Bain Acquires Varsity Brands; Mobile Data Broker Backlash; GE Loses Spot In Dow

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Bain Capital will acquire the preferred brand of high school pep rallies, Varsity, in a deal worth $2.5B. Coach Eric Taylor couldn’t be happier if the Dillon Panthers just took States.

Varsity Brands peddles pretty much everything associated with teenage angst and school pride … except for Proactiv and cheap vodka. Their portfolio includes makers of cheerleading uniforms, class rings, cap and gowns and even Varsity Spirit, the production company synonymous with cheerleading competitions that air on ESPN The Ocho.

Bain will add Varsity to its wardrobe of consumer fashion brands including Canada Goose and Tom’s Shoes. The PE shop plans to build out the brands digital footprint and expand its sales force.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Fun fact: Varsity Brands recently had its day in (Supreme) Court, successfully defending the copyright of its iconic cheerleading uniforms. You might recognize it as the standard cheerleading uniform that EVERY high school squad in America wears.”



Three of the top four nationwide mobile service providers announced that they would no longer share customer’s location with data brokers after one provided caller’s coordinates to a third party without consent. Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon called out the “Big 4” mobile providers.

One broker, LocationSmart, allowed a prison telephone company, Securus Technologies to monitor inmate calls and find any cell phone user’s location without a court order. Cue the “Serial” theme music.

While tinfoil-hat-wearing privacy advocates will call bullsh*t, the functionality does have its benefits … like a bank using your location to confirm that you are calling from an area close to your home address.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “F*ck it, I’m going to Boost Mobile..”



Move over Thomas Edison. Walgreens will be replacing GE in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, ending a 111-year streak.

GE was one of the original components of the DJIA when it began back in 1896. This change reflects the growth of the healthcare sector and promises to better represent the economy overall.

With Walgreen’s shares sitting at just over $64, the pharmacy’s stock will be the sixth least impactful in the index. Even with this addition, consumer staple companies will make up only seven percent of the index. But, they’re still better off than GE.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “It’s gotta sting a little bit to be replaced by a company who makes most of its money from sales of Plan B and Vitamin Water.”




  • After his arrest yesterday, Audi’s CEO has stepped down. Abraham Schot was announced as his successor. Technically, being incarcerated doesn’t prevent you from running a multi-billion dollar organization.
  • Pharmaceutical company Roche Holdings AG will buy the remaining shares of Foundation Medicine that it doesn’t own for $2.4B.
  • Facebook plans to begin offering virtual game shows with interactive videos on its platform, similar to what HQ has seemingly mastered in its own standalone app. Will Zuck be the new Scott Rogowsky?
  • Billy McFarland, the promoter of the ill-fated Fyre Festival is facing new charges which allege that he sold upwards of $100k worth of fake music festival tickets. The judge is keeping a close eye on McFarland who has been flagged as a flight risk and danger to the community. The same could be said about 90% of music festival attendees.
  • US indices were down yesterday:
    • DOW: -1.15%
    • S&P 500: -0.40%
    • NASDAQ: -0.28%