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Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes and 28 seconds
SLY LIKE A FOX(CONN)
Less than a week after President Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese goods, Taiwanese tech giant and Apple-part maker Foxconn is making moves. The firm made an offer to buy Belkin, the manufacturer of every phone case and accessory you could possibly imagine, in a deal worth $866M.
As an added bonus (!), Foxconn would also be receiving Belkin properties’ Linksys, of wireless router fame, and Wemo, the smart home system. The deal will still need to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the US. So it is far from set in stone just yet.
Foxconn’s purchase is an interesting shift for the brand typically known for its work behind the scenes. Belkin is very much a consumer-facing make, which is uncharted territory for the innovators of iPhone innards.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “The first step is buying your way into the consumer marketplace, but could this move mean that we see Foxconn spurn Apple altogether and create their own phone soon? Who knows, but I hope they take Siri with them.”
“I SAID NO BACKSIES!”
GlaxoSmithKline, Plc (which means public LLC, BTW) is paying $13B to buy Novartis AG (German version of a Plc) out of a deal the drugmakers made back in 2014. The move will unwind a complicated AF asset swap between the two drug peddlers.
Apparently, the pharma industry is as much about free love as the Sannyasins of Rajneeshpuram. Companies come together and swap different parts of their business to maximize distribution and introduce new products through existing pipelines. Wild, wild stuff, indeed.
This may only be the beginning of major pharma reshuffling as GSK is rumored to be eyeing a $20B partnership with Pfizer Inc. Despite just having spent a pretty penny on the buyout, the potential cash flow from the transaction outweighs the cost of financing the debt. Finance 101, folks.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “I just imagine a room lined with leather bound books, filled with monocled pharma power players trading drugs and company divisions like they were properties in Monopoly. I’m not giving up Park Place bro … it’s not happening.”
APPLES: NOT JUST FOR THE TEACHER’S DESK ANYMORE
Apple took their annual Spring event to a new location this year: a high school, which one can only assume was done to prevent attendees from walking into the glass walls at their new HQ.
The event’s biggest announcement was the new, “more affordable” (read: $300) iPad, built with education in mind. There’s also a new classroom management app that allows teachers to communicate with their students about assignments and send them attachments. Sooo email?
All of these announcements are part of an initiative that Apple is calling ‘Everyone Can Create‘, which focuses on younger students expressing themselves creatively … which is perfect because kids should learn at a young age that going to school for art is going to cost sh*t ton.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Back in my day we would just go school shopping at Target for Trapper Keepers and Lisa Frank pencils … now parents have to take out a second mortgage so they can afford their kid’s school supplies.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- Must-see TV: Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress regarding how the social network handled user data.
- Deutsche Bank is actively interviewing for the CEO role currently held by John Cryan. Define: lame-duck CEO.
- Intercom, a maker of software that allows communication with customers, raises $125M in Series D funding at a valuation of $1.3B.
- Google is buying Tenor, a GIF search tool, for an undisclosed sum. This is peak 2018.
- Bleacher Report plans to launch a live streaming service in April which will cover events ranging from UEFA soccer matches to NBA games.
- US consumer confidence dropped in March after hitting its highest mark since 2000 in February.
- US indices were down yesterday:
- DOW: -1.43%
- S&P 500: -1.73%
- NASDAQ: -2.93%
UNSOLICITED ADVICE: Inevitably even the creme de la corporate creme will botch a deadline once every few fiscal Q’s. You might not be able to avoid the #fail, but at the very least you can hedge your bets with a disaster recovery plan. Of course even the best plans aren’t without their flaws …
- Figure out what went wrong: “… think about whether you should loop in your legal team.” In my experience, if you’re looping in legal, its about time you polish your resume.
- Setup a call (with the client): “Someone’s far less likely to yell on the phone than they are to send a rude message.” Remember, it also makes it easier for the client to hear you weeping on the other end of the phone after they rip you a new one.
- Set clear guidelines for next time. Today’s forecast is partly sunny with a 0% chance of client retention. Time to start smilin’ and dialin’.
- Check out the full emergency response plan.
EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH: Not all heroes wear capes. Case and point: the Frito Lay janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and became an executive at PepsiCo. Move over Jeff Bezos, Corporate America has a new folk hero.