Ford CEO Brushes Off Competition From Tesla, GM, Toyota: "Chinese Are Going To Be The Powerhouse"
Bristol Myers (BMY) Loses 10.5% Year-to-Date: What Lies Ahead?
Bristol-Myers' (BMY) top drugs, Revlimid and Eliquis, face challenges. It remains to be seen if the approval of new drugs can fuel growth and offset declines. Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY have lost 10.5% in the year so far compared with the industry’s decline of 9.5%.Last month, the company reported mixed results for the first quarter of 2023. The company beat on first-quarter earnings but missed on sales, which declined year over year due to continued generic competition faced by Revlimid.While sales of the immuno-oncology drug Opdivo, approved for multiple cancer indications, maintain momentum, one of the top drugs, Eliquis, is now facing generic erosion in Canada and the UK; hence, sales of the drug declined in international markets in the first quarter.While the decline in sales of Revlimid and international sales of Eliquis remain a concern, the pipeline progress has been encouraging. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchEarlier in the year, psoriasis drug Sotyktu (deucravacitinib) was approved by the European Commission (EC). Sotyktu is a first-in-class, selective tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) inhibitor for treating adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy, representing a new way of treating this chronic immune-mediated disease. It is already approved in the United States. The psoriasis market holds a lot of potential and a strong uptake of Sotyktu will bode well for Bristol-Myers.The FDA recently accepted the new drug application (NDA) for repotrectinib, which seeks approval for this next-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) for treating patients with ROS1-positive locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The regulatory body has granted Priority Review to the application and has assigned a target action date of Nov 27, 2023.The candidate was added to BMY’s pipeline with the acquisition of clinical-stage precision oncology company Turning Point Therapeutics in August 2022.The FDA also granted Fast Track Designation to pipeline candidate milvexian. The candidate is being studied for the prevention and treatment of major thrombotic conditions as part of the Librexia program in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Last month, the EC granted approval to Breyanzi (lisocabtagene maraleucel; liso-cel), a CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, for the treatment of adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), high-grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBCL), primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) and follicular lymphoma grade 3B (FL3B) who relapsed within 12 months from completion of or are refractory to first-line chemoimmunotherapy. This approval covers all European Union (EU) member states.Earlier, the EC also granted full Marketing Authorization to Reblozyl (luspatercept), a first-in-class therapeutic option, to treat adult patients with anemia associated with non-transfusion-dependent (NTD) beta-thalassemia. The drug is approved in the EU, the United States and Canada to address anemia associated with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia and transfusion-dependent lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes.Bristol Myers Squibb develops and commercializes Reblozyl through a global collaboration with medical powerhouse Merck MRK. Merck acquired Acceleron Pharma in November 2021, following which it collaborated with BMY to develop and commercialize Reblozyl.While the label expansion of these drugs and potential approval of new drugs will add an incremental revenue stream to boost growth in the coming quarters, it is still a long way before the dent caused by the rapid erosion of Revlimid sales is filled up. Separately, Giovanni Caforio, MD, chairman of the board and chief executive officer (CEO), will retire from the post, effective Nov 1, 2023.Bristol-Myers currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Some top-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector are Ligand Pharmaceuticals LGND and Novartis NVS. LGND currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 and Novartis carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Over the past 30 days, earnings estimates for LGND have increased by $1.09 to $5.25. LGND topped earnings estimates in two of the last four quarters and missed in the remaining two, the average surprise being 21.50%.Over the past 30 days, NVS’ earnings estimates have increased to $6.67 from $6.56 for 2023. Novartis surpassed estimates in all the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 5.15%. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Novartis AG (NVS): Free Stock Analysis Report Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Free Stock Analysis Report Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»
3 Top-Ranked Beverage Stocks with Epic Returns
Soft Drink and Beverage companies have demonstrated that they can be some of the highest performing stocks in the market From refreshing carbonated soft drinks to healthy alternatives, the thirst-quenching market captivates investors seeking potential opportunities, and rightfully so. Soft Drink and Beverage companies have demonstrated that they can be some of the highest performing stocks in the market.While Coca-Cola KO and Pepsi PEP have shaped the industry for decades, several newer companies have proven that there is plenty of room for beverage innovation.Monster Beverage MNST, Celsius CELH, and Vita Coco COCO are all high-ranking stocks that have put up some incredible returns. COCO, the newest company, went public just 18 months ago and is already up 92% since its IPO.However, the returns of Celsius, and Monster Beverage are in a league of their own. Over the last 10 years CELH stock is up a mind boggling 51,800%, or 85% annualized. Over the last 20 years MNST stock is up an unbelievable 128,500%, or 42.5% annualized.The fresh new offerings from these companies haven’t gone unnoticed by the industry’s incumbents. In 2015, Coca Cola acquired a 16.7% equity stake in Monster Beverage and placed two directors on its board. Additionally, KO transferred its energy drink business to MNST, and MNST transferred its non-energy drink business to KO. The partnership has likely been beneficial to both companies.The beverage industry more broadly has been experiencing strong returns over the last year as well. It currently ranks in the top 10% of the Zacks Industry Rank, and has outperformed the market Indexes.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchCelsiusCelsius is an innovative beverage company that has gained significant attention for its unique line of fitness drinks. Focused on providing functional and healthy beverages, Celsius has positioned itself as a leader in the growing wellness industry.The company's flagship product, Celsius Fitness Drink, stands out for its thermogenic properties and ability to enhance metabolism and energy levels. With a commitment to science-backed formulations and quality ingredients, CELH has built a loyal customer base among fitness enthusiasts and health-conscious consumers.The brand's success can be attributed to its targeted marketing strategies, extensive distribution network, and strategic partnerships with athletes and fitness influencers.CELH has seen its earnings estimates revised significantly higher, giving it a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Current quarter earnings have been revised higher by 14.8% are expected to grow 158% YoY and FY23 earnings have been upgraded by 32.7% and are expected to grow 154% YoY.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSales over the last decade at CELH have gone absolutely parabolic. In just the last four years revenue has 10x’d from $75 million to $780 million. That pace looks like it is going to keep up, as the current quarter sales are projected to grow 75% YoY and FY23 sales are expected to climb 68% YoY.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchCelsius has an admittedly lofty valuation. Trading at a TTM price to sales ratio of 13.8x it is well above the industry average of 4.9x, and its 10-year median of 5.7x. It is worth noting that MNST is trading at a 9.4x multiple, which is high compared to any standard. However, its 10-year median is 8.8x, so it is just about in line with its historical average.This shows just how high the market is willing value these successful beverage companies. While CELH may not be the next MNST, it likely has a few more years of exponential revenue growth, making the sky-high valuation a bit more palatable.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchVita CocoVita Coco is a leading beverage company that has made a significant impact in the coconut water market. Recognizing the growing demand for natural and healthier hydration options, Vita Coco has successfully established itself as a trusted brand offering premium coconut water products.COCO sources its coconuts from carefully selected regions to ensure the highest quality and taste. Vita Coco's beverages are known for their refreshing flavor, natural electrolytes, and hydrating properties, making them a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts and health-conscious consumers.With a strong commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing practices, Vita Coco has not only captured a significant market share but also earned a reputation as a socially responsible brand. As the demand for healthier beverages continues to rise, COCO is well-positioned to capitalize on this trend and maintain its position as a leading player in the coconut water market.Vita Coco currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), indicating upward trending earnings revisions. FY23 earnings have been revised higher by nearly 5% and are expected to see growth of 191% YoY. Additionally, FY23 sales are projected to grow 11.7% YoY.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchCOCO is trading at a TTM price to sales ratio of 3.4x, which is well below the industry average of 4.9x, and above its two-year median of 1.8x. Considering how rapidly the drink has become one of the most popular coconut water drinks in the market this may be a compelling valuation, especially when compared to MNST and CELH.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMonster BeverageMonster Beverage is a powerhouse in the global beverage industry, known for its iconic energy drink brand. With a strong presence in over 90 countries, MNST has cemented its position as a market leader. The company's flagship product, Monster Energy, has gained widespread popularity for its bold flavors, potent caffeine content, and association with extreme sports and lifestyle.Leveraging a successful marketing strategy that targets a youthful demographic, Monster Beverage has effectively built a strong brand image and cultivated a dedicated following. Despite facing fierce competition in the energy drink space, Monster Beverage's relentless commitment to product innovation, strategic partnerships, and expanding product portfolio continues to drive its growth and reinforce its position as a dominant player in the ever-energetic beverage market.MNST boasts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), reflecting its upward trending earnings revisions. FY23 earnings have been revised higher by 9.2% and are expected to grow 38.4% YoY, an incredible growth rate for a mature company. Additionally, FY23 sales are expected to grow 12.5% YoY.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAlmost as impressive as its stock returns are the growth in earnings per share. From 2004 to 2022 EPS have grown from $0.02 to $1.22, which is a CAGR of 23%. Also interesting is that net income has been ~20% revenue almost every single year, showing incredibly stability of the company’s financial management.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMNST offers an insight into what a powerful return on equity looks like. Monster Beverage has $8.8 billion in total assets, and just $1.5 billion in liabilities, leaving shareholder equity at ~$7.4 billion. With that equity it produces $1.3 billion in net income, an 18% return on equity, which MNST will likely be able to produce for decades to come. That is an enviable position for any company.Bottom LineBeverage companies enjoy strong fundamental factors when the business is executed properly. Drinks are easily and regularly consumed, sometimes multiple times per day. Especially when brands get into something like the health niche, consumers can identify with brand making customers consumption even stickier. Additionally, there are massive, readily available networks for drinks to be distributed, from supermarkets to convenience stores and direct to consumers among others. Lastly, beverages have great margins, allowing them the potential to be extremely profitable.Investors have a few options when it comes to investing in drink companies; buy shares in the leaders like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, who often absorb smaller and fast-growing start-up brands. Buy shares in the newcomers like those listed above or find an even newer brand that fits into some trending niche with high risk, but high reward potential. Just Released: Free Report Reveals Little-Known Strategies to Help Profit from the $30 Trillion Metaverse Boom It's undeniable. The metaverse is gaining steam every day. Just follow the money. Google. Microsoft. Adobe. Nike. Facebook even rebranded itself as Meta because Mark Zuckerberg believes the metaverse is the next iteration of the internet. The inevitable result? Many investors will get rich as the metaverse evolves. What do they know that you don't? They’re aware of the companies best poised to grow as the metaverse does. And in a new FREE report, Zacks is revealing those stocks to you. This week, you can download, The Metaverse - What is it? And How to Profit with These 5 Pioneering Stocks. It reveals specific stocks set to skyrocket as this emerging technology develops and expands. Don't miss your chance to access it for free with no obligation.>>Show me how I could profit from the metaverse!Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report CocaCola Company (The) (KO): Free Stock Analysis Report Vita Coco Company, Inc. (COCO): Free Stock Analysis Report PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP): Free Stock Analysis Report Monster Beverage Corporation (MNST): Free Stock Analysis Report Celsius Holdings Inc. (CELH): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»
The Graveyard Of Empires: The Top Investments As The World Order Collapses
