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Bank mergers are back, baby!
BB&T made a deal to buy SunTrust for $28.2B combining two regional lending forces and creating the sixth-largest US retail bank. The deal is the largest merger since JPMorgan bought Bank One Corp. in 2004. The all-stock deal will bring the total market cap of the two entities to $66B.
The new bank has yet to be named, The good news is that ‘Wells Fargo’ is already taken. In what can best be described as a plot twist straight out of reality TV, current BB&T CEO Kelly King will act as CEO until 2021, when he will turn over the job to current SunTrust CEO William Rogers Jr.
Banks in the $10B to $250B range have been beneficiaries of looser policies around bank liquidity requirements under the current administration. BB&T and SunTrust flew under the radar with $225.7B and $215.5B in assets respectively at the end of 2018, thus garnering less regulatory scrutiny.
More to come?
This could mark the beginning of consolidation in the banking industry as regional players try to compete with the 800-pound gorillas (JP Morgan, BoA, etc.). Lack of resources has resulted in regional banks losing customers to the larger, more sophisticated institutions and their fancy digital offerings.
MEALS ON WHEELS
Postmates, the OG of the on-demand food-delivery app space has filed, confidentially, to go public. The company is likely to command a valuation in the ballpark of $1.85B. “UberEATS for consumers with a conscious” raised $100M in January at a $1.85B valuation.
Fun fact: the gig-economy pioneer began as a way to fill ride-sharing vehicles with things rather than people. But food delivery quickly outpaced flower and furniture deliveries, hence the pivot to meals on wheels.
Like any sought-after, decade-old startup that gets Allbird-donning VCs hot and bothered, the restaurant delivery outsourcer remains unprofitable. Thus the plan to tap the public equity market and its insatiable appetite for the Uber of [insert noun here].
The company operates in some 550 US cities, with a network of 240k couriers whom one can only assume are as comically inept as Rob Schneider in ‘Big Daddy.
Postmates struck strategic deals with Walmart and Apple that gives the courier access to an all you can deliver buffet of consumer goods. Plus, Mates has aligned itself with humans whose laziness and gluttony knows no bounds, those subscribed to Postmates Unlimited $9.99 monthly subscription service.
SELF-DRIVEN TO SUCCEED
Self-driving car startup, Aurora, landed more than just a funding round … it scored an endorsement from one of the great business minds (and best dick pic takers) of our time, Jeff Bezos.
The Series B funding round, which was led by Sequoia Capital, injected $530M into the Cruise competitor. Combined with a $90M Series A from Greylock Partners and Index Ventures, Aurora is currently valued at roughly $2.5B.
Amazon, Shell, Sequoia, and T-Rowe Price are the latest companies to invest in the not-quite-decacorn. And it’s easy to see why these companies are investing. Aurora is led by former CTO of self-driving cars at Alphabet, Chris Urmson, and former Tesla and Uber Technologies execs, Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell. Can you say ‘pedigree?’
Head on a swivel
This isn’t Amazon’s first rodeo in the space. Not unlike the newly single Jeffrey Commerce sowing his oats, the company is keeping its options open. Besides having an in-house team dedicated to exploring autonomous vehicles, Amazon partnered with Toyota last year to explore the usage of self-driving cars for food delivery and has turned to Embark driverless truck services for hauling cargo.
IN OTHER NEWS
- When he isn’t busy being creepy AF, apparently Woody Allen is still making movies … for Amazon. According to Allen’s $68M suit against the mediocre-at-best studio, Bezos and Co. refuse to release the film he made for the e-commerce giant following renewed backlash stemming from 1992 allegations of sexual abuse against his adopted daughter. But that’s not all … Amazon had contracted with Woody for 3 other films. Of course, it’s worth noting that the deal was signed during Roy Price’s tenure. You may remember he left Amazon Studios amid harassment allegations.
- It’s been a busy day in Amazon’s PR department. The parent company of the most scrupulous publication on God’s green earth, The National Enquirer, has allegedly blackmailed Jeff Bezos by threatening to publish, among other things, what CNBC referred to as “so-called dick pics.” The reason? Bezos’ Washington Post allegedly claimed that the National Enquirer’s interest in his divorce and new relationship was politically motivated. Jeffrey Commerce ’bout to go all Peter Thiel on the National Enquirer.
- “My calendar is up to date.” Markets fell on Thursday following news that Presidents Trump and Xi will not convene before a March 1st tariff truce deadline. But that doesn’t mean talks won’t continue. A US delegation will head to Beijing next week to get down to brass tacks.
- Twitter shares fell nearly 10% yesterday following a quarterly earnings report that highlighted record quarterly revenue …. and declining monthly users. The preferred social media site of Donny Politics pulled in $908M in revenue vs. an estimated $867M. But, monthly active users fell by 1.5%. @Jack blamed the platform’s proactive expulsion of bad actors. Ain’t nobody got time for trolls.
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