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Factbox: Eight U.S. states hold primaries for seats in Congress

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(Reuters) – Eight U.S. states held primary elections on Tuesday, some of which were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, including some key congressional races.

Here are details of the most interesting nominating battles:

STEVE KING SEES CONTROVERSIAL CAREER COME TO AN END

Representative Steve King, who has a history of making racially charged remarks, will not be the Republican nominee in northwestern Iowa, losing his primary after mainstream Republicans abandoned him.

IOWA DEMOCRATS CHOOSE CHALLENGER TO SENATOR ERNST

Democrat Theresa Greenfield, a businesswoman endorsed by the national party, prevailed over several other challengers for the right to face incumbent Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst in November.

Both parties expect the race to be hotly contested. For Greenfield, the campaign represents somewhat of a second chance, after she failed to qualify for the ballot in a 2018 U.S. House of Representatives race.

LOCALS BATTLE EX-SPY FOR NEW MEXICO SEAT

Valerie Plame, a former CIA operative, raised over $2 million, more than anyone on the ballot in New Mexico’s 3rd District, where the House seat is open because the current Democratic congressman is running for Senate.

Plame moved to Santa Fe over a decade ago after her cover was blown by officials in then-President George W. Bush’s administration.

But she appeared headed for defeat on Tuesday, sitting in third place in the Democratic contest as of 11:45 p.m. ET (0345 GMT). Teresa Leger Fernandez, a lawyer who has played up her New Mexico roots and has secured important backing from organizations like the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, was in first place, with state Representative Joseph Sanchez in second.

CONSERVATIVE NATIVE AMERICAN GETS REMATCH IN NEW MEXICO

A conservative Republican member of the Cherokee Nation, Yvette Herrell, will get a second chance to take on Democrat Xochitl Torres Small, who narrowly defeated Herrell in 2018 in New Mexico’s sprawling 2nd District.

Herrell beat Claire Chase, a former congressional aide, on Tuesday after a contest in which both touted their loyalty to Republican President Donald Trump.

NEWCOMER FAILS IN CHALLENGE TO DEMOCRATIC LEADER HOYER

A 29-year-old political neophyte, Mckayla Wilkes, lost a long-shot challenge to House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who has represented Maryland’s 5th Congressional District southeast of Washington for nearly four decades.

Wilkes ran on a progressive campaign supporting Medicare for All and reparations for descendants of slaves.

TRUMP LOYALIST WINS IN INDIANAPOLIS AREA

State Senator Victoria Spartz, who was backed by the political arm of the conservative Club for Growth, won the Republican nomination in Indiana’s 5th congressional district.

Spartz held off more than a dozen other Republican candidates who sought to replace Susan Brooks, a moderate House Republican who is retiring from a district that includes north Indianapolis.

Ads run by the Club for Growth questioned whether Spartz’s main rivals, Beth Henderson and Carl Brizzi, were sufficiently loyal to Trump.

Spartz will face Democrat Christina Hale, a former candidate for lieutenant governor, who prevailed in her party’s nominating contest on Tuesday. Democrats have targeted the district in 2020, which has been represented by a Republican for nearly three decades.

CROWDED DEMOCRATIC FIELD IN INDIANA SUBURBS

Frank Mrvan, a trustee in North Township, finished ahead of a sprawling field of 14 Democrats seeking to succeed retiring 18-term Democratic Representative Peter Visclosky in Indiana’s 1st congressional district.

While Mrvan earned Visclosky’s endorsement, Tom McDermott, the moderate mayor of the district’s largest city, Hammond, had raised more money than any candidate going into Tuesday’s contest.

The district is solidly Democratic.

FORMER HEAD OF NAACP SEEKS TO KEEP BALTIMORE SEAT

Democrat Kweisi Mfume, who won a special election to complete the term of the late congressman Elijah Cummings, also prevailed in Tuesday’s primary to compete for a full two-year term in Maryland’s 7th congressional district.

Mfume held the Baltimore-area seat for 10 years before becoming director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He defeated more than a dozen Democrats, including state Senator Jill Carter and Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who was married to Cummings.

The seat is considered safely Democratic.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone, Lisa Shumaker, Jonathan Oatis and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/topNews/~3/yDKt9ByccAE/factbox-eight-u-s-states-hold-primaries-for-seats-in-congress-idUSKBN23A0H2

Blockchain

India to have a ‘window’ for Bitcoin, says minister amid crypto ban FUD

The Ministry of Finance of India continues to form a careful position on private cryptocurrencies.

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The minister of finance of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, has given a ray of hope for the Indian cryptocurrency community as more fear, uncertainty and doubt circulate regarding a supposedly impending ban on digital assets. 

In a Saturday interview with India Today, Sitharaman emphasized that the ministry does not plan to shut off Indian innovations associated with Bitcoin (BTC) and its underlying blockchain technology.

“From our side, we are very clear that we are not shutting all options off. We will allow certain windows for people use, so that experiments on the blockchain, Bitcoins or cryptocurrency […] and fintech, which depend on such experiments, will have that window available for them. We are not going to shut it off,” she said.

Sitharaman said that the ministry is finalizing a cabinet note on crypto as India continues formulating its official stance on the asset class. “It is nearing completion, and then it will be taken to the cabinet. The Supreme Court had commented on cryptocurrency. We are very clear that the Reserve Bank of India will take a call on an official cryptocurrency,” she said.

After India’s supreme court lifted a crypto banking ban one year ago, reports of a new ban started circulating in early 2021. In February, another anonymous Indian official claimed that the government was about to introduce a complete ban on crypto, giving investors up to six months to liquidate their holdings.

