Bitcoin and Crypto

MoneyGram Launched Global Crypto-to-cash Service on the Stellar Network

Money_Gram_Launched
MoneyGram and Stellar Development Foundation announced the initial roll-out of a first-of-its-kind global on/off-ramp service for digital wallets to increase the utility of digital assets by creating a bridge between cash and cryptocurrencies. The service, which is the result of a partnership announced in October 2021 between MoneyGram and SDF, is now available in several key remittance markets, including Canada, Kenya, the Philippines, and the United States, for the first wave of users, with global cash-out functionality expected to be available by the end of June 2022.

MoneyGram will provide this service free for the first year to support development.

The collaboration focuses on offering a revolutionary settlement service. The first time, settlement with MoneyGram will occur near-real-time utilizing USDC, one of the dollar digital currencies with the quickest growth rate. This expedites the collecting of cash, increasing efficiency and decreasing risk.

With the debut of this service, users of digital wallets may shift from cash to cryptocurrencies and back to cash without needing a bank account or credit card. In addition, consumers may now visit a MoneyGram facility to either load their digital wallets to access the digital economy or cash out their digital currencies to raise the value of their holdings.

Users of the Stellar-connected digital wallets Vibrant and LOBSTR may now utilize this service at MoneyGram's international retail locations. Additional Stellar-connected wallets will be added soon. This service also establishes a developer platform that will enable additional wallets and service providers within the Stellar ecosystem and beyond to increase the functionality and reach of MoneyGram's integration with the Stellar network. Elliptic, a worldwide leader in crypto asset risk management, will supply MoneyGram with strong blockchain analytics tools. Wyre, a global pioneer in blockchain payments APIs, will assist other wallets, beginning with Airtm, a digital dollar account, in integrating with the MoneyGram service.

MoneyGram will expand the cash-in service to seven additional countries by June. At that time, cash-out capabilities will also be accessible internationally, where authorized by law.

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Financial Management, Fintech

ONE ROCK CAPITAL PARTNERS EXPANDS OPERATING PARTNER TEAM WITH ADDITION OF SHANNON CRESPIN

One Rock Capital Partners | December 18, 2023

One Rock Capital Partners, LLC a value-oriented, operationally focused private equity firm, is pleased to announce that Shannon Crespin has joined its team of Operating Partners. Ms. Crespin will be involved with evaluating prospective investments and building capability of One Rock's portfolio companies in the disciplines of integrated supply chain, working capital management and planning. Ms. Crespin joins One Rock with nearly 30 years of experience working in an array of supply chain-related disciplines, both in-industry and as a consultant. She previously served as Chief Operations Officer of Tonal, where she led end-to-end operations, research and development and program management for a fast-growing fitness equipment and technology business. Prior to Tonal, Ms. Crespin served as the Vice President Global Orthopedics Supply Chain for Depuy Synthes, the orthopedics company of Johnson & Johnson. Ms. Crespin had earlier supply chain roles with Medtronic, Keane Consulting, Lucent Technologies and Health South Rehabilitation. "Ongoing efforts at One Rock to grow our Operating Partner team are designed to enhance our ability to improve the businesses in which we invest," said R. Scott Spielvogel, Managing Partner of One Rock. "We often encounter businesses with significant opportunities in various aspects of supply chain, and we look forward to having Shannon as part of our effort to augment portfolio company performance." "I admire One Rock's emphasis on building better businesses, often in complex situations. I very much look forward to working with the Firm's portfolio companies to drive a higher level of execution across supply chain disciplines," said Ms. Crespin. Utilizing the expertise of Operating Partners has been an integral part of One Rock's strategy since its inception. Shannon Crespin joins a growing team, which now includes 27 Operating Partners at One Rock. ABOUT ONE ROCK CAPITAL PARTNERS, LLC One Rock makes investments in companies with potential for growth and operational improvement using a rigorous approach that utilizes highly experienced Operating Partners to identify, acquire and enhance businesses in select industries. The involvement of these Operating Partners is designed to afford One Rock the ability to conduct due diligence and consummate acquisitions and investments in all types of situations, regardless of complexity. One Rock works collaboratively with company management and its Operating Partners to develop a comprehensive business plan focused on growing the enterprise and its profitability to enhance long-term value.

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Fintech

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to APL Finance 2023-1 Designated Activity Company

