Posts tagged with "Forbes"

Massive Cadillac Lyriq screen displays instrument cluster, infotainment system, and lighting controls

July 16, 2021

The interior of the car of the future is here—or so says General Motors. When the battery electric 2023 Cadillac Lyriq SUV arrives next year, it may mark the beginning of the end for the familiar rectangular display screen, Forbes reports.

Instead of a single, center-mounted screen, the Lyriq will feature a curved LED display that measures 33-inches diagonally and serve as the instrument cluster, infotainment system and control for lighting with the ability to emit over a billion colors.

According to Forbes, the LYRIQ interior is clean and simple with a focus on secondary and tertiary design elements. The almost cabin-wide screen can act as a single unit or be divided into three areas, according to longtime General Motors software partner Altia, which played a key role in developing the display through use of its human-machine interface solutions.

Altia CEO Mike Juran says that, through its ongoing work on other GM vehicles, his company was aware of the direction in which the automaker was headed.

“The Lyriq became a gateway for GM to move from a more traditional driver/vehicle relationship to this next generation,” Juran explained in an interview with Forbes.

This “next generation,” Juran says, means how drivers and their vehicles will interact, especially with the evolution of advanced driver assist technologies including Cadillac’s semi-autonomous Super Cruise systems. Those systems necessarily will need to better inform drivers of the vehicle’s status and other conditions as well as providing more intuitive and easy-to-use controls.

While the Cadillac Lyriq represents a concrete move away from the traditional rectangular screen, Juran notes, the vehicle’s advanced display is also a clear view into the way the auto industry as a whole is headed.

“The trend that’s happened is, now car companies are thinking about UI (user interface) on the glass as a first surface design element; as opposed to let’s build a car then let’s slap a 17-inch monitor on it and let whoever is building apps throw in whatever they want,” said Juran. “This thing is integrated into the vehicle from both an aesthetic, user experience, and, most importantly, a safety perspective.”

GM, he said, created the display architecture reflecting the fact that it need only handle functions specific and necessary to the vehicle. On Altia’s end, “We’ve turned that realization into the ability to create really rich looking graphics without having to use a lot of really expensive microprocessors that burn a lot of wattage,” said Juran.

While Cadillac is GM’s premium brand, Juran says some version of its advanced LED display could become available on a broader range of the automaker’s product line.

“Everything we design and architect and all the tools we put together for them are all applicable to the lowest-cost vehicle. They can take all the assets they designed, rebrand [them], maybe remove some capability and features, rescale it to a smaller display, push a button and now you have something for a Chevy Bolt and it’s appropriate for that,” Juran said.

It all points to the era of the rectangular screen, eventually, fading to black.

Research contact: @Forbes

The winner of this week’s Manhattan D.A. primary is poised to take over the Trump investigation

June 24, 2021

Whoever wins the Democratic primary race for Manhattan district attorney on Tuesday, June 22, isn’t just poised to take the helm of one of the most legendary prosecutors offices in New York. He or she also will inherit perhaps the highest profile investigation in the country—that of former President Donald Trump and his company, CNN reports.

The outgoing district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., is likely to decide whether to charge a case against the former president, the Trump Organization, or company executives by the end of his term in December, as CNN previous has reported.

If that happens, the next district attorney— most likely the winner of Tuesday’s primary, given the overwhelmingly Democratic makeup of Manhattan—will oversee the prosecution.

With eight contenders, the Democratic primary race for district attorney is a crowded one; and, unlike the New York City mayoral primary, it doesn’t have ranked-choice voting.

What’s more, the winner is likely to incur Trump’s very public ire if they he or she continues Vance’s work, since the former President has been quick to accuse Democrats investigating him—including Vance and New York State Attorney General Letitia James—of pursuing political prosecutions.

“If you can run for a prosecutor’s office pledging to take out your enemies, and be elected to that job by partisan voters who wish to enact political retribution,” Trump said in May, after James disclosed her office was working with the district attorney on its criminal investigation, “then we are no longer a free constitutional democracy.”