The Graveyard Of Empires: The Top Investments As The World Order Collapses Authored by Nick Giamburno via InternationalMan.com,. “You have the watches, but we have the time.” The Taliban often referred to this old Afghan saying when discussing their fight against the Americans. Ultimately, they were proven correct. After almost two decades of conflict, an insurgent army from one of the world’s poorest nations inflicted a decisive military defeat on the US, the global superpower that upholds the unipolar world order. The US government’s total failure in Afghanistan—the longest war in American history—signifies a crucial moment and turning point in world history. The Soviet Union collapsed about two years after the Red Army was defeated and withdrew from Afghanistan. As we approach the second anniversary of the American retreat, could a similar fate be in store for the US? While nobody knows the future, there is an excellent chance that the colossal failure in Afghanistan could accelerate the unraveling of the geopolitical power of the US and the shift to a multipolar world order. Afghanistan’s strategic position has always made it a coveted prize in the Eurasian landscape. As shown in the image below, Afghanistan is situated in the center of Eurasia, at the crossroads of China, Iran, and Russia—the three primary challengers to the US-led world order. This central location is why Afghanistan has enormous geopolitical importance and why the US desired a strategic military presence there. Source: Ontheworldmap.com The US military’s presence in Afghanistan was a strategic roadblock to Russia, China, and Iran’s goal of creating a powerful geopolitical group in Eurasia that could challenge the US-led world order. However, with the Taliban forcing the US military out of Afghanistan, the door to a more coherent geopolitical alliance in Eurasia is now wide open. In short, failure in Afghanistan is a geopolitical disaster for the US. For at least the past decade, China, Russia, and Iran have been working on an impressive plan to connect Eurasia—even while the US military was in Afghanistan. This trend will likely speed up now that the US military is no longer physically in their way. Here’s what they have been working on… China, Russia, and Iran are constructing a vast network of land-based transportation infrastructure, making the US Navy’s control of the oceans less significant. China’s New Silk Road project is central to this new system. It aims to bypass the US financial system and the US Navy’s control of sea routes. The project, planned to be operational by 2025, includes high-speed railways, highways, fiber optic cables, energy pipelines, seaports, and airports. These Eurasian powers are also establishing alternative international organizations for financial, political, and security cooperation, separate from those central to the US-led world order, institutions like NATO, the World Bank, SWIFT, and the IMF. Some notable examples include the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), launched by China in 2014 and is an alternative to the IMF and World Bank. The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a Russian-led trading bloc created in 2015, allows for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people among its member countries. Lastly, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) focuses on military and security collaboration between its members. If current trends continue, it will result in greater economic, political, and security collaboration among the three main Eurasian nations—China, Russia, and Iran—at the expense of US geopolitical interests. This scenario is exactly what Zbigniew Brzezinski worried would make the US “geopolitically peripheral.” It spells the end of the unipolar world order. In short, we are on the path to the emergence of an alliance of powerful Eurasian countries and a multipolar world order. As the world order changes, I think there are two prominent investment outcomes we can bet on. Outcome #1: The US Dollar Will Lose Its Privileged Position The decline of America’s geopolitical influence is another enormous headwind for the US dollar. Suppose the world thinks the US military is the ultimate backstop of the US dollar. What does it mean for the US dollar’s credibility when a ragtag group of insurgents from one of the poorest countries can defeat the military which backs it? If the mighty US military couldn’t secure its partners in Afghanistan, how can it protect its other allies? Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Western European countries, and the Gulf Arab states are likely pondering this. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them make security arrangements with US adversaries—such as China, Russia, and Iran—that exclude the Americans. In fact, this has already happened with Saudi Arabia, a crucial player in the US-led world order. Saudi Arabia is the linchpin of the petrodollar system, which has underpinned the US dollar since Nixon removed its last links to gold in 1971. In a matter of weeks, Saudi Arabia has: Restored relations with Iran. Restored relations with Syria and welcomed it back to Arab League. Supported multiple OPEC+ oil production cuts against American wishes. Announced an end to the war in Yemen. Agreed to sell oil in other currencies. Decided to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The US recently sent its CIA director to Riyadh to tell the Saudis the Americans feel “blindsided” amid these seismic shifts in Saudi foreign policy. In short, a paradigm shift in Saudi policies signifies a paradigm shift in the US dollar because of the petrodollar system. However, Saudi Arabia is not the only US ally hedging its geopolitical bets recently. France, India, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and others are making moves to cozy up to the Eurasian geopolitical block. The big question is, how long will the world continue to hold the paper liabilities of a bankrupt and declining government? While the US dollar is the leading global currency, it was already on a path of inevitable debasement and eventual collapse—even before considering the compounding effects of a multipolar world order. The only reason the US government has managed to avoid severe consequences from its monetary policies is the US dollar’s status as the world’s premiere reserve currency, thanks to Washington’s military and economic dominance that has prevailed since the end of World War II. However, as this dominance wanes, so will the dollar’s purchasing power. The US government’s ability to hide the effects of its rampant money printing by offloading trillions of dollars to foreigners is nearing its end. That’s terrible news for the US dollar. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m excited about the Chinese fiat currency—or whatever new monetary concoction the Eurasian block comes up with. Ultimately it will be nothing more than the liability of a new grouping of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Money is simply something useful for storing and exchanging value. That’s it. People have used stones, glass beads, salt, cattle, seashells, gold, silver, and other commodities as money at different times. Think of money as a claim on human time. It’s like stored life or energy. Unfortunately, today most of humanity thoughtlessly accepts whatever worthless digital and paper scrips their governments give them as money. However, money does not need to come from the government. That’s a total misnomer that the average person has been hoodwinked into believing. Fake money comes from government. Real money emerges from the market. Government currencies are terrible money because they are easy to produce with a potentially unlimited supply. The free market wouldn’t choose government confetti as money without laws forcing their use. Here’s another way to think of it. Imagine if Tony Soprano forced his neighborhood to use pieces of paper with his signature as money and threatened violence against anyone who disobeyed. That’s what governments are doing with their currencies. Here’s the bottom line with money. Hardness is the most important characteristic of a good money. Hardness does not mean something that is necessarily tangible or physically hard, like metal. Instead, it means “hard to produce.” By contrast, “easy money” is easy to produce. The best way to think of hardness is “resistance to debasement,” which helps make it a good store of value—an essential function of money. Would you want to put your savings into something somebody else can create without effort or cost? Of course, you wouldn’t. It would be like storing your life savings in Chuck E. Cheese arcade tokens, airline frequent flyer miles, or pieces of paper with Tony Soprano’s signature. Unfortunately, putting your savings into government currencies isn’t that much different. What is desirable in a good money is something that someone else cannot make easily. In short, as the US dollar loses its privileged position, I expect an ocean of capital to flow into apolitical, free-market, hard-to-produce monetary alternatives like gold and Bitcoin. That’s why I think the end of the unipolar world order will boost two major investment trends—the re-monetization of gold and The Bitcoin Supremacy—as the world seeks alternatives to the US dollar. Outcome #2: Commodity Supply Disruption The end of the unipolar world order means transitioning to a multipolar global trade regime—with serious implications for commodities. As I see it, there will be two main geopolitical blocks. First, there are the countries part of or allied with the West. I’m reluctant to call this block “the West” because the people who control it have values antithetical to Western Civilization. A more fitting label would be NATO & Friends. The other block consists of Russia, China, Iran, and other countries favorable to a multipolar world order. Let’s call them the BRICS+, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and other interested countries. Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the UAE, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and numerous others have expressed interest in membership of BRICS. BRICS+ is not a perfect label, but it’s a decent representation of the countries favorable to the multipolar world order. While there already is friction in free trade—sanctions, tariffs, export bans, nationalizations, embargoes, strategic competition, etc.—between NATO & Friends and BRICS+, I expect it to grow substantially as the multipolar world order emerges. That will have serious consequences for commodities, which BRICS+ dominates. Take Russia, for example. Politicians and the media in the US often ridicule Russia as nothing more than “a gas station with nuclear weapons,” an inaccurate cartoonish depiction. Here’s the reality… Russia is the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, lumber, wheat, fertilizer, and palladium (a crucial car component). It is the second-largest exporter of oil and aluminum and the third-largest exporter of nickel and coal. Russia is a major producer and processor of uranium for nuclear power plants. Enriched uranium from Russia and its allies provides electricity to 20% of the homes in the US. Aside from China, Russia produces more gold than any other country, accounting for more than 10% of global production. These are just a handful of examples. There are many strategic commodities that Russia dominates. In short, Russia is not just an oil and gas powerhouse but a commodity powerhouse. As tensions between NATO & Friends and BRICS+ continue to rise, I expect it to disrupt commodity trade between the two further. Supply disruptions mean higher prices. That’s an outcome I think we can bet on. I expect countries in both geopolitical blocks will increasingly focus on securing critical commodities and ensuring access to stable supplies. I think we can bet on geopolitical competition between the two blocks causing increased demand and unstable supplies. That’s why obtaining exposure to strategic commodities as the world order changes could be a winning move. Here’s the bottom line… Unfortunately, most people have no idea what really happens when the world order changes, let alone how to prepare… The coming crisis will be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen since World War II. Countless millions throughout history were wiped out financially—or worse—as the world order changed because they failed to see the correct Big Picture and take appropriate action. Don’t be one of them. That’s exactly why I just released an urgent new report with all the details, including what you must do to prepare. It’s called, The Most Dangerous Economic Crisis in 100 Years… the Top 3 Strategies You Need Right Now. Click here to download the PDF now. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/24/2023 - 22:10.....»»
Chinese EV Automakers Are Presenting Shakey Profits Even As Demand Soars
Global demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has continued to grow on the back of wider macroeconomic problems. While this is ... Read more Global demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has continued to grow on the back of wider macroeconomic problems. While this is good news for automakers in the businesses, and investors throwing their cash at these companies, some manufacturers in China are having a hard time posting positive profits. Despite these EV automakers seeing increased demand from consumers in both China, and abroad, and delivering more vehicles than in the last few years, some companies have yet to be profitable since their inception. While some EV manufacturers, such as BYD have seen improvements in their bottom line over recent years, other leading names such as Xpeng, Li Auto, and Nio have been struggling to post profits despite demand soaring in their native countries. Xpeng Although the automaker managed to deliver roughly 22,000 vehicles in Q4 2022, bringing up total deliveries to 120,000 units for last year, the company still reported a record-shattering net loss of $1.32 billion in 2022, which marked an increase of 88.1% compared to 2021. The company has been largely transparent about its meager performance during last year, with Xpeng Inc (NYSE:XPEV) chairman, He Xiaopeng, claiming that macroeconomic headwinds and steady competition in the EV industry have been key challenges for their lackluster performance. To improve conditions, the board appointed Wang Fengying, the former president of Great Wall Motor as the company’s new president. The adjustment to its structural network has also seen Xpeng expecting to increase its delivery for Q1 2023. Overall, Xpeng expects to deliver between 18,000 and 19,000 new vehicles, marking a year-on-year decrease of 45% to 47.9%. The company has found itself in a tight squeeze considering rising material costs, and even tighter supply chain conditions, even if most of its assembly takes place within China. As part of its cost reduction strategy, the company plans to reduce automated driving technology costs between 2023 and 2024 by 50%. Furthermore, it aims to reduce vehicle hardware costs by 25% over the next several years. Whether these tactics might work in their favor, the company has to navigate further challenges ahead, as Tesla’s price war could make it harder for Xpeng to penetrate the Western auto market. Li Auto Things might be looking up for Li Auto Inc (NASDAQ:LI) this year, after the company managed to deliver 20,823 vehicles in March 2023, totaling deliveries of 52,584 for the first three months of the year. This is an increase of 66% from the same period last year. Li Auto mainly holds all SUV powertrains, and the company claims that it now holds a 20% share of the 300,000 yuan ($43,674) to 500,000 yuan SUV price range in China. In comparison to Tesla, these prices are still relatively high, with Tesla’s mid-size SUV – Model Y – selling in the price range of 261,900 yuan to 361,900 yuan. Overall, Li Auto remains a strong competitor to the likes of Xpeng in the Chinese buyer market, with the company saying it’s expecting to see its delivery volume increase significantly this year. There is however the question of whether or not the company could post improved full-year profits this year. The automaker saw its Q3 2022 net loss widen to $237.55 million last year according to a Reuters report in December 2022. The total net loss for Q3 2021 came in at $31 million, indicating a strong jump in overall expenses and costs. Similar to Xpeng and other EV makers, Li Auto said that although it was expecting higher deliveries, it had a hard time having to navigate rising materials costs and the impending global chip shortage, something which even U.S. automakers have been struggling with. The company is however continuously improving the performance of its vehicles, with all of them being manufactured with a fuel tank to increase road range capacity. Still, it’s not easy for them to price out even Tesla in their market. NIO Nio Inc (NYSE:NIO) is singing to a similar tone as both Xpeng and Li Auto. The company