Apple Buys The ‘Netflix Of Magazines’; Trump Blocks Broadcom Deal; Clorox Buys Dietary Supplement Company
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THERE’S (STILL) AN APP FOR THAT
If Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke were any indication, Apple’s latest non-music, media investment is going to go the way of the Hindenburg. Tim Cook and Co. will buy Texture, a digital magazine subscription app. Did we learn nothing from Newsstand?
Texture, the Netflix of magazine subscriptions, charges $9.99 per month for access to an entire doctor’s-office-waiting-room worth of online magazines including GQ, People, and The New Yorker. Financial details of the deal remain on the DL but reports indicate that Texture has hundreds of thousands of users. The company was founded as a joint venture between media giants Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp., Rogers Communications, and Time Inc.
According to Apple, this is a play for “quality journalism” taking a shot at purveyors of fake news and business news and professional advice daily newsletters everywhere. It should also help in reaching the promised land: a goal of $40B in total revenue from services by 2020.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “I consider myself a relatively tech-savvy person, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how reading a digital magazine online is different than reading a standard online article/blog? Is it that you get to turn pages like a Kindle? Yeah, that must be it …”
ABOUT LAST NIGHT …
So, about that Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm we mentioned the other day …
Donald Trump was doing his best “Dikembe Mutombo” on Monday, blocking Broadcom’s attempted purchase of Qualcomm into the third row. According to Trump, he acted on the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), who oversees the takeover of US businesses by foreign investors. The committee felt that a Broadcom/Qualcomm merger would put national security at risk.
This isn’t the first time Donny Politics has gone on the defensive. Back in September, he put the kibosh on the sale of Lattice Semiconductor to a Chinese backed investor. That was only the fourth time in 25 years that a President has impeded the purchase of an American firm by a foreign backer.
There have been 9 other technology mergers that have fallen apart under the watchful eye of the CFIUS. Donald Trump called Monday’s move a win for US workers. USA! USA! USA!
Water Cooler Talking Point: “So it appears that Intel is off the hook for the time being. As a guy who loves national security, this move isn’t really all that surprising, but I don’t remember a block from a sitting US President as one of my options in Monopoly. This is why I’m always the thimble.”
TOUGH TO SWALLOW
Bleach, trash bags, ranch dressing… what’s next for Clorox? The smart money probably wasn’t on natural multivitamins, health aid minerals, and hair supplements. But that won’t stop Clorox from buying dietary supplement maker Nutranext for $700M.
According to Clorox’s CEO, the move is said to be consistent with their strategy of acquisitions in fast-growing categories that management knows little to nothing about. Nutranext had sales around $200M in 2017. The deal, set to close in the second quarter, will be financed by a combination of debt and available cash.
This isn’t Clorox’s first time experimenting with healthcare supplements, having purchased probiotic brand Renewlife in 2016. A product portfolio that includes a bowel regulator and a renowned toilet bowl cleaner is the definition of vertical integration.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “This move makes 100% sense in my book. Nothing cleans out your insides better than a nice tall glass of bleach.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- Goldman has anointed an heir apparent in light of the news that Lloyd Blankfein would step down. David Solomon, current Co-president of Goldman Sachs appears to have edged out his counterpart, Harvey Schwartz for CEO duties. The prospect of cost savings associated with David Solomon, er, DJ D-Sol, spinning for the GS Holiday Party was apparently not a factor in the bank’s decision.
- Dropbox’s IPO was priced well below its last private valuation: $7.1B vs. $10B. Just missing an eleven-figure IPO has got to sting.
- Foxconn, one of Apple’s most important assembly partners plans to file for an IPO valued at upwards of $60B on the Shanghai exchange. That would make it China’s largest IPO since 2015. No word on if any of the capital raised will go towards redesigning factories to have less of a sweatshop chic vibe.
- Nucor plans to build a new $240M steel mill in Florida which will employ up to 250 workers. It’s not clear if the plans are related to the President’s proposed tariffs. One thing is clear, thermos and lunch pail sales just spiked.
- US indices were up yesterday:
- DOW: -0.62%
- S&P 500: -0.13%
- NASDAQ: +0.36%
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RE: YOUR “COOL” OFFICE
Apparently, the next big thing in office decor is “Instagram-ability.” You know, having edgy backdrops that facilitate taking selfies at your workplace to make your unemployed friends jealous. Beanbag chairs and foosball tables are so 2017.
This is strictly for “hip” companies in “The Valley” like Adobe, who has an “upside down” office for photo ops. Companies are under the impression that this schtick will attract young professionals.
Unsolicited Advice: “This is infuriating. It’s an insult to the intelligence of all millennials. HR is more or less relegating us to nothing more than phone-obsessed cyborgs (ok, maybe they have a point). Know that if a company is pulling a stunt like this they’re not spending money to make your existence marginally more bearable, they’re spending that money to make sure you never leave the office.”