Goldman-backed fintech startup Marqeta launches in Europe

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Marqeta, a U.S. financial technology startup that helps young companies including digital-only banks issue payment cards, has expanded into Europe, the company said on Sunday.

The company will service the region from London, where it has hired at team of five and signed up new clients, it said.

Backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Visa Inc, Marqeta has developed a platform that it says makes payment card issuing and processing simpler and more efficient for businesses.

It is expanding in Europe through its partnership with Visa.

Marqeta’s U.S. clients include some of the most well-known new entrants in finance such as Square Inc, the payments company founded by Twitter Inc CEO Jack Dorsey, and Affirm, the lending startup led by PayPal Holdings Inc co-founder Max Levchin. It also works with Alipay, the payments business spun out of China-based technology company Alibaba Group Holding.

Britain and the rest of Europe are a promising market because of the growing cohort of young digital-only banks and fintech startups based there, Marqeta’s founder and CEO Jason Gardner said in an interview at an industry conference in Las Vegas.

“We have invested an enormous amount of resources in tech and operations, and have been quietly building a presence there,” Gardner said.

While the company plans to open another office somewhere else in the region, Gardner said the UK’s decision to leave the European Union had not been a concern when picking its first base in Europe.

New entrants in the banking and payments market, such as financial technology startups and challenger banks, have acquired a larger share of industry revenues in the UK than their counterparts in the U.S. and the rest of Europe, according to a report by Accenture.

In the UK new entrants have secured 14 percent of the total €206 billion ($238.45 billion)in industry revenues, compared to the 3.5 percent the total $1.04 trillion captured in the U.S., according to the report.

Founded in 2010, Marqeta has raised a total of $116 million in venture capital, most recently in a round led by Iconiq Capital with participation from Goldman Sachs.

Reporting by Anna Irrera; editing by Grant McCool

Cyber Saturday—Facebook’s ‘War Room’ Is a Marketing Ploy

In response to mounting criticism from consumers, citizens, and lawmakers, Facebook is pursuing a public relations blitz. The media giant wants to change people’s perceptions about how it is handling the scourge of misinformation and concomitant threat to elections presented by its websites and apps.

Enter the “war room.” Facebook invited journalists from a number of publications—Fortune included—to visit a cramped conference room on the company’s Menlo Park campus inside which a squad of 20-or-so employees is tasked with valiantly defending democracy around the globe—from the U.S., to Brazil, and beyond. The walls and desks are cluttered with video screens and computer monitors. Around them, Facebook’s freedom fighters huddle, clattering away on their keyboards, stemming a tide of malicious, politically-motivated influence campaigns.

One moment in Fortune reporter Jonathan Vanian’s account of the war room made me grin widely. A Facebook executive, Samidh Chakrabarti, director of elections and civic engagement for the company, tells Vanian that having everyone in the same room allows for “face-to-face” communication and quick decision-making. A few paragraphs later, we learn why Facebook does not plan to invite collaborators from other misinformation-besieged Silicon Valley companies, like Twitter and Reddit, to take seats in the room. It is easier for these groups to collaborate “virtually” rather than physically, says Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy. Hmm…

Facebook’s war room seems, to this columnist, like a PR stunt. It is reminiscent of the cybersecurity fusion centers that banks and other companies set up to dazzle visitors. Such displays are “mostly for show,” as Jason Witty, chief information security officer at U.S. Bank, told the New York Times for an unrelated story about such flashy workspaces. They, you know, look cool.

I do not mean to denigrate Facebook’s efforts entirely. To be fair, the company is trying to address the many problems that plague its platforms. And the war room does serve an important purpose: making the company’s behind-the-scenes battles more tangible for its own employees, for regulators, and for the public. Hopefully it does help quench disinformation.

Still, the tidy image of the war room comes across as a bit of marketing misdirection. After all, the walls of this room extend far, far beyond Menlo Park. Ask any journalist. As the Times’ editorial board notes in a recent op-ed, Facebook effectively relies on news reporters as an army of unofficial, unpaid, outsourced content moderators, helping to root out spammers, trolls, and propagandists. Companies like Facebook “have all the tools at their disposal and a profound responsibility to find exactly what journalists find—and yet, clearly, they don’t,” the Times writes.

Indeed, the real war room has no walls.

