard before Justice Navin Chawla.

Salve submitted that there is a complete misuse of Amitabh Bachchan’s name, image, voice or any of his characteristics without his consent.

“The misuse of his name, image and voice, especially by the mobile application developers, and people conducting lottery by illegally associating with KBC, book publishers, T-shirt vendors and various other businesses, has prompted Mr Amitabh Bachchan to approach the High Court, seeking a restraining order against the use of his personality traits,” Salve said.

The lawyer for Amitabh Bachchan also brought to the notice of the Delhi High Court that alleged infringers have illegally registered Bachchan’s name as web-domain names such as www.amitabhbachchan.com and www.amitabhbachchan.in.

Delhi High Court’s Justice Navin Chawla noted that the plaintiff/Amitabh Bachchan alleges a violation of his publicity right as a celebrity.

The court further noted that it could not seriously be disputed that the plaintiff is a very well-known personality and is aggrieved by the usage of his name, image voice etc without his consent.

“I am of the opinion that the plaintiff has been able to make out prima facie case in his favour. The defendants appear to be using celebrity status without his authorization, permission and consent,” the HC judge said.

Justice Navin Chawla in his interim order passed an interim ex-parte injunction in favour of the Plaintiff/ Amitabh Bachchan and against the defendants.

The plea stated that there is an infringement of the Plaintiff’s personality through various manners like digital means, instant messaging apps, physical means etc.

The digital means include several websites and mobile apps that have been found misappropriating the plaintiff’s photographs and/or other characteristics, to create popularity amongst the public and to entice members of the public to download such mobile apps.

The instant messaging apps include several unscrupulous parties that have been found using Bachchan’s photograph along with his name, and the representation of a TV Show Kaun Banega Crorepati (which is associated with Bachchan), to scam the public into believing that Kaun Banega Crorepati is offering lottery prizes to the members of the public.

The physical means include the cases where dishonest traders physically affix the actor’s images and posters on their places of business, on billboards or even on products that they engage in the manufacture and sale of, with the aim to unlawfully show a nexus/affiliation/sponsorship/association with the plaintiff, so as to boost their illegal profits.

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Amazon Said to End Two EU Antitrust Probes by Year-End to Avoid Fine

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By Reuters | Updated: 26 November 2022

US online retail giant Amazon may be able to end two EU antitrust investigations by the end of the year after tweaking concessions to address concerns over its use of sellers’ data, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Settling the EU investigations means the company will avoid a fine of as much as 10 percent of its global turnover.

Faced with charges of using its size, power and data to push its own products to gain an unfair advantage over rival merchants that also use its platform, Amazon in July offered to refrain from using sellers’ data for its own competing retail business and its private label products.

The European Commission then sought feedback from rivals and customers and subsequently said the company needed to improve its concession.

Amazon has increased the range of data which it cannot use, one of the people said.

“It is possible an EU decision will come by the end of the year,” the person said.

The EU competition enforcer declined to comment.

Asked for comment, Amazon reiterated that it had engaged constructively with the Commission to address their concerns.

The company’s other concession is equal treatment of sellers when ranking their offers for the “buy box” on its website that generates the bulk of its sales.

It has offered to set up a second buy box for a rival product if it differs substantially in price and delivery from the product in the first box.

Bloomberg was the first to report the possibility of an EU decision by the end of the year.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Google May Use Performance Management System to Lay Off Underperforming Workers in 2023: Report

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By ANI | Updated: 23 November 2022

Amidst layoffs and a slowing down of the hiring process being seen by large companies as an avenue to strengthen their revenues, global tech major Google has introduced a new performance management system, which could push out thousands of underperforming employees, according to reports.

As per a report by The Information, a new performance management system, which once implemented early next year, could make way for human resource managers to push out underperforming Google employees.

The tech publication also said Google’s managers could also use the performance ratings to avoid paying employees bonuses and stocks.

“Under the new system, managers have been asked to categorise 6 percent of employees, or roughly 10,000 people, as low performers in terms of their impact on the business,” The Information reported quoting people with knowledge of the new system.

In the previous performance review system, managers were expected to put 2 percent of employees in that bucket, the reports said.

