Vantage Investment Partners Increases Holding in Mastercard Incorpora (MA); Mcrae Capital …

… 13/03/2018 – Zoom Video Communications Embedded into IBM Watson Workspace Plus; 16/03/2018 – IBM Helps Accelerate AI with Fast New Data …

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Mcrae Capital Management Inc decreased its stake in International Business Machs (IBM) by 15.53% based on its latest 2018Q4 regulatory filing with the SEC. Mcrae Capital Management Inc sold 8,620 shares as the company’s stock rose 12.54% with the market. The institutional investor held 46,883 shares of the computer manufacturing company at the end of 2018Q4, valued at $5.33 million, down from 55,503 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Mcrae Capital Management Inc who had been investing in International Business Machs for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $127.67B market cap company. The stock increased 0.31% or $0.45 during the last trading session, reaching $143.47. About 1.84M shares traded. International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) has declined 10.00% since April 11, 2018 and is downtrending. It has underperformed by 14.37% the S&P500. Some Historical IBM News: 17/04/2018 – IBM Earnings: There Are a Lot of Moving Parts Here — Barron’s Blog; 18/04/2018 – With Wednesday’s dip, IBM is down 12 percent on the 12-month period; 17/04/2018 – IBM Expects FY18 Operating EPS of at Least $13.80; 13/03/2018 – Zoom Video Communications Embedded into IBM Watson Workspace Plus; 16/03/2018 – IBM Helps Accelerate AI with Fast New Data Platform, Elite Team; 05/04/2018 – Rabobank Desensitizes Client Data for GDPR and DevOps with IBM; 01/05/2018 – Nlyte Software Teams With IBM’s Watson IoT to Leverage Machine Learning for Enhanced Data Center Operations; 26/04/2018 – TSB CALLS IN IBM TO HELP RESOLVE ITS DIGITAL BANKING CRISIS – SKY NEWS; 04/05/2018 – BUFFETT SAYS BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY SOLD COMPLETELY OUT OF IBM:CNBC; 25/05/2018 – IBM Presenting at Money20/20 Europe Conference Jun 4

Vantage Investment Partners Llc increased its stake in Mastercard Incorpora (MA) by 215.44% based on its latest 2018Q4 regulatory filing with the SEC. Vantage Investment Partners Llc bought 101,491 shares as the company’s stock rose 11.87% with the market. The institutional investor held 148,600 shares of the business services company at the end of 2018Q4, valued at $28.03M, up from 47,109 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Vantage Investment Partners Llc who had been investing in Mastercard Incorpora for a number of months, seems to be bullish on the $241.95B market cap company. The stock decreased 0.52% or $1.22 during the last trading session, reaching $235.84. About 1.11 million shares traded. Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) has risen 30.43% since April 11, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 26.06% the S&P500. Some Historical MA News: 03/05/2018 – A drop in customers buying cryptocurrencies with a credit card slightly dampened Mastercard’s first-quarter results, the company said on an earnings call this week; 02/04/2018 – MASTERCARD – GOH IS CEO OF SINGAPORE AIRLINES; 18/04/2018 – Elevate to Collaborate with Mastercard on Credit Card Product for the ‘New Middle Class’; 19/03/2018 – MasterCard keeps options open on cryptocurrencies; 21/03/2018 – IBM Watson, Mastercard, Walmart, CBS and PepsiCo Executives to Speak at the ARF’s CONSUMERxSCIENCE; 02/04/2018 – Mastercard Closes Below 50-Day Moving Average: Technicals; 02/05/2018 – CHINESE BANKS ARE ISSUING MASTERCARD CARDS AGAIN: HUND-MEJEAN; 16/04/2018 – MOVES-Mastercard taps former U.S. trade representative as strategic growth president

