Netflix Price Hikes; Brexit Issues Continue; Walmart And CVS End Partnership

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THE HEADLINES

 

SHAME AND BREGRET

*The ‘Sound of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel plays*

No amount of regal British stoicism could spare Theresa May the shame of taking an L, the likes of which have not been seen since the reign of George V. Translation: put to another vote, the UK’s House of Commons (aka the lower house of Parliament) rejected a proposed Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by a vote of 432 to 202 … the most one-sided defeat since 1924.

May had already pulled the vote once in December fearing a loss by a “significant margin.” Maybe she was onto something. The PM can’t seem to catch a break: pro-Brexiters think she is being soft and those who oppose the uncoupling are generally just being a pain in the ass.

And as is a tradition with anything political, personal and party-line ambitions are getting in the way. Exhibit A: the opposition Labor Party seized the moment to trigger a vote of no-confidence which could lead to a general election.

The British pound tumbled on the news.

So what’s next?

You mean beyond the economic and political turmoil? It appears at this point that Brexit will be delayed as the official cutoff date, March 29, nears. Options include a renegotiated plan and the dreaded no-deal Brexit.

But don’t take our word for it. Bloomberg does a bang-up job of outlining the Kingdom’s “choose your own adventure”

 

NETFLIX AND CHILL WITH THESE PRICE INCREASES

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Netflix plans to raise its prices. According to the company, its cheapest option will jump from $8 to $9, and the standard HD plan, its most popular option, will jump from $11 to $13. What kind of caveman watches The Office reruns in non-HD?

The streaming service, which took on an additional $2B in debt as recently as October of last year, is likely padding its coffers to build out its portfolio of original content. In 2018 the company spent $8B on original programming alone.

The push for original content comes as competitors like Disney and NBCUniversal enter the streaming space, and will likely take properties like Marvel and Star Wars to their own services. There are also rumors swirling that Tim Cook and the Apple empire are waiting in the wings to launch a streaming service as early as mid-2019.

Netflix’s price hike marks the fourth time that the company has raised its monthly fee, and according to management, price hikes have had little impact on subscriber numbers. Read: couples would be forced to actually communicate were it not for Chef’s Table acting as an artificial barrier and that’s just not an option.

That’s not chill at all

Like most of life’s inconveniences, self-centered millennials will complain about the price hike on social media … then pay it anyway. And that’s exactly why NFLX investors were jonesin’ for the new pricing model. Every time the N in FANG raises its prices, its shares have followed suit.

This price hike is no different. Netflix shares rose 6.5% on the day. Clearly, the official streaming service of awkward second Tinder dates knows what it’s doing.

 

PHARM-VILLE

Two major shakeups rattled the retail pharmacy space yesterday. First, Walgreens signed on with Microsoft’s Azure cloud service meaning that 380k employees are getting hooked up with Microsoft 365 and Windows 10 cloud services. “It’s about to be like the NFL sidelines up in this b*tch.” – at least one Walgreens employee.

In addition to being implemented in Walgreens stores, Microsoft will help manage 400 distribution centers.

The win for Satya Nadella is a shot across Amazon’s bow. Not only is it a major cloud loss for AWS, but Jeffrey Commerce wants to be a force to be reckoned with in the healthcare space, even more than he wants to do unspeakable things to Lauren Sanchez.

Un-healthy

While one romance blooms, another industry power couple is calling it quits. Walmart and CVS have decided to go their separate ways citing a dispute over the cost of drug prices.

Walmart was requesting more reimbursement from CVS for when patients filled prescriptions at its pharmacies.

CVS countered, claiming higher reimbursements to Walmart would have resulted in the customers ultimately paying more money. Ah, I love the smell of capitalism in the AM.

 


IN OTHER NEWS

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  • Despite missing profit expectations for the first time in 15 quarters, JPMorgan shares ended the day higher yesterday. The fixed income trading group has been outed as the biggest drag on the bonus pool for fiscal ’18, falling well short of its $2.2B revenue estimate, achieving just $1.86B. And Wall Street’s favorite punch line, Wells Fargo, beat EPS expectations but fell short on revenue. More importantly, CEO Tim Sloane indicated that the company will operate under government mandated time out (aka growth restrictions) through at least the end of 2019. So much for being “re-established” in 2018.

 

  • Chuck Rhoades, FTW! Federal prosecutors announced an international white-collar criminal investigation that involved hackers infiltrating the SEC’s EDGAR online corporate filing system to trade on non-public information, a crime more colloquially known as insider trading. The culprits hail from the US, Russia, and Ukraine, and are probably like 13-years-old. The sleuths made off with a paltry $4.1M … and likely invested it in bitcoin.

 

  • Take Two Interactive is ponying up for the right to feature NBA players’ likenesses in its 2k franchise. A 7-year deal will cost the company close to $1B, more than doubling its previous contract. Can’t wait for Stephen A.’s hot take on how egregiously unfair this deal is for the Association.

 

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