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Today In Payments: CT AG Launches Antitrust Probe Into Amazon’s eBook Business; Petco’s $864 Million IPO Beats Forecasts

In today’s top news, Connecticut’s Attorney General has opened an antitrust probe into Amazon’s eBook business, and Petco beat expectations in its IPO. Plus, Grab Financial raised $300 million.

Connecticut AG Launches Antitrust Probe Into Amazon’s eBook Business

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong is launching an antitrust probe into how Amazon runs its eBook business, specifically regarding the eCommerce giant’s agreements with five of the country’s biggest book publishers. Connecticut’s inquiry is just the latest antitrust probe by several state and federal authorities into how Amazon conducts its business.

Petco’s IPO, New Name Highlights Surging Pet Commerce Category

Petco’s decision to go public coincides with a broader COVID-era trend of increased pet ownership and spending. The pandemic has not only changed the way people shop, it has also changed how they work — and increased the amount of time spent at home.

Grab Financial Services Raises $300 Million, 2020 Revenues Up 40 Pct

Southeast Asia’s Grab Financial Group raised $300 million in a Series A funding round. The FinTech plans to use the new investments to hire more people and to expand its offerings in Southeast Asia with more affordable, convenient and transparent financial solutions, the release stated.

Department Stores Continue Slide As Nordstrom Reports 22 Pct Holiday Drop

Showing the continued struggles of retail stores in the pandemic era, Nordstrom reported a 22 percent net sales decline for the nine-week holiday period that ended Jan. 2. But the company noted in its release that digital sales increased 23 percent over the last year, representing 54 percent of the total.

NEW DATA: Relevance Test: Majority Of Consumers Find Bank Web Content Lacking

More than half of consumers find information on their financial institutions’ websites to be irrelevant to their needs because it is too generic and not at all dynamic. In the Retail Banking Services’ Paradigm Shift Report, PYMNTS surveys 2,209 consumers to examine the role of on-demand, personalized and contextual video content in engaging consumers and driving conversions.

New Toshiba Commerce System Offers Retailers ‘Amazon Go At Scale’

For many retailers, the digital shift was hobbled by legacy IT systems and integration complexities. Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions CEO Rance Poehler told Karen Webster the company’s new commerce platform, Elera, enables micro-services that deliver “Amazon Go at scale” for large format grocery stores and retailers.

ECB’s Lagarde: Bitcoin A Money Laundering Tool, Needs More Regulation

More crypto regulation looms — perhaps on the global stage? European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has said bitcoin needs to be regulated, while here in the U.S., the Treasury Department has also proposed more oversight. Is the landscape shifting toward digital fiat as the “safe” alternative to volatile cryptocurrencies?

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