***

Last week I warned readers about the many ways Bloomberg Businessweek’s recent report about Chinese spy chips smells foul. Just yesterday Apple CEO Tim Cook took the unprecedented move of personally calling for Bloomberg to retract the story. So far Bloomberg has not backed down. We’ll continue to track this story and its fallout.

Have a great weekend.

Robert Hackett

@rhhackett

[email protected]

Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here. You may reach Robert Hackett via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my about.me), PGP encrypted email (see public key on my Keybase.io), Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.

3 Ways Russian-Linked Entities Stoked Controversy on Facebook, Twitter

New charges against a Russian national for allegedly trying to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and upcoming midterms reveal the creative techniques that Kremlin-linked groups have used to sow discontent among Americans.

The Department of Justice said Friday that it filed criminal charges against Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova for her alleged role with the Russian propaganda operation “Project Lakhta.” This operation, according to the complaint, oversaw multiple Russian-linked entities like the Internet Research Agency that lawmakers say spread fake news and ginned up controversy on Twitter and Facebook.

Russia has denied any disinformation campaign.

Here’s some interesting takeaways from the lawsuit:

Capitalizing on polarized topics of national interest

The complaint alleges that the Russian groups grasped onto polarized issues like gun control, race relations, and immigration to further divide the U.S. populace. They spread both liberal and conservative viewpoints to various groups on social media, tailoring the message to each one, including choosing which publication to share on them.

One unnamed Russian cited in the complaint allegedly said, ” If you write posts in a liberal group,…you must not use Breitbart titles. On the contrary, if you write posts in a conservative group, do not use Washington Post or Buzzfeed’s titles.”

The Russian groups appeared to practice their own form of racism, with one member reportedly saying “Colored LGTB are less sophisticated than white; therefore, complicated phrases and messages do not work.”

The groups apparently discovered that “infographics work well among LGTB and their liberal allies,” while conservatives appeared to be indifferent to graphics.

Spinning the news

Members of the Russian entities were well versed in summarizing popular news stories and spinning them in a way that would antagonize Americans. The entities created a Facebook group dubbed “Secure Borders” that would aggregate news stories and then sensationalize them to draw emotional responses.

Here’s an example of one way the Russian groups discussed among themselves about how to spin a news story about the late John McCain’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

“Brand McCain as an old geezer who has lost it and who long ago belonged in a home for the elderly. Emphasize that John McCain’s pathological hatred towards Donald Trump and towards all his initiatives crosses all reasonable borders and limits. State that dishonorable scoundrels, such as McCain, immediately aim to destroy all the conservative voters’ hopes as soon as Trump tries to fulfill his election promises and tries to protect the American interests.”

Creating fake user accounts on Facebook and Twitter

The Russian groups couldn’t have spread propaganda as effectively if they used their real identities. Instead, they created fake profiles on the social media to do things like promote protests and rallies and to post divisive and hateful content.

For instance, the fictitious New York City resident “Bertha Malone” created 400 Facebook posts that allegedly contained “inflammatory political and social content focused primarily on immigration and Islam.”

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The “Malone” personal also communicated with an unnamed real Facebook user to assist in posting content and managing a Facebook group called “Stop A.I.”

On March 9, 2018, a fake Twitter user named @JohnCopper16 attempted to influence Twitter users by commenting on President Trump’s recent summit with North Korean President Kim Jong Un:

Tesla launches new Model 3 with mid-range battery: Electrek

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc on Thursday introduced a new $45,000 version of its Model 3 sedan on its website, launching the car as U.S. tax breaks for Tesla cars are about to decrease.

A Tesla Model 3 sedan, its first car aimed at the mass market, is displayed during its launch in Hawthorne, California, March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Joe White/File Photo

According to the website, the rear-wheel-drive model has a “mid range” battery, a range of 260 miles, 50 miles less than the long-range battery that the more expensive Model 3 is equipped with.

The new version has a delivery period of six to 10 weeks, according to the website, which would customers eligible for the current $7,500 U.S. tax credit if they take delivery by the end of the year. The tax credit for Tesla cars will drop by half on Jan. 1.

Although Tesla has promised a base-level version of the Model 3 priced at $35,000, so far it has only produced higher-cost versions starting at about $49,000. Tesla has said that it would not manufacture the base-level version of the Model 3 this year.