Recently, some of the global tech leaders -Amazon, Twitter, and Meta have laid off thousands of employees.

Twitter head Elon Musk after having taken over the micro-blogging site was set to cut roughly half of Twitter’s 7,500-person global workforce.

Further, the New York Times last week reported that Amazon too was planning to lay off approximately 10,000 employees in corporate and technology roles. The report said the cuts would be the largest in the company’s history.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has announced that it was laying off about 11,000 employees, or 13 per cent of its global workforce. It’s the first mass redundancy exercise for the 18-year-old social media behemoth.

Reports also said Microsoft too has enforced job cuts.

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NPCI Said to Be in Talks With RBI on Implementing 30 Percent UPI Volume Cap Deadline

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By Press Trust of India |  Updated: 21 November 2022

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which runs the UPI digital pipeline, is in talks with the Reserve Bank on implementation of its proposed December 31 deadline for limiting the volume cap of players to 30 percent. At present, there is no volume cap. So, two players, Google Pay and PhonePe, account for a market share of about 80 per cent. NPCI in November 2022 had proposed a 30 percent volume cap for third-party app providers (TPAP) in a bid to avoid concentration risk.

In this regard, sources said, a meeting was convened to comprehensively look at all aspects. Besides NPCI officials, senior officials of the finance ministry and RBI also participated in this.

At the moment, NPCI is evaluating all the possibilities and no final decision has been taken to extend the December 31 deadline, the sources said.

NPCI has also received representations from industry stakeholders to extend the deadline and they are being examined, they added.

According to the sources, NPCI is likely to decide on the issue of UPI market cap implementation by this month-end.

NPCI in 2020 came up with a directive to cap the share of transactions a third-party application provider (TPAP) could process at 30 percent of the volume of transactions handled on UPI, effective January 1, 2021, which is to be calculated on the basis of the volume of transactions processed during the preceding three months.

NPCI has also received representations from industry stakeholders to extend the deadline and they are being examined, they added.

According to the sources, NPCI is likely to decide on the issue of UPI market cap implementation by this month-end.

NPCI in 2020 came up with a directive to cap the share of transactions a third-party application provider (TPAP) could process at 30 percent of the volume of transactions handled on UPI, effective January 1, 2021, which is to be calculated on the basis of the volume of transactions processed during the preceding three months.

The government later issued a statement noting that UPI is a digital public good with immense convenience and productivity gains for the economy, and there are no plans to levy any charges for UPI services.

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FIFA 2022: Madras HC Blocks TV Cable, Internet Service Providers From Streaming World Cup Matches

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By Press Trust of India | Updated: 21 November 2022

The Madras High Court has restrained the cable and internet service providers in certain countries from telecasting the football matches to be held at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar from November 20. Justice M Sundar granted the injunction on Friday while passing interim orders on an application arising out of a civil suit from Viacom-18 Media.

The petitioner has made out a prima facie case for the grant of the injunction, the judge said. It is the owner of the copyright in the sporting event. It will lead to an irreversible situation and therefore, irreparable injury incapable of compensation parameter has also been satisfied, the judge said.

“Therefore, there shall be an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents herein or any other person or entity from infringing the copyright in the sporting event FIFA World Cup 2022 in any manner so as to prevent copying, transmission, communication, displaying, releasing, showing, hosting, streaming, uploading, downloading, exhibiting, playing and exhibition of the event,” the judge said.

For this purpose, if blocking of websites/web pages becomes necessary, the authorities concerned shall do so. The interim injunction shall operate for a period of four weeks, i.e., upto December 16 on the above terms, the judge added and posted the matter for further hearing on that day.

Earlier, the plaintiff submitted that it was granted licence and various media rights, including exclusive TV and radio, mobile transmission rights for the territories of of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and by the Federation Internationale De Football Association (FIFA) qua FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

In this situation, several cable and internet service providers are involved in illegal activities and unauthorised retransmitting, recording, streaming, audio-visual clips and full sports event that are transmitted by the plaintiff and such activities would cause heavy loss, damage and prejudice to the plaintiff. It has exclusive rights to broadcast the event.

It has invested substantial sums of money in acquiring the licence and exclusive rights, according to the plea.

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