Happy Tuesday, folks. You want proof that Americans still love Thanksgiving? $60B worth of companies tied the knot yesterday so their execs could enjoy their stuffing. Today:
- Corporate executives will do anything to take a Turkey Day nap
- Conflict-ridden countries rebrand themselves back on the map
- Facebookers alums made your Great Aunt Susan an app
This year’s Merger Monday served up a bountiful harvest
What in the name of Dow Jones is Merger Monday, you ask?
Well, real holidays tend to beget made-up holidays. Most of us probably know Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving when online retailers discount the bejesus out of all of their products before the holiday rush.
But the Monday before Thanksgiving is Merger Monday, a day when corporate board members and bankers wrap up all the deals they’ve been working on so they can enjoy some turkey, football, and family time.
No, we’re not kidding. As Axios’ Dan Primack put it: “This isn’t about a macro economic shift. It’s about bankers and boards wanting to enjoy their Thanksgiving breaks, without constant cell phone pings.”
And this year, there were several juicy mergers on the table
Here’s a roundup of some of the most noteworthy of yesterday’s newly minted Turkey-day titans:
- The big bird: Charles Schwab announced plans to buy TD Ameritrade for $26B. The megamerger will result in a brokerage giant that controls more than $5T in assets.
- The mashed potatoes: LVMH finalized plans to acquire jewelry giant Tiffany & Co for $16.2B. The deal’s been under negotiation since October, but LVMH only convinced Tiffany to pass its potatoes after asking nicely — AKA increasing its earlier $14.5B bid.
- The gravy: Novartis announced plans to acquire Medicines Co. — which is developing an innovative cholesterol drug that might not see sales until 2021 — for $9.7B.
- The cranberry on top: eBay announced plans to sell StubHub to the Swiss ticket marketplace Viagogo for $4.05B. EBay acquired StubHub in 2007 for $310m, but now the company plans to offload businesses that aren’t essential to its core marketplace.
By day’s end, the stock exchanges were sitting fat and happy
More than $60B worth of deals closed by the end of the day, enough to satisfy even the bottomless appetites of America’s big exchanges. The Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 all closed at record highs.
3 stats to get your entrepreneurial motor humming:
- Despite the stigma, 80% of the world already eats insects.
- The humble food truck industry is now a $3B pie.
- In 2018, $800m was invested in mental wellness startups.
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Can you sell a country like you sell a Coca-Cola?
Colombia, Rwanda, and Croatia have seen major tragedy in the past couple decades.
They’ve since rebounded to become bucket-list travel destinations. As The New York Times reports, their success can provide a rebranding playbook for other countries overcoming upheaval.
Marketers took some interesting approaches
Colombia highlighted its geographical diversity, which includes beaches, rainforests, and mountains. Marketers didn’t shy away from what they knew people were saying. A 2008 advertising tagline informed potential visitors: “el riesgo es que te quieras quedar” — “the risk is that you’ll want to stay.”
Rwanda also capitalized on its natural wonders, particularly its gorillas. Last year Portia de Rossi took Ellen DeGeneres on a birthday tour of Africa that included a visit to a facility named for DeGeneres that is being built at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Naturally, the trip was well-documented by the power couple, who command a combined 80m Instagram followers. Influencer marketing at its finest.
Croatia, meanwhile, improved its accessibility — perhaps too much. Visitors once had to go to Italy, Austria, or Hungary before hopping a train or ferry into the country. Later, connecting flights from European hubs made travel easier, and this year American Airlines introduced a direct flight from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik. That the country boasts miles of beach along the Adriatic Sea doesn’t hurt. Neither does the fact that “Game of Thrones” shot many of its iconic scenes there.
So, where are they now?
In 2017, Colombia welcomed 3m+ visitors, and Rwanda saw tourism total 1.5m travelers. In 2018, 19.7m people visited Croatia.
Other countries are taking note. Sierra Leone, which suffered an Ebola outbreak in 2014, hopes tourists will come to celebrate its chimpanzee population.
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In fact, in the time I didn’t spend writing this monday.com ad, I…
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Private companies are taking the weather biz by storm… and raising some red flags
Valued at $7B and growing, the private weather forecasting biz in the US is booming. Startups like Spire and ClimaCell are selling weather data captured from satellites, cell signals, and other sources.
And this year IBM announced it’s developed a model that can precisely predict weather in places that used to rely on general predictions, like Africa and South America.
Sounds like a good thing, but there are reasons to be concerned. More privately collected weather data could make it more difficult to access the most reliable forecasts. Unless you drop some cash.
Private, for-profit weather companies used to rely on government data
They made money by repackaging this freely available data for clients such as airlines and power companies. Now that private companies are amassing their own data — often through more sophisticated systems than the National Weather Service — the NWS may need to partner with the private sector to get the best data.
But some people in the industry fear these partnerships may come with a cost to the consumer if, for example, their partners restrict broad sharing — with both the public and the World Meteorological Organization. (Subscription weather services, anyone?)
Precise, timely weather warnings can mean life or death…
… and will only become more crucial as we continue to experience more extreme weather more frequently, due in part to climate change.
Whether the weather biz, and the emerging tech associated with it, improves forecasts (and outcomes) for all or creates a system where some people pay for the most precise info is yet to be seen.
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👪 Ahh, turkey, stuffing, and… Facebook for your family? A group of ex-Facebook employees launched a new app called Cocoon that’s designed to be a social media for families.
🚫 No more Uber in London. The ride-sharing giant got kicked out of London, its largest European market, for failing to meet standards of safety and security. As Uber reels from, ya know, never making a profit, this London exodus further erodes international revenues.
🎮 Sometimes, losing at video games really IS a big deal. A man spent $1.4m on a video game character, and his friend accidentally sold it for $552. According to a story from the gaming publication Kotaku, “the defendant claimed the shockingly low price was due to a typo induced by exhaustion after a marathon gaming session.”
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