Adding the mid-priced version of the Model 3 appears to be a strategic way to lure possible buyers who had been waiting for the lower-priced version. It is not clear how many of the more than 400,000 reservations for the Model 3 are for the base models.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler

Facebook’s Recent Big Hack Was Reportedly Caused by Spammers

Facebook’s recent hack that affected around 30 million people may have been caused by spammers, rather than entities tied to certain nation states.

That’s according to a report on Thursday by The Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources familiar with the social networking giant’s investigation of the hack. The report said that the group responsible for the attack on Facebook’s software infrastructure was a collection of spammers that Facebook security members have been following for an unspecified amount of time.

The spammers posed as an unnamed digital marketing company, the report said.

Facebook declined to confirm if the hack was caused by spammers.

“We are cooperating with the FBI on this matter.” Facebook vice president of product management Guy Rosen said in a statement to Fortune. “The FBI is actively investigating and have asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack.”

Facebook first revealed the hack, likely the company’s biggest in its history, in late September and originally said that around 50 million people may have been affected. A few weeks later, however, Facebook lowered the number of people it believed were impacted to 30 million, many of whom had sensitive data like email addresses, phone numbers, relationship status, and birth-dates compromised.

Executives at the company told reporters that the attackers were likely sophisticated because they were able to discover three separate bugs within Facebook’s large software infrastructure. After discovering how the software flaws were interrelated, the hackers were able to launch an attack.

Facebook said it discovered the attack on Sept. 14 and remedied the situation on Sept. 27.

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The major hack came just months after Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, which also compromised user data but was not technically a hack. That data blunder had to do with an academic who built a Facebook quiz app to collect user data, and then sold that information, against Facebook’s data policies, to the Cambridge Analytica political consulting firm.

Facebook’s security researchers typically say that much of the company’s work safeguarding its systems is intended to help reduce the prevalence of spam and related malicious activities on the social network. With the plague of fake news generated by bad actors allegedly trying to influence the U.S. and other world elections, Facebook has said that much of its security efforts are also being heavily directed at preventing propaganda from spreading on its various services.

Here's What Really Happened To Sears And How Your Business Can Avoid It

Richard Sears was brilliant. He took the personal relationship that customer had with local general store keepers and scaled it beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. 

In 1931, while the USA was in the midst of the Great Depression, Sears made the equivalent of 2.5 billion dollars in profits. Over the next ten years it contributed an astounding one percent of US GDP. Fast forward 87 years and this week Sears filed for bankruptcy protection. 

Yet another industrial era dinosaur claimed by Amazon? That’s the easy way to explain it. The truth is a bit more interesting and it holds lessons for every brand.

So Much For Loyalty

Clearly, if you were to rebuild Sears today from the ground up the company that you’d be most likely to model it after is obviously Amazon. So, why couldn’t Sears, which has now descended into the same inevitable fate as Kodak, Blockbuster, and so many other industrial era dinosaurs, do that? You’re thinking, “Well, of course they could. After all they have access to all of the same technologies as Amazon.” And yet, the same could have been said of Kodak, Blockbuster, and Borders. 

The reason that all of these companies, and virtually every industrial era company, were held hostage by the past is the same. It’s what made each one of them an icon in their respective space–their brand, or more specifically, the loyalty customers had to their brands. That makes no sense, right. Hear me out.

Providing only what your existing customers, or members, want, while your business is failing, is like offering cabin upgrades, instead of lifeboats, to passengers aboard the Titanic. 

Sears had built brand loyalty that spanned a century and five generations. If you’re a boomer, you undoubtedly have fond memories of the Sears catalog, which often occupied a place of reverence as the largest and most in-demand book in most homes. 

Ultimately that brand loyalty turned into an immutable set of expectations about what Sears was. And it held Sears hostage to its legacy. It insulated Sears from threats that should have been obvious. It cocooned it in the expectations of the past. 

In a Fortune 2016 article, “Why Sears Failed,” journalist Geoff Colvin talks about how an article he wrote in 1991 about Walmart’s potential to pull ahead of Sears triggered an indignant response from Sears executives who called his article irresponsible and misleading.

This sort of denial has its roots directly in what we call “brand loyalty.” When a company starts to sense its market potential slow, it instinctively attempts to hold onto its best customers. In many ways the company will start doing what any good company should do: develop a closer bond with its most loyal customers. Sears did this by putting in place a loyalty program called Shop Your Way. The program provides point incentives for what Sears CEO, and hedge fund manager, Eddie Lampert calls “members” and not customers or consumers. It was also intended to give Sears a better understanding of members’ behaviors. 