witnessed a 60.2% Q4 2022 vehicle sales increase compared to Q4 2021, and an increase of 23.7% from Q3 2022, yet overall profits and vehicle margins have fallen even further. For starters, the company reported a vehicle margin of 6.8% in Q4 2022, a decline of 20.9% from Q4 2021, and 16.4% from Q3 2022. The most eye-opening statistic is the 169.9% increase in net loss between Q4 2021 and Q4 2022, with the company reporting more than $838.9 million loss in the final quarter of last year. Between the third and fourth quarters of 2022, total net loss jumped by 40%. Finally, its full net loss for last year was $2,093.2 million. The company said that its single digital margins have been negatively impacted by inventory issues, depreciation on production facilities, and losses on purchase commitments for its ES8, ES6, and EC6 generation models. So far this year, the company has managed to deliver just over 8,500 units in January, and more than 12,000 in February, with February 2023 marking a solid 98.3% increase in year-over-year (YoY) deliveries compared to February 2022. As of February 2023, total cumulative deliveries for NIO managed to reach 310,219 units, a seemingly good track record for a company that’s to steadily enter itself into developed buying markets such as Australia and Europe. The company holds a steady position that this year it could see further growth on its development side of the business, which it hopes in return could cut costs of its production line. NIO however shows to have a tough skin, eagerly developing cost-cutting measures and initiating new strategies that could help it improve its bottom line by the end of 2023. Hopefully, these estimates can see the company hold on to its promises, while at the same time keeping up with soaring demand for its premium-end vehicle range. Ford Is Also Biting The Bullet It’s not only Chinese EV automakers that are having a hard time with their paltry profits, Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F) has said that it expects its EV business unit to lose $3 billion this year. On top of this, the legacy automaker sees a cumulative three-year loss from 2021 to 2023 of $6 billion for its Model E range. The company does however expect its Mustang Mach E and F150 Lighting to be profitable on a pretax basis by the end of next year, but the ongoing price war with Tesla could further falter their predictions. While Ford managed to post better-than-expected Q1 2023 earnings, sales numbers for the Ford F series were down 10% YoY. In general, U.S. automotive sales have been looking increasingly tight this year with prices continuing on an upward trajectory and narrower margins are eating into automakers’ profits. On May 2, Ford announced that it will cut the price of its electric crossover by 8%, marking the second price cut this year for its EV crossover, as it looks to compete with the Tesla Model Y. The price war between legacy makers and EV manufacturers comes after Tesla announced in January this year, that it will be dropping the prices of all its vehicles by 20%. Tesla has been trying to regain its foothold on the global EV market in recent months, after witnessing a decline in unit demand between July 2022 and December 2022. Earlier data compiled by Reuters showed that Tesla’s margins on some of its models are significantly higher than nearly every EV manufacturer, including Ford, General Motors, BYD, Toyota, and Hyundai. EV automakers across different markets, from China to the U.S., and Europe are hitting record sales volumes quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), there are however economic elements that have made it harder for them to see their profits rise, on the back of wider macro-challenges and financial headwinds. EV makers are not alone in this, as consumers with rising outstanding debt, as delinquencies rise, and stubbornly high inflation figures have further meant many of them are tightening their purse strings even more this year. Latest figures showed that credit card balances rose by 11.1% in January 2023 on an annualized basis, according to Bankrate. The large jumps in credit card balances have been related to inflation, as a growing number of consumers are racking in higher debt and diving deeper into their savings costs continue to climb. Additionally, headwinds have been aggressive monetary tightening, with the U.S. Federal Reserve hiking base interest rates by 25 basis points on May 3, 2023, bringing federal overnight interest rates up to 5% and 5.25%. This marked the 10th consecutive, and potentially the last rate hike, as the central bank looks to pause its tightening cycle. For consumers, the knock-on effects have been felt for several months, as costs continue to climb, even as inflation starts to cool down. For EV makers that are navigating a price war and having to deal with industry-related headwinds, chances are they might only be seeing the start of yet another demanding, and challenging year as macroeconomic problems deepen further. Looking Forward It’s a compelling truth that Chinese EV automakers are struggling to see their profits jump, despite an increase in demand from the Chinese auto market. On top of this, many manufacturers in the region are continuing their efforts to tap into newer markets such as Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. While there is upside potential for these automakers, it could be yet another hard year for them to navigate the further slowdown of the global economy. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it seems that although China is looking to become the powerhouse of electric vehicles globally, the companies that supply the nation are having a hard time managing their bottomline......»»
5 Best Engineering Stocks to Buy Now
In this article, we will discuss the 5 best engineering stocks to buy now. To read the detailed analysis and recent updates about the engineering industry, go directly to the 10 Best Engineering Stocks to Buy Now. 5. Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE) Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 99 Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE), previously known as Adobe Systems […] In this article, we will discuss the 5 best engineering stocks to buy now. To read the detailed analysis and recent updates about the engineering industry, go directly to the 10 Best Engineering Stocks to Buy Now. 5. Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE) Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 99 Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE), previously known as Adobe Systems Incorporated, is a software powerhouse with a wide range of products including printing, graphics, and publishing software. The company is on our list of best engineering stocks to buy now because other than the software engineering team, its reliability, cloud perform, mobile, and product engineering subdivisions are largely responsible for the success of most of its products. According to Insider Monkey’s database, Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE)’s hedge fund sentiment improved slightly in the fourth quarter of 2022 as 99 funds were bullish on the company’s stock, compared to 93 in the previous quarter. On March 28, Erste Group analyst Hans Engel upgraded Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE)’s stock to Buy from Hold, highlighting the performance of the company and the upcoming revenue and profit growth estimates given by the management. Polen Capital mentioned Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE) in its first-quarter 2023 investor letter. Here is what it said: “One area we are watching regarding Alphabet and Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE) is AI systems and their capabilities, including generative AI. Interestingly, both Adobe and Alphabet could see benefits or threats from the emergence of generative AI and large language models (LLMs). Both companies already use generative AI to the benefit of their users in anticipating how content creators edit their work (Adobe) and in how search results are anticipated and generated (Google). At the same time, breakthrough technologies like AI can open the door to additional competition and/or impact a company’s profitability levels. We now see AI systems others are developing, including LLMs and generative AI offerings, that could be more competitive in the future. While we think it remains early days for ChatGPT and the capabilities of these types of LLMs and generative AI programs like DALL-E, the technology seems to be progressing at a fast rate and will at least require a strong response from incumbents. As of now, we believe Alphabet and Adobe are leaders in their own right in these areas and have a clear path to improving their existing offerings with AI advancements, which would allow them to be net beneficiaries of AI. There are also significant barriers to building leading AI offerings in these areas. As a result, our position sizes in Adobe and Alphabet remain sizeable. For Adobe, the status of its pending $20 billion-plus Figma acquisition is also uncertain. There is a good chance, in our view, that it will be blocked by regulators, which would mean the future opportunity to expand its offerings to the developer community (beyond designers) may not occur.”.....»»
"Queer Eye" producers are diving into the world of professional mermaiding for new Netflix doc series
Scout Productions, the company behind "Queer Eye," explores underwater performers in the Netflix docu-series "MerPeople," set to premiere May 23. "MerPeople."Netflix The producers of "Queer Eye" explore underwater performers in a new docu-series, "MerPeople." The four-part series is set to premiere on Netflix May 23. Scout Productions executive-produced it; Oscar-winning Cynthia Wade directed. The creators of "Queer Eye" are turning their lens on the world of underwater performers for a new docu-series on Netflix, "MerPeople."Premiering May 23, "MerPeople" is a four-part docuseries that chronicles people who have turned their love for the mystical sea creatures into real-world careers. "From putting on dazzling small-town shows in Florida to the crowning of the King and Queen of the Seas in the Bahamas, this series will take you on a journey of passion and perseverance," Netflix writes. Episode one introduces viewers to characters like "The Mertailor," a mermaid tail maker who aspires to start a mermaid aquarium and training center; former mermaids from the iconic Weeki Wachee Springs State Park; and Chè Monique, founder of the Society of Fat Mermaids.In recent years, there's been a growing mermaid subculture, with people donning tails, heading to mermaid conventions and competitions, and forming local groups, finding escape from the chaos of the real-world in underwater life. The series was directed by Oscar-winning Cynthia Wade, known for her documentaries on social issues. Executive producers were Scout Productions' Michael Williams, David Collins, Joel Chiodi, and Rob Eric, along with photographer Andréanna Seymore; Roland Ballester, known for "Halston" and "30 for 30"; and Wade.Scout Productions has become known for richly shot, inclusivity-themed unscripted TV projects like ballroom competition series "Legendary" and streetwear design contest "The Hype" on HBO Max, in addition to "Queer Eye."It's one of the latest documentaries Scout has made since branching out to docs in 2020. Another, "The Secrets of Hillsong," an investigative series with Vanity Fair Studios on the megachurch scandal, is set to debut May 19 on FX/Hulu.Joel Chiodi, Scout's head of documentaries and SVP of strategic development, told Insider his goal with shows like "MerPeople" is to broaden people's thinking and bring them together."You're seeing nonbinary merms, Black women; it makes no political statement but it's like, 'Let's celebrate everything,'" he said.Insider talked with the principals behind Scout about how they built a reality TV powerhouse that positions them well if there's a writer's strike, how they're working with big-name talent like Amy Poehler and Kristen Stewart, and how they're expanding their creative output while staying true to their mission of inclusivity.Subscribe to Insider to read the full story about Scout's riseRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»
4 Stocks to Watch From a Challenging Entertainment Industry
Film and television production and distribution companies like WWE, IQ, LGF.A and IMAX are benefiting from higher consumption of digital entertainment and a recovering ad spending environment. The Zacks Film and Television Production and Distribution industry is benefiting from a spike in demand for digital entertainment, fueled by limited capacity and operational limitations in movie theaters, theme parks and cruise lines. Increased consumption of media, music and news over the web, triggered by the work-and-learn-at-home wave, has been a key catalyst for industry participants like World Wrestling Entertainment WWE, iQIYI IQ, Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF.A) and IMAX Corporation IMAX. Companies have been focusing on a superior product strategy and prudent capital investments. Steady recovery in the advertising spending environment and resumption of production pipelines bode well for film and television production companies.Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Film and Television Production and Distribution industry comprises companies involved in film and TV production, distribution and exhibition. The main activities of the industry participants include the production and distribution of entertainment content to theaters, TV networks, video-on-demand platforms, streaming services and other exhibitors. Imax offers entertainment technology and specializes in motion picture technologies and presentations. Industry participants produce and distribute motion pictures for theatrical and straight-to-video releases besides TV programming. These players are heavily dependent on the box-office performance of their films, both domestically and internationally, the number of film releases, and the ratings of TV shows.3 Film and Television Production Industry Trends in FocusOver-the-Top Services Gaining Prominence: Companies involved in content creation are looking to distribute content through over-the-top services to leverage the popularity of their franchises. With this, they are looking to provide exclusive content and a differentiated experience. However, streaming companies are increasingly producing original and award-winning feeds to reduce licensing costs and excessive dependence on third-party content providers. This is likely to hurt industry participants’ content distribution strategy.Binge-Watching Driving Consumption: Factors such as binge-watching, deepening Internet penetration and advancement in mobile, video, and wireless technologies have got viewers glued to small screens. In order to keep pace with new consumption patterns, industry participants are turning to digital content distribution. The emergence of digital capabilities is making consumer data easily available to companies. With the use of AI tools, production houses are gaining a better understanding of user preferences. This helps them produce content that strikes a chord with viewers. However, increasing spending on content and sales & marketing is hurting profitability due to stiff competition from streaming players.Technological Advancement Aids Prospects: Exhibitors are turning to highly efficient and cost-effective technologies like laser-based projection systems to enhance image quality and the entire movie experience. Additionally, the use of technologies like motion seating, immersive audio systems and interactive movies among others is expected to enhance the viewing experience. The increasing adoption of AR and VR technologies bodes well for industry participants. However, the evolution of alternative motion picture distribution channels such as home video, pay-per-view, streaming services, video-on-demand, Internet and syndicated and broadcast television is hurting exhibitors.