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PUT A DOLLAR IN THE ‘DATA BREACH’ JAR
“Goddamnit, I don’t know what it is about your face, but I wanna deliver one of these right in your suck hole.” – pretty much everyone to Zuck
On Friday the FTC made it official, failing to stuff Zuck in a proverbial locker and letting down the masses by handing down a slap on the wrist to Zuckebot and FB. For violating an FTC agreement, FB will pay a $5B fine.
Despite the fine marking the largest ever handed down by the FTC (the previous record was $22.5M levied against Google), the $5B represents just 9% of the ‘book’s 2018 annual revenue.
You had one job, FTC
An FTC investigation was opened into FB following news of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal that allowed the political consulting group access to nearly 100M of the social network’s users. Zuck had already pinky promised the FTC in 2011 that it would notify users of any data access by 3rd parties. So that was a f*cking lie.
A who’s who of politics is calling bullsh*t on the fine. And not just Elizabeth Warren. Republicans and Democrats believe the fine will only embolden Zuck to continue to move fast and break things.
But, have no fear, there will be plenty of opportunities to fine Zuck and Co. for the crimes against humanity it will commit with Libra.
US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced his resignation amid pressure related to his handling of a high-profile sex case that took place a decade ago. The recent sting and arrest of financier Jeffrey Epstein has stirred up past dealings that have led to issues for Acosta.
Critics won’t let Acosta forget about the sweetheart deal he cut with Epstein during his stint as the US attorney in Miami. Epstein served jail time and had to register as a sex offender. Many argue that Acosta went easy on Chris Hansen’s most wanted, and with the benefit of hindsight, they probably weren’t wrong …
Writing on the wall
Acosta, currently head of the Labor Department, hopes his resignation will allow the organization to focus on the economy, rather than the Epstein sh*tshow. But his role in the scandal probably wasn’t the only reason for bailing on his civic duty.
In his role with the Labor Department, he has failed to develop a new overtime rule as promised and has overseen the development of regulations that would govern contract workers being employed by multiple companies at the same time, which haven’t come to fruition.
So much irony that the Head of the Department of Labor will be unemployed.
“For that reason, I’m out” – Anheuser-Busch InBev Chief Executive Carlos Brito, probably.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is keeping its Asian and stateside crispy boy operations combined, as the brewer called off the IPO of its Asian business on the Hong Kong exchange.
Bud was aiming to raise between $8.3B and $9.8B, but late last week informed investors to expect pricing in the lower half of the 40 to 47 Hong Kong dollars per share. Citing market conditions as the reason for cancelation, the no-go IPO shows the dichotomy between the red-hot US IPO market vs. the cooling Asian economy.
What could have been
The inflow of cash would have been used to pay down AB InBev’s roughly $100B in debt. Back in May Brito indicated that the company would still be able to meet debt-reduction goals with or without the IPO. It’s probably worth noting here that Brito is full of sh*t.
At nearly $10B, this would have been the largest IPO in the world in 2019 and is the third-largest withdrawn IPO on record. Anheuser Busch InBev stock fell 3.03% to $86.94 on the news.
IN OTHER NEWS
- WPP is selling 60% of market-research firm Kanter to Bain Capital to raise $3.1B. WPP’s plan is to return $1.2B back to shareholders while using the rest of the sale to reduce debt. WPP CEO Mark Read pledged to trim its agency holdings, at a time when clients are turning to smaller, more nimble shops. If it’s anything like Mad Men WPP should look to cut back on its scotch and cigarette budget.
- J&J shares fell 4.5% on Friday after reports emerged that the US Justice Department was pursuing a criminal investigation into J&J’s talcum products. You know, the talcum products that are responsible for multiple customer’s cancer. Documents are being examined to determine whether J&J leadership knew that its products contained carcinogens. Overall this year, shares have gained 3.9%.
- “Hold my beer.” – SocGen to Deutsche Bank. Job cuts are coming to Societe Generale in London as part of the more than 1,600 layoffs the firm announced in April. More than 30 positions in commodities were cut over the last few weeks, and SocGen continues to restructure its investment bank in its effort to protect its leadership in equity derivatives, focus efforts on fixed-income, and boost profitability. Elsewhere in Europe, SocGen is launching a voluntary departure program in Paris, with more reductions to come.
- It appears that the White House’s blacklisting of Huawei is working … for now. Huawei announced it will be laying off employees at its US-based R&D facility, Futurewei. The official number of cuts is TBD, but those in the know believe it could affect hundreds of Chinese spies, er, Huawei employees. Chinese employees at the firm will be given the option to head back to China and keep their jobs with Huawei.
- CNBC interviewed Juul CEO Kevin Burns and asked him what he’d tell the parents of 21% of high school students who’ve gotten caught up in what the FDA has declared a “vaping epidemic.” Burns’ answer? “We’re sorry.” Burns also said that their fruit-flavored product wasn’t intended for teen use. Sure thing, Kev.
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