JPMorgan Shuffles Execs; Pinterest IPO; Monster Energy Faces ‘Healthy’ Competition

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THE HEADLINES

 

GREAT SUCCESS-ION

JPMorgan Chase

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It makes a whole lot more sense why Jamie Dimon was so “confused” by a seemingly innocuous diversity question during a recent hearing on Capitol Hill. Apparently, it had nothing to do with believing diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era. Jamie was simply trying not to let the cat out of the bag

Yesterday JPMorgan announced a shakeup in its senior ranks. Jennifer Piepszak, JPM’s current head of cards, and CFO Marianne Lake will switch roles (kinda). Technically Lake’s job scope will cover cards as well as auto and home. Piepszak will also join Lake on the operating committee.

Why?

Well, Dimon is getting any younger. In fact, he said last year that he’s got about five years left in the tank. And it certainly isn’t lost on the Wall Street veteran that there has never (let that sink in) been a female CEO at one of the top-tier US financial institutions.

From a personnel perspective, the move makes sense. It will give Piepszak an opportunity to take on a more public role and allow Lake to lead a business line. Dimon has gained a bit of a reputation for high profile shakeups which create more well-rounded execs.

Of course, with a deep bench (of mostly Ivy league educated males), there is no guarantee that either of these lady bosses will find themselves in the driver’s seat of the largest bank in the US. But one thing is clear, the nod certainly won’t hurt JP’s chances of retaining Lake whose name was thrown around for the Wells Fargo CEO job.

 

A TALE OF TWO IPOS

Pinterest and Zoom are both going public today, but that’s about where the similarities end …

Pinterest

On one hand, you have an insanely popular don’t-let-them-hear-you-call-it-a-social-network that’s valued at $12B but has yet to turn a profit (which seems to be a prerequisite for tech companies prior to a massive IPO).

On the bright side, your aunt’s favorite website has an annual loss that’s been shrinking since 2017, and the company expects to profit in the next year or two. The “image sharing site” priced its shares at $19, $2 above the high end of its range, raising $1.4B in the process.

Zoom

On the other hand, you have a video conferencing juggernaut with less brand name recognition, that is valued at roughly $9.2B and has shown that it can turn a profit. How important is “actually making money” to investors? Well, Zoom’s last private valuation hovered right around $1B.

Zoom has seen its revenue double year over year since 2017, bringing in $61M, $150M, and just under $400M, respectively. The Chatroulette competitor priced its shares at $36, well above its initial range, on its way to raising $751M Wednesday.

Who’s watching?

Other tech giants *cough* Uber *cough* are waiting with bated breath to see how Pinterest and Zoom perform. Why? A certain, recent, highly anticipated IPO has been more of a let down than The Godfather Part III …

Shares of Lyft, priced at $72, popped during the first day of trading, but have struggled since. The stock currently sits at $59 per share.

 

WE’VE CREATED A MONSTER

The OG of energy drinks is in a dogfight to maintain its market share in an industry that’s amphetamine-like products are facing critics as newer, healthier options emerge.

Monster currently owns 41% of the energy drink market, more than Red Bull. But competitors are coming out of the woodwork with natural energy drinks that claim to be “healthy alternatives” (read: not as bad as Monster and Minotaur). Keurig Dr. Pepper just launched what may be the NASCAR sponsor’s main competitor, “Adrenaline Shoc,” behind the star power of Lance Collins, the creator of Fuze tea and BodyArmor.

It doesn’t help that Coke, which owns an 18% stake in the preferred energy drink of people who think wrestling is real, invested in the Kobe Bryant-backed Body Armor and released its own energy drink earlier this year. For that, Monster has taken its frenemy to court.

Make it Reign

In an effort to cater to the “healthy types,” Monster is releasing Reign, which features coenzyme Q10. A quick WebMD search confirms that this “coenzyme Q10” is, in fact, real and it is definitely much healthier than whatever the f*ck is actually in Monster …

But it may be too little too late as smaller, “smart energy” makers like Bang are eating up market share. Bang gained 9% of the market and drew the legal wrath of Monster who says the newcomer is making false health claims about its product.

 


IN OTHER NEWS

news

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  • Another round, gentlemen? The US and China are working on two rounds of meetings in an effort to move forward with a trade deal that could be signed as early as June. Goals of the talks include an agreement that would put an end to currency manipulation, as well as deciding which tariffs would be removed. An agreement could certainly help ease tensions on Wall Street, which has been skittish over fears of an all-out trade war breaking out between the two world powers.

 

  • Aaaand it’s gone … The Alliance of American Football is officially bankrupt. For those of you who took the under, you win. The league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection after halting operations suddenly last month. How suddenly? Well, some players were stranded hours away from home with no hotel rooms. In all, the league had accumulated $48M in liabilities, compared to $11M in assets and only $500k cash on hand. Got hurt playing for a team? You’d better call up the CFL.

 

  • A long walk off a short Pier. Pier 1 is losing its CFO after just a year following larger than expected fourth-quarter losses. Nancy Walsh’s exit comes shortly after former CEO Alasdair James’ departure in December. The purveyors of fine candles and wicker baskets are struggling to ward off the likes of Amazon and Williams-Sonoma in the “stuff you didn’t know you needed and probably still don’t” department. It’s also considering closing up to 45 locations in 2020 due to lease expirations.

 

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