The corporation formerly known as Priceline just invested half a billion in DiDi Chuxing
Booking Holdings, the parent company of travel sites like Priceline and Agoda, has invested $500m in Chinese ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing.
Say it with us… “Dee-dee Ch-uh-shing…”
According to TechCrunch, Booking will offer DiDi’s on-demand car services through Booking.com apps, while DiDi customers now have the option to book hotels through the website as well.
The perfect pairing
As China’s biggest rideshare company, DiDi’s always been more of an Uber, but, yearning to branch out, the accommodations industry seems like a natural fit -- and that’s where Booking Holdings comes in.
The company formerly known as Priceline shot to fame in 1997 as a pioneering aggregator of travel discounts, when their hit commercials starring Captain Kirk as the “Price-line Negotiat-or” guy won the hearts of audiences.
That is, until the dot-com bubble burst
The travel-booking site went public right at the peak of the dot-com disaster, and after it crashed, the company floundered, with their stock plummeting from $816 a share in 1999 to ~$8 a year later.
That is until 2005, when the struggling affordable flight dealer decided to scale back their “name your own price” airfare concept and focus on the more lucrative niche of hotel bookings.
The company went on to acquire Amsterdam-based Booking.com, which became a huge growth driver, and ultimately helped them pull off what many feel to be the impossible -- a corporate comeback.
Now, the company, who changed their name to Booking Holdings back in February, has a market cap of around $65B, and an adjusted stock that reflects an almost 30k% increase from its lowest point in 2002.
But this deal isn’t about the money for DiDi
DiDi has publicly stated that their bank account is billions of dollars deep, thanks to the gigantic $4B funding round they closed the end of last year, and of course, the $13B they’ve squeezed out of many big investors..
Instead, they’re looking at the move from a strategic level. Booking also operates Kayak, Priceline, Rentalcars, and OpenTable, all of which make powerful allies for the rideshare service in their global expansion extravaganza.
Goldman Sachs finally names their new CEO, and he’s not a regular exec… he’s a cool exec
Goldman Sachs named veteran investment banker David M. Solomon their next CEO, putting the former company president in charge of the financial giant as they work to expand past their Wall Street roots.
Solomon’s appointment will end the tenure of Lloyd C. Blankfein, who has run the firm since 2006. According to The Wall Street Journal, Solomon will officially take over as CEO October 1st.
So what’s Solomon’s deal?
TheNew York Times reports that Solomon’s selection marks a “cultural change” at Goldman…
And that ‘cultural change’ looks a lot like a midlife crisis: Solomon is known for having a variety of outside interests that include yoga, defending his multimillion-dollar rare wine collection from thieves, and, wait for it…
Turning tables under the stage name DJ D-Sol at NY’s local dance clubs once a month. (This is not a joke. We repeat, this is not a joke).
He’s gonna need those soul points after inheriting this train wreck
Goldman has managed to work their way back from near-extinction, but the company still has a long road ahead.
Their once bread-and-butter trading business has fallen behind, and their personal banking push last year will reportedly take years to see returns.
That said, the announcement also came with a promising earnings report: The company’s Q2 earnings have reportedly jumped 51% from a year ago.
Google’s private undersea cable keeps riffraff off the line to expand its broadband network
Google just announced plans for ‘Dunant,’ a private undersea cable that will send data between Virginia and France.
Google has invested in 13 undersea cables, but Dunant is only their 4th private cable, and an important asset for Google (the first non-telecom company to run private intercontinental cables) in big tech’s deep-ocean battle for broadband.
Oceaning is the new streaming
In 1858, the Atlantic Telegraph Company laid the world’s first cross-pond cable. Giddy US Prez Buchanan sent Queen Victoria the first transatlantic text -- and it reached Her Majesty 17 hours and 40 minutes later.
Today’s cables (optical fiber instead of copper) can send the equivalent of 1.25T of Buchanan’s messages per second. So while satellites are cool and all, old-school wires still run the (Netflix) show: 97% of the world’s intercontinental data travels along undersea cables.
‘Hey, Zuckerberg and Bezos, would ya get off the line already?!’
Earlier this year, Facebook and Microsoft announced a 4.1k-mile cable called Marea between Virginia and Spain. Facebook, Amazon, and Softbank also teamed up on an 8.7k-mile transpacific cable system.
The vast majority of the world’s 428 undersea cables (illustrated on this sweetmap) are administered by these partnerships. But, they require something that Google isn’t willing to do: share. To connect their growing network of global data centers, Google wants to win with their own wires.
Starting in 2020, it will give Google unchallenged bandwidth for 15 to 25 years -- or until it’s severed by a shark or a spy...
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian bets AdQuick can build a big billboard business
AdQuick, a billboard platform for the digital age, scored a cool $2.1m from longtime billboard enthusiast (and Reddit co-founder) Alexis Ohanian.
Once a billboard buyer, now a billboard supplier
Ohanian, who has been called “The Mayor of the Internet,” first became a billboard enthusiast after purchasing billboard ads for political commentary.
But his professional interest in billboards began when he tried to surprise his wife, world champion tennis superstar Serena Williams, with 4 supportive ‘boards -- but found the process “really antiquated.”
Eventually, Ohanian discovered AdQuick, a billboard company mapping inventory and creating tools to book and monitor advertisements.
As a billboard fanboy, Ohanian was impressed...
But as a businessman, he knew the company could do better. So, in 2017 he cut AdQuick a check for $1.1m via his VC firm Initialized Capital.
Ohanian just deepened his partnership with an additional $2.1m in funding and joined the company’s board -- a testament to the company’s early success (so far, all the company’s outside funding has been provided by Ohanian).
The market for outdoor advertising is big (US advertisers spend $8B on outdoor ads annually) but it is notoriously difficult to unite digital and physical advertising. Somehow, AdQuick must succeed where other big fish like Netflix (which bid $300m for a billboard biz) have fallen flat.
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