Albertsons Buys Rite Aid; Qualcomm, Broadcom and NXP’s Love Triangle; Private Space Stations

The Water Coolest

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Bigelow Aerospace, the builder of a recent addition to the International Space Station, is launching a new division to focus on habitable satellites. The company plans to release “fully autonomous standalone space stations,” for the masses by 2021. Read: Cosmic AirBnbs for billionaires whose Star Trek scratch isn’t itched by cosplay.

You don’t have to be Neil Degrasse Tyson to know that the International Space Station is a BFD. Collaborative missions and experiments launched in the friendly confines of the ISS have given humanity so much more than just that freeze-dried astronaut ice cream. Or so we’re told.

NASA plans to fund the ISS through 2025. But when the lease on the international Big Brother house comes to an end Bigelow hopes to draw private astronauts with quaint and charming condos in good neighborhoods.

And believe it or not, the market for commercial space hotels already has some serious competition from someone not name Elon Musk. Axiom Space has plans to build the ISS’ successor.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “This is so bad ass! It’s like WeWork but for outer f*cking space! Like, what the actual f*ck?! Let’s be honest though, there’s not gonna be happy hours and I’m pretty sure this means it’s gonna cost Verizon more to operate their 5G network.”



Qualcomm, Broadcom, and NXP walk into a bar. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before …

There’s a new wrinkle in the love triangle involving the three chipmakers. Let’s set the stage, shall we?

Qualcomm has been courting NXP for the past year. But NXP has been playing hard to get. And Broadcom has been hot and bothered by Qualcomm. But like a proverbial canister of pepper spray, Qualcomm is using NXP to halt Broadcom’s unwelcome advances.

Qualcomm threw a wrench in the clusterf*ck worthy of a Maury Povich segment by beefing up its bid for NXP to $44B from $38B. With Broadcom threatening a hostile takeover, desperate times are calling for desperate measures.

The bloated deal has Elliot Management and Farallon, two of the hedge funds that own almost 50% of NXP, chest bumping like it’s hell night at the Delta Tau Chi house.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “If I have to hear about consolidation in the chip maker market one more time I’m going to shove a microprocessor directly into my eye. Because being blinded by a technology I don’t actually understand sure beats watching crusty old white guys engaging in a power struggle over a billion dollar industry.”



Albertson’s announced that it will be buying Rite Aid in an effort to counteract walking face first into the buzzsaw that is Amazon. The combined company will be worth $24B, including the debt that Rite Aid has racked up over the years.

The pharmacy-supermarket hybrid will have 4.9k locations and around 4.3k pharmacy counters across the US. Rite Aid currently claims just one-third of the market share of its main competitors, Walgreens and CVS.

Albertson’s owner, Cerberus, filed for an IPO for the grocery chain in 2015 but canceled the plan shortly after announcing it. Kind of like when the pharmacy tells you your prescription will be ready in 15 minutes, and then 45 minutes later you’re still aimlessly staring at the frozen pizzas waiting for that fateful PA announcement. 

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Just wait until Amazon goes and buys Publix and starts selling subs over Prime. That’s when this race will really start to heat up.”




  • Walmart shares fell 10% today as the retailer missed its fourth-quarter earnings expectations. It saw a drop in both profit and online sales growth during the 2017 holiday season. I guess those deadly Black Friday stampedes aren’t great for the bottom line.
  • Home Depot earnings and revenue beat Wall Street’s predictions again, making that six straight quarters. The rise is partly due to the success of the US housing market. Go ahead and buy that lawnmower, it’s good for the economy. 
  • Gap shares fell as CEO Jeff Kerwin announced he was leaving the company. The move comes as Gap is fighting falling sales numbers. Sure he left, but he left in a very comfortable pair of practical khakis. 
  • Fox News announced the release of an over the top streaming service called Fox Nation. The company announced that the service will launch in Q4 and won’t overlap with currently aired programming. Finally, a place online for level-headed political discourse. 
  • Nuance announced that it will stop development of its Swype Keyboard products. Nuance bought Swype back in 2011 for $100M. Swype and Dragon dictation were a part of a suite of services designed to make texting easier/faster.
  • US indices were down yesterday:
    • DOW: -1.01%
    • S&P 500: -0.58%
    • NASDAQ: -0.07%



Professional motivation, tips, tricks, hacks & resources carefully-curated by yours truly. Something you’d like to see featured? Shoot me an email at



Believe it or not, there are a lot of career resources available other than LinkedIn, Monster and that one creepy uncle who is a “career coach.” Here are some of my favorites …

  • Wall Street Oasis: Like Yik Yak for I-Banking, Asset Management, Private Equity etc. Get a sneak peek into the belly of the beast with access to brutally honest forums.
  • Management Consulted: Similar to WSO but focused on a different but equally pretentious career path: Management Consulting (think: Bain, McKinsey, BCG etc.)
  • Ad Age: The preferred resource of Mad Men. If you’re interested in marketing/ advertising/ drinking scotch at work bookmark this sh*t.
  • Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM): HR isn’t sexy. But as long as there are people like Harvey Weinstein in this world, HR will be a necessary evil.


The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.