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Big Hit IPO to be South Korea's biggest in 3 years - Arab News
SEOUL: Big Hit Entertainment, the management label of hugely popular South Korean K-Pop group BTS, priced its initial public offering (IPO) at the top of its range on Monday, as hopeful buyers chased South Korea’s largest listing in three years. Institutional…
SEOUL: Big Hit Entertainment, the management label of hugely popular South Korean K-Pop group BTS, priced its initial public offering (IPO) at the top of its range on Monday, as hopeful buyers chased South Koreas largest listing in three years. Institutional investors expressed interest in more than 1,000 times the number of shares on offer, with Big Hit riding on the success of the seven-member band, which has become the first South Korean group to reach No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with song Dynamite. An army of retail investors, known in South Korea as Ants, is also clamouring to buy stock, while die-hard BTS fans are bidding in hopes of securing even one share in what analysts expect to the country hottest listing this year. Big Hit priced the IPO at 135,000 won ($115) per share, it said in a regulatory filing, the top of an indicative price range of 105,000-135,000 won announced earlier this month. Some 1,420 institutional investors sought shares in pre-subscription offers, looking for 1,117 times the number available, the filing said. About 98 percent said they would pay the top-range price or more. Big Hit is classified as a kind of global export firm, said Park Sung-ho, analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea. Not only has it proven its ability to use YouTube, social media for smart market infiltration, it has fandom platform Weverse which gives unprecedented clarity and control over its revenue sources for a label, and may grow into a true platform player as outside artists increasingly join. Big Hit reported a 49.7 billion won ($42.4 million) profit for the first half of 2020 as its online concert and merchandise sales on the Weverse app more than offset event cancelations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The IPO will make the seven BTS members multimillionaire stockholders, as Big Hit CEO Bang Si-hyuk in August gave them 68,385 shares each, worth nearly $7.9 million at the issue price. The firm will raise 962.6 billion won ($820 million) through the offer of 7.13 million new shares, the biggest South Korean IPO since Celltrion Healthcare raised 1 trillion won in 2017. The pricing values Big Hit at about 4.8 trillion won, taking into account common shares plus redeemable preferred shares that will be converted into common shares upon the IPO. With plenty of liquidity in the market, some analysts predict gross bids from retail investors could hit 100 trillion won ($85 billion). The central bank is watching the offer closely as a massive oversubscription for shares could send ripples through short-term money markets. Institutional and retail investors subscriptions are due on Oct. 5-6 and Big Hit is expected to list on the KOSPI on Oct. 15.
Real Madrid and Barcelona savor break ahead of Champions League - Arab News
MADRID: With the Spanish league over, Real Madrid and Barcelona are ready to recharge and regroup as they turn their focus to the Champions League. The teams responded differently following the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with Madrid thriving…
LOS ANGELES: Jon Rahm became the first Spaniard since Seve Ballesteros in 1989 to hold golfs world No. 1 ranking, fending off a late challenge Sunday to win the PGA Memorial tournament. Rahm holed out an amazing 31-foot chip shot at the par-3 16th and, despite a two-stroke penalty that turned it from a birdie to a bogey, took a three-stroke victory over American Ryan Palmer that boosted him past Rory McIlroy atop the rankings. I dont know how to describe it, Rahm said. It has been a goal since I was 13-, 14- years-old. Rahm was among the Spanish youth inspired by the feats of Ballesteros, a five-time major champion who died in 2011 at age 54 of brain cancer. Seve is a very special player to all of us, and to be second to him, its a true honor, Rahm said. Anytime I can join Seve at anything, its incredible. Rahm said the moment was difficult to comprehend in part because his thoughts were with his family, two members of which have died from COVID-19. Its hard to process right now, he said. There are so many things going through my mind right now that have nothing to do with golf. Rahm fired a 3-over 75 in the final round to finish on 9-under 279 with Palmer second. Englands Matthew Fitzpatrick was third on 283 after a closing 68 while Australias Jason Day and Englands Matt Wallace shared fourth on 284. Rahm began with a four-shot edge and made the turn ahead by eight before dropping four strokes in a five-hole span with a bogey at the 10th, double-bogey at 11 and a bogey at 14 as Palmer pulled within three. Thats when the 25-year-old made his amazing chip shot at 16. Thatll probably go down as my greatest chip shot. I dont know if Ill ever do better than that, Rahm said. Luckily, I pulled out probably the best short game shot I will ever have. That was unbelievable. For that to go in, that was exactly what I needed. Jack Nicklaus, the 18-time major winner who hosts the event at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, called the shot spectacular as he congratulated Rahm with a fist bump at the 18th green. Rahm, who