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Dull ProspectsThe Zacks Film and Television Production and Distribution industry is housed within the broader Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #231, which places it in the bottom 7% of more than 249 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bleak near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s position in the bottom 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a negative earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are pessimistic on this group’s earnings growth potential. Since Apr 30, 2022, estimates for the current year have moved 26.1% south.Despite the gloomy industry outlook, a few stocks are worth watching based on a strong earnings outlook. Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Beats S&P 500, SectorThe Zacks Film and Television Production and Distribution industry has outperformed the Zacks S&P 500 and its own sector in the past year.The stocks in this industry have collectively gained 1.9% against the S&P 500’s decline of 1.5% and the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector’s decline of 5.8% over the same time frame.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of the trailing 12-month price-to-sales (P/S), a commonly used multiple for valuing Film and Television Production and Distribution stocks, the industry is currently trading at 1.57X compared with the S&P 500’s 3.62X and the sector’s 1.94X.Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 2.48X and as low as 0.92X, recording a median of 1.52X as the chart below shows.Trailing 12-Month Price-to-Sales (P/S) Ratio4 Film & Television Stocks to Watch Right NowWorld Wrestling Entertainment: WWE anticipates generating record revenues in 2023. This suggests a likely increase in media rights fees from flagship weekly programming and premium live events, as well as a full live event touring schedule, and higher advertising and sponsorship revenues. WWE projects adjusted OIBDA in the range of $395-$410 million for 2023.The company’s focus on expanding original content and creating new content, driving subscriber count, raising content rights fees and monetization of video content across digital and DTC platforms bodes well.In latest developments, the company together with Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. has agreed to establish a new, publicly listed company comprising two complementary, global sports and entertainment brands – UFC and WWE. On the closure of this deal, Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling stake in the new company while the existing WWE shareholders will own a 49% interest. This move reflects the successful conclusion of World Wrestling’s strategic options review process. On a combined basis, the new company will be a $21 billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse with a collective fanbase of more than a billion people.Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have risen 59.4% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for World Wrestling’s 2023 earnings has moved south by 0.7% to $2.77 per share over the past 30 days. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Price and Consensus: WWEiQIYI: The company offers movies, television dramas, variety shows and other video content. Recently, the company entered into a definitive agreement with Douyin, pursuant to which it will license select content to the latter for editing and distribution as short-form videos in the formats agreed on by the two companies.The company already has a huge subscriber base in China, which is one of the biggest consumer markets in the world. Strong demand for company-produced drama series, original movies and variety shows in international markets is a key top-line growth driver for the near term.iQIYI’s shares have returned 16.6% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s 2023 earnings has remained steady at 27 cents per share over the past 30 days. Price and Consensus: IQLionsgate Holdings: Lionsgate is benefiting from a strong pipeline of content on Starz’s platforms that boosts viewership and increases the subscriber base of its OTT platforms. Management has been planning to spend cautiously on content and not chase subscribers, therefore focusing on profitability. It would now also look for bundling and packaging opportunities.In February, the company announced its partnership with Amazon to offer the Starz and MGM+ bundle to Prime members in the United States at a 20% discount to boost subscribers. Amid the ongoing fight for share in the streaming market, Starz and MGM+ are teaming up to have a larger market share.Lions Gate and Starz will be separated by September 2023 as planned. This will help the two core businesses to pursue separate strategic and financial paths, which would ensure better results. Strategies are being made so that both entities have a strong balance sheet by the end of the year.Lionsgate’s shares have returned 100% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #3 company’s fiscal 2023 loss has widened by 2 cents to 4 cents per share over the past 30 days.Price and Consensus: LGF.AIMAX: It is riding on the continued reopening of theaters, particularly in the United States. The impressive performances of Avatar: The Way of Water, Thor: Love and Thunder and Top Gun: Maverick have benefited IMAX. Recovery in the pace of theater system installations and higher IMAX maintenance sales are major positives. The company has 29 titles to be released in 2023, which is expected to aid top-line growth.Earlier this month, IMAX collected $21.6 million on the opening weekend of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. This created an all-time record for an animated movie. With big movies like Fast X, The Little Mermaid and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 slated to release in the coming quarter, all the entertainment companies are expected to boost their revenues. These highly anticipated movies encourage viewers to come to cinema halls in the age of online-streaming platforms.IMAX recently signed an agreement with Galaxy Cinema for two new, state-of-the-art IMAX with Laser systems in Vietnam. The deal will bring the first-ever premium IMAX with Laser systems to the country, marking a significant milestone for the market.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for IMAX’s 2023 earnings has moved south by 1.4% to 73 cents per share over the past 30 days. IMAX’s shares have increased 38% year to date.Price and Consensus: IMAX Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE): Free Stock Analysis Report IMAX Corporation (IMAX): Free Stock Analysis Report Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF.A): Free Stock Analysis Report iQIYI, Inc. Sponsored ADR (IQ): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»
Pulse 3D Wireless Headset review: A perfect match for the PS5"s design, but other headsets have better battery life and mics for the money
The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset fits the unique style of the PS5, but battery, comfort, and microphone quality are only average compared to competitors. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.The Pulse 3D headset is designed to perfectly match the PS5 console and DualSense controller.Kevin Webb / Insider The PlayStation 5 Pulse 3D is Sony's official wireless gaming headset for the PS5. The headset costs $100, comes in three colors, and works great with the PS5's 3D audio feature. But while the Pulse 3D perfectly matches the PS5's design, its battery and mic performance are mediocre. The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is designed by Sony specifically with the PS5 in mind. It makes the most of the console's features like 3D audio, and its $100 price tag is competitive when compared with wireless gaming headsets from other brands.Sony's headset doesn't hold any exclusive technological advantages over other options, but the Pulse 3D has a unique design with large ear cups and a simple plastic band. So far, there are white, black, and gray camouflage models made to perfectly match the look of the PS5 console and DualSense controller.Pulse 3D works well as the baseline audio companion for the PS5, but its short battery life, limited microphone, and somewhat awkward frame make it feel a bit lacking compared to other gaming headsets in the same price range.What worksDesign perfectly complements PS5 console and controllerVoice monitoring lets you hear what you sound likeSupports 3.5mm wired connection to save batteryConsole provides EQ settings to customize headset's sound profileWhat needs workBattery life is unimpressive at 12 to 13 hoursAdjustable rubber strap isn't as comfortable as a traditional designIntegrated microphones can lead to extra background noiseDoesn't fold for easy storagePulse 3D matches the PS5's design, but it can be hard to storeThe headset has integrated microphones rather than a boom mic.Kevin Webb / InsiderThe Pulse 3D takes a different design approach than most gaming headsets. There's no adjustable boom microphone that sits in front of your mouth. Instead, dual noise-canceling microphones are embedded in the ear cups, which offers a cleaner look. And rather than adjustable arms to move the ear cups, an adjustable rubber strap is used to secure the fit. In fact, the ear cups on the Pulse 3D headset can't be moved at all.The faux leather material that covers the earpads looks a bit cheap but the thick foam is actually quite comfortable. The plastic band that wraps around the headset is surprisingly flexible too, but ultimately feels less sturdy and less comfortable than headsets with metal frames. The inability to fold the ear cups also makes it harder to store the Pulse 3D compared to some competitors.The look of the Pulse 3D's plastic headband mirrors the plastic cover of the PS5 and DualSense controller, which makes it a perfect visual complement. The most common PS5 color is white, but Sony also sells black and camouflage covers and controllers, which match the Pulse 3D's other options. Small PlayStation logos are featured on each side of the band, above the ear cups.The Pulse 3D headset includes on-board controls for nearly every setting: volume, microphone mute, voice monitoring, and audio chat balance can all be toggled with buttons and switches located next to the headset's ear cups. Solid sound quality with the PS5's 3D audio featurePulse 3D delivers engaging sound when playing games or watching movies.Kevin Webb / InsiderThe Pulse 3D wireless headset has relatively average playback quality for an over-ear headset, but it really shines when paired with the PS5's 3D audio software. The console creates a spatial audio effect that makes games feel more immersive with sound from multiple directions. It should be noted that the PS5's 3D audio works with other headsets as well, including wired headphones connected to the PlayStation controller. The Pulse 3D doesn't get any exclusive benefits when using 3D audio, but it was built with this technology in mind and does have a satisfying range and enough bass to make the most of the feature.Spatial audio is most helpful in multiplayer shooting games like "Fortnite" and "Call of Duty," where you can hear enemies approaching based on their footsteps and other audio cues. Spatial audio can also help games feel more alive with effects that create a more spacious soundscape than standard stereo, whether you're racing through the courses of Gran Turismo 7 or adventuring through New York City in Marvel's Spider-Man.Pulse 3D works well when streaming entertainment and watching Blu-ray discs too, providing a fuller soundscape than standard television or gaming monitor speakers.The PS5 also has an EQ menu for adjusting the Pulse 3D's sound profile. There's a preset for boosting bass and a specific profile geared toward shooting games, as well as three empty EQ profiles that let you customize the bass and treble along with low, mid, and high sounds.Pulse 3D's microphone is decent enough for team chat but not much elseThe dedicated Monitor switch lets you hear outside noises and your own voice.Kevin Webb / InsiderWhile you can't see the headset's microphones, the Pulse 3D does a solid job picking up your voice clearly. However, despite having noise-canceling tech, the microphones are still susceptible to some background noise, and the lack of an adjustable boom means that you can accidentally create extra noise when the headset brushes against your hair or you make other small movements.The microphone quality also sounds a bit more hollow than other headsets we've tried with boom mics. On the plus side, the Pulse 3D's monitoring feature is a nice inclusion. This feature uses the microphones to pass through outside sound, letting you hear your surroundings. It also lets you hear yourself through the headphones, and being able to hear how you sound to other players can help you prevent unwanted noise from going out over the mic.The microphone quality won't heavily impact your ability to communicate during games, but it's certainly not the best for recording or casual chatting. Other gaming headsets we've tested have good enough sound quality to use during professional or casual calls but Pulse 3D doesn't quite reach that standard.The headset can also pair with a PC, but its battery life is lackingThough clearly designed for use with the PlayStation 5, Pulse 3D wireless is also compatible with Windows PCs. The small USB dongle included with the headset pairs automatically regardless of platform, and the headset will appear as a sound device in Windows without extra setup.The 2.4Ghz wireless range is about 30 feet, which is much further than you can reasonably sit from your TV while playing. The headset also features a USB-C audio port for charging, and a 3.5mm audio port if you prefer a wired connection to save battery.The battery life may be the most disappointing feature of the Pulse 3D wireless, lasting about 12 to 13 hours on a charge. While that's still enough to last a few play sessions, competing headsets usually offer at least 20 hours of battery, with some PlayStation compatible models lasting for more than 100 hours on a charge.PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset: SpecsSpecificationsPulse 3D Wireless HeadsetConnectivity2.4Ghz wireless, 3.5mm wiredBatteryUp to 13 hoursAudio drivers40mmMicrophoneEmbedded dual noise-canceling micsCharging portUSB-C chargingColorsWhite, Black, Gray Camouflage PlatformsPS5, PS4, PC, MacOS, Nintendo SwitchShould you buy the PS5 Pulse 3D Wireless Headset?The Pulse 3D is a solid gaming headset for the PS5, but there are similarly priced options with better battery life and microphone quality.Kevin Webb / InsiderSony's Pulse 3D Wireless Headset offers decent value at its $100 price tag, and its aesthetic design makes it a perfect visual companion for the PS5. However, if external design isn't your main priority, there are similarly priced gaming headsets with better microphones and a more comfortable fit.If you game exclusively on PlayStation 5 and want a headset to match the console, the Pulse 3D wireless won't disappoint, but if you're willing to look at other brands, headsets like the Razer Kaira and HyperX Cloud II wireless offer a bit more utility for a similar price.Because the PS5's spatial audio software works with any pair of headphones, there's little that separates Sony's headset from the competition other than its unique build, which isn't always a benefit. If you do want to buy the Pulse 3D wireless headset, keep in mind that it occasionally goes on sale for $80, and you can find refurbished models from Amazon or GameStop for even less.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Will Bristol Myers (BMY) Gain From New Drugs" Label Expansion?
