S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Magnet Forensics proxy advisors split on takeover

Magnet Forensics office
Is Meta slowing down on Canadian hires post-layoffs?

The SaaS Weekly is a weekly newsletter covering major SaaS news from Canada and around the globe.

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Meta’s additional staff cuts further call into question Facebook parent’s Canadian hiring plans (BETAKIT)

Meta Platforms has decided to lay off 10,000 employees and halt hiring for around 5,000 additional open roles, raising questions regarding the company’s Canadian expansion plans.

Less than a year ago, Meta made a commitment to hire up to 2,500 people across Canada over the next five years as part of a new engineering hub opened in Toronto to support its metaverse development efforts.

UAE spy chief’s firm buys into ByteDance at $220 billion value

ByteDance Ltd. was valued at around $220 billion in a recent private-market investment by Abu Dhabi AI firm G42, controlled by United Arab Emirates royal Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Tahnoon — known as the UAE’s spymaster — has built a portfolio through G42 in everything from cloud computing to vaccines and driverless cars.

Vendasta acquires customer engagement platform Broadly (BETAKIT)

The acquisition marks an acceleration of strategic growth plans for both startups, introducing Broadly’s significant base of customers to the full range of products available through Vendasta’s marketplace while giving its channel partners access to the former’s end-to-end platform.

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Magnet Forensics’s $1.8-billion takeover draws conflicting recommendations from proxy advisers Glass Lewis and ISS

A controversial takeover of one of the jewels of Canada’s technology sector has caused a rift among shareholders. Now, the two leading independent proxy advisory firms have issued conflicting recommendations regarding the proposed $1.8 billion buyout of Magnet Forensics Inc. by U.S. private equity giant Thoma Bravo LP.

Regulators force Silicon Valley Bank Canada into liquidation, paving way for auction (BETAKIT)

The order was approved on Wednesday after The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) took over permanent control of SVB Canada.

OSFI said the restructuring is meant to be done "in a way that best serves the interests of its creditors and will allow operations of the Silicon Valley Bank to continue in Canada."

Rippling raises $500 Million in emergency funds after SVB fails

The emergency round facilitated by Greenoaks Capital gives Rippling the same valuation it fetched in a fundraising last year, despite a market correction that’s prevented most startups from raising money at favorable terms.

The deal came together in about 12 hours after Rippling went scrambling when it couldn’t get $300 million that was frozen at SVB when it collapsed on Friday, according to Rippling co-founder Parker Conrad.

As regulators take over SVB Canada, companies still have questions about impact (BETAKIT)

Beyond companies with SVB Canada lines of credit, SVB's collapse is set to impact startups that have their US banking with SVB, or ostensibly Canadian companies that are legally domiciled in the US for tax purposes and use SVB.

CVCA CEO: Tech still needs influx of capital given possible investor pullback, even as liquidity concerns calm (BETAKIT)

CVCA CEO Kim Furlong and a host of other industry leaders have called on the feds to quell a possible “full-blown” liquidity crisis in the country’s tech sector following SVB's collapse. While Furlong admits regulators have assuaged SVB liquidity concerns for now, she argues the need remains for the government to hasten its spending.

Cvent to go private again in $4.6B Blackstone deal (TECHCRUNCH)

Cvent’s market cap has generally been on the decline, falling from its opening peak of around $4.7 billion to an average of around $2.5 billion for much of 2022.

Now, Vista Equity Partners has said that it will be selling all its remaining shares in Nasdaq-listed Cvent to Blackstone, though a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) will also be a “significant minority investor.”

Shinydocs raises $16.25 million to make it easier to find buried files, media, documents (BETAKIT)

Founded in 2013 by CEO Jason Cassidy, Shinydocs’ software automates the process of finding and identifying files, media content, and documents within an organization’s repositories.

Shinydocs’ recent funding round was led by First Ascent Ventures and Export Development Canada. The capital will be allocated towards scaling its marketing resources with the aim to access a “wider customer base,” the startup noted.

Pornhub owner sold to Canadian private equity firm Ethical Capital (FINANCIAL TIMES)

MindGeek, one of the world’s largest and most controversial porn companies and the parent company of Pornhub, has been acquired by Ethical Capital Partners, a newly set-up Canadian private equity firm.

The move comes as MindGeek is being sued over sexually explicit videos of minors found on its so-called tube sites, which much like YouTube rely on users to upload content.

Paper acquires literacy tool Readlee to help curb pandemic-fuelled literacy crisis among children (BETAKIT)

A 2022 study by the Brookings Institution found that reading tests scored lower than usual, and that test gaps between low-poverty and high-poverty elementary schools grew by 15 percent.

As part of this acquisition, Readlee will become Paper Reading, and the tool will be integrated into Paper’s Educational Support System (ESS). Paper Reading uses artificial intelligence and speech recognition to help boost students’ reading skills.

Twitch CEO steps down after 16 years following controversy-filled year (KOTAKU)

Emmett Shear, who started Twitch with Justin Kan as Justin.tv back in 2007, will be replaced by current Twitch President, Dan Clancy, who arrived at the company as recently as 2019 after long stints at both NASA and Google. Shear said he’ll continue to work with Twitch in an advisory role, but writes that he no longer fears that the platform would die “without my guidance and input.”

Venture funding surged in Québec and Alberta tech sectors over 2022, bucking national trend (BETAKIT)

According to new data from briefed.in, Alberta tech companies raised a collective $675 million in 2022, an 89 percent increase from 2021 and a 121 percent increase from 2020. In Québec, venture funding totalled $2.3 billion in 2022, a 21 percent increase from 2021 and a 76 percent increase from 2020.

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Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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