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Big mergin’: Wallets are out and mergers are happening, people
Recently, all’s been fairly quiet on the M&A front. But yesterday a few mega-mergers took place, throwing an idling year for takeovers and tie-ups into high gear.
And these are BIG.
Marathon is cooking with gas
Marathon Petroleum Corp. agreed to buy rival Andeavor for more than $23B in the biggest tie-up between US oil refineries in history.
As the world’s top fuel exporter, the US ships 3m+ barrels of gasoline and diesel per day. Thanks to Andeavor’s existing presence in Texas and North Dakota, Marathon’s ex-competitor now gives them access to the booming US shale oil sector -- if you’re gonna own it, why not own it all?
‘Big vacation’ just got even bigger
Marriott Vacations agreed to buy timeshare operator ILG inc. for close to $4.7B in a stock and cash deal that will create the largest luxury brand for timeshare vacation resorts.
Together, the firm will have revenue of $2.9B and own more than 100 vacation properties around the world. The merger is predicted to contribute to $75m in annual savings within the next two years.
Now, that’s a great vacation deal.
And then there were 3
T-Mobile and Sprint, the nation’s 3rd- and 4th-largest wireless carriers, agreed to a $27B merger with the potential to shake up the US telecom industry.
The deal marks the latest attempt by T-Mobile (operated by Deutsche Telekom) and Sprint (run by SoftBank) to pool their subscribers -- and finally hold a candle to giants like Verizon and AT&T.
T-Mobile and Sprint have flirted for years at the telecom-prom, but US regulators were good chaperones and kept them apart. But as Chinese telecoms threaten to crash the 5G party, regulators may go from monitors to matchmakers to keep US hometown heroes in the limelight.
Can we settle it with a pie eating contest?
WhatsApp founder and CEO steps down to collect Porsches and play Frisbee
Unsurprisingly, insiders told WaPo that Koum’s beliefs don’t jive with Facebook’s philosophy on user data and the company’s attempts to use personal data from WhatsApp’s encrypted messaging platform.
And, it’s certainly not a stretch of the imagination to think that the Cambridge Analytica expose brought these differences to a head.
But, at least publicly, the parting is cordial. Mark Zuckerberg has already commented on Koum’s Facebook resignation post, “Jan: I will miss working so closely with you. I'm grateful for everything you've done.”
Executives posting their resignations on Facebook. What a time to be alive.
Virgin Hyperloop One joins forces with DP World to bring cargo shipping to India
Virgin Hyperloop One and DP World are launching a joint venture called DP World Cargospeed, just 2 years after VHO hit up the UAE-based shipping company for $50m in funding.
According to TechCrunch, the new system will transport high-priority, time-sensitive goods along Virgin Hyperloop One’s planned routes across territories in India, including fresh food, medical supplies, and electronics.
Scratching backs, one sultan at a time
DP World, led by Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, swooped in last year to help Branson and Virgin Hyperloop after whispers of a financial bind made its way out of the 300 person company.
But, even with the new lifeline, the company still has very little to show as far as a functional product.
That said, with just 10 km of test hyperloop track built, and an ongoing pitch that relies heavily on sexy buzzwords like “high-speed” and “on-demand,” the ambitious project shows no signs of losing trust with the public.
Dangling a high-speed carrot
In a recent interview with CNBC, Branson said he sees VHO’s technology becoming operational in the next 2 to 3 years, but there are still some major hurdles to get over.
For one, most of the shipping world runs on logistics systems designed in the 19th and 20th centuries -- in other words, they’ll need an upgrade if VHO plans to hit the rails at Mach 1 “cargospeed.”
A high-tech anti-poaching alarm system takes aim at the $23B poaching industry
Connected Conservation, a high-tech burglar alarm designed to prevent wild-game poaching, has reduced the number of rhinos killed by poachers at a South African reserve from 70 to zero in just 2 years.
The collaboration between San Francisco IT-giant Cisco and South African data startup Dimension Data is one of the most successful initiatives so far in the fight against wildlife trafficking -- an industry worth up to $23B a year worldwide.
Horny buyers drive demand for wildlife trafficking
Good rhino horns sell for up to $100,000 per kilo in China and Vietnam, due to a belief they cure everything from cancer to erectile dysfunction. This demand drove a 9k% increase in South African rhino poaching from 2007 to 2014.
But, starting in 2015 -- when Connected Conservation was created -- the total rhino deaths in South Africa dropped for 3 consecutive years.
Defense against the park sharks
When gun-toting rangers were the only security in the 135k-acre reserve, park officials carted off dead, de-horned rhinos every other night. Now, a wireless network of thermal cameras and biometric gateways cuts response time from 30 to 7 minutes -- effectively eliminating rhino deaths.
To further reduce poaching and bribery (and protect rangers), Cisco and Dimension Data plan to further automate the $1.5m-per-year system with drone patrols and seismic sensors.
Eventually, they hope to install versions of the system across the world to protect animal populations being picked on by poachers. One already exists in Zambia, and systems will be developed in Kenya, Mozambique, and India next.
Billions of dollars in sales, tens of thousands of employees, valuations that make investors weep with joy -- these stories typically have something in common: a crap-ton of funding.
Hustle Con speaker Jake Kassan’s story isn’t one of them.
Before starting MVMT, Jake had 3 things: $20k of debt, a co-founder, and an idea.
The idea was for affordable, luxury watches. At the time, the only watches on the market were boring and bland or outrageously expensive.
So, the guys had a lightbulb moment: they'd cut out the middle man, go straight to the consumer, and produce a watch that millennials could actually afford.
There was one major roadblock: startup capital
The guys knew they weren't gonna get funding from big-deal investors. They’d dropped out of college to pursue the business, and Jake was already tens of thousands of dollars in debt from his first company.
So, they turned to Indiegogo – and good thing they did, they raised $15k in just 20 days. 30 days after that, they had raised $300k… 1400% over their initial funding goal.
MVMT was born.
Without taking any additional funding – or taking on massive debt – MVMT earned $90m in revenue last year. They have over 1.5m customers (and only 32 employees).
That's like reaching in an empty top hat and pulling out a rabbit, except the rabbit is worth $90M.
Want to know Jake's secret to MVMT's magic trick? Then you need to be at Hustle Con on June 22.
Electrical engineers at the University of Washington have announced a breakthrough way to charge batteries with lasers. There’s just one hitch, laser are dangerous yo.
Unlike other laser-charging proposals which could cause harm, the researchers hope to create a safer method using more, lower-powered lasers to create a force field of safety. No eyes lost here. [WIRED]
Reaching for another cup o’ joe to crank through the afternoon? We’ve got a secret: you don’t need that dirty bean water. Ditch the crash-then-burn habit with KetoFIRE.
Ancient Nutrition’s KetoFIRE features a blend of ingredients to support mental clarity, metabolism, and energy: caffeine from organic coffee cherry, clinically-studied Ashwagandha extract, apple cider vinegar, and more. So, whether you’re following a ketogenic diet or not, KetoFIRE can help you find your “late-afternoon-on-a-Friday” edge. [Ancient Nutrition]
Sure, a nice pen works fine, but you know what really says, “wow, you’re rich”? The $365k “Signing Machine” from Jaquet Droz.
Hailed as a revolution in pocket-sized handwriting machines, the contraption is surprisingly low tech. The Signing Machine showcases Jaquet Droz’s mastery of mechanical clock working and is made up of over 585 individual parts. But hold the wallet fold, you do have to wind it. [DIGITAL TIMES]
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