Trade wars keep soybean ship adrift in the Pacific for more than a month
In other maritime-bean news, a shipment of American soybeans worth more than $20m has been drifting aimlessly in the Pacific Ocean for an entire month without docking.
The reason: They’re caught in the ol’ trade-war Bermuda Triangle as US and China duke it out in the ultimate tariff showdown.
Soya think you can sail?
Owned by JP Morgan Asset Management, the Peak Pegasus is a 750-ft bulk carrier weighing 86m lbs that was scheduled to unload 70k tons of American soybeans in China on July 6, shortly after Donald Trump implemented a first round of tariffs on $34B worth of Chinese goods.
The PP rushed to the docks in hopes of passing customs before Beijing fired back, but the ship missed the deadline by 30 minutes... and has been sailing around in soybean purgatory ever since.
Its circular voyage is now costing the Amsterdam-based company that owns the cargo almost $13k a day.
Full speed ahead
As of Wednesday, Trump had unsheathed a second round of tariffs on $16B worth of Chinese goods -- and you better believe Beijing responded.
In other words, as things continue to escalate, ol’ Peg may be treading water for a while.
The Guardian reports that the extra costs of staying at sea so far will result in a loss of more than $400k.
Why don’t they just starbird the jib and turn around or whatever?
That question made zero sense, but commodities experts believe their ‘just keep swimming’ philosophy still makes financial sense for at least a few months compared to biting the bullet and offloading the beans in China.
With the 25% tariff, dropping anchor in China would add an estimated $6m to the cost of importation.
Tribune wants $1B from Sinclair for gambling away their FCC-favored $3.9B merger
Last year, broadcaster Sinclair won conditional approval from the FCC to acquire Tribune Media Co. and create a 233-station broadcast behemoth.
But then, Sinclair refused to sell off its stations to facilitate the deal, prompting Tribune to cancel the merger and demand $1B in damages and shareholder premiums for tanking the deal.
After making friends with the FCC, Sinclair got greedy
Back in 2017, Tribune was a media darling courted by Sinclair, Nexstar, and other big bad broadcasters. In the end, Sinclair (the largest company in the broadcasting industry) won Tribune over with $3.9B offer.
Then, despite antitrust criticism, the FCC gave them conditions to approve the deal, positioning Sinclair to broadcast to 72% of homes as long as it sold off a few channels.
But, after the FCC’s conditional approval (which required the FCC to change broadcast ownership law to allow the deal), Sinclair pushed its luck by refusing to divest the stations as recommended by regulators.
The FCC threw Sinclair a bone, not a whole steak
When Sinclair refused to play by the FCC’s rules, Chairman Ajit Pai sent the deal to a administrative law judge, essentially closing the door on their hopes of approval.
Furious that Sinclair gambled away an almost-done deal, Tribune chose to call the deal off rather than appeal -- and sue its former merge-mate for $1B in damages and lost premiums.
Now that the deal is dead, Sinclair will likely pursue other local broadcasters -- although it will be more difficult to do so while it combats Tribune’s lawsuit. Meanwhile, Tribune’s back on the market.
Neuromarketing startup Spark Neuro raised $13.5m to help advertisers read minds
Spark Neuro, a startup that uses an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset to monitor consumers’ emotional responses to ads and movies, raised a $13.5m Series A to build out its neuroanalytics platform for advertisers.
Spark knows what you really think about that ad
Spark (an acronym for ‘Scientific Persuasive Artistic Research-Driven Knowledge’) monitors brain waves, eye movements, facial expressions, and skin reactions of viewers as they watch ads, trailers, or movies.
Using the 6k data points gathered per second, the system measures attention and emotion levels on a 1-10 scale. Then, advertisers/producers can use that data to understand how successful their content was.
For advertisers, mind reading is big business
By 2021, brands are expected to shell out $757B on advertising. And, if brands are spending that much on ads, they damn well better know if they’re working.
Spark offers a more accurate analysis of an ad’s performance than surveys or focus groups, and big brands are lining up to to know how their audiences perceives their ads.
Investors Peter Thiel, Will Smith, and ex-Disney CEO Michael Eisner are eager to see how the tech works for the 2-year-old company’s clients -- which already include Anheuser-Busch, GM, Walmart, Fedex, Clorox, P&G, and other Fortune 100 giants.