Afternoon Coffee: AvidXchange prepares for IPO; EU wants to block exports of COVID-19 vaccines; Sideways ship clogs Suez Canal

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AvidXchange, an accounts payable (AP) automation solution provider, is preparing the company for an initial public offering (IPO), with the company expected to be valued at more than $7 billion, according to Reuters. It has hired investment banks, including Goldman Sachs Group, to help out.

AvidXchange provides software that automates payments, invoicing and accounts for small and medium enterprises. Covid lockdowns have forced smaller companies to use digital solutions, which likely boosted AvidXchange’s business, the article said.

The North Carolina-based company aims to list on the stock market in the second quarter. In addition to Goldman, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Barclays will be part of the IPO arranger group, the article said. Those involved believe AvidXchange could be worth $5 billion to $7 billion, and potentially as much as $10 billion after looking at its latest round of funding in April 2020, the article said.

"AvidXchange has benefited from multiple converging trends which align with its offering,” Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch said. “First is the comparatively late-stage digitization of payments in North America compared to the rest of the world, especially in small and middle-market companies. Second is the ability to drive more spend onto cards through technology, automation and engagement/outreach to suppliers. And third is putting technology like AP automation at the front end of the payments process, almost as a Trojan horse.

“While AvidXchange looks more like a B2B payments company (think Fleetcor) than a Coupa today, these worlds are colliding more and more every day. Like many, I can't wait to see the market reaction to the IPO, and how AvidXchange and others continue to bring the worlds of procurement and payments closer together."

European Commission prepares rules to restrict exports of COVID-19 vaccines

The European Commission announced new guidelines Wednesday that restrict the export of COVID-19 vaccines from the 27-member bloc, according to CNBC.

Some officials raised concerns that pharmaceutical firms will miss delivery targets in the upcoming months. The commission wants to ensure that member states will receive all of the shots that have been promised for the second quarter, the article said. The number of vaccines will be critical for the EU to reach its target of vaccinating 70% of its population by the end of the summer.

“While our member states are facing the third wave of the pandemic and not every company is delivering on its contract, the EU is the only major OECD producer that continues to export vaccines at large scale to dozens of countries. But open roads should run in both directions,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, CNBC reported.

Suez traffic jam: Stuck ship idles busy waterway

A 1,300-foot-long cargo ship in the Suez Canal was blown sideways in a sandstorm and became grounded Tuesday, blocking traffic on the region’s busiest waterway. If the canal is not open, the only way to get to Atlantic ports is to go around Africa, which takes an extra week, according to Reuters.

The cargo ship Ever Given was partially refloated Wednesday, and some traffic was resuming, officials told Reuters.

“About 30% of global container ship traffic passes through the canal each day, carrying everything from fuel to consumer goods,” the article said.

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