Activist investors dismantle Xerox-Fujifilm merger to hold out for an unlikely new buyer
After years of boardroom bickering and months of public pissing-and-moaning, Xerox ‘activist’ investors toppled the $6.1B merger that Xerox inked with Fujifilm last January.
Masterminded by merger manipulators Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason (who together own 15.2% of the document diva), the cold feet came about due to Fuji-failure to fulfill demands for a higher stock price.
These activist investors are as active as they come
Well-known activist investor (aka shareholder who leverages equity to change corporate management) Carl Icahn bought 7% stake in Xerox in 2015 -- and challenged Xerox’s direction from the start.
With fellow merger mischief-maker Demon Deason, Icahn demanded old-guard board members step down, and insisted that Fujifilm merger terms (at $28 vs. Icahn’s desired $40) grossly undervalued the company.
In a confusing move last month, Icahn and Deason won a settlement to boot the Xerox CEO and swap out its board, but then decided against it 2 days later.
As it turns out, they were holding out for a bigger win -- one where they tossed the board overboard and axed the Fuji agreement.
Fujifilm claims a deal’s a deal
The Japanese photo giant immediately threatened legal action against Xerox, claiming they didn’t have the right to terminate the finalized deal.
But under the terms of Icahn’s settlement, 5 Fuji-friendly board members at Xerox -- including CEO Jeff Jacobsen -- packed up their desks, leaving Fuji with little sway over a board of Icahn-spirators.
Let the bidding begin… again
Fujifilm and Xerox’s 6 decade-old joint venture -- Fuji Xerox -- would have combined with the normal Xerox under Fujifilm controlling ownership.
But now that the deal is off, the Icahn and Deason-directed company -- whose shares fell as much as 10% following the announcement -- is looking for new buyers.
Since there are few photocopy-fanatics out there likely to shell out for Icahn’s ambitious $40 stock price, the company may end up going back to Fujifilm after all -- under “superior terms,” of course.
Icahn’t even right now
Online lender GreenSky sets IPO valuation goal at $4.2B
GreenSky, an Atlanta-based digital lending platform, looks to raise close to $700m at a $4.2B valuation in its IPO, with shares priced between $21 and $23, and Wall Street is watching to see if they can turn the tide of bad luck for public lenders.
Blue skies for GreenSky
Founded in 2006, the lending platform initially made its name as a lender to help people pay for home improvement projects, then diversified into helping fund elective healthcare procedures (which, if you think about it, is kind of like “home improvement” for your bod).
According to Bloomberg, the company’s made some improvements of their own: They did $326m in revenue last year (up from $264m in 2016), and brought in net income of $139m in 2017 (up from $124m the previous year).
But, lending company IPOs haven’t been doing so hot
According to WSJ, rising defaults among borrowers and increased competition have kneecapped the public lending market in recent years. And, as Axios points out, the last 2 VC-backed “unicorns,” LendingClub and OnDeck Capital, both “flopped post-IPO.”
In other words, this will be a huge test for GreenSky -- and for their big Wall Street backers Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, who are both hoping GreenSky will be an outlier in the volatile industry.
Sports betting is officially legal: Here’s who’s set to cash in
Yesterday, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn a 20-year federal law and legalize betting on sports.
Now states, online betting companies (like DraftKings and FanDuel), and platforms that broadcast games are looking at good odds to capture part of the estimated $150B illegally wagered on sports in the US each year.
Let the games begin
According to USAToday, only a few states will be ready to capitalize on taxes from legal sports betting in time for the 2018 NFL season, including New Jersey (which launched this whole battle after attempting to legalize sports gambling in 2011), West Virginia, Delaware, and Mississippi.
Meanwhile, fantasy sports platform DraftKings has already been working on a product to let people gamble on the outcome of games, in preparation for the Supreme Court’s decision.
No word on how major networks plan to cash in, but TechCrunch speculates that they, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (which have each signed streaming deals with their own respective sports leagues) will surely increase the probability of new revenue opportunities.
The NBA is looking at a layup
Unlike the NHL, NFL, and NCAA, who have historically opposed legal gambling, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been a vocal supporter since publishing his op-ed in the New York Times in 2014 titled, “Legalize and Regulate Sports Betting.”
And, NBA players already covered the spread: As of 2017, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement includes “a provision to include gambling proceeds as part of basketball-related income.”
