Median CEO Compensation Rose To A Staggering 14.5 Million In 2015, Plus Google’s In the Egg-Hatching Business
“Outdated” — Jia Yueting, CEO of Chinese conglomerate LeEco, which makes smartphones, televisions and created the “Netflix of China.” What was Yueting calling outdated? Apple, of course.
- U.S. stocks finished a tad lower as some Monday earnings disappointed, but trading volume remained low as investors await an interest rate announcement from the Fed on Wednesday
Alternatives to Watch
- Oil fell after data showed a huge inventory spike at a storage base in Oklahoma
- Shares of GoPro fell roughly 6%, making it a nice even 70% collapse over the last 12 months, as sales continue to drop and analysts remain skeptical that the company’s recent acquisitions will help
- Perrigo Pharmaceuticals fell 10% after CEO Joseph Papa resigned to accept the CEO job at competitor Valeant, whose shares rose 3% on the news. More on that below
What’s Next For Saudi Arabia
A rocky start to 2016 has proven that nobody can escape the wrath of oil…especially not oil producers. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia shocked the world with its announcement of Vision 2030, the country’s modern-day plan to lessen its economic dependence on oil. In recent years, oil has accounted for nearly 90% of the government’s revenues, so you better believe oil’s recent price collapse has left Saudi Arabia bruised and battered. As part of Vision 2030, shares of Saudi Arabia’s massive oil company, Aramco, will be sold in what could be “the largest IPO in history.” For a sense of scale, an IPO of just a small portion of Aramco (we’re talking 5% here) is expected to rival Alibaba’s as the biggest in history, and it could be as high as $10 trillion.
In today’s world, there’s no such thing as bad press for the newspaper industry, and Gannett is taking advantage: the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. publicly announced an $815 million offer to purchase Tribune Publishing. If accepted, the deal would combine big name papers like the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and USA Today (editorial note: the Brew is still waiting for Gannett to send an offer our way). Newspaper deals are all the rage as the industry continues to struggle, making the idea of cashing out and consolidating a particularly appealing one. As the saying goes, $815 million in the hand is better than two in the bush.
New Papa In Charge
Valeant Pharmaceuticals is finally getting back on track (don’t quote us on that one, and do us a favor and knock on wood, too). Whether we jinxed it or not, hiring a new CEO is a major key in the scandal-ridden pharmaceutical company’s comeback plan. Just how Valeant managed to get Joseph Papa (the new big boss) to switch from competitor Perrigo is still a mystery, but Valeant isn’t complaining. Papa has over 35 years of experience in the industry, and over the past decade he helped grow Perrigo’s sales to over $5 billion. The details of the contract have yet to be made public, leaving Perrigo aggravated and Valeant ecstatic.
Google’s In the Egg-Hatching Business
It’s not quite Area 51, but it’ll do—Google is developing an “in-house incubator” codenamed Area 120, through which select employees will develop their own startups full-time for a few months while still remaining employed by Google. It’s a callback to the classic Google tradition that 20% of employees’ time should be spent on passion projects—something that evidently isn’t being emphasized enough anymore. The goal is a classic win-win scenario: employees can follow their startup dreams without risking their livelihoods if they crash and burn, and Google holds on to its best talent while also getting an inside track to invest in the next Snapchat or Twitter (or Google). Unfortunately, history isn’t on Google’s side—incubators don’t have a great track record. But if anyone can reverse the trend, why not Google?
- Goldman Sachs now offering online banking for the 99 percent
- Microsoft’s Word Flow Keyboard app lands on iOS
- Facebook working on dedicated camera and live video app
- Regulators approve Charter Communications deal for Time Warner Cable
- Monday: Xerox Earnings (-); New Home Sales (-)
- Tuesday: Apple, Twitter, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, eBay, Chipotle, Coach, 3M, Lockheed Martin, Aflac, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Office Depot, Buffalo Wild Wings, Panera, Hershey, Fiat Chrysler Earnings; Durable Goods Orders; S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index; Consumer Confidence
- Wednesday: Facebook, Comcast, PayPal, Boeing, Barclays, Hilton, Marriott, Dr. Pepper, Texas Instruments, Six Flags Earnings; Fed Meeting Announcement; International Trade; Pending Home Sales
- Thursday: Amazon, LinkedIn, Gilead, Amgen, Altria, MasterCard, UPS, Time Warner Cable, Ford, Honda, Groupon, Pandora Sony, Deutsche Bank, Viacom, Celgene, Baidu, Dow Chemical, Dunkin’ Brands Earnings; U.S. Q1 GDP; Weekly Jobless Claims
- Friday: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Sanofi, Phillips 66, Seagate Earnings; Personal Income and Outlays; Employment Cost Index; Consumer Sentiment
YEAR OF THE CEO
2015: not the worst year in recent memory, but certainly not the best either. Remember those volatile markets? That was really something. Dropping revenues for a solid chunk of firms? You betcha. How about executive compensation? According to data firm Equilar, total compensation for CEOs of large U.S. firms actually rose in 2015. Here are the details:
- The study covered the 100 largest American companies, and found that median total compensation for CEOs rose by 3%, to a staggering $14.5 million.
- So what drove this rise? It wasn’t shareholder returns, that’s for sure. Consider this: all six oil and gas companies in the study suffered stock declines between 27% and 44%, but only one CEO received a pay cut. Don’t worry about him too much—the cut was only 4%, and he still got $16.9 million.
- And who was paid the most? The co-CEOs of Oracle—at a whopping $53.2 million…each.
INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY
Can you determine the missing number in the sequence? 7 12 37 ? 9142 (Answer)
BUSINESS PERSON OF THE DAY
Justin Tuck, newly-retired New York Giants defensive end, is mostly known for his tackling abilities on the football field. However, now he’s tackling a new issue: teaching financial literacy to low-income and minority kids through his nonprofit, R.U.S.H. for Literacy. Best of luck you, Mr. Tuck.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Bad news for Walmart and Target: a survey conducted by Cowen Research found that Amazon’s grocery market share grew 18% year-over-year. Walmart and Target’s grocery market shares shrank by 5% and 4%, respectively last year. Is there anything Amazon can’t disrupt?