German Factory Orders Growth Tops Expectations

SoftBank-backed Grab in talks to go public in nearly $40 billion SPAC deal, report says

Grab Holdings is in talks to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company that could value the ride-hailing giant at nearly $40 billion, making it the largest ever blank-check deal, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in the day SoftBank-backed Grab was in talks with Altimeter Capital Management LP.

Grab is expected to raise between $3 billion and $4 billion from private investors, according to the report.

Reuters first reported in January, citing sources, that Singapore-based Grab was exploring a listing in the United States.

Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Altimeter has backed two SPACs — Altimeter Growth Corp and Altimeter Growth Corp 2. The WSJ report did not specify which of the two SPACs Grab was in talks with.

Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are shell companies that raise funds through an initial public offering to take a private company public.

Other recent large SPAC deals include UMW Holdings Corp's $16-billion merger with a blank-check firm backed by billionaire Alec Gores, and the $24-billion deal that luxury electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors struck with a Michael Klein-backed SPAC.

Altimeter did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment, while Grab could not be reached for comment outside regular business hours.

Firefighters responding to fire at Tesla's Fremont factory: KTVU Fox 2

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla vehicle drives past Tesla’s primary vehicle factory in Fremont, California, U.S. May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

(Reuters) – Firefighters are responding to a fire at Tesla Inc’s factory in Fremont, California, local media outlet KTVU Fox 2 reported on Thursday.

Lakers’ LeBron James dismisses need for rest in second half of season: ‘It’s go time’

Rest?

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James laughed off whether he had any during the NBA All-Star break after appearing in the showcase game for the 17th time in his career. Then, the 36-year-old James dismissed the idea that he might need some for the second half of the season.

"It’s go time," James said Thursday. "It’s time to get prepared and make that turnaround and that last lap going into the postseason."

James missed the Lakers’ last game in Sacramento on March 3 because of what the team cited as a sprained left ankle. But that absence also bought James an extra day to rest before appearing in Sunday’s All-Star Game despite his frustrations about the NBA holding one in a compressed season.

But when the Lakers began practice on Thursday, James sounded somewhat rejuvenated after spending the past three days relaxing with his family. Well, rejuvenated enough not to feel that he will sign up for a load management program for the Lakers’ final 35 games, which includes eight sets of back-to-backs.

Body found at Pukekohe property: Female victim identified

The woman who was found dead at a Pukekohe property has been identified.

Toakase Finau, aged 29, was found dead at the property by police officers conducting a bail check.

Wellington shaken by afternoon quake

Wellingtonians were rattled by a 4.8 magnitude quake on Friday afternoon.

The earthquake occurred 5km east of French Pass at 3.32pm, and was 61km deep, reports GeoNet.

Just 20 minutes later, another earthquake struck 10km east of French Pass.

The magnitude 4.1 shake was 54km deep.

About 12,000 people have, so far, reported feeling the first quake, across the North Island and the South Island.

The quake was initially recorded as a 4.9 magnitude jolt but was then revised to 4.8.

European Economics Preview: ECB Monetary Policy Announcement Due

The interest rate announcement from the European Central Bank is due on Thursday, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

The bank is expected to keep its policy rates and stimulus package unchanged at the second rate-setting meeting of the year. The announcement is due at 7.45 am ET.

ECB President Christine Lagarde is set to hold the customary press conference at 8.30 am ET.

The ECB staff macroeconomic projections are also due. Economists expect a downward revision of growth and an upward revision of inflation forecasts.

Other major reports due for the day are as follows

At 2.00 am ET, current account data is due from Turkey. Economists forecast the current account deficit to fall to $1.62 billion in January from $3.21 billion in December.

At 3.00 am ET, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs publishes Swiss economic forecasts. In the meantime, foreign trade figures from Hungary and Slovakia are due.

Why I Took a Vow of Celibacy

In my life, sex and love have been twisted up with childhood trauma. Time for a break.

By Paula McLain

German Factory Orders Growth Tops Expectations

Germany’s factory orders growth exceeded expectations in January underpinned by robust foreign demand, data from Destatis revealed on Friday.

Factory orders expanded 1.4 percent month-on-month in January, reversing a revised 2.2 percent fall in the previous month. Orders were forecast to climb 0.7 percent.

Domestic orders dropped 2.6 percent, while foreign demand grew 4.2 percent in January. New orders from the euro area advanced 3.9 percent, and that from other countries gained 4.4 percent from December.

Excluding major orders, real new orders in manufacturing were 2.8 percent higher than in the previous month.

On a yearly basis, factory orders growth slowed to 2.5 percent from 6.1 percent in the prior month.

Today’s data suggest that the industrial-strength will continue in 2021, Carsten Brzeski, an ING economist said. Soft indicators had already pointed in that direction and now hard data confirm the divergence between the manufacturing and services sector.

The latest Purchasing Managers’ survey results also showed a strong and accelerated growth in Germany’s manufacturing sector, driven in part by robust demand from abroad. The PMI rose steeply to a 37-month high of 60.7 in February from 57.1 in January.

Data showed that turnover in manufacturing decreased 1.1 percent in January after rising 2 percent in December.