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That guy Kyle from your hometown with the Monster Energy neck tattoo is about to be more butthurt than that time the Limp Bizkit cover band at the county fair refused to play ‘Nookie.’
You see, Monster Energy just caught a tough break courtesy of the American Arbitration Association. Arbitrators sided with Coca-Cola allowing the beverage giant to roll out its Coca-Cola Energy drink in the US and other countries and market it in European markets where it has already launched.
Monster looked to block the release citing its non-compete agreement with Coke which owns 17% of the gas station favorite and acts as the Red Bull competitor’s distribution partner. But some top-notch wordsmithing by Coca-Cola’s legal team allowed the company to create its own energy drink under the ‘Coca-Cola’ brand. The non-compete, however, would not allow for Pepsi’s arch nemesis to distribute competitive energy drinks. Touche, Coke.
Coke and Monster released a joint statement indicating that they would respect the arbitrator’s decision and continue to work together (read: Monster is f*cking furious).
What a time to be alive
The L is a blow to Monster which is already dealing with an onslaught of competition from energy drink brands that tout, wait for it … health benefits. Coca-Cola Energy contains caffeine from “natural” ingredients including guarana. For what it’s worth, this is the same company that thought it was kosher to put actual cocaine in its beverage.
In a bid to keep pace, Monster recently launched Reign which includes Q10, a supplement for heart health and has plans to expand into alcohol and cannabis-infused drinks.
GIVE IT UP
The Oracle of Omaha is at it again. Warren Buffett is continuing his philanthropic efforts and donating an additional $3.6B to five charitable foundations to reach a grand total of $34B since he pledged to give away his fortune in 2006. The $3.6B is the single largest donation that the world’s fourth-richest person has pledged to charity.
The Berkshire Hathaway CEO is converting 11.25k shares of his Class A stock into 16.8M shares of Class B stock that will be split amongst the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and NoVo Foundation.
Four out of the five foundations are run by Buffett’s own children but the bulk of the funds, per Warren, will go to the Gates Foundation which focuses on improving health care and reducing extreme poverty globally. Nothing says ‘daddy issues’ quite like your father not trusting your ability to give his money away.
Since he created The Giving Pledge and challenged other billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes, Buffett has given away 45% of his Berkshire Hathaway shares.
THE BARE MINIMUM
Remember spending more time calculating the bare minimum you needed to score on the final to pass the class than actually studying? Well, that’s seemingly what President Trump and Xi did at their most recent trade talks, as the two countries agreed to “resume talks” and “avoid a new set of tariffs.”
As Andrew Jackson (not the 7th US president) from Hermes (think: investment management, not ties) so eloquently put it, “we appear to have arrived at almost exactly the minimum positive outcome to justify financial markets’ positive sentiment.” Investors were, however, impressed enough for US markets to close in the green and the S&P 500 to end the day at a record 2,964.33.
While this is a step in the right direction, economic volatility still looms, and the US and China have yet to actually sign a trade deal. Hell, even getting back to the table was a challenge.
But wait, there’s more (tariffs)
The US has proposed tariffs on an additional $4B worth of European goods if the World Trade Organization finds that the EU gives unfair subsidies to Airbus. Products such as meat, whiskey, and cast-iron pipes (one of these is not like the other) could be taxed starting August 5th.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Buyer’s remorse. Coty is biting the bullet and taking a $3B write-down on CoverGirl, Max Factor, and others. The firm, controlled by JAB Limited, wants to restructure in order to relieve some of the pressure taken on when it acquired the brands from P&G in 2016. According to Coty, the brands purchased were in worse shape than it initially thought. The number of job cuts hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the company says it plans to reduce annual expenses by $200M.
- Square is being accused of violating privacy laws after a man in California blamed the company for forwarding a digital receipt containing details of his medical history to one of his friends, whose phone number he used to sign into the Square system. The man paid a bill in May at a health care office that accepted Square. Afterward, Square allegedly sent a text to the man’s friend, linking an invoice with information about the man’s procedure, which attorneys say violates patient confidentiality. A class action suit and an awkward conversation about how one man could have that many STDs are in the works.
- James Dolan is the kinda guy you don’t want your daughter dating. The MSG chairman did more than let down the collective New York Knicks fanbase when he only managed to sign Julius Randle, he let down MSG shareholders. Shares fell to a 52-week low, down as much as 8% at one point and closing almost 2% lower following the failure to make a big splash in free agency. Interestingly, the drop in market value represents $125M. The Nets signed Kevin Durant for $164M.
- Nike is recalling this year’s 4th of July sneaker after protests from activists including Colin Kaepernick. The plan was to release a new Air Max 1 in celebration of the 4th, a design which includes the use of the “Betsy Ross Flag.” That flag with the 13 stripes in a circle, instead of the whole 50. You’re welcome, Alaska. Nike had already shipped the shoes to retailers, before asking for them back without offering an explanation. Opponents offer that the Betsy Ross flag is connected to an era of slavery in the US. The shoes aren’t being closeted completely, though. As of Monday, the design had made it to secondary markets and was being traded for as much as $500 on sneaker resale site StockX.
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