In a 2013 Ad Age article, a spokesman for Sears said, “Shop Your Way is at the core of everything we’re doing. We’re focused on our most loyal customers, and building relationships with them is something that will drive our company to profitability.”

According to another Sears’ spokesperson, “Shop Your Way is more than a loyalty program…It transforms customer transactions into relationships and allows us to know our members better and to serve them better.”

In some ways it seemed to be a huge success. Shop Your Way accounted for over 75 percent of Sears’ sales.[v]

And that was precisely the problem; your most loyal customers will anchor you to what your brand was at its most successful.

Loyalty programs can be a powerful draw, but they can also further isolate a company from new opportunities. Providing only what your existing customers, or members, want, while your business is failing, is like offering cabin upgrades, instead of lifeboats, to passengers aboard the Titanic

The challenge for Sears, and for any brand, is the ability to understand customers at the level of the individual. You can’t do that with broad-based loyalty programs which inevitably reinforce relationships with customers who are the most brand loyal. This only builds a confirmation bias loop in which customer behavior reinforces the current business model which then reinforces the customer behavior.

Congratulations, you’ve not only further strengthened your brand’s legacy image in the eyes of “members,” but you’ve also done a great job of convincing the rest of the marketplace that you really are stuck in time. 

But wait, isn’t that exactly what Amazon is doing with Prime member? No. Amazon is using Prime to understand individuals not just markets. Markets are anonymous entities that are categorized by broad demographics such as gender, age, purchasing power, geography, and ethnography. Individuals defy those categorizations. 

The same is true of Netflix, which knows your viewing habits so well that it can customize the color palette of an online ad to suite your individual preferences.

Turn The Brand Around

Establishing a relationship between a brand and its customers is more important than ever, but brand loyalty is at best only half of the equation. The other half is something that hasn’t been possible since the general store that Richard Sears eclipsed over a century ago.  That’s the loyalty that a brand expresses to the customer, what I call a “loyal brand ” in my book Revealing The Invisible.

Simply put, a loyal brand is one that understands your behaviors and their context well enough to be able to anticipate and respond to your preferences and build meaningful and personalized experiences. Most importantly, loyal brands can act proactively to serve new needs and expectations before they’ve been expressed. This goes beyond just making the promise that a product or service will meet your known expectations. 

Everything you do, from how you design the customer experience to how you communicate with customers to how you build a brand that looks and feels the way each customer will best respond to it has to first ask the questions, “How am I expressing loyalty to my customer?” This does not lock you into the past because now each customer has his or her own individualized experience with your brand. In many ways we are reverting to the sort of personal relationship customers had with the local shopkeeper a century ago

Sears never made the transition to a loyal brand. It continued to use industrial era marketing and customer relationships to succeed in a post-industrial era of hyperpersonalized experiences.

For example, Amazon has explored predictive sales where a product arrives at your doorstep without your having ordered it. At first blush this may sound outlandishly creepy. But stop and think about what’s actually going on. 

Do You Know Who I Am?

If you had a personal shopper on monthly retainer who knew your tastes and behaviors intimately and you happened to be going on vacation to a warm weather climate in the middle of winter, what might she or he do? Look at what you had for warm weather clothing, what still fits, the particulars of styles worn at your destination, and then, naturally, buy you what you needed. 

That’s exactly the value of a loyal brand; it understands you well enough to deliver value you may not have asked for, which in turn encourages you to disclose more of your behavior to the brand. 

Hyperpersonalization and the anticipation of unexpressed needs is the hallmark of a loyal brand. We value most those companies and people who invest the time and energy to think ahead and deliver products or services before we ask for it. Ultimately nothing creates a greater bond of loyalty than knowing the customer at that level. 

Clearly, even the companies best positioned to understand your digital behaviors and to build experiences that understand and respect them are just starting down that path. For example, the company that makes you enter your customer account number to route your call to a human being who then asks you what your customer account number is! 

It’s nothing less than dumbfounding that a company you’ve been loyal to for so long hardly knows you

That was pretty much the model of customer relationship that Sears used. And its why, no matter how hard Sears tried to reshape its brand by appealing to its most loyal customers, it never stood a chance of surviving in a world where customers expect to be treated like individuals with unique needs and preferences–something that Richard Sears would have easily recognized 87 years ago.

