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Buyers saw money in music | Finance's best-kept secret let a little slip |
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Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for April 23rd in 3:12 minutes.

☕️ Finimized over a tiramisu at Feffo in Rome, Italy (⛅️ 13°C / 56°F)

Today's big stories

  1. Hipgnosis Songs Fund moved toward the top of the charts – at least as far as potential buyers are concerned
  2. The biggest trend in pharma could puff up some unexpected stocks – Read Now
  3. Jane Street, the finance world's best-kept secret, looked set to report bumper trading revenue, highlighting its stealthy supremacy

One Way Or Another

One Way Or Another

What’s going on here?

Blackstone increased its bid for Hipgnosis Songs Fund, hoping to strike a chord with the British music rights company.

What does this mean?

Hipgnosis owns the back catalogs of artists including Beyoncé, Blondie, and Mark Ronson. So not only has the company caused a stir in the charts, but it has the business world tuned in, too. Hipgnosis had already agreed to a buyout offer from US rival Concord Chorus which – at £0.93 ($1.15) per share – values Hipgnosis at $1.4 billion. But Blackstone’s upped proposal is £1.00 ($1.24) per share, making a total of $1.5 billion. Hipgnosis has said it’ll recommend the higher offer to shareholders if it’s formalized – but Blackstone needs to check the books before it can write that offer in ink. Investors seem to sense a bidding war, pushing the share price up to £1.02 ($1.26) on Monday.

Why should I care?

Zooming in: A British bargain.

Hipgnosis was trading at £0.53 ($0.65) in March, mainly impacted by uncertainty over the value of its music rights. That’s a popular story in the UK: firms are trading for cheap relative to their own history and other markets, no matter if they’re big or small. So now, other companies are scouring the UK’s offices, keen to snap up firms with high potential while their prices are lying low.

The bigger picture: Distribution is the talk of Hollywood town.

Artists, music rights firms, and social media companies have been vying for their share of streams. Universal Music Group even pulled its artists’ music from TikTok, after the two companies failed to agree. The ban included Taylor Swift’s songs – but after fans made their demands loud and clear, Swift teamed up with TikTok to release her latest album in a first-of-its-kind in-app feature. That may well undermine Universal’s authority, especially over artists with a penchant for short-form video fame.

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Analyst Take

The Hidden Beneficiaries Of The Weight-Loss Drug Boom

The Hidden Beneficiaries Of The Weight-Loss Drug Boom
Photo of Stéphane Renevier, CFA

Stéphane Renevier, CFA, Analyst

There’s a ravenous appetite out there for obesity drugs.

The market is expected to expand to $105 billion by 2030, bloating to roughly 20 times its current size.

That means plumper profits for pharma heavyweights Novo Nordish and Eli Lilly, and hefty opportunities for investors – some of them in unexpected places.

That’s today’s Insight: the biggest winners (and biggest losers) of the obesity drug trend.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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Made In The Shade

Made In The Shade

What’s going on here?

Secretive trading firm Jane Street revealed that it’s on track to bring in $4.4 billion from trading alone last quarter, leaving the industry talking while it reverted back into the shadows.

What does this mean?

Jane Street may be the most important finance firm that you’ve never heard of. Not only is it making more money from trading than many of the biggest investment banks, but it also keeps financial markets in check by facilitating the buying and selling of stocks and other assets. To do that, Jane Street relies on exclusive, proprietary technology and strategies, and purposefully keeps a low profile to skirt the heavy regulations that hamper banks. Yet, its latest results are hogging the spotlight. While still unaudited, they show that Jane Street expects to have made $4.4 billion in revenue from trading last quarter, with $2.7 billion of profit. That’s around $3 million of profit per employee a year – likely unmatched anywhere else.

Why should I care?

For markets: Change is good (for some).

The more volatile the market is, the better for Jane Street. See, fast-moving stock markets often mean bigger differences between buy and sell prices, more frequent trades, and more occasions when a stock’s price careens away from the company’s intrinsic value – all opportunities to squeeze out extra profit. No wonder that trading desks have raked it in over the volatile last four years.

The bigger picture: There’s money hiding in the shadows.

Traditional banks have been bound by increasingly stringent regulations ever since the 2008 global financial crisis. So financial companies that aren’t banks – like Jane Street – have used their flexibility to catch up to the big dogs. In fact, those “shadow banks” now account for almost half of the global financial system’s total lending and investing activities. But that lack of regulation is a double-edged sword: unsupervised shadow banks could be an incredibly risky bet.

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India’s working-age population is booming, even as other markets – like the US, Europe, and Japan – are set to see theirs decline. And that split has driven a flood of interest into Indian assets. After all, more workers mean faster economic growth, while fewer workers mean slower growth.

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