Investors sentiment decreased to 0.59 in 2018 Q4. Its down 0.32, from 0.91 in 2018Q3. It turned negative, as 129 investors sold IBM shares while 678 reduced holdings. 121 funds opened positions while 353 raised stakes. 523.62 million shares or 6.28% more from 492.69 million shares in 2018Q3 were reported. Pittenger Anderson invested 0% of its portfolio in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM). Vigilant Cap Mngmt Limited Liability stated it has 5,447 shares. Moreover, Thrivent For Lutherans has 0.02% invested in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM). Credit Suisse Ag reported 0.42% in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM). Panagora Asset reported 34,576 shares. Dsc Advisors Lp has invested 0.09% in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM). Tru Department Mb Commercial Bank N A has invested 0.04% in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM). Advsrs Mngmt Lc holds 0.31% or 37,462 shares in its portfolio. Chickasaw Management Ltd Llc stated it has 0.01% of its portfolio in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM). Nordea Invest Ab holds 4.34 million shares. Century invested in 0.08% or 583,010 shares. 9,275 are owned by Lombard Odier Asset Mgmt (Europe) Limited. Barry Inv Advisors Ltd Limited Liability Company has invested 2.12% in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM). Alpha Windward Lc holds 0.11% of its portfolio in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) for 1,333 shares. Morgan Dempsey Capital Mgmt accumulated 26,619 shares.

Since October 31, 2018, it had 5 buys, and 0 selling transactions for $2.09 million activity. Another trade for 1,000 shares valued at $114,673 was made by OWENS JAMES W on Wednesday, October 31. WADDELL FREDERICK H had bought 2,153 shares worth $249,722 on Thursday, November 1. $998,835 worth of International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) was bought by Rometty Virginia M on Friday, November 2. Swedish Joseph bought $232,838 worth of stock.

Analysts await International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) to report earnings on April, 16. They expect $2.22 earnings per share, down 9.39% or $0.23 from last year’s $2.45 per share. IBM’s profit will be $1.98B for 16.16 P/E if the $2.22 EPS becomes a reality. After $4.87 actual earnings per share reported by International Business Machines Corporation for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts -54.41% negative EPS growth.

More notable recent International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) news were published by: which released: “A Dividend Hike From IBM Is Coming, but Don’t Expect Much – The Motley Fool” on April 11, 2019, also with their article: “If you invested $1,000 in IBM 10 years ago, here’s how much you’d have now – CNBC” published on March 13, 2019, published: “IBM: Moving Forward – Seeking Alpha” on January 29, 2019. More interesting news about International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) were released by: and their article: “IBM: Small Dividend Raise Coming? – Seeking Alpha” published on February 27, 2019 as well as‘s news article titled: “IBM: Small Victory, Finally! – Seeking Alpha” with publication date: January 23, 2019.

More notable recent Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) news were published by: which released: “MasterCard Stock Is A Buy, But Is It A Better Buy Than Its Card Peers? –” on March 15, 2019, also with their article: “Oakmark Global Fund: First Quarter 2019 – Seeking Alpha” published on April 11, 2019, published: “Wedbush Incrementally Bullish On MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Visa (NYSE:V) – Benzinga” on March 14, 2019. More interesting news about Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) were released by: and their article: “Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) – Hot Commodities: IMO 2020 – Benzinga” published on April 04, 2019 as well as‘s news article titled: “Nomura’s Top Payments Pick For Earnings Is Visa (V) –” with publication date: April 11, 2019.

Since November 2, 2018, it had 1 buying transaction, and 2 insider sales for $4.52 million activity. The insider Haythornthwaite Richard sold 5,000 shares worth $959,993. DAVIS RICHARD K had bought 2,475 shares worth $486,015 on Friday, November 2.

Investors sentiment increased to 0.99 in 2018 Q4. Its up 0.02, from 0.97 in 2018Q3. It increased, as 75 investors sold MA shares while 494 reduced holdings. 113 funds opened positions while 453 raised stakes. 806.08 million shares or 9.71% more from 734.72 million shares in 2018Q3 were reported. Us Fincl Bank De holds 0.63% of its portfolio in Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) for 1.03 million shares. Middleton & Ma owns 0.12% invested in Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) for 3,544 shares. Blue Financial, Rhode Island-based fund reported 22,126 shares. Blackhill Incorporated invested in 20,000 shares or 0.72% of the stock. Westfield Cap Mgmt Lp stated it has 534,607 shares. Moreover, Congress Asset Management Company Ma has 0.12% invested in Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA). Fayez Sarofim Co accumulated 0.13% or 113,228 shares. Berkshire Asset Mgmt Lc Pa has invested 0.08% of its portfolio in Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA). Kbc Nv holds 265,857 shares or 0.56% of its portfolio. The New York-based Investec Asset Management North America has invested 1.99% in Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA). Parametric Portfolio Lc holds 3.11 million shares. Rafferty Asset Mngmt Lc accumulated 162,639 shares. Walleye Trading Limited Liability Company has invested 0.02% of its portfolio in Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA). Private Ocean Llc owns 229 shares or 0.01% of their US portfolio. Webster National Bank N A holds 0.15% or 4,789 shares in its portfolio.

Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) Institutional Positions Chart

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Top 12 Artificial Intelligence Innovations Disrupting Healthcare by 2020

Top 12 Artificial Intelligence Innovations Disrupting Healthcare by 2020 … artificial intelligence innovations poised to become integral components of …

April 11, 2019 – There’s no question that artificial intelligence is moving quickly in the healthcare industry. Even just a few months ago, AI was still a dream for the next generation: something that would start to enter regular care delivery in a couple of decades – maybe ten or fifteen years for the most advanced health systems.

Even Partners HealthCare, the Boston-based giant on the very cutting edge of research and reform, set a ten-year timeframe for artificial intelligence during its 2018 World Medical Innovation Forum, identifying a dozen AI technologies that had the potential to revolutionize patient care within the decade.

But over the past twelve months, research has progressed so rapidly that Partners has blown up that timeline.

Instead of viewing AI as something still lingering on the distant horizon, this year’s Disruptive Dozen panel was tasked with assessing which AI innovations will be ready to fundamentally alter the delivery of care by 2020 – now less than a year away.

Sixty members of the Partners faculty participated in nominating and narrowing down the tools they think will have an almost immediate benefit for patients and providers, explained Erica Shenoy, MD, PhD, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

READ MORE:Verma: Artificial Intelligence is Key for Patient Empowerment, Lower Costs

“These are innovations that have a strong potential to make significant advancement in the field, and they are also technologies that are pretty close to making it to market,” she said.

The results include everything from mental healthcare and clinical decision support to coding and communication, offering patients and their providers a more efficient, effective, and cost-conscious ecosystem for improving long-term outcomes.

In order from least to greatest potential impact, here are the twelve artificial intelligence innovations poised to become integral components of the next decade’s data-driven care delivery system.

Narrowing the gaps in mental healthcare

Nearly twenty percent of US patients struggle with a mental health disorder, yet treatment is often difficult to access and expensive to use regularly. Reducing barriers to access for mental and behavioral healthcare, especially during the opioid abuse crisis, requires a new approach to connecting patients with services.

AI-driven applications and therapy programs will be a significant part of the answer.

READ MORE:AI, Deep Learning Start to Tackle Common Problems in Healthcare

“The promise and potential for digital behavioral solutions and apps is enormous to address the gaps in mental healthcare in the US and across the world,” said David Ahern, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Smartphone-based cognitive behavioral therapy and integrated group therapy are showing promise for treating conditions such as depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

While patients and providers need to be wary of commercially available applications that have not been rigorously validated and tested, more and more researchers are developing AI-based tools that have the backing of randomized clinical trials and are showing good results.

A panel of experts from Partners HealthCare presents the Disruptive Dozen at WMIF19.
A panel of experts from Partners HealthCare presents the Disruptive Dozen at WMIF19.

Source: Partners HealthCare

Streamlining workflows with voice-first technology

Natural language processing is already a routine part of many behind-the-scenes clinical workflows, but voice-first tools are expected to make their way into the patient-provider encounter in a new way.

Smart speakers in the clinic are prepping to relieve clinicians of their EHR burdens, capturing free-form conversations and translating the content into structured documentation. Physicians and nurses will be able to collect and retrieve information more quickly while spending more time looking patients in the eye.

READ MORE:Data Scientists in High Demand for Healthcare Providers, Payers

Patients may benefit from similar technologies at home as the consumer market for virtual assistants continues to grow. With companies like Amazon achieving HIPAA compliance for their consumer-facing products, individuals may soon have more robust options for voice-first chronic disease management and patient engagement.