Label expansion of Bristol Myers' (BMY) new drugs should help it somewhat combat the decline in Revlimid sales due to generic competition. Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY has recently been enjoying a string of positive regulatory updates.The company’s psoriasis drug Sotyktu (deucravacitinib) recently got approved by the European Commission (EC). Sotyktu is a first-in-class, selective tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) inhibitor for treating adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy, representing a new way of treating this chronic immune-mediated disease. It is already approved in the United States.The psoriasis market holds a lot of potential and a strong uptake of Sotyktu will bode well for Bristol Myers.Bristol Myers added deucravacitinib to its pipeline when it acquired Celgene in 2019 and had to let go of Otezla. In connection with the regulatory approval process for the transaction, Celgene sold the global rights to Otezla to Amgen.Last month, the EC granted full Marketing Authorization to Reblozyl (luspatercept), a first-in-class therapeutic option, to treat adult patients with anemia associated with non-transfusion-dependent (NTD) beta thalassemia. The drug is approved in the European Union (EU), the United States and Canada to address anemia associated with transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia and transfusion-dependent lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes.Bristol Myers Squibb develops and commercializes Reblozyl through a global collaboration with medical powerhouse Merck MRK. Merck acquired Acceleron Pharma in November 2021, following which Merck collaborated with BMY to develop and commercialize Reblozyl.Earlier this week, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended approval of CAR T cell therapy Breyanzi (lisocabtagene maraleucel) for the treatment of adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), high-grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBCL), primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) and follicular lymphoma grade 3B (FL3B) who relapsed within 12 months from completion of or are refractory to first-line chemoimmunotherapy.BMY also announced the initiation of its pivotal Phase III Librexia program, which is studying milvexian, an investigational oral factor XIa (FXIa) inhibitor (antithrombotic), for the prevention and treatment of major thrombotic conditions. This clinical program will be conducted in partnership with Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of pharma bigwig Johnson & Johnson. In the past year, BMY’s shares have lost 9% compared with the industry’s fall of 15.8%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn February, the company reported better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter of 2022. Total revenues of $11.4 billion decreased 5% from the year-ago period due to generic competition for multiple myeloma (MM) drug, Revlimid and foreign exchange impacts, partially offset by in-line products (primarily Opdivo) and new product portfolios (primarily Opdualag and Abecma).The approval of potential new drugs will add an incremental revenue stream to boost growth in the coming quarters and offset the slowdown in the top-line growth as one of Bristol Myers’ top drugs, Revlimid, is now facing generic competition, which is affecting the top line and threatens to erode sales rapidly.The FDA had earlier approved a new, first-in-class, fixed-dose combination of PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) and relatlimab (novel LAG-3-blocking antibody). It is administered as a single intravenous infusion to treat adult and pediatric patients aged 12 years or older with unresectable or metastatic melanoma (a kind of skin cancer) under the brand name Opdualag. The uptake of the drug has been encouraging so far.Camzyos (mavacamten, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg and 15 mg capsules) was approved in the United States for treating adults with symptomatic New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II-III obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (obstructive HCM) to improve functional capacity and symptoms.Bristol-Myers currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Some better-ranked stocks in the overall healthcare sector are Novo Nordisk NVO and Ligand Therapeutics LGND, both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 at present.In the past 30 days, estimates for Novo Nordisk’s 2023 earnings per share have risen from $4.43 to $4.51. Estimates for 2024 have increased 36 cents to $5.26.Ligand’s earnings per share estimates for 2023 increased to $4.15 from $3.30 in the past 60 days. LGND beat earnings estimates in one of the last four reported quarters. Is THIS the Ultimate New Clean Energy Source? (4 Ways to Profit) The world is increasingly focused on eliminating fossil fuels and ramping up use of renewable, clean energy sources. Hydrogen fuel cells, powered by the most abundant substance in the universe, could provide an unlimited amount of ultra-clean energy for multiple industries. Our urgent special report reveals 4 hydrogen stocks primed for big gains - plus our other top clean energy stocks. See Stocks NowWant the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Free Stock Analysis Report Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO): Free Stock Analysis Report Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»
Bear of the Day: Papa John"s International (PZZA)
Papa John's (PZZA) has seen its earnings revisions tumble over the last year as it faces rising costs and other headwinds. The pizza delivery powerhouse is also dealing with some leadership shakeups and more... Papa John's International (PZZA) has seen its earnings revisions tumble over the last year as it faces rising costs and other headwinds. The pizza delivery powerhouse is also dealing with some leadership shakeups, as well as tough-to-compete against periods alongside a growing assortment of food delivery options.Papa John’s BasicsPapa John’s is the world’s third-largest pizza delivery company with over 5,700 restaurants in roughly 50 countries and territories. PZZA competes against Domino's Pizza DPZ and other low-priced pizza chains, as well as local and higher-end places for its share of the take-out pizza market.Papa John’s and other companies benefited from the stay-at-home covid boost and then a desire from consumers to eat out during a period of economic positivity. PZZA’s earnings outlook has been fading for over a year now amid the shifting economic and consumer spending landscape.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPapa John’s executive team has continually pointed to higher labor costs and commodity prices as some of the reasons for its shrinking earnings. The pizza power’s adjusted earnings dropped from $3.51 a share in FY21 to $2.94 in 2022 on 2% higher revenue. Papa John’s FY23 and FY24 consensus EPS estimates have dropped 10% and 13%, respectively over the last 60 days. These downward earnings revisions help it land a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) right now. Zacks estimates call for PZZA’s adjusted 2023 earnings to slip by 2.4% on 4.3% higher revenue.Bottom Line News broke earlier this week that Papa John’s CFO would step down. The c-suite change came after PZZA said in early March that Jeffrey Smith, CEO of Starboard Value LP and Chair of the Papa John’s board of directors, resigned.Papa John’s shares have dropped over 40% from their late 2021 peaks, as it fell alongside many early pandemic winners that simply got overheated. Its main rival, Domino’s, tumbled by almost exactly as much, with the two stocks now neck-and-neck over the last five years.The selloff has PZZA trading at more reasonable valuations. Still, it might be best to stray away from Papa John’s right now as it continues to face various cost pressures and more delivery competition than ever before as Uber Eats and others expand. 4 Oil Stocks with Massive Upsides Global demand for oil is through the roof... and oil producers are struggling to keep up. So even though oil prices are well off their recent highs, you can expect big profits from the companies that supply the world with "black gold." Zacks Investment Research has just released an urgent special report to help you bank on this trend. In Oil Market on Fire, you'll discover 4 unexpected oil and gas stocks positioned for big gains in the coming weeks and months. You don't want to miss these recommendations. Download your free report now to see them.Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Domino's Pizza Inc (DPZ): Free Stock Analysis Report Papa John's International, Inc. (PZZA): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»
18 Most Selling Phone Brands in the World
In this article, we’ll look at the top 18 most selling mobile phone brands in the world. You can skip the detailed analysis of smartphone market insights and trends, and head straight to the 5 Most Selling Phone Brands in the World. Global shipments of smartphones declined by 12% in 2022 to reach 1.2 billion units, […] In this article, we’ll look at the top 18 most selling mobile phone brands in the world. You can skip the detailed analysis of smartphone market insights and trends, and head straight to the 5 Most Selling Phone Brands in the World. Global shipments of smartphones declined by 12% in 2022 to reach 1.2 billion units, the lowest since 2013. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) replaced Samsung by achieving the highest-ever global smartphone shipment in the last quarter of 2022, securing around 23% market share in Q4 2022, with the launch of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 14. The Challenges Faced by Smartphone Chip Manufacturing in Keeping up with Moore’s Law While smartphones may not match the processing power of PCs and servers, their chips have been at the forefront of the manufacturing industry. Initially, the chips were 10nm and 7nm (nanometers) in size, but with the advancement in technology, 5nm chips have been introduced, with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s latest iPhone iterations boasting the 4nm chip process. Now companies like TSMC are hoping to develop 2nm chips, which means you can expect smaller chips with better efficiency and higher transistor density. When discussing nanometers and transistor density, Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors placed on silicon doubles every year, plays a significant role. It predicts a consistent advancement in processing technology. However, when the manufacturing process for chips is evaluated through the lens of Moore’s Law, the slowing down of technological processes is likely to be on the verge in the coming years. While the transistor density continues to improve, it may be challenging for chip manufacturers to move to 2nm or smaller in the coming years, as maintaining pace with Moore’s Law is becoming increasingly difficult due to the shrinking of chip geometrics. It means that Moore’s Law is under strain. Manufacturers are still able to deliver significant improvements in chip manufacturing through innovations that radically change the transistor structure and constituent materials, despite chip densities not doubling every two years with the past consistency. Prominent innovations include the replacement of the planar structure with the FinFET structure and the use of high k insulating films/metal gates to suppress gate leak current. Companies like Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), and Samsung have also invested in ASML to enable smaller chip circuits and larger wafers. In the future, transistor structures are expected to evolve from FinFET to Gate-All-Around, where the channel’s region is surrounded by a gate that will help suppress the leak current and increase the gate’s current driving power. Silicon and strained silicon for the channel region are likely to be replaced with germanium and group III-V compounds, allowing for high-speed transistor operation. Furthermore, two-dimensional (2D) materials are being researched as transistor channel materials, and stacking circuits three-dimensionally (3D) are also being considered in case 2D scaling fails. These developments are expected to develop chips beyond 1nm and increase the integration level per unit area, further extending the life of Moore’s Law. The industry’s move to 450mm wafers will also allow for more chips to be produced at a lower cost. Market Outlook The COVID-19 impact — mainly shortage of semiconductor components, travel restrictions, and higher logistics costs— drastically disrupted the growth in the smartphone sector. However, the market vendors introduced innovative solutions like 5G adaption to improve buying behavior, resulting in positive post-pandemic market growth. The global revenue in the smartphone industry amounts to $0.48 trillion in 2023, with China generating the highest revenue, at $119.20 billion. The share of 5G phones — which observed a significant jump from 46.6% in 2022 to 62% in 2023 — is anticipated to reach 73.8% by 2025. Technavio forecasts that the global market will grow at a CAGR of 3.44% through 2027, with the Asian-Pacific region being the key region for growth. The region is expected to register the highest growth rate of 66% between 2022 to 2027. Persistence Market Research’s countrywide insights predict that Apple handsets will continue to dominate the U.S. market, with the North American market forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% between 2021 to 2031. In Europe, the UK is predicted to register the highest growth with around 8.1% CAGR in the forecasted period. India, followed by China, accounts for the largest smartphone consumption in APAC and is expected to register a CAGR of 9.5%. In addition to this, Fortune Business Insights anticipate that 5G phones will replace the existing handsets within the next 5 years. The huge demand for Apple smartphones is expected to cause dramatic growth in the iOS segment. Pixabay/Public Domain Methodology For our list of 18 best-selling smartphone brands worldwide, we have ranked them in ascending order of the number of mobile phone units sold in the latest year, for which the data is publicly available. To support our research, we’ve collected data from various reputable sources, including individual reports for each brand and ranking reports by International Data Corporation (IDC) and CounterPoint Research, to get deeper insights into the worldwide market of major phone companies in recent years. We also used data from the Mobile Vendor Market Share Worldwide report by Stat Counter for the global market share of top smartphone brands in 2022. Here is our list of the 18 most selling phone brands in the world: Most Selling Smartphone Brands in the World 18. Alcatel Units Sold in 2022: 2+ million (estimated) Alcatel is best known for the One Touch mobile and tablet series. One Touch became an international technology brand in 2010 to design a range of Android smartphones. Its popular models such as Alcatel 3x, Alcatel 3, and Alcatel 1s are known for their durable build, camera quality, and battery capacity. 17. Panasonic Units Sold in 2022: 4+ million (estimated) Panasonic entered the smartphone market in 2012 with its first smartphone, the Panasonic Eluga. The company has released several smartphone models since then, catering to different price points and market segments. Despite facing stiff competition from other smartphone manufacturers, Panasonic has managed to maintain a solid market share in some regions, with a net worth of around $30 billion. Panasonic’s flagship models, such as the Panasonic Eluga X1 Pro and Panasonic P91, offer high-end features such as water resistance and long battery life, catering to consumers looking for a premium smartphone experience. 