won a PGA event for the fourth year in a row, was given a two-stroke penalty after television slow-motion cameras showed his ball moved when he pushed down on the grass behind it shortly before his incredible chip, although it didnt change the lie and was unperceptible to Rahm himself. I did not see or feel anything, said Rahm, who agreed with the decision after watching a video replay. It did move. It is a penalty. Ill accept it, Rahm said. Unfortunate as it is to have something like this happen, it was a great shot. Had I seen it, I would have said something, but the camera had to zoom in to see it. The tournament was the sixth of the season for the PGA, all without spectators, since the tour returned in June from a three-month coronavirus pandemic shutdown. Rahm, who won his first PGA event when leading after 54 holes, was upset after a bogey at 10 and finding a water hazard off the tee at the par-5 11th, slamming his club into the ground on his way to double bogey. Conditions were so tough. I knew I wasnt going to play 18 perfect holes. I knew something was going to go south, Rahm said. It was so firm, so windy, and then we started to get drizzle. Any little mistake was going to get punished. Palmer sank a 13-foot birdie putt at the par-3 12th and Rahm stumbled again with a bogey at 14, finding a greenside bunker and missing a five-foot par putt, to leave the lead at three shots with four to play. When I missed the putt on 14, I said, Thats enough, Rahm said. Palmer had a 12-foot birdie putt at 16 when Rahm blasted out of the deep grass, landed the ball just onto the green and watched it roll into the cup. Palmer settled for par, his charge blunted for good.
Man dies in US from virus after attending 'COVID party' - Arab News
NEW YORK: A 30-year-old man from Texas died from the new coronavirus after attending a “COVID-19” party hosted by an infected person, a doctor has revealed, underlining the risk to younger people. Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at the Methodist Hospital …
KABUL: Afghanistans government on Sunday accused the Taliban of increasing its attacks, casting doubt on future negotiations with the insurgent group. A promise of future peace talks was part of a historic peace deal signed in February between the Taliban and the US in Doha, Qatar. But negotiations have already been delayed twice because of disagreements between President Ashraf Ghanis government and the Taliban. The talks were expected to pave the way for a total withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan by next year. In a series of tweets on Sunday, Sediq Sediqqi, Ghanis chief spokesman, said the intensification of violence by the Taliban lately, which also claimed civilian lives, damages hopes for the start of the talks and stable peace in the country. It follows a statement by Hamdullah Mohib, Ghanis national security adviser, who said in a statement last night that the escalation of Taliban attacks was the main cause for the postponement of the talks. He said: The Taliban have intensified their violence in many parts of Afghanistan, disrupting the process of direct talks and making it harder. Mohibs spokesman, Javid Faisal, said on Saturday that in the past week alone, the Taliban had staged attacks in 16 of the countrys 34 provinces, resulting in the deaths of at least 23 civilians. He did not give an estimate of casualties sustained by government forces. However, official data released last month showed that hundreds of army and police personnel died during Taliban attacks in June. The Taliban has rejected the claims of the government. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid blamed Kabul for several strikes which led to the fatalities among non-combatants. These include a rocket attack at a cattle market in southern Helmand in June, where human rights groups say dozens of civilians, including children, were killed. A political solution is the only alternative that we have for ending the war and changing the situation in Afghanistan. No hindrance should be created against this, Mujahid told Arab News on Sunday. He accused Kabul of blocking the start of peace talks by not releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners, a condition demanded by the insurgent group ahead of negotiations. While Kabul has freed over 4,000 Taliban prisoners, it said last week that it would not release 600 of them, as they had committed various types of crimes. Mujahid described the government move as one excuse after the other. He said: The release of the rest of the prisoners is a must. If the process of release of prisoners is not completed, the talks cannot begin, and there is a possibility that fighting will intensify and then we will have to settle the conflict through military means. Experts warn that Ghanis government is under increasing pressure. Former diplomat and analyst Ahmad Saeedi said Ghani is under pressure from Washington, which wants to show that it is keen to conduct talks, but from the other side wants this process to continue for five years, until Ghanis term ends. Ghani wants the Taliban to join his government, while the Taliban consider his government fragile, arguing that if he does not engage in talks, then they will take power by force after the US pulls out troops, Saeedi said. Another analyst, Taj Mohammad, said the lack of progress in setting a fixed time for the talks was a blow for the peace process and showed that the actual negotiations would be highly complicated and difficult.