Some of the candidates already have expressed their views on the former president. Alvin Bragg, whom CNN says is widely seen as a leading contender in the race, has boasted of having sued the Trump administration more than 100 times while he was in the state attorney general’s office, where he was chief deputy. He also has noted that he led the team that sued the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which resulted in Trump personally paying $2 million to an array of charities.

“I’ve seen him up front and have seen the lawlessness that he can do,” Bragg said on the radio show “Ebro in the Morning,” in January. “I believe we have to hold him accountable. I haven’t seen all the facts beyond the public but I’ve litigated with him and so I’m prepared to go where the facts take me once I see them, and hold him accountable.”

Another leading candidate, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, has said comparatively little about Trump—noting that it would be improper to comment on the subject of an ongoing investigation.

In 2017, Farhadian Weinstein interviewed with members of Trump’s White House Counsel’s office for a federal judgeship, a position for which she had also applied during the Obama administration, according to The New York Times.

In the final debate last week, Farhadian Weinstein defended having sought the judgeship, saying: “It is not factual to say that federal judges, which are a separate part of the federal government, would work for the president. And so, to have been considered to be appointed to the federal bench while … Trump or anyone else was president, doesn’t mean that I would have been working for his administration.”

She worked as counsel to Attorney General Eric Holder and later as general counsel in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, where she successfully sued the Trump Administration to get Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers out of courthouses in Brooklyn, after finding that female victims of domestic violence were too afraid to come to court for fear of finding officers present.

Other contenders in the race also have history with Trump or his policies. Tahanie Aboushi, a civil rights lawyer, touts her experience spending four days at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the wake of Trump’s 2017 travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, where she supplied legal assistance to people detained by US Customs and Border Protection.

Candidate Lucy Lang, a veteran of the Manhattan district attorney’s office, counts as one of her senior advisers a former colleague who led the office’s investigation into Trump SoHo—which examined whether or not the Trump Organization misled potential buyers about the values of units, a probe Lang has said shouldn’t have been shuttered.

In November, she tweeted: “Today I called for the #ManhattanDA investigations into Donald Trump to continue. Immunity is not a consolation prize to losing and election, and no one is above the law. We can’t allow Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign to absolve him of responsibility.”

But she has also taken pains to distance herself from Trump-related commentary, saying in June that “I think that one of the worst things the next District Attorney could do would be to say something on the campaign trail that would suggest anything other than complete impartiality when it comes to investigating all the cases in front of the office and putting themselves in a position where they might face a recusal motion or a removal of jurisdiction.”

Another candidate, public defender Eliza Orlins, has been more blunt in her criticism of the former president. In December, she publicly cheered Trump’s election loss, tweeting: “We did it! We got rid of Donald Trump. But that won’t change the fact that our systems inherently favor the rich and powerful and oppress the poor.”

New York state Assemblyman Dan Quart, also vying for the office, has split the difference, saying in February, “I’ve been very active and vocal on my feelings on Trump’s abuses of the rule of law, of his terrible policies, of his indecency, but that’s different than being a district attorney who has to judge each case on the merits.”

Diana Florence, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s office who left the office in January 2020 after a judge dismissed one of her cases when she failed to turn over evidence to defense attorneys, has suggested she believes Trump is due for retribution.

“I think what’s amazing about Donald Trump is that he ascended to the highest office in our nation and even before that had tremendous success and that was while doing whatever the heck he wanted to do,” she told Forbes in November. “He will now face the ability to be prosecuted. He had a brief immunity while a sitting president, but as I just talked about he had a de facto immunity for being a wealthy and powerful man for many, many years. And I believe that time will be changing.”

Research contact: @CNN

Walmart to acquire virtual fitting room platform Zeekit, as retail giant leans into fashion

May 14, 2021

For many years Walmart has eschewed offering high-fashion merchandise, but all that is changing—and on May 13, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based mega-retailer revealed plans to acquire Zeekit, a virtual fitting room platform that it hopes will enhance the social shopping experiences for online customers, Forbes reports.

