Cambridge Analytica Halts Operations; Tesla Continues Burning Through Cash; Bloomberg’s Makeover

The Water Coolest

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ICYMI: We’ve got some BIG news to share. We’re partnering with John LeFevre (the guy behind the @GSElevator Twitter account and author of “Straight to Hell”) to bring you some brand new, insightful and witty content. 

First up: we recorded a podcast diving into some of John’s favorite stories from his time as a banker, how @GSElevator came to fruition, his book deal (and the controversy surrounding it) and some advice he has for young professionals. Listen here.

 

THE HEADLINES

Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes and 36 seconds

 

“HELLO, DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND …”

You know the old saying: if you can’t beat ’em, shamelessly rip off their website design and business model. Ok, so the new Bloomberg.com doesn’t look exactly like the WSJ, but it doesn’t look unlike it either. A black-and-white frontpage has replaced Bloomberg’s signature, brightly colored, paint-by-numbers motif.

But that’s not all. Access to the overhauled site will be put behind a $35 per month paywall (or $40 for a premium version). Still, a relative bargain compared to a Bloomberg Terminal.

Creating additional revenue streams via its media business has been a priority for Bloomberg. Despite digital ad revenue increasing 27% in 2017 alone, the former New York mayor’s company hopes to best 2017’s $304M media LOB top line.

The company tested a pay to play model with its Businessweek outlet in mid-2017 and saw a 45% increase in subscriptions.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “We would never condone bypassing a paywall to access free paid content, thereby undermining the business model of another media outlet. Buttt if you figure it out, HMU.”

 

BURN, BABY, BURN

Elon Musk is putting those Boring Company flamethrowers to good use. Tesla is burning through cash faster than your CFO at an open bar happy hour. The company’s cash flow inched towards the negative $1B mark after burning “only” $277M in Q4 of last year.

Yesterday Tesla announced a $3.4B Q1 revenue, outperforming analyst expectations. That’s the good news. Elon Musk’s bizarre after-hours earning’s call, during which he called an analyst’s question “boring,” sent shares down nearly 5%.

To make matters worse, Tesla is facing a $2B copyright infringement lawsuit. Nikola Motors (you can’t make this sh*t up) is suing the electric car maker’s CEO after the company claimed that Tesla stole design information for their new hydrogen fuel cell powered semi.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “The Tesla story is a real roller coaster. I guess firing your product into space can be a double-edged sword. At least Elon can rest easy knowing that once he burns all of Tesla’s cash on Earth, he can just do it again on Mars.”

 

GO HOME, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA, YOU’RE DRUNK

Cambridge Analytica plans to halt operations just two months after an investigation uncovered a massive Facebook data harvesting scandal. No word on if there will be a “going out of business, everything must go” data sale.

Technically, the Saul Goodman of data analytics claims they didn’t do anything “wrong.” But being at the center of a scandal where data was obtained via, let’s just call it “back-alley” means doesn’t exactly instill confidence in investors and customers.

“Virtually all of the Company’s customers and suppliers,” have been driven away. Hence Cambridge Analytica’s parent, SCL Group, pulling the plug.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “So you’re telling me people get their knowledge on how to vote in the US election from Facebook? Maybe we deserve what we get …”

 


IN OTHER NEWS

 

  • AllianceBernstein continues the trend of Wall Street firms looking outside of lower Manhattan for cheaper alternatives. AB plans to move their HQ to Nashville.
  • Spotify posted a 45% increase in paid user subscriptions yet their stock still dropped by roughly 10%. Snap stock: Hold my beer.
  • There’s no better way to follow up a disappointing quarter than an even more disappointing earning’s call. Apparently, Snap is having trouble attracting advertisers. The result? A 21% drop in Snap’s share price. But on the plus side, they’re releasing Spectacles V2.
  • Marcelo Claure will step aside as Sprint’s CEO to become executive chairman. CFO, Michel Combes will assume the chief executive position. Can you hear me now?
  • US indices were down yesterday:
    • DOW: -0.72%
    • S&P 500: -0.72%
    • NASDAQ: -0.42%