Lyft’s Valuation Doubles; Peloton’s Latest Acquisition; Conagra Buys Pinnacle

The Water Coolest

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THE HEADLINES

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MUSTACHE RIDES

Ride-hailing platform Lyft announced a $600M investment round at a $15B valuation. In just the last fourteen months the company’s value has doubled and its US market share is up to 32% (from 22% last year).

Fidelity Investments led the funding round and has now poured close to $800M into the fist-bumping, “not taxi” company to date. Lyft recently added its first “international” location (Canada) and is aggressively developing autonomous vehicles.

But it’s not all open highways on the road to the Valhalla for taxis. While Lyft is on pace to book about $7.7B in mustache rides this year, Uber is eyeing $37.7B.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “It’s crazy to think that a $15B company could still be considered “up-and-coming,” but that’s the case with Lyft. As long as Uber continues to be Uber, Lyft will continue to close the gap.”

 

SPIN DOCTORS

What’s better than spinning to music that you pay for? Spinning to music you own. Peloton has acquired Neurotic Media. The Atlanta based distribution and marketing network has been doing its own spinning of music for workouts since 2001.

Peloton, which recently launched its own expanded iOS app and announced plans to expand to Her Majesty’s Commonwealth (the UK and Canada), is making no effort to stop crushing it.

The in-home spin studio was founded in 2012 and, so far, has raised $444.7M. Peloton was last valued at $1.25B in 2015.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “I guess if you pay four grand for an exercise bike, you might as well be able to listen to your favorite music on it. Money well spent.”

 

FROZEN ASSETS

Conagra brands, the maker of Marie Callender’s, plans to acquire Pinnacle Foods, one of the hottest brands in the frozen food aisle, for $8.1B of cold, hard cash (and stock) … or roughly $10.9B including debt.

The combined Hot Pocket and Pizza Roll competitor will form the second largest frozen food player in the US, behind only Nestle.

But investors appear to have no chill. Pinnacle shares were down nearly 4% and Conagra dipped almost 7% on the news.

The icy reception may be par for the M&A course (remind me why and how shares move on the news of a merger) but it’s hard to overlook the fact that packaged food sales aren’t what they used to be. Just ask Campbell’s.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Conagra better hope this deal doesn’t turn out like a frozen burrito: it looks Michelin-starred on the box but ends up being low-grade dog food after a few bites.”

 


IN OTHER NEWS

 

  • Apple and Samsung have settled a 7-year-old lawsuit which claimed Samsung copied Apple’s design. Tim Cook and Co. first won the suit in 2011 and the decision was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. Details aren’t yet available.
  • Disney has won antitrust approval to purchase most of Fox pending the sell-off of 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks. You might remember Disney owns “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” ESPN. The deal is far from done as Comcast has already submitted a bid that was since topped by Disney.
  • Roku is launching a new marketplace where TV networks can sell ad space that targets specific audiences. So, Facebook ads, without the total absence of a privacy policy.
  • Beer distributors are rationing cold ones in the UK as a carbon dioxide shortage worsens across the pond. The lack of CO2 will also affect meat production and food packaging. Say it ain’t so.
  • US indices were up yesterday:
    • DOW: -0.68%
    • S&P 500: -0.86%
    • NASDAQ: -1.54%