Identifying individuals at high risk of domestic violence

Underreporting makes it difficult to know just how many people suffer from intimate partner violence (IPV), says Bharti Khurana, MD, an emergency radiologist at BWH. But the symptoms are often hiding in plain sight for radiologists.

Using artificial intelligence to flag worrisome injury patterns or mismatches between patient-reported histories and the types of fractures present on x-rays can alert providers to when an exploratory conversation is called for.

“As a radiologist, I’m very excited because this will enable me to provide even more value to the patient instead of simply evaluating their injuries. It’s a powerful tool for clinicians and social workers that will allow them to approach patients with confidence and with less worry about offending the patient or the spouse,” said Khurana.

Revolutionizing acute stroke care

Every second counts when a patient experiences a stroke. In far-flung regions of the United States and in the developing world, access to skilled stroke care can take hours, drastically increasing the likelihood of significant long-term disability or death.

Artificial intelligence has the potential to close the gaps in access to high-quality imaging studies that can identify the type of stroke and the location of the clot or bleed. Research teams are currently working on AI-driven tools that can automate the detection of stroke and support decision-making around the appropriate treatment for the individual’s needs.

In rural or low-resource care settings, these algorithms can compensate for the lack of a specialist on-site and ensure that every stroke patient has the best possible chance of treatment and recovery.

AI revolutionizing stroke care

Source: Getty Images

Reducing administrative burdens for providers

The costs of healthcare administration are off the charts. Recent data from the Center for American progress states that providers spend about $282 billion per year on insurance and medical billing, and the burdens are only going to keep getting bigger.

Medical coding and billing is a perfect use case for natural language processing and machine learning. NLP is well-suited to translating free-text notes into standardized codes, which can move the task off the plates of physicians and reduce the time and effort spent on complying with convoluted regulations.

“The ultimate goal is to help reduce the complexity of the coding and billing process through automation, thereby reducing the number of mistakes – and, in turn, minimizing the need for such intense regulatory oversight,” Partners says.

NLP is already in relatively wide use for this task, and healthcare organizations are expected to continue adopting this strategy as a way to control costs and speed up their billing cycles.

Unleashing health data through information exchange

AI will combine with another game-changing technology, known as FHIR, to unlock siloes of health data and support broader access to health information.

Patients, providers, and researchers will all benefit from a more fluid health information exchange environment, especially since artificial intelligence models are extremely data-hungry.

Stakeholders will need to pay close attention to maintaining the privacy and security of data as it moves across disparate systems, but the benefits have the potential to outweigh the risks.

“It completely depends on how everyone in the medical community advocates for, builds, and demands open interfaces and open business models,” said Samuel Aronson, Executive Director of IT at Partners Personalized Medicine.

“If we all row in the same direction, there’s a real possibility that we will see fundamental improvements to the healthcare system in 3 to 5 years.”

Offering new approaches for eye health and disease

Image-heavy disciplines have started to see early benefits from artificial intelligence since computers are particularly adept at analyzing patterns in pixels. Ophthalmology is one area that could see major changes as AI algorithms become more accurate and more robust.

From glaucoma to diabetic retinopathy, millions of patients experience diseases that can lead to irreversible vision loss every year. Employing AI for clinical decision support can extend access to eye health services in low-resource areas while giving human providers more accurate tools for catching diseases sooner.

Real-time monitoring of brain health

The brain is still the body’s most mysterious organ, but scientists and clinicians are making swift progress unlocking the secrets of cognitive function and neurological disease. Artificial intelligence is accelerating discovery by helping providers interpret the incredibly complex data that the brain produces.

From predicting seizures by reading EEG tests to identifying the beginnings of dementia earlier than any human, artificial intelligence is allowing providers to access more detailed, continuous measurements – and helping patients improve their quality of life.

Seizures can happen in patients with other serious illnesses, such as kidney or liver failure, explained, Bandon Westover, MD, PhD, executive director of the Clinical Data Animation Center at MGH, but many providers simply don’t know about it.

