Uber Buys Jump; P&G Changes Ad Agency Model; Bayer-Monsanto Deal Gets Green Light

The Water Coolest

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… because Uber is putting its bike in it. 

Uber plans to buy Jump, an electric bike sharing company, for between $100M and $200M. Jump and Uber had already formed a “last-mile” partnership, offering rides to Uber users for $2. The “Uber for bikes” raised $10M in a Series A in January and plans to expand their 12k strong fleet.

Jump successfully lobbied the support of San Francisco’s municipal government in the form of the first permit for a dockless e-bike program in the city. The pilot program will give the US a taste of a product and service that has become popular throughout the world … especially in China.

Dockless bike sharing has become a major issue in China as public spaces have become littered with abandoned and vandalized bicycles. And these post-apocalyptic bike graveyards dwarf VW’s diesel burial grounds.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Uber is redefining vertical integration by operating driverless cars and, now, the bikes that they’ll inevitably hit. If all goes according to plan Uber will make sure to riddle this once-promising company with scandals in the next few weeks.”



When you’re the worlds largest advertiser, you can do whatever you damn well please. Proctor & Gamble is going full Gandalf the Gray and creating a Fellowship of Ad agencies to work on its fabric-care business.

Handpicked team members from four top media holdings companies will be selected to work for the consumer product giant.

The maker of adolescents’ favorite detergent-based snack spent over $7B on advertising last year, and are trying to cut that figure … by a lot. They’ve announced that they plan to cut back from working with 6,000 agencies to 2,500. That still feels like too many agencies.

Despite P&G reeling it in, the Don Drapers of the world need not cut back on liquid lunches. P&G’s head of branding, Marc Pritchard, is looking to get more creatives working directly with the brand. After combining agency personnel to create a very successful “It’s a Tide Ad” Super Bowl commercial, P&G brass realized the best way to get agencies to do good work is pit them against each other.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Bold strategy Cotton! I love this deathmatch play by P&G. Bring the best of the best in and let them work together to deliver. Machiavelli would be proud.”



The US Justice Department has loosened the reigns and signed off on a $62.5B deal allowing Bayer to buy Monsanto. The companies must agree to sell off assets in order to gain antitrust approval. As of now, the deal is on pace to close during Q2.

The merger will create a super-company, that would account for roughly one-quarter of the seed and pesticide industry, and is one of three similar deals in the agribusiness sector over the past few years.

Farmers, who are dealing with low crop prices are worried that the lack of competition in the industry and the control that Bayer would wield could increase the risk of price gouging.

With the announcement of the deal, Monsanto’s stock reached a four-year high and closed up 6.2%. In order for the deal to be finalized, Bayer had to agree to sell off many of its seed and treatment assets to rival German company BASF SE, as well as make concessions in the digital agriculture space.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “I remember the days when being a farmer was hard because they had to be up to plow the fields at 3 in the morning. Now they have to worry about getting their hands on genetically modified seeds controlled by a multinational conglomerate AND wake up at 3 AM to get the fields plowed.”



  • Verifone, best known for their credit card point of sale systems that operate correctly approximately 7% of the time, will be acquired by a PE led investor group for $3.4B.
  • Mark Zuckerberg will appear before Congress on Wednesday to answer for his company’s data faux pas. Yesterday Congress released Zuck’s prepared testimony.
  • Another day, another acquisition. Consolidation in the pharma industry continues with Novartis buying AveXis for $8.7B. Why does every big pharma company’s name sound like the holding company of a Bond villain?
  • Alibaba will lead a $600M funding round for SenseTime, a Chinese facial recognition developer. The injection will value the company at $4.5B.
  • US indices were up yesterday:
    • DOW: +0.19%
    • S&P 500: +0.33%
    • NASDAQ: +0.51%




Why Tyler almost wishes he had an Android: Apple rolled out a battery health and longevity setting which will act as a real-time countdown to your phone’s untimely demise.

Why AJ is refreshing his Facebook feed like a girl whose ex just got married: Facebook is beginning to inform those affected by the Cambridge Analytica breach on their newsfeed.

How f*cked is Zuck: Think of this recap of the Cambridge Analytica sh*tstorm as a friendly reminder that Myspace Tom > Zuck.

Why Ian downloaded Oregon Trail on his work computer: It isn’t every day that Microsoft lets you browse files like it’s 1999. No one is sure why Microsoft released the source code for “File Manager” the precursor to “Explorer,” but we’re not mad about it.

What Nick thinks is scarier than ‘A Quiet Place’: Just your run of the mill PSA reminding humanity that it’s Elon Musk’s world and we’re just living in it.


The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.