5 Strategies Mentally Strong People Use to Keep Their Feelings in Check

A father came into my therapy office with his son and said, “He’s so strong. He hasn’t even cried once since his grandmother passed away.”

Being mentally strong isn’t about stifling your emotions and ignoring your pain. After all, it takes strength to allow yourself to feel sad, anxious, and scared.

You don’t want to stay stuck in a place of pain, however. It’s important to be able to shift your emotions when they aren’t serving you well. Here are five ways mentally strong people manage their emotions:

1. They schedule time to worry.

Whether you’re a natural worrier who worries about everything or there’s something specific that you can’t seem to get off your mind, all of those “what if…” questions can consume your mental energy. What if something goes wrong? What if I end up broke?

Set aside 20 minutes a day to worry and put it in your schedule. Then, when your worrying time rolls around, worry up a storm. When your time is over, go back to doing something else.

When you find yourself worrying outside your scheduled worrying time, remind yourself that it’s not time to worry and you’ll have plenty of time to do that later.

The goal is to contain your worrying to a specific portion of the day so it isn’t all-consuming. With practice, you’ll be able to spend your day focusing on the task right in front of you, rather than ruminate about what happened yesterday or worry about what might happen tomorrow.

2. They label their emotions.

Your emotions affect how you perceive events and how you decide to take action. When you’re anxious about something–even something completely unrelated to your current task–you’ll likely avoid risks.

When you’re sad, you’re more likely to agree to a bad deal (never negotiate when you’re sad). When you’re excited, you’ll overlook the challenges you’re likely to face.

Despite the major influence of emotions, most people spend very little time thinking about their feelings. In fact, most adults struggle to name their feelings.

But labeling your feelings is key to making the best decisions. When you understand how you’re feeling and how those feelings might cloud your judgment, you can make better choices.

Labeling your emotions can also take the sting out of uncomfortable feelings like sadness, embarrassment, and disappointment. So check in with yourself a few times each day and identify how you’re feeling.

3. They determine whether their feelings are a friend or an enemy.

Emotions aren’t either positive or negative. All emotions can be helpful sometimes and harmful at others.

Sadness is helpful when it reminds you to honor something or someone you lost. But it can be harmful if it tries to keep you from getting out of bed and tackling your day.

Anger is helpful when it gives you energy to take a stand for a cause you believe in. It can be harmful if it encourages you to do or say things that hurt people.

Anxiety is helpful when it talks you out of doing something dangerous. But it’s not helpful when it keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone in a positive manner.

So after you label your feelings, take a minute to identify whether that emotion is a friend or an enemy to you right now. If it’s helpful, allow yourself to embrace that feeling fully. If it’s not helpful, change how you feel by either changing the way you think (or what you’re thinking about) or how you’re behaving.

4. They engage in mood boosters.

Behaving contrary to the way you feel can shift your emotional state. For example, smiling can evoke feelings of happiness when you’re feeling down. Or taking a few slow deep breaths can calm you when you’re feeling anxious.

It’s important to have a few activities in mind for boosting your mood on a bad day. The easiest way to do that is by creating a list of things you enjoy doing when you’re in a good mood, like going for a walk, listening to upbeat music, or having coffee with a friend.

Then, when you’re in a bad mood (and your emotions aren’t your friend), engage in a mood booster. Changing your behavior can shift your internal state and help you to feel happier.

5. They embrace discomfort.

Ask yourself, “What emotion is most uncomfortable?” For one person, it might be embarrassment. For another, it might be anxiety.

You likely go to great lengths to avoid the emotion you find least tolerable. Perhaps you don’t try for a promotion because you think you can’t handle rejection. Or maybe you pass up an invitation to give a toast at a wedding because you fear public speaking.

Many people go through life working really hard to avoid discomfort. Ironically, however, they end up feeling uncomfortable almost all the time because they’re wasting all their energy running away from things that may cause discomfort.

Embrace a little bit of discomfort. The more you expose yourself to uncomfortable feelings (as long as you do it in a healthy way), you can gain confidence in your ability to tolerate distress.

Build Your Mental Muscle

The stronger you become, the better equipped you’ll be to face the challenges that will help you reach your greatest potential.

In addition to creating healthy habits that will build mental muscle, however, it’s important to give up the bad habits that are robbing you of the mental strength you need to be your best. When you give up the things that are holding you back, you can become the strongest and best version of yourself.