“Over the last few years, we’ve been working hard to expand our apparel assortment to include quality, on-trend, and accessible fashion to help customers outfit their closets, no matter their personal style or budget,” said Denise Incandela, executive vice president of Apparel and Private Brands at Walmart-U.S., in a blog post. “But, in an increasingly online driven category, customers not only want variety in styles, they also want an inspiring and personalized digital experience.”

Zeekit, a female-founded Israeli-based startup company, is seen as facilitating that experience while smoothing away the pain points of ill-fitting purchases that ultimately lead to costly returns.

Indeed, Forbes reports, Walmart realized it was missing an enormous opportunity to sell consumers well-designed apparel at higher price points—something competitor Amazon  has been doing, both by attracting brands to its e-commerce site, and launching its own private labels.

“Virtual try-on is a game changer and solves one of the most difficult things to replicate online—understanding fit and how an item will actually look on you,” Incandela said. “Zeekit will help us deliver an inclusive, immersive and personalized experience for our diverse customer base.”

Walmart said it has elevated its fashion sensibility with exclusive labels Free Assembly, Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vegara, and Scoop. The retail giant also has  expanded its assortment of national brands with Free People, Champion, and Levi Strauss. Other other private labels include Time and Tru, Terra & Sky, Wonder Nation, and George. There’s also plus-size label Eloquii Elements.

When the experience is live on Walmart, customers will upload their photo or choose from a series of models that best represents their height, shape and skin tone, to instantly see themselves in clothing items. They can share their virtual outfits with friends, bringing a social experience to digital shopping.

Zeekit’s scalable technology can be integrated into Walmart’s digital products, and can be used to create other fashion experiences—including building a virtual closet and mixing and matching clothing to see how a top might look with a pair of pants. This is achieved by bringing real time image technology, computer vision and AI to the world of fashion. It can also help increase customer loyalty and return visits as it makes buying fashion online easier and more predictable.

“Zeekit’s impressive technology has been trialed by many top brands and retailers in the fashion industry,” Incandela said. “It uses real-time image processing to map a person’s image into thousands of segments. Clothing is processed in a similar manner and the equivalent points of the two are mapped into one final simulation. These exciting technologies add a social element to the digital experience, allowing our customers to bring their unique personalities and preferences to shopping.”

Zeekit’s founders, CEO Yael Vizel, chief technology officer Alon Kristal, and vice president of research and development Nir Appleboim will join Walmart when the deal closes, bringing their extensive experience to the retail behemoth.

Research contact: @Forbes

Melinda Gates’ petition for divorce says marriage to Bill is ‘irretrievably broken’

May 5, 2021

It was a marriage made at Microsoft that produced three children, a philanthropic foundation—and now, after 27 years, a separation contract. Indeed, Melinda Gates says her marriage to Bill Gates is “irretrievably broken,” according to court documents obtained Tuesday by NBC News.

In her petition for divorce, filed Monday in King County, Washington, she said “spousal support is not needed” and a separation contract will determine property divisions.

“We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract,” according to the document. It is not clear from the petition when the couple separated or if they had a prenuptial agreement.

Bill, 65, and Melinda Gates, 56, first announced their divorce on Monday, May 3,  in a joint statement. The pair, who married on New Year’s Day in Hawaii in 1994, said that they no longer “believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in the statement, according to NBC. “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.”

Jennifer Katharine Gates, 25, the oldest of their offspring, wrote in a statement that it has “been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family.”

“I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as family members at this time,” she wrote.

The couple in 2000 founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a private philanthropic organization which funds research and advocacy work across the globe, including in some of the world’s most impoverished nations.

The foundation has given billions to support issues like global healthdevelopment and education, as well as combating climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and served as its chief executive until 2000, stepped down from the company’s board last year and has since focused the majority of his efforts on philanthropy.

He still owns roughly 1.3% of Microsoft’s shares. His net worth is roughly $130 billion, according to Forbes—making him the fourth-richest person in the world.