“Right now, we mostly ignore the brain unless there’s a special need for suspicion,” he said. “In a year’s time, we’ll be catching a lot more seizures and we’ll be doing it with algorithms that can monitor patients continuously and identify more ambiguous patterns of dysfunction that can damage the brain in a similar manner to seizures.”

Automating malaria detection in developing regions

Malaria is a daily threat for approximately half the world’s population. Nearly half a million people died from the mosquito-borne disease in 2017, according to the World Health Organization, and the majority of the victims are children under the age of five.

Deep learning tools can automate the process of quantifying malaria parasites in blood samples, a challenging task for providers working without pathologist partners. One such tool achieved 90 percent accuracy and specificity, putting it on par with pathology experts.

This type of software can be run on a smartphone hooked up to a camera on a microscope, dramatically expanding access to expert-level diagnosis and monitoring.

AI for diagnosing and detecting malaria

Source: Getty Images

Augmenting diagnostics and decision-making

Artificial intelligence has made especially swift progress in diagnostic specialties, including pathology. AI will continue to speed down the road to maturity in this area, predicts Annette Kim, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology at BWH and Harvard Medical School.

“Pathology is at the center of diagnosis, and diagnosis underpins a huge percentage of all patient care. We’re integrating a huge amount of data that funnels through us to come to a diagnosis. As the number of data points increases, it negatively impacts the time we have to synthesize the information,” she said.

AI can help automate routine, high-volume tasks, prioritize and triage cases to ensure patients are getting speedy access to the right care, and make sure that pathologists don’t miss key information hidden in the enormous volumes of clinical and test data they must comb through every day.

“This is where AI can have a huge impact on practice by allowing us to use our limited time in the most meaningful manner,” Kim stressed.

Predicting the risk of suicide and self-harm

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 45,000 lives in 2016. Suicide rates are on the rise due to a number of complex socioeconomic and mental health factors, and identifying patients at the highest risk of self-harm is a difficult and imprecise science.

Natural language processing and other AI methodologies may help providers identify high-risk patients earlier and more reliably. AI can comb through social media posts, electronic health record notes, and other free-text documents to flag words or concepts associated with the risk of harm.

Researchers also hope to develop AI-driven apps to provide support and therapy to individuals likely to harm themselves, especially teenagers who commit suicide at higher rates than other age groups.

Connecting patients with mental health resources before they reach a time of crisis could save thousands of lives every year.

Reimagining the world of medical imaging

Radiology is already one of AI’s early beneficiaries, but providers are just at the beginning of what they will be able to accomplish in the next few years as machine learning explodes into the imaging realm.

AI is predicted to bring earlier detection, more accurate assessment of complex images, and less expensive testing for patients across a huge number of clinical areas.

But as leaders in the AI revolution, radiologists also have a significant responsibility to develop and deploy best practices in terms of trustworthiness, workflow, and data protection.

“We certainly feel the onus on the radiology community to make sure we do deliver and translate this into improved care,” said Alexandra Golby, MD, a neurosurgeon and radiologist at BWH and Harvard Medical School.

“Can radiology live up to the expectations? There are certainly some challenges, including trust and understanding of what the algorithms are delivering. But we desperately need it, and we want to equalize care across the world.”

Radiologists have been among the first to overcome their trepidation about the role of AI in a changing clinical world, and are eagerly embracing the possibilities of this transformative approach to augmenting human skills.”

“All of the imaging societies have opened their doors to the AI adventure,” Golby said. “The community very anxious to learn, codevelop, and work with all of the industry partners to turn this technology into truly valuable tools. We’re very optimistic and very excited, and we look forward to learning more about how AI can improve care.”

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Tesla steps back from joint Panasonic battery production plans

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk had hoped to raise that to 54GWh by 2020, according to people close to the companies. In a statement following the …

Tesla has stepped back from plans to jointly invest with Panasonic to expand battery production lines at its factory in Nevada as uncertainty hangs over the outlook for its electric vehicles.

Shares in the US electric carmaker fell 3 per cent on Thursday after the Nikkei newspaper reported that the two companies were freezing plans to raise capacity at the $5 billion (€4.4 billion) Tesla “gigafactory” in the Nevada desert by 50 per cent by next year due to “financial problems”.