16. Sony Units Sold in 2021: 9.3 million Sony has been selling smartphones under the Xperia brand since 2008, and since then, it has managed to establish a loyal fanbase. In FY2021, Sony sold around 9.3 million smartphones globally, a significant growth from the 2.9 million units sold in FY2020. Sony smartphones are famous for their unique features such as OLED display and 5G connectivity. In fact, it was the first brand to introduce water-resistant handsets. 15. Google Pixel Units Sold in 2022: 9.5 million Google Pixel is a brand of consumer electronics, including smartphones, developed by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) released the first-generation pixel devices in the US in 2017. Known for its superior camera performance, sleek design, and high-resolution screen, the Google Pixel has firmly established itself as a leading smartphone brand since its launch in 2013. The latest Pixel 6 model sold a remarkable 5 million units worldwide between fall 2021 and fall 2022, adding to the 30 million units sold since its inception. According to Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Sundar Pichai, the Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro are the best-selling models to date. 14. Nokia Units Sold in 2021: 10.9 million Nokia entered the smartphone market in the late 1990s with the launch of its first smartphone, the Nokia 9000 Communicator. However, the modern era of Nokia smartphones began in 2017 when HMD Global acquired the rights to use Nokia brands for its smartphones. Nokia smartphones are known for their exceptional build quality, long battery life, and stock Android experience. It has a diverse range of smartphones, from budget devices like Nokia G50 and C21 Plus to flagship models like Nokia X30 and 9 PureView, catering to different segments of the market. 13. OnePlus Units Sold in 2021: 11 million With its headquarters located in Shenzhen, China, OnePlus has established itself as a global brand with a presence in over 34 countries. In 2021, it set a new record with the highest annual shipment of 11 million units. The company’s success continued into the first half of 2022, with the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G ranking as the second best-selling smartphone brand. Its latest flagship models, the OnePlus 10 Pro, 9 Pro, and OnePlus 9 showcase OnePlus’ commitment to excellence in the highly competitive smartphone market. 12. Honor Units Sold in 2022: 16 million (estimated) Honor was established in 2013 as a subsidiary of the Chinese multinational technology company Huawei. Its smartphones are popular among consumers who are looking for high-quality devices at affordable prices, making it one of the most selling phone brands in the world. Honor smartphones offer advanced features, sleek designs, and affordable prices. The company’s flagship models, such as the Honor View and Magic4 Ultimate, offer innovative features like advanced camera systems, fast charging, and AI technology. 11. Transsion Units Sold in 2022: 30 million (estimated) Transsion Holdings is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer that has been able to dominate the African smartphone market with its Tecno and Itel brands. It was the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in the world in terms of sales volume in Q1 2021, trailing only behind Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi. Its portfolio of both feature and smartphone devices ranges from entry-level to premium, with a focus on the African market. 10. ASUS Units Sold in 2022: 32 million ASUS entered the smartphone market in 2014 with the launch of the ZenFone series. ASUS smartphones are known for their cutting-edge features, sleek designs, and competitive prices. The company’s flagship models, such as the ROG Phone and ZenFone series, are popular for gaming-centric features, powerful processors, and high-quality cameras. ASUS is also focused on incorporating the latest technology and trends into its devices, such as the 5G network and foldable screens. 9. Huawei Units Sold in 2022: 32.5 million (estimated) Founded by Ren Zhengfei in 1987, Huawei has grown to become a global powerhouse with a presence in over 170 countries and a workforce of nearly 195,000 employees. In recognition of its commitment to its employees, Forbes ranked Huawei as one of the world’s best employers in 2021. Huawei has a leading market share of smartphones in China, amounting to approximately 29%, and a worldwide share of 4.84% in 2022. The company reported a net profit of $17.8 billion by the end of 2021. 8. Motorola Units Sold in 2022: 35 million Motorola is known for its affordable smartphones with high-tech functioning features. It earned the position of the third-largest smartphone brand in the US in 2021, with around 51 million units sold and shipped across the globe. However, its sales declined in 2022 as compared to the previous year. Popular mobile phones launched by Motorola are Razr, MOTO G8 Plus, Mate X, MOTO Z3, MOTO Z4, Motorola One Action, and Motorola G7 Plus. 7. Realme Units Sold in 2022: 36 million Realme was founded in 2018 by Sky Li, and the brand has witnessed fast growth since then. It was initially launched as a sub-brand of Oppo, but eventually became an independent brand in 2018. Realme is one of the fastest-growing 5G smartphone brands, accounting for around 36 million handsets sold in 2022. It captures a huge market in India, with around 2.7 million units sold in the country in the fourth quarter of 2022. 6. ZTE Units Sold in 2022: 40 million (estimated) ZTE has been in the smartphone market since 2010, and its devices are known for their affordability, durability, and innovative features. In 2020, the company made headlines by releasing the Axon 20, the world’s first smartphone that features an under-screen camera. In 2019, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro was awarded the gold prize for Innovative Products at the World Manufacturing Convention, cementing the brand’s reputation for delivering cutting-edge devices to its customers. ZTE smartphones are available in a wide range of price points and cater to various market segments, making them a highly sought-after choice for consumers across multiple regions. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Most Selling Phone Brands in the World. Suggested Articles: 15 Biggest Cell Phone Companies in the World 12 Most Advanced Countries in Electronics 15 Best Artificial Intelligence (AI) Stocks to Buy According to Analysts Disclosure: none. 18 Most Selling Phone Brands in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»
Big rainmakers on Wall Street
If you're looking for some great finance reads on President's Day, look no further. We have a few for you here Hello! It's a holiday in the US. But while that means many Wall Street pros are technically off but in reality, glued to their Slack, WhatsApp, and work email, our team is actually not working today. So if you're looking for some great finance reads, look no further. We have a few for you here. Your usual host Dan DeFrancesco will be back tomorrow. For now, let's dive in.If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.Guillaume/Getty Images1. ChatGPT could upend jobs across Wall Street. From investment banking and dealmaking to wealth management and financial planning, we're digging into how six key areas in finance could be affected. Read here.2. Wall Street's big rainmakers: In 2022, top investment banks still pushed blockbuster deals over the line during what was a tough year for M&A. We rounded up the 20 powerhouse bankers who orchestrated the biggest deals of 2022. Check out our list.3. Meet 8 execs at payment powerhouses like PayPal, Stripe, and Visa. If there's a piece of the fintech pie everyone seems to want this year, it's payments — and these execs are leading innovative teams and projects to stave off competition from banks and startups. See our full list here.4. Larry Fink has a new chief of staff. The BlackRock CEO has named executive Willie Alford as his new COS. It's an under-the-radar position that's become a powerful post at the firm. Here's what to know.5. We've revealed entry-level private-equity salaries at top firms. Some of the most recent private-equity recruits will rake in nearly $200,000 in base pay alone. See out what Blackstone, KKR, and Oaktree are offering associates here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Elon Musk wants Tesla to be the biggest car company ever by 2030. Experts say there"s no way.
Musk thinks Tesla can sell 20 million cars in 2030. That's the equivalent of Toyota and Volkswagen combined. Some of the world's biggest carmakers would need to collapse for Tesla to hit Elon Musk's ambitious goal, experts said.REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo Elon Musk wants Tesla to sell 20 million electric cars in 2030. Last year it sold 1.3 million. That's the equivalent of Toyota and Volkswagen, the world's two biggest carmakers, combined. Experts say it's not possible. Outside of his achievements in business and technology, Elon Musk is best known as a man of many tweets and bold predictions. He wants to establish a colony on Mars and thinks an army of intelligent Tesla robots will soon mow grass and grab groceries for millions of people. Another lofty goal that the billionaire entrepreneur has kicked around: Sell at least 20 million Teslas in 2030, effectively transforming the young firm into the largest car manufacturer the world has ever seen. But is that even remotely possible? Auto manufacturing experts have their doubts. It would upend the industry"I think that is, frankly, beyond a stretch goal," Jeff Schuster, head of the automotive practice at GlobalData, told Insider. Let's put that aspiration into perspective with some data. Consider that today's top-selling automakers — Toyota and Volkswagen — each ship 10 million units annually, give or take. Last year, Tesla delivered a record 1.3 million cars, making it the leader in electric-vehicle sales. In 2030, around 100 million new cars will change hands around the world. The notion that Tesla could swallow up one-fifth of the incredibly competitive car market in such a short time, if ever, is a fantasy, industry analysts said. Tesla's goal would mean accounting forChristian Marquardt - Pool/Getty Images"If Tesla owns 20% of the global market by 2030, that would likely mean two or three of the top 10 global manufacturers would go out of business or be reduced to ashes," Schuster said. "It would turn the entire industry on its head, and I don't foresee that happening." Tesla's quest for domination sounds a lot like what Apple achieved in the smartphone market. Indeed, if you ask Musk, Tesla isn't merely a carmaker, but rather a tech company that could soon be worth trillions more than Apple. [Its emphasis on sleek software, ultra-loyal fanbase, and tightly controlled ecosystem (Tesla owns its chargers, showrooms, and repair shops) certainly feels more Apple than Toyota.]But Teslas won't become another ubiquitous iPhone, Sam Fiorani, an analyst at AutoForecast Solutions, said. Unlike the smartphone world circa 2007, the automotive market is mature and packed with experienced competitors. By successfully landing EVs on the map, Tesla prodded the entire auto industry to sink billions into electrification, and those investments are already paying off. "It's such a competitive market that Tesla would have to reinvent the automobile far beyond what it already has done in order to dominate to that level," he said. Tesla would need more factories, models, and demandEven setting aside the threat of competition, scaling up to 20 million annual sales would require gargantuan investments in expanding manufacturing capacity and developing new products to bolster Tesla's skimpy lineup, experts said. Newly manufactured Teslas sit in a lot in Burbank, California, in 2018.ReutersTesla currently assembles cars at four plants. To hit its goals, it would need 18-30 additional factories costing a whopping $90-$150 billion, Fiorani estimates. Even once a factory is built, production doesn't hit full speed overnight. Tesla's newest facilities in Germany and Texas are running at well below max capacity. Launching new models isn't a walk in the park either: Tesla has put off its Cybertruck pickup and Roadster supercar for years. Even if it managed to crank out 20 million cars, Musk's firm would still need to find buyers for them, which isn't a given. Tesla's sales have exploded in recent years, in part because they're the hot new thing, but that ravenous appetite should fade as its cars truly go mainstream, Schuster said.Where is Tesla now?This isn't to take anything away from Tesla's remarkable ascent. In just the last 15 years, it's evolved from the weird, new kid on the block experimenting with electric sports cars to a global powerhouse that's lit a fire under century-old behemoths. In 2013, it produced some 22,000 cars; this year, it should make nearly 2 million. Certainly nobody could have predicted that sort of trajectory when Tesla was just starting out. Perhaps it has some more tricks up its sleeve. But Schuster would place Volkswagen at the top of the EV market in 2030 thanks to its vast manufacturing footprint and vehicle lineup. He projects that Tesla will keep growing but sell well under 5 million vehicles that year. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Transcript: William Cohan