Trump finally dons mask as US sets new virus case record - Arab News
BETHESDA, USA: President Donald Trump finally yielded to pressure and wore a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday as the US posted another daily record for coronavirus cases, while Disney World reopened in a state hit hard by the pandemic. White…
BETHESDA, USA: President Donald Trump finally yielded to pressure and wore a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday as the US posted another daily record for coronavirus cases, while Disney World reopened in a state hit hard by the pandemic. White House experts leading the national fight against the contagion have recommended wearing face coverings in public to prevent transmission of the illness. But Trump had repeatedly avoided wearing a mask, even after staffers at the White House tested positive for the virus and as more aides have taken to wearing them. Hours after the World Health Organization urged countries to step up control measures to rein in the disease, Trump donned a dark mask bearing the presidential seal as he visited wounded military veterans at the Walter Reed military hospital in a suburb outside Washington. Ive never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place, he told reporters as he left the White House. Trump is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in the polls ahead of a November election and surveys show most Americans are unhappy with how he has handled the public health crisis. But the president has continued to praise his own response to the pandemic despite a cascade of figures showing the extent of the diseases spread across the United States. Record-breaking numbers The country posted yet another daily record of confirmed cases on Saturday night, with 66,528 new infections, while the death toll rose by almost 800 to nearly 135,000. As of Saturday, the US had recorded more than 3.2 million coronavirus cases and at least 134,000 deaths from the disease. It is the country worst hit by the illness, followed by Brazil which surpassed 70,000 deaths on Friday. The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 12.5 million people, killed over 560,000 and triggered massive economic damage since the disease was first detected in China late last year. In Florida, where nearly one in six of those new infections were recorded, the Walt Disney World theme park partially reopened after four months of shutdown prompted by the virus. Hundreds of people queued to enter the park in Orlando, some sporting Mickey ears but all wearing face masks, with social distancing and other hygiene precautions also in place. Days earlier, top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said that Florida had begun reopening before meeting the criteria that would have enabled it to do so safely. Aggressive approach urged WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries to adopt an aggressive approach to tackling the virus, citing successful mitigation efforts in Italy, South Korea and elsewhere. Across all walks of life, we are all being tested to the limit, he told a virtual news conference in Geneva on Friday.Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn this pandemic around, he added. Elsewhere, French officials warned of rising cases in metropolitan France as the death toll there topped 30,000. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted a decision to allow bars and other businesses to reopen may have come too soon after his country reported a record 1,500 new infections on Friday. Australian authorities said they would slash by half the number of people allowed to return from overseas each day after a fresh surge in cases that saw a lockdown imposed on Melbourne, the countrys second-largest city. In Hong Kong, a spike has marked a setback for the city after daily life had largely returned to normal, with restaurants and bars resuming regular business and cultural attractions reopening. Schools in the city will be closed from Monday after the city recorded exponential growth in locally transmitted infections.
WHO: Indoor airborne spread of coronavirus possible - Arab News
LONDON: The World Health Organization is acknowledging the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions — after more than 200 scientists urged the agency to do so. In an open letter published this week in a journal, two scient…
LONDON: The World Health Organization is acknowledging the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions after more than 200 scientists urged the agency to do so.In an open letter published this week in a journal, two scientists from Australia and the US wrote that studies have shown beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.The researchers, along with more than 200 others, appealed for national and international authorities, including WHO, to adopt more stringent protective measures.WHO has long dismissed the possibility that the coronavirus is spread in the air except for certain risky medical procedures, such as when patients are first put on breathing machines.In a change to its previous thinking, WHO noted on Thursday that studies evaluating COVID-19 outbreaks in restaurants, choir practices and fitness classes suggested the virus might have been spread in the air.Airborne spread particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out, WHO said.Still, officials also pointed out that other modes of transmission like contaminated surfaces or close contacts between people in such indoor environments might also have explained the diseases spread.WHOs stance also recognized the importance of people spreading COVID-19 without symptoms, a phenomenon the organization has long downplayed.WHO has repeatedly said such transmission is rare despite a growing consensus among scientists globally that asymptomatic spread likely accounts for a significant amount of transmission. The agency said that most spread is via droplets from infected people who cough or sneeze, but added that people without symptoms are also capable of transmitting the disease.The extent of truly asymptomatic infection in the community remains unknown, WHO said.