The companies had earlier said the plant would have production capacity of 35 gigawatt hours a year by the end of March. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk had hoped to raise that to 54GWh by 2020, according to people close to the companies.

In a statement following the report, Panasonic said it will watch the demand situation and “study additional investments over 35GWh in collaboration with Tesla.”

The US carmaker said it would continue to invest in the gigafactory “as needed”.

“However, we think there is far more output to be gained from improving existing production equipment than was previously estimated,” Tesla added.

The comment marked a departure from previous statements from Tesla executives, who had talked of plans to add further lines at the Nevada plant, which is only about 30 per cent developed.

The change in stance follows a slump in deliveries of the company’s Model S and Model X in the first quarter of this year, raising worries that demand is flagging.


Deliveries also dropped from its new Model 3, though the company blamed the fall on delays in shipping vehicles to its first international customers.

As part of a shift away from consumer electronics to focus on more profitable batteries, car parts and industrial hardware, the Japanese group had committed up to $1.6 billion (€1.4 billion) for the gigafactory.

In return, it became the exclusive supplier of batteries for Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 car.

But people close to both Panasonic and Tesla described “rising tensions” between the two companies as the Japanese company bridled at the low margins it was making on the output of the US gigafactory and the perceived threat from Tesla’s deepening relationship with battery producers in China.

People close to the Japanese company also said Panasonic was not in a position to increase investment in Tesla’s gigafactory.

Investors are already frustrated that its costly investments are not paying off as quickly as the company had originally anticipated.

The group’s earnings outlook has darkened amid a fall-off in Chinese demand for its automotive components and electronic devices that led to a cut in its operating profit forecast.

Analysts have also said Tesla appears to be drifting away from Panasonic as Mr Musk plans to start producing its Model 3 vehicles in Shanghai by the end of the year.

The US group is reportedly exploring supplying from local players with Panasonic cautious about investing in its Chinese factory.

The Japanese group is concerned that the vehicles from the Chinese factory could be sold internationally rather than just in China, creating new competition for the supply of batteries coming from the US gigafactory, said the people close to the companies.

Tensions are also rising around the Panasonic’s joint venture with Toyota to produce new batteries for electric vehicles – a move, said people familiar with the situation, that has caused Tesla to question the exclusivity of its EV battery relationship with Panasonic.

– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019

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US Food Retailer Albertsons Uses IBM Food Trust Blockchain to Track Lettuce

United States food and drug chain Albertsons Companies has become the latest client retailer of IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform, the company …

United States food and drug chain Albertsons Companies has become the latest client retailer of IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform, the company confirmed in a press release on April 11.

Albertsons, which operates a network of 2,300 stores across the U.S., will use the platform initially to track the supply chain for romaine lettuce, but aims to branch out into other products.

Since it launched in October 2018, Food Trust has grown to incorporate around 80 clients in a rapidly-expanding industry, Albertsons noting that over five million food products now use blockchain technology as part of their delivery process.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to be transformational for us,” CIO Anuj Dhanda commented in the press release. Dhanda continued:

“Food safety is a very significant step. In addition, the provenance of the products enabled by blockchain — the ability to track every move from the farm to the customer’s basket — can be very empowering for our customers.”

Food Trust represents just one of several blockchain-focused enterprise solutions IBM has developed in recent years.

Testing of the platform began in 2016 with Walmart in China, and other food giants such as Nestle subsequently coming on board, the latter hinting about the user base expansion in January.

In 2018, in the aftermath of the outbreak in the U.S. of the E-coli contamination of romaine lettuce, Walmart’s vice president of food safety noted that even if it takes years for the food industry to completely adopt blockchain, “outbreaks don’t have to be this big and this long.”

“Establishing IBM Food Trust and opening it to the food ecosystem last year was a major milestone in making blockchain real for business,” Raj Rao, Food Trust’s general manager, stated in today’s press release. Rao added:

“Today, we are focused on ensuring that the solution scales and is accessible to participants across the food ecosystem, such as Albertsons Companies.”

