Today in the payments news roundup, Google has reportedly prohibited high-interest consumer loan services from its Google Play store. Also, British cybersecurity software company Sophos is being acquired for $3.8 billion by U.S. private equity firm Thoma Bravo. And cannabis companies have seen share prices nosedive.
High-interest consumer loan services are now prohibited from having apps on the Google Play store. However, lenders in the payday loan industry are not happy about the change, saying they would have to leave the business or slash rates. Google banned apps charging 36 percent or higher, which is said to put the tech firm in the middle of the overall fight against payday loans.
The public market for cannabis is off by over 40 percent, even with the space’s blazing forecast and enthusiastic quarterly reports. Brian Athaide, chief executive of Toronto marijuana grower Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, told the WSJ, “The capital markets have dried up.” The firm is holding off on seeking financing for two facilities — one planned at 1.3 million square feet.
Sophos, a British cybersecurity software company, is being acquired for $3.8 billion by U.S. private equity firm Thoma Bravo. Sophos’s three largest shareholders agreed to a cash offer of $7.40 per share. The takeover is said to be among the biggest private United Kingdom tech deals in recent years. Sophos provides cybersecurity to the U.K.’s National Health Service in addition to 400,000 businesses worldwide, with the inclusion of Ford, Pixar and Toshiba.
The parent company of WeWork is said to be at a crossroads after its initial public offering (IPO) tanked and its chief executive officer stepped down. Lead investor SoftBank has prepared a financing package to command WeWork and put Adam Neumann, the firm’s founder, further aside.
Drivers can’t make ends meet. As independent contractors, drivers also have no benefits. And drivers increasingly feel trapped. So went the narrative, which formed the central thesis of a study about the regulated taxi industry in the City of San Francisco and was presented to then-mayor Gavin Newsom in 2006.
But here we are 13 years later, Karen Webster writes, with a taxi industry that remains structurally identical to what it was in 2006 — and even 50 years before that — with drivers who are truly struggling to make ends meet. Yet lawmakers are apoplectic over Lyft as well as Uber creating platforms and business models that have revolutionized transportation — and created job opportunities with flexible work schedules for many.
Amazon looked to most like a one-trick eTailer that sold books online when it launched in 1995. A quarter-century later, that online bookstore has profoundly changed the retail landscape and every player operating within it. It would take most of two decades for most retailers to see Amazon as much more than a niche business with a tiny fraction of all retail sales on a channel they never thought would be that important.
Restaurants, Olo CEO Noah Glass told Karen Webster in a recent conversation, find themselves standing in a similar situation today, similarly not aware in many instances. They were comforted by the idea that food was such a totally physical experience that they were immune to an Amazon-type threat. And, he noted, in a way they right.
But what they have been slower to see is the threat of the aggregators — the DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub’s of the world — that have quietly kicked off a radical shift in how consumers eat. It’s an existential threat pointed right at the relationship that they have with their customers, which the aggregators are out to disintermediate.