KBRA | December 08, 2023

KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to four series of notes issued by APL Finance 2023-1 Designated Activity Company and APL Finance 2023-1 LLC (together, Ashland 2023-1), an aviation loan ABS transaction. Ashland 2023-1 represents the inaugural aviation loan ABS transaction that is sponsored and serviced by Ashland Place Finance LLC (APL or the Company). The Company is owned by Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP (DKCM), and, together with DKCM, is comprised of over 500 individuals operating out of seven offices with headquarters in New York City. Proceeds from the Notes will be used to acquire a portfolio of 11 loan facilities (the Facilities) comprised of 26 loans (the Assets, and together with the Facilities, the Portfolio). The 11 Facilities are limited recourse facilities. As of October 31, 2023, the Portfolio has an initial aggregate loan balance of approximately $350.8 million, an average Asset balance of $13.5 million, and a weighted average remaining loan term of approximately 2.8 years. The Portfolio has a weighted average seasoning of 18 months. The Facilities are secured by 19 narrowbody aircraft (56.4%), three widebody aircraft (40.0%) and four narrowbody host aircraft engines (3.6%) (the Underlying Collateral) on lease to 12 lessees located in 11 jurisdictions. As of October 31, 2023, the Underlying Collateral has a weighted average age of 10.0 years (excluding the engines) and an initial appraised value of approximately $612.2 million based on the average of half-life base values provided by three third-party appraisers as of the second quarter of 2023. Disclosures Further information on key credit considerations, sensitivity analyses that consider what factors can affect these credit ratings and how they could lead to an upgrade or a downgrade, and ESG factors (where they are a key driver behind the change to the credit rating or rating outlook) can be found in the full rating report referenced above. A description of all substantially material sources that were used to prepare the credit rating and information on the methodology(ies) (inclusive of any material models and sensitivity analyses of the relevant key rating assumptions, as applicable) used in determining the credit rating is available in the Information Disclosure Form(s) located here. Information on the meaning of each rating category can be located here. Further disclosures relating to this rating action are available in the Information Disclosure Form(s) referenced above. Additional information regarding KBRA policies, methodologies, rating scales and disclosures are available at www.kbra.com. About KBRA Kroll Bond Rating Agency, LLC (KBRA) is a full-service credit rating agency registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as an NRSRO. Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited is registered as a CRA with the European Securities and Markets Authority. Kroll Bond Rating Agency UK Limited is registered as a CRA with the UK Financial Conduct Authority. In addition, KBRA is designated as a designated rating organization by the Ontario Securities Commission for issuers of asset-backed securities to file a short form prospectus or shelf prospectus. KBRA is also recognized by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners as a Credit Rating Provider.

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Financial Management

Priority Announces Strategic Technology Partnership with Treasure Financial

Priority | December 11, 2023

Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. a leading provider of unified commerce solutions to businesses that accelerate cash flow and optimize working capital, has announced a strategic partnership with Treasure Financial Inc., a leading financial technology innovator in treasury management technology. Priority’s integration with Treasure Financial’s cutting-edge embedded yield API will enable Priority’s customers to allocate their excess working capital to an investment account across a diversified portfolio comprising premiere, secure vehicles such as Treasuries, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), Government-backed money market funds, and professionally managed fixed-income instruments. This innovative partnership with Treasure provides Priority’s customers with a truly unified commerce platform that allows them to manage the point of sale or receivables payments in their Passport financial account in more ways. The integration offers Treasure’s higher-yielding investment capabilities and leverages the modern payables tools of Passport to optimize working capital on a single platform. “We are on a mission to change the way businesses, large and small, think about their payment solution providers by providing technology and services as revenue accelerators to grow their businesses and drive efficiency in their operations, and not as another cost center,” noted Thomas Priore, Chairman and CEO of Priority. At a time when operational efficiency and capital management optimization for businesses of all sizes remains paramount, the combination of Priority’s payments and banking capabilities and Treasure’s investment platform are disruptors to traditional business banking and cash management strategies. Each portfolio is actively managed by Treasure’s expert in-house investment team. Advanced algorithms help guide a thoughtful investment approach to cash management and yield generation. “The inclusion of Treasure’s capabilities into our unified commerce engine and treasury service offering brings us to the next level with cutting-edge cash management solutions,” states Al Acevedo, Senior Vice President of Treasury Services at Priority. “We are excited to launch this investment offering into our SMB, B2B and Enterprise channels so that our 800+ thousand customers may access a variety of investment and treasury management options from our trusted partner directly from their Passport account,” added Acevedo. “We are proud to partner with Priority to leverage the Treasure API and embed our corporate-grade cash management offering directly on the Priority Passport platform. This partnership is a testament to Treasure’s capabilities and will enable Priority’s customers to constantly maximize the yield on their idle cash without leaving the platform. This first-of-its-kind embedded finance partnership between Treasure and Priority is a huge step forward for the payments industry,” said Ben Verschuere, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Treasure Financial. ISOs, ISVs, finance professionals, and businesses interested in learning more about the Treasure and Priority partnership should contact their Priority representative or visit PriorityCommerce.com. About Priority Technology Holdings, Inc Priority is a solutions provider in Payments and Banking as a Service (BaaS) operating at scale with 820K active customers across its SMB, B2B and Enterprise channels. Priority processes $118B in annual transaction volume and provides administration for $850M in average daily deposits. Priority’s purpose-built technology enables clients to collect, store, borrow and send while providing customers acceptance of AP payment applications and Passport financial tools that best optimize their cash flow and maximize working capital.