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Uber Board Seats for SoftBank Imperiled by US National Security Review

When SoftBank Group arranged a $9 billion (roughly Rs. 62,000 crores) purchase of Uber Technologies stock in late 2017, the company negotiated …

When SoftBank Group arranged a $9 billion (roughly Rs. 62,000 crores) purchase of Uber Technologies stock in late 2017, the company negotiated for two seats on the board. Since then, foreign investment in the US has come under heightened scrutiny. Those spots were never filled, and there’s a good chance they never will be.

The Japanese technology conglomerate will lose its claim to those board positions when Uber goes public, people familiar with the matter said. At that time, the company’s bylaws will change, erasing old agreements like the one it had with SoftBank.

The reason for the holdup: SoftBank has yet to secure approval from officials who review deals between American companies and foreign investors. Although the massive investment in Uber was completed and the money was wired more than a year ago, SoftBank spent most of last year sorting through its own accounting and investor approvals of the investment, a person familiar with the process said.

SoftBank didn’t initiate the US review process for the board seats until late last year and still hasn’t formally filed with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, the inter-agency panel known as Cfius that reviews corporate deals for national security risks, the person said.

The initial public offering, which seemed like a faraway prospect when the deal was made, is fast approaching. Uber will file a public prospectus as soon as Thursday and start its IPO road show later this month, said people familiar with the plans, who asked not to be identified because the information are private. It’s seeking to raise about $10 billion (roughly Rs. 70,000 crores) and would begin trading next month.

With the board seats in jeopardy, SoftBank would lose its ability to influence the direction of the world’s largest ride-hailing operator. The episode highlights the uncertainties for overseas investors doing business in the era of President Donald Trump. The status of SoftBank’s Cfius submission and the potential for the firm to lose its claim to the Uber board haven’t been previously reported. Spokesmen for SoftBank and Uber declined to comment. Cfius doesn’t comment on its reviews.

Cfius is a powerful and secretive body run by the Treasury Department. It gained expanded authority last year and pays particular attention to deals involving technology companies and those that control data on US citizens. Cfius can impose conditions on a deal or recommend to the president that a transaction be blocked. Often, companies unable to address the committee’s concerns abandon their acquisitions rather than go to the White House.

The panel played a key role in Trump’s decision last year to terminate what would have been the largest technology deal in history, the takeover of San Diego’s Qualcomm by Singapore’s Broadcom Ltd. In a smaller instance reported recently, Cfius told the Chinese owner of Grindr, a gay dating app based in California, that the relationship is a national security risk. The parent company is now looking for a buyer, according to Reuters. The committee also voiced concerns about Chinese ties to a social network that connects people with similar health conditions, and the owner is holding a “fire sale” of the assets, CNBC reported.

SoftBank is no stranger to the Cfius process. It won approval from the panel to buy Sprint and UK chip designer ARM Holdings. But the committee put conditions on its ownership of Sprint and restricted control of Fortress Investment Group when SoftBank bought the alternative-asset manager.

In the case of Uber, SoftBank needed to get approvals from its own investors first. The company took ownership of its sizable Uber stake in January 2018. Then it underwent a process to transfer the shares from SoftBank’s corporate portfolio to the $100 billion tech fund it manages, called the Vision Fund. That wasn’t completed until late last year and was the primary reason for postponing a Cfius submission, a person familiar with the matter said.

The biggest backers of the Vision Fund are based outside the US, including those associated with the governments of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, as well as Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwanese assembler of iPhones. SoftBank and its affiliated entities now own roughly 15 percent of Uber, making them the largest shareholder.

Even without SoftBank, Uber has a crowded board. There are currently a dozen directors, with several other seats yet to be filled. In an interview Tuesday on Bloomberg TV, SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure said there’s “no hurry” for the company to take a place on the Uber board. “They already have quite a sizable board,” he said.

Directors could elect a SoftBank representative after the company goes public, but the nomination at that point would be subject to shareholder approval. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive officer, has privately expressed other priorities. According to a person familiar with internal discussions, the CEO has said he wants to bring on more independent directors who aren’t executives or major shareholders.

© 2019 Bloomberg LP

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