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AI-powered parking platform Metropolis raises $1.7B to acquire SP Plus

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AI-powered parking platform Metropolis today announced that it raised $1.7 billion to acquire SP Plus, a provider of parking facility management services, in a combination of equity and debt.

Eldridge Capital and 3L capital co-led the tranche with participation from BDT & MSD Partners’ affiliated credit funds, Vista Credit Partners, Temasek, Slow Ventures and Assembly Ventures. As a part of the financing, Metropolis will take on $650 million in loans and $1.05 billion in Series C preferred stock financing.

Metropolis will pay roughly $1.5 billion for SP Plus “while retaining significant capital on its balance sheet,” Metropolis co-founder and CEO Alex Israel said in a press release. Prior to the latest fundraise, Metropolis had raised $226 million in total.

“Today, we announced a transformational acquisition that represents both a new paradigm in how technology companies grow and a significant step forward in offering consumers a remarkable experience,” Israel continued. “SP Plus is a phenomenal business whose operational excellence, talented leadership team and high customer satisfaction levels have long made it a key partner to real estate owners across North America. The combined platform will seek to bring checkout-free payment experiences to consumers.”

Israel, a serial entrepreneur who sold his last company, ParkMe, to Intrix in 2015, founded Metropolis in 2017. The company equips existing parking structures with a computer vision system that enables customers to “drive in and drive out” without having to swipe a credit card or pay with cash.

To use a Metropolis parking facility, customers have to provide their name, license plate, phone number and payment method. From an app, they can review their visit and know the price in real time. Metropolis tracks cars and automatically charges the owners, emailing the receipt after they drive out.

In SP Plus, Metropolis gains an established, publicly traded business with a massive parking footprint across the U.S. and Canada. SP Plus owns more than two million parking spaces and manages over 3,300 parking facility locations, as well as parking and shuttle bus operations at 160 airports.

Metropolis

Metropolis’ mobile app for managing parking payments and more.

It’s another step toward vertical integration for Metropolis, whose infrastructure was powering around 600 parking facilities as of June 2022. Following its acquisition of Premier Parking last year, a Nashville-based company that operates parking garages and spaces around the U.S., and now SP Plus, Metropolis claims to have operations in more than 360 cities, millions of customers and over $4 billion in processed payments annually.

“While transforming the parking experience is our focus and priority today, as we deploy our proven technology we see opportunity to offer checkout-free transaction experiences at even more places people go,” Israel said in the press release. “From gas and electric vehicle-charging stations to drive-thrus and car washes, as well as retail stores, our computer vision platform enables people to transact in the physical world with even greater ease than we experience online.”

In recent years, Metropolis has stepped up investment on the analytics, sales and marketing side of the business, where it sees a large addressable market. For example, the startup — which recently announced a team-up with Uber to launch Uber Park — uses insights from its platform to inform staffing, pricing and maintenance at parking facilities, also partnering with local businesses like grocery stores, coffee shops and other merchants for in-app promotions.

“This transaction delivers immediate and certain value to our stockholders at a substantial premium to current and historical trading levels,” SP Plus chairman and chief executive Marc Baumann said in a statement. “We expect the transaction to offer an exciting path forward for our team members, partners, clients and consumers in the U.S. and abroad. While our technology offerings are successfully fulfilling client and market demand, with increased investment, we see the opportunity to accelerate the technology roadmap for the benefit of our clients and their customers.”

At $54 per share in cash, Metropolis’ acquisition — which will take SP Plus private — represents a 52% premium over SP Plus’ closing stock price on October 4. The transaction has been unanimously approved by Metropolis’ and SP Plus’ boards of directors and is expected to close in 2024, the companies say, subject customary closing conditions, regulatory approvals and the approval of SP Plus’ stockholders.

It’s unclear how many of SP Plus’ approximately 20,000 team members will join Los Angele-based Metropolis’ workforce, which totals around 2,000 employees, following the deal.

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Greenhouse Gases Are Alerting Oceans ‘Before Our Eyes,’ Says NASA

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NASA has shared a stunning yet concerning visualisation of sea surface currents and how they are being altered due to global warming. The visualisation depicts the average temperatures of ocean currents and how they differ at different locations.

The warmer hues such as red, orange, and yellow indicate higher temperatures, and cooler shades like green and blue represent lower temperatures.

“With 70% of the planet covered by water, the seas are important drivers of Earth’s global climate. Yet, increasing greenhouse gases from human activities are altering the ocean before our eyes,” the agency captioned the post.