On Sunday, Reuters published a report citing an anonymous senior government official who claimed that India is preparing to enforce a blanket ban on crypto and impose major penalties on rule-breakers. As part of an alleged bill, India is planning to criminalize “possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring crypto-assets,” the source claimed.

Despite reports of a ban from anonymous sources continuing to surface, Sitharaman said in early March that the ministry wants to form a “calibrated” stance on digital assets. 

Nischal Shetty, founder of local crypto exchange WazirX, seemed optimistic about Sitharaman’s comments in a tweet, stating that it is time for the Indian crypto community to build. 

The RBI and the Ministry of Finance did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/india-to-have-a-window-for-bitcoin-says-minister-amid-crypto-ban-fud

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Reuters

Fintech banker McLaughlin hunts bigger deal after upsized SPAC IPO

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The blank check firm co-founded by one of the most prominent U.S. financial technology investment bankers will broaden its search for merger partners to companies worth up to $10 billion after pricing a larger initial public offering (IPO).

Steve McLaughlin started FT Partners in 2001 and since then, the fintech-focused investment bank has worked on mergers and acquisitions and public and private fundraising for the likes of BlackRock Inc, StoneCo Ltd and GreenSky Inc.

An alumnus of Goldman Sachs, McLaughlin and FT Partners have also been involved in advising a half-dozen firms in mergers with so-called special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), most recently mobile bank MoneyLion’s $2.9 billion combination with Fusion Acquisition Corp.

Alongside Gene Yoon, founder of technology-focused investment firm Bregal Sagemount, McLaughlin is now sponsoring his own SPAC. Independence Holdings Corp. priced a $435 million IPO on Monday, having increased the number of units sold due to investor demand.

SPACs are shell companies that raise funds from investors to take a private company public.

Pulling in extra cash and fully exercising the greenshoe, a share allotment potentially sold in the days after an IPO prices, McLaughlin told Reuters on Tuesday, will allow Independence to target larger fintech companies, beyond the $5 billion maximum size previously considered.

He added a deal involving a company that processes payments between businesses, or one providing financial management services, would be likely for Independence.

“We provide an incredibly attractive option for a company as we’ve successfully taken many companies through this complex process, so we can give comfort to founders and investors along the way,” McLaughlin said.

Despite heightened investor interest in cryptocurrencies, McLaughlin said Independence wouldn’t be investing in a firm in that industry because most businesses are still too early in their development.

He added it was highly unlikely that Independence would end up merging with a client of his investment bank.

Source: Reuters – Fintech banker McLaughlin hunts bigger deal after upsized SPAC IPO

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Reuters

Former Disney executives Mayer and Staggs plan new SPAC – source

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(Reuters) – Former Walt Disney Co executives Kevin Mayer and Thomas Staggs plan to raise $300 million in an initial public offering for a new special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The duo’s first SPAC, Forest Road Acquisition Corp, agreed a three-way merger last week with fitness companies Beachbody LLC and Myx Fitness LLC that was valued at around $2.9 billion.

Former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, who is also on the board of directors at pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc, and Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, are working for Forest Road II as a strategic advisor and a director, respectively, the source said.

Mayer and Staggs will serve as co-chief executives and co-chairmen of the new SPAC, the source said. They had worked with the first Forest Road SPAC as a strategic advisor and director, respectively.

The source requested anonymity ahead of a regulatory disclosure on the SPAC IPO.

Mayer was Disney’s top streaming executive before he left the media giant last year to become the chief executive of popular video app TikTok. He departed the company three months after joining. Staggs worked at Disney for 26 years and held various roles including chief operating officer.

SPACs are shell companies that raise funds to take a private company public. They have gained immense popularity since last year, as they allow companies to go public by eschewing traditional IPOs.

A string of high-profile SPACs have been raised in the last 12 months, including by financial investors William Ackman and Barry Sternlicht, former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Source: Reuters – Former Disney executives Mayer and Staggs plan new SPAC-source

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Reuters

Global firms raise $546 billion in January as SPAC frenzy continues

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(Reuters) – Companies raised $546 billion from new bond and share issues in January, as a flood of central bank money-printing and recovering stock markets brought record numbers of new listings, SPAC deals and share sales, Refinitiv data showed on Wednesday.

The numbers included $106.15 billion in initial public offerings (IPOs), SPACs and secondary offerings, with the amount of money raised by SPACs alone soaring 20 times to $24.26 billion from a year earlier, the data showed.

Companies also raised nearly $439.9 billion in corporate debt in January, a 5% fall since the same period last year, but still the second largest January in 25 years.

A SPAC, a shell company that raises money in an IPO before later merging with a privately held company to take the latter public, has become many investors structure of choice over the past year.

January’s haul was already 30% of a total $79 billion raised by SPACs in the whole of 2020.

Traditional IPO volumes in the United States, however, remained higher than SPACs in January, hitting a 25-year high of $33.9 billion.

Some 47% new bond and share issues were U.S. offerings in January this year, with China second with $23.96 billion.

Nasdaq was the clear winner among exchanges, with 167 issues raising $41.12 billion, followed by the New York Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Exchange a close third, with both raking in a little more than $18 billion respectively.

That was in stark contrast to European financial hubs London and Frankfurt, which raised $4.29 billion and $1.72 billion respectively.

Chinese online video company Kuaishou Technology is the biggest IPO globally so far this year, raising $5.42 billion in Hong Kong, followed by Polish parcel locker business InPost SA which raised $3.40 billion in Amsterdam.

Source: Reuters – Global firms raise $546 billion in January as SPAC frenzy continues

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