It’s wedding season, kid: People are getting married in barns more than ever
Dwindling are the days of tuxedos, crystal stemware, and shimmering chandeliers that once dominated the look of the $119B wedding industry.
The new aesthetic for weddings is “rustic chic” -- AKA getting married in a barn. Sorry, no cows allowed.
According to a survey from The Knot, 15% of couples chose a barn, farm, or ranch for their wedding reception in 2017, up from just 2% in 2009.
Designer barns? Or a shed without rats?
Good news for the people who love to blame millennials for everything, according to the Atlantic, the average age of marriage hovers around 28 these days, meaning they’ve played a big role in the barn boom.
And it’s hurting those who made their livelihood off the venues of yesteryear.
Studies show the number of couples choosing to celebrate in banquet halls dropped from 27% in 2009 to 17% in 2017, while similarly, hotel weddings dropped from 18% to 12%.
Bottom line: Cheaper and casual is in, and fancy is out.
Funny thing is, barns aren’t exactly cheaper.
One would assume backwoods wedding aesthetics would cut down on nuptial overhead. But in reality, Barns aren’t the hunks of termite infested junk they used to be.
Or at least not the ones people are getting married in.
Since the trend began taking off in 2011, faux barns built strictly for weddings have popped up all across the country, helping to push the average wedding cost up from $27k in 2011 to $33k in 2017.
There are 13 founders lined up to speak at Hustle Con this year -- and one whose story unfolds like an Oscar-award-winning film: Sallie Krawcheck.
Sallie started her career at Sanford Bernstein, where she worked her way up from research analyst to CE-freakin-O.
Then Citi poached her to become CEO of Smith Barney, where she received a $7m signing bonus.
But there was corruption in paradise: In 2008, some of Citi's clients got involved in a toxic investment situation. Sallie felt that Citi should return the money to the clients who got burned.
Her boss disagreed. In the end, Sallie won the argument... but it cost her her job.
In her time on Wall Street, Sallie learned a big lesson:
Investment firms are based on men's salaries, lifespans, and career arcs. Generally speaking, those things are different when it comes to women.
So, Sallie started Ellevest: an investment platform designed by women, for women. Her $10m seed round alone was one of the highest seed rounds for a female-led company. Ever.
In her time as a tycoon, Sallie also learned the nuances that made her teams successful... like hiring the right people. And, at Hustle Con, she's going to share those learnings in actionable, tactical ways.
Interested? You should be. This talk is one you won't want to miss.
To make sure you catch Sallie's talk, click here and book your ticket to Hustle Con.
Earlier this month, GE headlined an NYC conference on 3D Printing -- AKA serious Space Age industrial tech. Panelists at the conference talked about how they are using new 3D printing technologies to create everything from rocket engines to car parts and synthetic skull plates.
For example, GE used additive technology to reduce weight and optimize the efficiency of advanced turboprop aircraft engines -- cutting the number of parts needed from 855 to just 12, and lowering the weight by 10% in the process. Nerds rule. [GE]
Just when you thought the Coachellas of the world have ran out of ways to clean your pockets, there’s this: Organizers of the Icelandic music festival Secret Solstice released details on a ultra-extravagant Million Dollar Package.
The package includes (among other things): a private jet for 6, luxury transportation with two personal drivers, a private concert, and a tour of Iceland, because why not? [Fast Company]
It’s never too late to change your use of words. The country of Kazakhstan recently announced it will be ditching it’s traditional Cyrillic alphabet in favor of the western Latin alphabet -- the one we know and love -- by 2025
The new alphabet will consist of 32 letters and shares 23 letters with the English alphabet. But it won’t be cheap. Government officials estimate the transition will cost $664m, 90% of that cost going towards education programs. [BBC]
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Hustle Homeownership 101 is in session
Today’s topic: mortgages.
Yeah, you bet you’re interested. Homeownership is the green light at the end of your dock, you Gatsby.
But, unless you’ve got that Gatsby money, you’re probably going to need a mortgage to get you there.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Rocket Mortgage -- America's largest lender -- to bring mortgages and homeownership down to earth.
The first lesson ...
Forget everything you know about mortgages
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From the application to closing, Rocket Mortgage walks you through everything, keeping you organized and on track -- so you can spend less time pushing paperwork and more time finding your new home.
In our next class, we’ll show you how much cash you need. (Hint: it’s less than you think.) In the meantime, check out how easy Rocket Mortgage is making things, here.