White House, Red Flag

MARKETS

  • U.S. markets: The week started off mostly on the wrong foot, as investors seemed to remember that a trade war might be a distinct possibility. Industrial companies like Caterpillar and Boeing fell, bringing down the Dow.
  • International markets: Asian stocks got a late push from Friday’s U.S. jobs report.



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TECH

The White House Lays Down the Hammer on Broadcom

Picture

Broadcom (+3.57%) served a deal up and President Trump spiked it right back down. The $117 billion Broadcom-Qualcomm deal, aka the chipmaker deal we spent the last few months talking about, aka what would have been the biggest tech deal ever…is officially over after the White House blocked the proposal.

The reason? National security concerns.

But this is an unprecedented action by the White House

It’s the first time the U.S. government has blocked a deal that wasn’t even a deal. Qualcomm (-0.35%) refused previous bids, turning the proposal into a hostile takeover attempt by Broadcom.

But before Broadcom could take its case to Qualcomm’s board, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) sounded the alarm to President Trump. It suggested Broadcom, a Singapore-based chipmaker known for cost-cutting, could squash Qualcomm’s industry-leading 5G tech.

And that was all the president needed to hear. 5G is one of tech’s biggest arms races. And if not fueled properly, Chinese competitors like Huawei could pull ahead—an issue many see as a legitimate threat to national security.

What else has the administration done in the name of national security?

* Applied tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) imports from all countries except Canada, Mexico, and Australia
* Blocked the sale of Dallas-based money transfer company MoneyGram to Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba
* Blocked the sale of Lattice Semiconductor to a Chinese government-backed private equity firm

Zoom out: Can you spot the pattern? These actions all resist the growing threat of China—economically, technologically, and politically.

As for Broadcom, it’s beaten but not broken. Some think it might shift its attention towards a marriage with Intel. At the very least, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan seems to have big ambitions in the U.S., so this won’t be the last we see of it.

FINANCE

All Signs Point to David Solomon as Goldman’s Heir Apparent

DJ stage voice: “Goldman intern class of 2018, get those hands in the air and make some noooooisse! Alright, now get back to work.”

It’s looking more and more likely that David Solomon, full-time Goldman Sachs (+0.96%) president and part-time DJ (seriously), will take over as CEO when Lloyd Blankfein steps down. Especially after Goldman’s other candidate, Harvey Schwartz, announced his retirement.

And Solomon (aka D.J. D-Sol) isn’t too different from Steve Aoki. That is, if Aoki was a hard-nosed investment banker who became a partner at Goldman in 1999. Sol ran the IB arm for a decade, raising revenue 70% during his tenure.

He lightened junior bankers’ workloads, empowered women in positions of leadership, and played a central role in Goldman’s $5 billion growth plan.

But if Solomon takes the reins when Blankfein steps down, he’ll take over a GS at a crossroads. Should it continue to lean on trading revenues—no other bank relies on them as much as Goldman—or shift to a more stable, investment banking-focused model?

Or option #3: become an underground night club.

FINANCE

The X’s and O’s of Dropbox’s IPO

With Daylight Savings come and gone, large private tech companies are waking up from hibernation and getting ready to IPO. Cloud storage company Dropbox gave us a lot more clarity on what its public offering will look like.

Ticker symbol: DBX.

Share price and valuation: $16 to $18. Splitting the difference would value the company at $7.5 billion (down from $10 billion in the private market).

Total fundraise: As much as $648 million, making it the biggest tech IPO since Snap. Salesforce’s VC arm also agreed to buy $100 million of the stock.

Timing: DBX could start trading on the Nasdaq exchange late next week. For now, execs and underwriters will try to sell DBX as a good investment on their cross-country “road show.” Our advice: avoid mentioning Snap’s 33% drop from its post-IPO high.

Zoom out: Nothing against Dropbox or Spotify, but let’s call this round of tech IPOs the appetizer for the main course in 2019: Uber and Airbnb.

TECH

Apple Positions Itself as a Trustworthy News Provider

Real news: Apple (+0.97%) is acquiring digital magazine service Texture to provide reliable content in a time of fake news.

The deal amount is undisclosed, but we do know it’ll include Texture’s library of 200 magazines from Time to Men’s Health to Cosmopolitan. And with a monthly subscription fee of $9.99, it’s known as the Netflix of magazines.

Zoom out: Facebook, Google, Twitter…you name it…are being lambasted for not keeping the lid on fake news closed. It’s one of the most pervasive discussions in tech right now.

And it makes sense when you think about their business models: up to 90% of revenues are driven by ads. They’re a B2B play at heart, meaning it hasn’t always been in their interest to police content for consumers.

On the flip side: Almost all of Apple’s revenue is driven by consumers, so it’s well within its model to offer trustworthy content, something Texture can provide.

As the world searches for reliable sources of news, Apple’s hoping to capitalize.

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • DowDuPont’s (-1.23%) CEO is retiring April 1. No, not April Fools.
  • Microsoft’s (+0.24%) Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams, has 200,000 organizations signed up a year after its launch.
  • Just like your stomach when reading this, Uber Eats is expanding. It’ll reach 100 new cities across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East in 2018.
  • Reporting earnings today: Dick’s, DSW

WATER COOLER

VENTURE THIS

Each week, we’ll let you know about a startup making waves. We’ll tell you about the company, pitching you the good and the bad. Then we want to hear from you. Would you invest?

There’s not much that gets Mr. Wonderful to bite on a deal, but high tech vending machine startup Vengo did just that on Shark Tank in 2016. Since then, Vengo reached $7 million in total funding from investors like Gary Vaynerchuk.

How it works: Vengo mounts high-tech vending machines on walls in strategic areas like gyms, hotels, libraries, etc.

What caught Mr. Wonderful’s eye

There are already over 700 Vengo machines across the country in high-traffic areas like college campuses. The machine sells for $3,100 plus a $15 monthly software fee, but get this: with its interactive touch screen, Vengo not only sells you a Reese’s, but it also hits you with an ad while you wait for it to vend.

For that type of brand awareness, companies are forking over $200 a month to own some real estate with Vengo.

What we don’t like

Rate of adoption. Vengo was founded all the way back in 2012 and doesn’t have a ton to show for it.

Maybe that’s because at Vengo, building out the hardware and the software is done in-house. This could be seen as a point of strength, but with only $7 million in funding, the company could run into cash flow issues while it tries to scale.

THE BREAKROOM

BREWIFIED TERM

Redomiciliation—When a company moves its legal HQ to another jurisdiction, often to take advantage of favorable tax laws. Singapore-based Broadcom said it would speed up its redomiciliation to the U.S. to satisfy regulators as it tried (and failed) to take over Qualcomm.

VIRAL CLIPS

John Oliver took a stab at explaining cryptocurrencies. How’d he do? Pretty good, but he’s a little late to the crypto party.

BRAIN TEASER

You have two vertical poles. One stands at 6 ft. 6 in, the other at 7 ft. 7 in. From the top of each pole tie a string to the bottom of the other pole. At what height do the two strings cross?

(Answer located at bottom of newsletter)

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Breakroom Answers

Brain Teaser
42 inches (See explanation)

 

Magni ab in minima quasi quaerat. Dolores fuga quos enim temporibus repudiandae et. Exercitationem ut voluptatibus possimus consequuntur ut. Aspernatur ea est blanditiis eveniet voluptates nostrum sed voluptatem.

Tempora sed ipsam nulla dolores corrupti ab. Eaque provident illum sunt porro minus atque vero. Ratione ea nulla nihil repudiandae sit. Qui et quod temporibus consectetur. Reiciendis nostrum explicabo qui at est.

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