The Gates Foundation’s assets are nearly $50 billion, according to its financial statements, and it’s been considered the world’s largest private philanthropic organization for the past 20 years. It issued about $5 billion in grants annually during 2018 and 2019.

In their statement announcing their split, the couple—who are co-chairs of the foundation—said they would continue to work together in the philanthropic mission.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Shares rise, outrage kicks off as Europe’s biggest soccer teams plot breakaway ‘Super League’

April 20, 2021

A coalition of the world’s richest soccer clubs has announced plans to form a breakaway European Super League—one of the biggest financial and logistical shake-ups to the sport in decades. The move has sparked outrage among fans, reprisals from domestic leagues, and threats of legal action, Forbes reports.

The long-rumored league—made up of 12 English, Spanish, and Italian soccer clubs, which are set to be joined by three more clubs—is expected to kick off in August.

Florentino Pérez, the president of Real Madrid CF and the group’s first chairman, said the league will “help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” as befitting a sport with 4 billion fans. 

European officials strongly condemned the proposals, with the sport’s governing bodies across the continent condemning the “self-interest[ed]” and “cynical project.”

Domestic leagues have threatened to bar participating clubs from competing and FIFA, the sport’s global governing bodywarned players in January that they may be blocked from the World Cup if the breakaway league goes ahead.

Even world leaders have criticized the move, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron both vowing to block the league in its current form and describing it as damaging to the sport and fans, Forbes reports.

The clubs involved are: England’s Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham; Spain’s Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid; and Italy’s Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Shares of the rebel clubs have jumped following the announcement. Juventus is up 16% and Manchester United nearly 10% (premarket) at the time of writing. Even clubs not affiliated with the league are seeing a boost.

Research contact: @Forbes

Kanye West now is worth an estimated $6.6B thanks to Yeezy’s lucrative Gap, Adidas deals

March 19, 2021

He started out as a recording artist, but it’s his entrepreneurial streak that has made him truly wealthy. Kanye West is now worth a staggering $6.6 billion, as revealed in a new Bloomberg report and confirmed by a rep to Billboard.

According to a private document obtained by the outlet, Yeezy—West’s sneaker and apparel business with both Adidas and Gap—has been valued at between $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion by the Swiss investment bank UBS Group. As much as $970 million of that total is tied to West’s new clothing line for Gap (under the Yeezy Gap label) that the retailer has slated for release by July—part of a ten-year agreement that the parties signed in June of last year.

According to Billboard, the document further reveals that Gap, an ailing brand whose partnership with West represents a play for younger consumers, expects its Yeezy line to break $150 million in sales in its first full year in 2022—and envisions it surpassing a billion dollars in revenue within eight years, or even as soon as 2023 on the upside.

West stands to profit handsomely in any event, as he retains sole ownership and creative control of the Yeezy brand and earns royalties on sales under the deal, with the rate increasing as the business grows. He’ll also receive stock warrants when the collection hits sales targets, with the highest set at $700 million, according to a securities filing.

West’s longstanding deal with Adidas has been the most lucrative part of his business endeavors to date, with Yeezy sneakers continuing to fly off of shelves, Billboard reports. Indeed, according to the documents, the brand grew 31%—to nearly $1.7 billion in annual revenue last year—netting Yeezy royalties of $191 million. West has been in business with the company since 2013, with their current deal running through 2026.

An unaudited balance sheet of West’s finances, provided to Bloomberg by West’s lawyer, shows an additional $122 million in cash and stock and more than $1.7 billion in other assets, including an investment in his wife Kim Kardashian’s underwear label Skims (Kardashian filed for divorce in February).

West’s music catalog is worth another $110.5 million, according to a 2020 valuation by Valentiam Group cited by Bloomberg.

The numbers revealed today represent a decidedly sharp turnaround for West, who in 2016 claimed to be $53 million in debt; at the time, he also took to Twitter to implore Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion in his work. That was before West himself was named a billionaire by Forbes, which estimated his net worth at $1.3 billion in April 2020.