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Financial Management

BlackRock Agrees to Acquire Global Infrastructure Partners (“GIP”), Creating a World Leading Infrastructure Private Markets Investment Platform

BlackRock, Inc. | January 15, 2024

BlackRock, Inc. and Global Infrastructure Partners a leading independent infrastructure fund manager, jointly announce that they have entered into an agreement for BlackRock to acquire GIP for total consideration of $3 billion of cash and approximately 12 million shares of BlackRock common stock. A $1 trillion market today, infrastructure is forecast to be one of the fastest growing segments of private markets in the years ahead. A number of long-term structural trends support an acceleration in infrastructure investment. These include increasing global demand for upgraded digital infrastructure like fiber broadband, cell towers and data centers; renewed investment in logistical hubs such as airports, railroads and shipping ports as supply chains are rewired; and a movement toward decarbonization and energy security in many parts of the world. Further, large government deficits mean that the mobilization of capital through public-private partnerships will be critical for funding important infrastructure. Finally, as capital has become more scarce in a higher interest rate environment, companies are exploring partnership opportunities for their embedded infrastructure assets to improve their returns on invested capital or to raise capital to reinvest in their core businesses. BlackRock has a broad network of global corporate relationships as a long-term investor in both their debt and equity. These relationships will help us lead critical investments in infrastructure to improve outcomes for communities around the globe and generate long-term investment benefits for clients. The combination of GIP with BlackRock’s highly complementary infrastructure offerings creates a comprehensive global infrastructure franchise with differentiated origination and asset management capabilities. The over $150 billion combined business will seek to deliver clients market-leading, holistic infrastructure expertise across equity, debt and solutions at substantial scale. Marrying the proprietary origination and business improvement capabilities of GIP and BlackRock’s global corporate and sovereign relationships provides a platform for diversified, large-scale sourcing to support deal flow and co-investment opportunities for clients. We believe bringing GIP and BlackRock together will deliver to clients the benefits of broader origination and business improvement capabilities. Founded in 2006, world leading independent infrastructure investor GIP manages over $100 billion in client assets across infrastructure equity and debt, with a focus on energy, transport, water and waste, and digital sectors. GIP’s performance has been driven by proprietary origination, operational improvements, and timely exits. They have successfully scaled their global equity flagship series, with the most recent fully invested flagship fund in 2019 surpassing $22 billion. BlackRock’s over $50 billion of infrastructure client AUM is comprised of infrastructure equity, debt and solutions, and has grown both organically and inorganically since inception in 2011. Top investment talent at BlackRock lead franchises that include Diversified Infrastructure, Infra Debt, Infra Solutions, Climate Infrastructure and Decarbonization Partners. The GIP management team, led by Bayo Ogunlesi and four of its founding partners, will lead the combined infrastructure platform. They will bring with them talented investment, and operationally focused business improvement teams with a strong track-record of building and running high-performing private markets businesses. GIP’s founders and teams remain highly committed to clients, and we expect the integration with BlackRock’s broader platform will generate even greater opportunities. Subject to completion of customary onboarding procedures, BlackRock has also agreed to appoint Bayo Ogunlesi, GIP Founding Partner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, to the Board at the next regularly scheduled board meeting following the closing of the transaction. “Infrastructure is one of the most exciting long-term investment opportunities, as a number of structural shifts re-shape the global economy. We believe the expansion of both physical and digital infrastructure will continue to accelerate, as governments prioritize self-sufficiency and security through increased domestic industrial capacity, energy independence, and onshoring or near-shoring of critical sectors. Policymakers are only just beginning to implement once-in-a-generation financial incentives for new infrastructure technologies and projects,” said Laurence D. Fink, BlackRock Chairman and CEO. “I’m delighted for the opportunity to welcome Bayo and the GIP team to BlackRock, and happy to announce our plans to have Bayo join our Board of Directors post-closing. We founded BlackRock 35 years ago based on a unique understanding of investment risk and the factors and forces driving investment returns. GIP’s deep understanding of the factors and forces driving operational efficiency for long-term value creation have made them a global leader in infrastructure investing. Bringing these two firms together will create the infrastructure platform to deliver best-in-class investment opportunities for clients globally, and we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities ahead of us.” “I’m excited about the power of this combination and the prospect of working with Larry and his talented team. We share with BlackRock a culture of collaboration, client focus, investment partnership, and commitment to excellence. Investors have adopted private infrastructure investing for its ability to provide stable cashflows, less correlated returns, and a hedge against inflation. Global corporates have turned to private infrastructure as a fast innovator and a more commercially agile owner of infrastructure assets that aren't core to their commercial businesses. This platform is set to be the preeminent, one-stop infrastructure solutions provider for global corporates and the public sector, mobilizing long-term private capital through long-standing firm relationships,” said Bayo Ogunlesi, GIP Founding Partner, Chairman, and CEO. “We are convinced that together we can create the world’s premier infrastructure investment firm.” About BlackRock BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, we help millions of people build savings that serve them throughout their lives by making investing easier and more affordable.

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Tax groups have a meaningful opportunity to enhance the value of their organization’s digital transformation effort. This priority, which involves migrating tax automation to the cloud in tandem with larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) cloud migrations is becoming even more time sensitive. This white paper examines leading

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