According to NASA, 90 percent of the planet’s warming occurs within the ocean. Since modern recordkeeping began in 1955, the internal heat of the ocean has steadily increased, contributing significantly to climate change.

ALSO SEE: World’s Oceans Are Losing Their “Memory” As A Result Of Global Warming, Experts Claim

The heat stored in the ocean leads to thermal expansion, a process where water expands as it warms. This phenomenon is a major contributor to global sea level rise, accounting for one-third to one-half of the increase.

Scientists say the majority of this heat is concentrated at the surface, within the top 700 meters of the ocean. According to existing records, the past decade has been the warmest for the ocean since at least the 1800s, with 2023 marking the highest recorded ocean temperatures to date.

ALSO SEE: Arctic Ocean Warming Started Decades Earlier Than Previously Thought

The warming of the ocean has far-reaching effects. One of the most visible impacts is the rise in sea levels, primarily due to thermal expansion. Warmer waters have also led to widespread coral bleaching, which affects marine ecosystems and the increased temperatures also accelerate the melting of Earth’s major ice sheets.

NASA says that the warming ocean intensifies hurricanes affect ocean health and biochemistry, altering marine life habitats and disrupting food chains.





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NASA Shares Incredible Picture Of ‘Space Potato’ Phobos; It Will Soon Crash Into Mars

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Ever seen a space potato? NASA is here to treat you with one. The agency has shared a fascinating image of Phobos, the larger of two moons of Mars, explaining what makes this object so intriguing.

Meauring just 27 by 22 by 18 kilometres in diameter, Phobos orbits Mars about 6,000 km above the red planet’s surface and it is on a collision course with Earth.

This is the closest any Moon orbits a planet and Phobos might crash into Mars in the future. Scientists estimate that this is likely to happen within 50 million years. Another likely scenario of Phobos’ end will be its potential obliteration into pieces, eventually forming a ring around Mars.

According to NASA, Phobos is nearing Mars at the rate of six feet each year.

ALSO SEE: We May Have Been Wrong About Martian Moon Phobos’ Origin, It Could Be A Comet

Phobos (left) and Deimos (right). Image: NASA

Describing the image, the agency said that it was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been studying Mars since 2006.

Phobos was discovered along with its twin just six days apart by astronomer Asaph Hall in 1877.

ALSO SEE: ISRO’s Mangalyaan Presents Breathtaking Video Of Martian Moon ‘Phobos’

The Moon also has several craters but the most dominant one is the 10-km-wide Stickeny crater which Hall named after his wife Angelina.

The second moon is Deimos which measures 15 by 12 by 11 kilometres and orbits the red planet every 30 hours. Both the moons are named after the mythological sons of Ares, the Greek counterpart of the Roman god. Phobos means fear and Deimos means dread, says NASA. As for their origin, astronomers believe they could be asteroids or debris caught by Mars in the early solar system.

(Image: NASA)





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Rare ‘Gigantic Jets’ Spotted Above The Himalayas, NASA Shares Viral Picture

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NASA recently shared a captivating image of gigantic jets soaring from a thunderstorm toward the Himalayan Mountains in China and Bhutan. This composite image, featured in NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day segment on June 18, reveals four immense jets captured within minutes of each other.

Gigantic jets are a rare and fascinating type of lightning discharge that have only been documented since the early 2000s. Unlike conventional lightning that occurs between clouds or strikes the ground, gigantic jets bridge the gap between thunderstorms and the Earth’s ionosphere, the layer of the atmosphere that is ionised by solar and cosmic radiation, NASA said.

Jets of lightning spotted over the Himalayas. Image: NASA/Li Xuanhua

These jets are unique in their appearance and behavior, differing significantly from traditional lightning phenomena.

ALSO SEE: Webb Telescope Photographs Baby Stars Burping Out Gases For The First Time

Despite their visual grandeur, the precise mechanisms and triggers behind gigantic jets are still under investigation. What is known is that these jets help to balance electrical charges between different layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, playing a crucial role in maintaining the atmospheric electrical circuit.

For those interested in observing this phenomenon, a powerful but distant thunderstorm viewed from a clear vantage point offers the best chance.

As these jets typically shoot upwards from the storm tops into the ionosphere, they can often be seen from hundreds of kilometers away under the right conditions.

ALSO SEE: NASA Shares First Cosmic Image Of 2024 And It’s Exploding With Stars



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