Research contact: @billboard

Report: Trump campaign siphoned donor money to his debt-strapped businesses after election loss

February 10, 2021

New financial disclosures have raised myriad questions about the Trump campaign’s post-election spending following #45’s loss to President Joe Biden last November, Salon reports.

Based on campaign finance disclosures, Trump’s re-election campaign spent at least $81,000 in donor money on Trump’s businesses. In addition, the Trump joint fundraising committee—which split its donations with the Republican National Committee—spent another $331,000 in donor funds following the election, according to an analysis by Forbes.

Trump and Republicans plowed millions into his businesses during and after his time in office, Salon notes: All told, the campaign paid at least $2.8 million to the Trump Organization and the joint fundraising committee spent another $4.3 million on Trump’s businesses between January 20, 2017 and December 31, 2020.

Specifically, Salon notes, the joint committee spent more than $300,000 for space, lodging and catering at Trump’s hotel business in the wake of his election loss. The campaign also spent tens of thousands to rent space at Trump Tower after November 3.

The campaign and the joint committee each also separately paid more than $30,000 for air travel to DT Endeavor, a company believed to be owned by Trump.

Trump has as much as $1 billion in business debt that will soon come due. A New York Times investigation into years of his tax returns showed that he has reported hundreds of millions in losses in recent years.

The campaign also reported paying $6,037 to Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem, a Republican who pushed to overturn Trump’s electoral defeat in the state, the Arizona Republic first reported. Finchem, who is not a lawyer, was paid for “legal consulting” in a “recount” effort through a company he did not include in his most recent financial disclosure, according to the campaign’s filings.

Finchem told the Republic that the payment was for costs related to “crowd control and security” for a meeting he held with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani at a hotel on Nov. 30 about unfounded claims of election-rigging.

He later promoted the Trump rally that preceded the deadly January 6 Capitol riot and was set to speak outside the Capitol that day, according to the Arizona Republic.

Finchem, who said he never got within 500 yards of the Capitol building, posted a photo of a mob of Trump supporters on the Capitol steps, writing that it is “what happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”

Now, Newsweek reports, Arizona legislators are considering expelling Finchem from office—claiming he violated his oath and undermined democracy by attending the rally and promoting unfounded allegations of election fraud.

State Representative César Chávez, a Phoenix Democrat, filed an ethics complaint last month, arguing that Finchem’s social media posts “demonstrate beyond any doubt that he was participated in the insurrection in Washington, D.C. and supported others in their efforts.”

The left-leaning watchdog group Accountable.US said the financial disclosure suggested that Trump was “paying state legislators” to join his “two-month crusade to try and stay in power.”

“Mark Finchem must explain this payment from the Trump campaign and how it influenced his official work as a legislator to try and overturn a free and fair election,” a spokesperson told the Arizona Republic.

Meanwhile, Salon reports, while the latest disclosures shed some light on the campaign’s post-election spending, Trump is still sitting on much of the cash he raised from supporters—ostensibly meant to fund his election legal challenges. Trump raised more than $170 million after the election, after bombarding supporters with fundraising appeals; but most of the money went to a fundraising committee he set up after his defeat rather than his legal efforts.

Research contact: @Salon

Uber to acquire alcohol delivery service Drizly for $1.1 billion

February 3, 2021

Uber announced on February 2 that it will acquire Drizly, a Boston-based alcohol-delivery service, for $1.1 billion in stock and cash, in a further expansion of the ride-hailing app’s food delivery arm, Forbes reported. The transaction is slated to close in the first half of 2021.

Founded in 2012, Boston-based Drizly is an online service that claims to deliver beer, wine, and(/or) liquor to the customer’s location within an hour.

After the deal closes, Forbes says, Drizly’s operations eventually will be integrated into the Uber Eats app—Uber’s own food delivery and takeout service—while the standalone Drizly app will remain in place.