U.S. judge approves SEC settlement with Tesla, Musk; shares jump

(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Tuesday approved a settlement between a federal regulator, Tesla Inc and its chief executive officer, Elon Musk, over his tweets promising to take the company private, signaling an end to a tumultuous period for investors.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk speaks during the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S., July 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

Tesla shares rose as much as 5.5 percent to $273.88 before easing to $271.63 in early-afternoon trade on Nasdaq. Despite the gains, the stock is still down more than 20 percent since Aug. 6, the day before Musk said on Twitter he would take the company private and claimed he had secured funding to do so.

Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York approved a motion filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission outlining the agreement with Tesla and Musk.

A Tesla spokesperson confirmed the settlement, but said the automaker would make no further comment on the matter.

Under an agreement with the SEC, Musk has agreed to pay a $20 million fine and step aside as Tesla’s chairman for three years to settle charges that could have forced his exit from Tesla.

The company will also pay a $20 million fine, despite not being charged with fraud.

The government lawsuit threatened Tesla and Musk with a long fight that could have undermined its operations and ability to raise capital.

Under the settlement announced on Sept.29, Tesla must appoint an independent chairman, two independent directors and a board committee to control Musk’s communications.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk reveals the Tesla Energy Powerwall Home Battery during an event in Hawthorne, California, U.S., April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon/File Photo

Musk must comply with procedures set by the committee, including preapproval of “any such written communications that contain, or reasonably could contain, information material” to Tesla or its shareholders.

Twitter has frequently been Musk’s go-to venue for freewheeling communications and confrontation with Tesla’s critics.

The stock dropped last month after the SEC accused Musk, 47, of fraud over his “false and misleading” tweets on Aug. 7.

On Oct. 4, just hours after Nathan ordered him and the SEC to explain why their settlement was fair and reasonable, Musk appeared to mock the SEC on Twitter.

“Just want to [sic] that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work,” Musk, a frequent critic of the investors who have bet against the company, wrote. “And the name change is so on point!”

The day after the tweet, Tesla’s shares fell 7 percent when billionaire investor David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital hedge fund criticized the electric carmaker, saying Musk had been deceptive and the carmaker’s woes resembled those of Lehman Brothers before its collapse.

Musk has gained legions of fans for his bold approach to business and technology, using his 23 million Twitter followers to promote Tesla, his rocket company SpaceX, and tunnel venture Boring Co.

But the Aug. 7 claim that he had the funding to take Tesla private, and a subsequent U-turn, stunned Wall Street and came as Musk was filmed briefly smoking marijuana during a live Web show and when he called a British diver in the Thai cave rescue a “pedo.”

The Financial Times reported last week that outgoing Twenty-First Century Fox Inc CEO James Murdoch, a son of Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch, was the lead candidate to replace Musk as chairman. Musk called the report “incorrect.” Tesla has until Nov. 13 to appoint an independent chairman.

Thanks to Musk’s vision and showmanship, Tesla’s valuation has at times eclipsed that of traditional, established U.S. automakers that make millions of vehicles and billions of dollars in profits annually, and the company has garnered legions of fans despite repeated production issues.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Jeffrey Benkoe

Lyft selects JPMorgan, Credit Suisse for IPO in 2019: source

(Reuters) – Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc has chosen JPMorgan Chase & Co, Credit Suisse and Jefferies as underwriters for its initial public offering, slated for the first half of 2019, according to a person familiar with the matter.

FILE PHOTO: An illuminated sign appears in a Lyft ride-hailing car in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

The source did not want to be identified because Lyft’s plans were still private.

Reuters had earlier reported that Lyft was in talks with JPMorgan to lead its IPO, after rivals Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley decided not to pursue such a role out of loyalty to another IPO hopeful and Lyft’s larger competitor, Uber Technologies Inc.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Uber could be valued at $120 billion in its IPO, expected in 2019.

JPMorgan declined to comment. Credit Suisse did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment, while Jefferies was not available for a comment.

Lyft also declined to comment.

The two IPOs are widely seen as a litmus test for investor tolerance for lack of profitability when it comes to iconic technology unicorns.

Uber and Lyft have taken hits to their bottom lines in order to attract drivers and enter new markets, although they have made strides in recent years in narrowing their losses.

Like Uber, Lyft offers an app that lets passengers request rides on their smartphones. It was founded in 2012 by technology entrepreneurs John Zimmer and Logan Green, three years after Uber.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru and Liana Baker in New York; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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