Uber said it expects 90% of the purchase price of Drizly will consist of Uber common shares, with the remainder in cash.

Drizly co-founder and CEO Cory Rellas is expected to join Uber in an executive position, according to Forbes.

Uber said Drizly is “fully compliant with local regulations in more than 1,400 cities across a majority of U.S. states.” Seeking Alpha pointed out that buying Drizly fits in with Uber’s strategy of expanding its delivery service business, given that, during the pandemic, huge demand for its Uber Eats unit helped to mitigate losses in its ride-share business.

Research contact: @Forbes

Gatorade bets on rising MLB Star Fernando Tatis Jr. with rare national endorsement deal

December 18, 2020

Major League Baseball has clamored for a breakthrough superstar to capture the public’s attention, ever since Derek Jeter hung up his Yankees cleats in 2014. Pretenders to the throne have come and gone, but the answer might be a 21-year-old, bat-flipping Dominican, who favors frosted dreadlocks, flashy socks, mirrored sunglasses, unbuttoned jerseys—and can’t stop dancing or smiling on the diamond, reports Forbes.

Indeed, the news outlet says, the feisty shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has played less than a full season’s worth of MLB games for the San Diego Padres—but already is arguably the most electrifying player in the sport. He’s now filling Jeter’s shoes off the field, as the newest athlete on Gatorade’s endorsement roster, where he’ll pitch the brand’s Bolt24 line of products under a multi-year deal.

“We pride ourselves on working with athletes who are championship caliber and are aspirational for kids,” Jeff Kearney, Gatorade’s global head of Sports Marketing, told Forbes. “Bolt24 is breaking some new rules for us, and Fernando is a guy who is writing his own rules of the game.”

Tatis, whose father spent 11 years in MLB, joins NBA star Damian Lillard and up-and-coming golfer Matthew Wolff as Bolt24 athletes. The trio will be featured in a national TV and digital marketing campaign that kicks off next week to promote the low-calorie drink aimed at athletes for around-the-clock hydration, featuring a caffeinated version and one with antioxidants.

It is the latest endorsement for the San Diego Padres shortstop, who broke into the majors in 2019 and drew national attention in August for hitting a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch, breaking one of baseball’s “unwritten rules.” His other deals include Adidas, Hyperice, Mizuno gloves and Victus bats. PepsiCo-owned Gatorade works with several baseball players on a regional basis, but Tatis joins Jeter and Bryce Harper as the only players with national Gatorade endorsement deals over the past two decades.

Research contact: @Forbes

Taylor Swift to re-record songs after music catalog is sold to private equity fund for $300M

November 18, 2020

Singer and songwriter Taylor Swift has confirmed a November 16 report that her music catalogue has been sold to a private equity group without her knowledge or consent—or the second time in two years—dashing her hopes of regaining control over her masters after they were controversially acquired by music mogul Scooter Braun last year.

At the time, Swift described Braun’s acquisition of her catalog as her “worst case scenario,” Forbes reports.

Variety, which first reported the story, say the deal is believed to be worth more than $300 million, with Swift confirming that Shamrock Holdings, an investment vehicle for certain members of the Roy E. Disney family, had “bought 100% of my music, videos, and album art” from Braun.

In  statement shared to Twitter and Instagram on Monday, Swift said she had initially welcomed the prospect of working with Shamrock, before discovering that the agreement meant that Braun and his company, Ithaca Holdings, which acquired her catalog last year would “continue to receive many years of future financial reward” from her master recordings, something she “cannot currently entertain.”

“We made this investment because we believe in the immense value and opportunity that comes with her work. We fully respect and support her decision and, while we hoped to formally partner, we also knew this was a possible outcome that we considered,” Shamrock said in a statement. The purchase is the firm’s first major investment in a music catalog.

Swift also shared a letter she wrote to Shamrock Holdings, in which she said she has already begun re-recording her old music—something she acknowledges will “diminish the value” of Shamrock’s investment, and a move she announced she announced last August.

Photo source: @Forbes