The transcript from this week’s, MiB: William Cohan on GE, Lazard, Goldman & Bear, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is… Read More The post Transcript: William Cohan appeared first on The Big Picture. The transcript from this week’s, MiB: William Cohan on GE, Lazard, Goldman & Bear, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest, Bill Cohan is a fixture on Wall Street for a long time, both as an investment banker at Lazard Freres and eventually Merrill and JPMorgan Chase, as well as an author. He is one of the co-founders of Puck. He is a writer for Vanity Fair, for the New York Times, for Bloomberg. He’s really well known on the street and puts out a number of fascinating books, arguably a sort of parallel career to Michael Lewis. He’s at Lazard Freres for seven, eight years, and then sometime later writes his version of Liar’s Poker, which is a history of Lazard Freres. His most recent book, Power Failure, about the rise and fall of General Electric is really a fascinating history, with some fun stories and a lot of really interesting gossip throughout it. It’s deeply researched, deeply reported, and really a very enjoyable read. I think you’ll find this conversation quite fascinating; I know I did. With no further ado, my conversation with Bill Cohan, author of Power Failure. William Cohan, welcome back to Bloomberg. WILLIAM D. COHAN, FINANCIAL JOURNALIST, AUTHOR OF POWER FAILURE: Thank you, Barry. It’s great to be here. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about your career, which began as a reporter, went into M&A banking, and then went back to writing. You start writing for the Raleigh Times. Tell us a little bit about what you were doing there. COHAN: I was doing something I probably should never have been allowed to do, which was write about public education in Wake County, which was fine. I had just graduated from Columbia School of Journalism, getting a master’s in journalism and I’ve done my thesis on public schools in Central Harlem, in the Central Harlem School District. I went to one of the best schools in the district and one of the worst schools in the district, and just sat there for like six weeks and tried to absorb what was going on. And no one had ever done that, I had to get special permission from the Board of Education in Brooklyn back when they still do that. And then I went to Raleigh and covered public schools in Raleigh. But I’ve never been to a public school in my life, other than sitting in the classrooms in Central Harlem. So, it was great, but it was, you know, like anything, a total learning experience. RITHOLTZ: So, you ended up becoming an investment banker. You worked at places like Lazard Freres and Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan. Tell us a little bit about your banking background, what did you do, what sort of deals. By the way, this wasn’t like, I’m going to try this for six months and go back to writing. You did this for 17 years. COHAN: Yeah. And I actually started out of business school. I’ve gone back to Columbia. So, I graduated from business school in 1987 and went to GE Capital for two years, financing leveraged buyouts. And I also spent a year there, working for the chief credit officer at GE Capital, learning all the different business lines at GE Capital. And then I went to Lazard and — RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stay with GE Capital for a minute because they’re going to loom large later. COHAN: Plenty of relevance. Yes. RITHOLTZ: In the ‘80s, they were really a financial arm of GE and a way to facilitate its client base. It seems like in the ‘90s, it evolved into something else. When you were there, was it a financial engineering firm, or was it a more traditional credit finance firm? COHAN: By the time I was there, I had started in the Depression, you know, financing customers — RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: — purchase of GE’s appliances, right, because credit was hard to come by during those years. RITHOLTZ: Everybody, General Motors had a credit on multi-big manufacturers there. COHAN: A lot of did that. Right. GE had a benefit in over other companies in that regard because they had a AAA credit rating. So, they were able to borrow very cheap, and then lend out expensively. And they were able to arbitrage that credit rating which, of course, Jack Welch did it in spades. And by the time I got there, you know, Jack had been CEO for six years, and he was well into turning GE Capital into a financial powerhouse. So, by the time I got there, it was well beyond just, you know, financing customer acquisitions of appliances. I mean, you know, I probably shouldn’t have been doing it because I had been a journalist covering public schools and knew nothing about leveraged buyouts. But I was financing leveraged buyouts at GE Capital, and that was one of 18 or 20 business lines that the business was in and you know, just making huge profits, arbitraging that credit rating. RITHOLTZ: So, you go from GE Capital to Lazard next. Tell us about Lazard. COHAN: Well, Lazard couldn’t have been more different than GE, as you can imagine. RITHOLTZ: Talk about old school, classic partnership, managing risk, very different headspace. COHAN: Oh, totally, totally. I mean, I’ve always been fascinated by Lazard because I read Cary Reich’s book, the Financier about Andre Meyer which was a fabulous book and Cary Reich was a great writer, but he died way too young. And you know, I’ve been a Francophile my whole life. I read that book. I wanted to work at Lazard. When I was in business school, I got an interview at Lazard with two partners who probably are still there, and they didn’t even send me a ding letter, Barry. Do you know what a ding letter is? RITHOLTZ: Sure. COHAN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Thanks for coming in. COHAN: Thanks for coming. We don’t need you. RITHOLTZ: At this time — COHAN: You know, good luck with you. I’m sure you’d be great. RITHOLTZ: We’ve put your resume in our file. COHAN: That’s right. RITHOLTZ: Don’t hold your breath. COHAN: They didn’t even send me one of those. They just ignored me. Okay. And then two years later, I tried again. You know, GE Capital, you have to understand, like, investment banking was so hot then. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: Everybody wanted to be an investment banker. RITHOLTZ: Of course. It was monstrous. COHAN: It was monstrous. I mean, investment bankers were rock stars, right? So I was at GE Capital and you know, we were getting business because we had access to all this capital. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. COHAN: You know, I became enamored of this idea of getting business through your ideas, right. And that was at Lazard. Lazard had no capital. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: No capital, but it got in the middle of deals. It became interstitial men because of, you know, its reputation, its brain power, and that really appealed to me. And plus, it was French, in a private partnership, and all these great men were wandering around like, you know, Felix Rohatyn, and Michel David-Weill and — RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: — Damon Mezzacappa. And so, I, you know, wanted to be part of that. I was the only associate they hired in 1989. RITHOLTZ: They’re like the last partnership standing, aren’t they? COHAN: No. They went public in 2006. RITHOLTZ: Oh, they did? COHAN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: That’s right. COHAN: They’ve been, and my first book covered them being a private partnership to going public. And when Bruce Wasserstein came in, and basically stole the company from Michel David-Weill, which is a story I tell in detail in the book. They went public in May of 2006, and they’ve been public now for — RITHOLTZ: The argument is they avoided trouble in the financial crisis because they didn’t have a decade of overleverage. COHAN: Well, they had vague basically zero capital markets business. They had no balance sheet. So they weren’t ever going to be, you know, having securities on their balance sheet that were at risk and losing value. RITHOLTZ: Whereas all the other public companies had access to capital and managed to get into trouble. COHAN: Of course, having access to capital can be a big problem. And they used to say that like, you know, Goldman Sachs, which one of the reasons they stayed private until 1999 is because John Whitehead used to say that and I know this from writing my book about Goldman, John Whitehead used to say that, you know, not having capital forced them to make tougher choices. And other banks which have more access to capital, you know, were often foolish with that money. RITHOLTZ: So, you go from Lazard to Merrill to JPMorgan, tell us about those other experiences, how do they compare to Lazard which seems much more unique, being in a public company versus a partnership. What was the workflow like there? COHAN: I mean, in Lazard, you were drinking from the firehose — RITHOLTZ: Yeah. COHAN: — because, you know, there were 72 partners and 72 non-partners in the investment banking group, so very small. So, you know, that was not a pyramid structure. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: That was a rectangular structure. So, you know, there are a lot of people at the top of the funnel, pushing down on the people at the bottom of the funnel. And so, you know, you’re just constantly busy working on the biggest and best deals of all time, you know, and that’s what I did. And you know, Merrill was, of course, much more corporate. It was public. And the ultimate corporate was Chase, JP Morgan, JPMorgan Chase, you know. So, they were all very different. But you’ll note of those three, you know, Lazard and Merrill and JPMorgan Chase, the only one I’ve written a book about is Lazard because it was so unique and you know, really, the people there were quite extraordinary and fun to write about. RITHOLTZ: So, compared to Lazard and Goldman Sachs, I have to ask the question about GE Capital. Did they essentially in the 1990s, morphed what was an industrial giant into a financial giant? COHAN: In fairness, you know, once Jack took over GE Capital in the ‘70s, and you know, once he decided that, as he told me, it was easier to make money from money than from making — RITHOLTZ: Selling widgets or jet engines. COHAN: — jet engines, making power plants. You know, it was just easier. It was easier to do that arbitrage and if you had people in place who understood the risks and managing the risk. So during Jack’s 20-year reign atop GE, GE Capital became an increasingly large and important contributor to the bottom line, and to the point of like providing 50 percent of the profits. So, I mean, — RITHOLTZ: Wow. That’s giant. COHAN: Of course, it was giant. It was like the third or fourth largest banking institution in the country, and it was completely unregulated, Barry, completely unregulated. It was not a bank because — RITHOLTZ: No FDIC insurance, no regulation. COHAN: Well, it didn’t have deposits. RITHOLTZ: Right. Well, they had one depositor, it was General Electric, the company. COHAN: It was the commercial paper mark. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. That’s quite amazing. COHAN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So when I think of GE in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the three things that come up; GE Capital, obviously; the rise of shareholder value, which a lot of people point to General Electric as a key driver of that; and then Six Sigma. Let’s talk a little bit about shareholder value and that Chicago School philosophy that Jack seems to have embraced? COHAN: Well, you know, Jack wouldn’t know Chicago philosophy from a hole in the wall. But what Jack really understood was, you know, stock price — RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: — and shareholder value. When he took over GE, we had a market value of $12 billion. And you know, by the time he left, like a year before he left, it was the most valuable company in the world. RITHOLTZ: 650? COHAN: $650 billion. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. That’s amazing. COHAN: So that’s a nice, you know, compounded rate of return over those basically 20 years. I mean, you know, we’re not unlike, you know, sort of Tesla or even Apple. Really, I mean, if you think about when Tim Cook took over Apple, it was worth $300 billion, and at one point it was worth two and a half trillion. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: So that’s an equally Jack Welch like, or even more. RITHOLTZ: So the difference between the two, I’m glad you brought that up as an example, the vast majority of the gain we’ve seen in Apple has been an increase in revenues and profits, with a modest, very modest uptick in PE multiple. When we look at GE from ‘82 to 2000, under the Jack Welch reign, it began priced as a stodgy industrial and I have argued that he left this giant ticking time bomb of a 47 PE on an industrial, with a cratering capital business that had a ticking time bomb of an accounting fraud that SEC finds about to happen. How much of the growth of GE was due to the legend of Jack Welch and how effectively he presented the company to the world? COHAN: So there’s a lot there to unpack. RITHOLTZ: Hey, I read this giant book that goes into all these details called Power Failure. Check it out. COHAN: Wow. Don’t hurt yourself. So yeah, so I would agree with a lot of what you said, not all of it. So Jack had Wall Street research analysts eating out of the palm of his hand. RITHOLTZ: Absolutely. COHAN: Okay. So that’s important, number one. RITHOLTZ: And you discussed that also. COHAN: And he figured that out, okay, and he played that game. And also, it was a fact that, for the longest time, the research analysts that covered GE were industrial side analysts, didn’t understand what was going on at GE Capital. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: So he could kind of wow them every quarter with the performance of the company. And he, you know, 80 straight quarters or something like that, you know, either met or exceeded the analysts’ estimates. RITHOLTZ: He had Bernie Madoff numbers, didn’t he? Just like consistency to a degree that should have raised some red flags? COHAN: Well, except that Bernie Madoff was a Ponzi scheme and totally fictional, and never made a trade — RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: — for his customers. So, Jack was actually, you know, running a very large — RITHOLTZ: 90 percent of it was legit. It was just that penny or two of up or down that was — COHAN: Well, you know, we could debate that probably endlessly, and there are people who, you know, would love to debate this. I mean, you know, having worked at GE Capital, I’m actually sympathetic. You know, if you’ve got $650 billion of assets floating around, including loans of actual buildings because you’re in the real estate business — RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: — warrants in companies, equity stakes and companies, you know, and if you have those assets and you can monetize them at some point during the quarter to achieve what you told Wall Street research analysts you’re going to achieve. If you don’t do that, then I don’t know you’re committing some sort of financial malpractice, it seems to me. And if you do it, then people accuse you of financial malpractice so — RITHOLTZ: Well, we’ll get to the SEC fines and that stuff later. COHAN: Right. Of course. RITHOLTZ: I want to stick with the analyst community. COHAN: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Jack having them eat out — COHAN: And he also had the media eating out the thing. RITHOLTZ: So that’s where exactly I was going to go. COHAN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: GE owns NBC Universal. NBC Universal has on its platform CNBC. COHAN: Jack created CNBC, created MSNBC. RITHOLTZ: So, it’s different today when the media ratings for financial television are all off. Regardless of which television channel you’re talking about, the numbers are way down from the ‘90s. You’ll get a spike during the financial crisis. You’re getting a spike during the pandemic lockdown. But that’s more like a cross between ESPN 6, Australian rules rugby and the Weather Channel, right? When some disaster happens, everybody turns to it. But, look, we both came up in the ‘80s and ‘90s. At that time, if a CEO went on CNBC and said, here’s what I’m going to do, and then he went out and do it, the entire investment community was hanging on to that every word, which raises the question, how effective was Jack Welch as a media spokesperson? And how challenging was it for him to go on his own channel and tout his company’s stock? COHAN: Well, he obviously had a conflict. RITHOLTZ: A little, right? COHAN: But I guess they got over that. I mean, did you ever meet Jack? RITHOLTZ: Ever so briefly at CNBC for like 30 seconds — COHAN: Okay. RITHOLTZ: — in a green room. He was getting makeup on and I was coming in for Kudlow & Cramer, and maybe it was eight seconds. COHAN: Well, then you have a hint of what he was like. I mean, I spent, you know, hours and hours and hours with him before he died. And he even as an 80-year-old man, he was incredibly charming and magnetic, and had a larger-than-life personality. So, you know, when he would get on television, you know, with that cranky sort of New England accent — RITHOLTZ: Yup. COHAN: — that I managed to get rid of, and he didn’t, even though we grew up near each other, he was magnetic and captivating. So, yes, he had the media eating out of the palm of his hands. He had the research community eating out of the palm of his hands. He had shareholders eating out of the palm of his hands. And when you have that kind of performance as a CEO over that long period of time, don’t forget, he was around for 20 years. You know, he became sort of an imperial CEO. RITHOLTZ: I’m trying to remember which magazine it was, might have been Fortune, declared him the greatest CEO of the 20th century. COHAN: The CEO, the manager of the century. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. COHAN: The manager of the 20th century. RITHOLTZ: Quite impressive. COHAN: Yes. You know, don’t forget, at that time, GE was the most valuable company. It was the most respected company, and Jack was the manager of the century. So it’d be like Apple, Google, Microsoft, all rolled up into one. And you know, that was GE. It was, you know, original member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It was a AAA credit rated company. It had been paying dividends for, you know, 50, 60, 70 years. RITHOLTZ: It’s like they invented the light bulb. COHAN: And they did, and it was a true bellwether. Remember that phrase? A bellwether? They don’t really use that anymore. RITHOLTZ: No, no. COHAN: But it was a bellwether of the market. RITHOLTZ: Amazing. So, Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon, you know, when I saw the title of this book, I thought it was going to be about the modern GE. You really do an amazing deep dive into the early history of the company. I mean, the foundation from before they were accompanied, when it was just a gleam in a Thomas Edison’s eyes. Tell us a little bit about the process of researching something this substantial. COHAN: Very, very painful, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Well, you do this in all your books, you do a giant dive. COHAN: You know, I write the books that I would like to read, you know, so they have to be sort of part oral history, part real history, part investigative reporting, part documentary, you know, deep dive and evidence. And you know, I like to get at the DNA of these firms or these companies, right. And the DNA of GE goes back to the late 19th century, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: And I didn’t know what it was, so I had to figure that out. Because, you know, the myth is that this GE was started and founded by Thomas Edison. Well, within a minute of virtue of researching, I discovered that actually, that’s not true. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: But they play that up ad nauseam and I don’t blame them. I mean, how can you not play up Thomas Edison. RITHOLTZ: And the light bulb. COHAN: Well, the light bulb is real. He did, you know, develop the light bulb, create the light bulb. But you know, the business started as an electricity power generation business. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about that because a light bulb is useless if you can’t it plug into the wall. COHAN: Extremely useless. RITHOLTZ: At that time, that wasn’t an electrical — COHAN: If you’ve heard of candles — RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: — if you’ve heard of whale oil — RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: — if you’ve heard of fireplaces, I mean, you know, this was incredible. This was an Internet-like leap forward in technology. RITHOLTZ: So General Electric plays an integral role into bringing — COHAN: Essential. RITHOLTZ: — electricity, at least starting in the Northeast of the United States. COHAN: Right. RITHOLTZ: Tell us a little bit about that process of electrifying New York City, electrifying other parts of the Northeast. COHAN: Well, basically, what became General Electric, which was a merger of two companies, you know, sort of what was a pioneer in bringing electric power, the generation of electric power, and then creating the electric power grid. Remember, you can create electricity. RITHOLTZ: And good luck. COHAN: But if there’s no way to deliver it to businesses, and then by the way, you know, you have to convince people to, like, connect to it. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: And it’s invisible, right? And if you mess up, it’s deadly. RITHOLTZ: So other than that, it seems like a simple business model. COHAN: Other than that, it seems like a simple thing. In the early days, there were like fires, you know, and people’s businesses burned down. So, you can imagine that wasn’t exactly the greatest recommendation for this product. But over time, you know, the miracle occurred. And part of the reason the miracle occurred is because, you know, there were electric subway cars and electric trams above ground. And you know, I don’t know, you probably didn’t watch this, but, you know, The Gilded Age show. Okay. So, I mean, there’s an episode, I think the second or third episode in there, where they actually have a big social event in Downtown Manhattan, in a square mile in Downtown Manhattan, around City Hall, where they were, you know, electrifying that square mile of Downtown Manhattan. And that was GE doing that. Okay. That was General Electric doing that, and that was like a major league event in New York City’s history, you know, electrifying a square mile of Downtown Manhattan. And there was, like, a big social event. And you know, Page Six covered it, Bloomberg covered it, you know, everybody covered it. RITHOLTZ: I don’t think Bloomberg covered that thing. COHAN: No? Okay. RITHOLTZ: It might have been before Mike was born. COHAN: It might have been. RITHOLTZ: But when you think about people seeing streetlights that are running without oil — COHAN: Revolutionary. RITHOLTZ: Right. This is — COHAN: I mean, maybe not as quaint. RITHOLTZ: Well, this is before the days of FOMO was called FOMO. But how attractive was the idea of clean, accessible light? COHAN: I mean, it did — RITHOLTZ: How long did it take for this to catch on? COHAN: It happened quickly. Obviously, it was a major, you know, revolution. But, I mean, people had to get comfortable with it. And the grid had to be built out, and the power had to be able to be manufactured. So as the demand crept up and continued, then the supply grows to meet that demand. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about how that was done. Tell us about the merger in the early days that gave us General Electric, and who ran that company. It wasn’t Thomas Edison. COHAN: No. So, Thomas Edison was completely against the merger of what became GE. So right off the bat, I’m thinking, why did they keep talking about Thomas Edison? Like, I get it from the technology point of view and the entrepreneurial point of view, but the actual merger, so right off the bat, we’re talking about M&A, which, you know, of course, intrigued me. RITHOLTZ: Your wheelhouse. COHAN: Right. I mean, there was probably no bigger acquirer and seller of companies over the years than GE. So, M&A was in GE’s DNA. It was like an investment banker’s dream, GE. And so, Edison had a company called Edison General Electric. But by 1892, it had about $10 million in revenue. It wasn’t doing that well. He was just basically a shareholder, and the other big shareholder was JPMorgan, the man. And then it was, you know, run by a different CEO who was also a venture capitalist friend of JPMorgan’s. And there was another company called the Thomson-Houston Company, which was owned by a guy named Charles Coffin up in Massachusetts. And he was from Maine, but his uncle owned a shoe manufacturing business Lynn, Massachusetts. He went to work for his uncle and decided like many, you know, entrepreneurial minded people that the shoe business wasn’t all that exciting. But what was exciting was the electric power business and the generation of electric power. So, he ended up buying the Thompson-Houston Company, which was started by two high school teachers in Philadelphia, moved it eventually up to Lynn, Massachusetts, and started running it. He was a very good businessman, and he ran it much more profitably than Edison’s company. So basically, JPMorgan and the Boston venture capitalist backing Thompson-Houston Company, backing Charles Coffin’s business, wanted to merge these two businesses. And the merger took place in 1892, over the serious objection of a guy named Thomas Edison. He wanted nothing to do with it. He became a minor shareholder, eventually sold his shares and started working on, like, limestone mining in New Jersey. RITHOLTZ: So, did Edison profit from when GE eventually went public, or did he sell his — COHAN: You know, he wasn’t a very good businessman. RITHOLTZ: He’s clearly not. COHAN: No. And I’m sure he made money because he started the company, but — RITHOLTZ: But he ended up like a 10 percent shareholder of GE, right? COHAN: Well, you know, when it went public. But we’re talking about relatively small numbers, but at the time, I’m sure that was, you know, more money than most everybody else. He was fine. Don’t you worry. But you know — RITHOLTZ: Don’t worry about Thomas Edison. He did okay himself. COHAN: — JPMorgan and Charles Coffin and others made a lot more money. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. So, let’s roll into the 20th century, the teens, the ‘20s, the ‘30s, GE has electrified a lot of America. They’re adding businesses. There’s a lot of M&A. And it turns out that, you know, this competition thing, it’s hard, and it’s much easier if we all kind of agree, don’t tell anybody, we’ll meet in the hotel room, not in the conference facility. But let’s all kind of fix our prices in a way that works out best for everybody. This is good for everybody, isn’t it? What happened with that? COHAN: Yeah, you’re referring to a major league, you know, electrical conspiracy as it was called. I mean, you know, where Westinghouse and other manufacturers of electrical equipment basically conspired together to set the prices. RITHOLTZ: And by the way, these people didn’t innovate that. This is fairly common. It’s why we have any trust rules. At that time, this seemed to have happened pretty regularly. COHAN: And you know, they would sort of get caught, or they would decide that it wasn’t such a great idea. They would try to stop it, and then — RITHOLTZ: Or they would cheat amongst themselves. COHAN: And then cheat amongst themselves. RITHOLTZ: No honor among thieves. COHAN: And then they would realize, you know, this probably isn’t great, what we’re doing here. Let’s wind it down, and they would be told to wind it back up again. It was incredibly unethical, immoral, illegal. People went to jail. You know, no doubt after about 10 years, it was flushed. RITHOLTZ: What was so fascinating in the book, the way you describe it, is when these sort of quiet coalitions and trusts would start to break down, the price competition became fierce, and the penetration into the market and the ability to get new products, like capitalism turns out to work. COHAN: It’s a test case that shows you the importance of competition. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: And collusion does not really work out for consumers. So, you know, there’s a reason we have antitrust. There’s a reason, you know, that’s still being litigated even today. We see, you know, antitrust litigation now ramping up again. So, competition is important, and collusion really is not great and is illegal. RITHOLTZ: You know, the differences between the 21st century collusion and the 20th century, you hear about Google and Apple and Microsoft trying to cap prices on certain software engineers’ salaries. This was just massive. It affected cities. It affected businesses. Like, there was a real hard number that you couldn’t buy a turbine from, which was enormously important. Now, I’m not saying what Apple and Google did was right, it was wrong. It just seems like it’s so much smaller than the collusion from the good old days. COHAN: Or maybe if there is collusion today, let’s just make it hypothetical, it’s sort of more insidious because you’re not exactly sure how, you know, it might affect the pricing of software products, or it might affect whether there’s cookies that are taken from our data, and how our data is used. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: You know, back then, it was, okay, we need to build a power plant in Florida. And you know, you guys make your bids. Westinghouse, you make your bid. GE, you make your bid. And oh, these bids seem awfully similar. And you know, oh — RITHOLTZ: Identical. COHAN: Identical, in fact. RITHOLTZ: What a coincidence. COHAN: Are you guys colluding? And you know, I want to go around and cut a deal. So, it was sort of amateur hour, if you will. It really was kind of amateur hour, which doesn’t make it any less illegal or immoral or unethical. But you know, what you can probably get away with — unbeknownst to people nowadays with — and again, I’m not saying that it’s happening, but If it were to happen, you know, it’s probably much more insidious and hard to track down. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s fast forward a little bit. GE plays a huge effort during both World Wars. Tell us a little bit about what GE did. How did they affect the ability to fight a global conflict like that, from here in the United States? COHAN: Well, GE was a, you know, for a long time, a very big defense contractor, made jet engines for fighter jets, and you know, made nuclear power plants and probably had a role in making nuclear bombs and triggers and things like that. RITHOLTZ: Undisclosed? None of that we really you know about. COHAN: Yeah, we don’t know. We know, you know, there were nuclear waste dumps, et cetera, probably at one point that GE was involved with. What I found to be the most interesting thing was sort of in World War I, GE created the radio technology, you know, that we may be even using today — RITHOLTZ: Right now. COHAN: — right now, that allowed people to communicate with one another. And it was a real technological breakthrough and helped the Allies win the war. And so, GE created this technology, and after the war, wanted to sell it to Marconi, which was the big British company. They had an American subsidiary called American Marconi, which was a public company. And basically, the government, Woodrow Wilson’s administration blocked the sale of that. RITHOLTZ: Sure. Too valuable. COHAN: Too valuable. And essentially forced GE to create what became RCA, the Radio Corporation of America, inside GE, and forced GE to buy American Marconi and create what became RCA inside GE, so that the British wouldn’t get access to this technology and dominate the radio waves. RITHOLTZ: Which is funny because they’re an ally of ours. COHAN: Yes. RITHOLTZ: And then am I recalling this correctly? Wasn’t the subsequent event of that, and now that we’ve done all this, you have to divest RCA. COHAN: Yeah. So that was like, you know, in 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920. And then in 1932, for reasons that actually kind of I still don’t quite understand, the Justice Department decided that GE owning RCA was an antitrust violation, forced GE to divest RCA. That’s when RCA became a public company run by David Sarnoff. And then, you know, in 1986, our hero, Jack Welch, buys back RCA for $6.4 billion, at that point, the largest M&A deal in history. And everybody like heralds, Jack Welch is like this hero for doing this incredible deal, which by then, RCA also owns NBC. That’s how GE got NBC. And in fact, Jack was just buying back something that GE had started. RITHOLTZ: He’s getting the band back together. COHAN: He’s getting the band back together. But of course, nobody has that kind of a memory. In front page of The New York Times was Jack Welch buying back RCA, the biggest M&A deal of all time. And now, he’s got NBC. But Jack was just buying back what GE had already owned. RITHOLTZ: So let’s — COHAN: And I didn’t know that, by the way, and I had worked there. And that was a big revelation to me. I was fascinated by that. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stay with the chronology, World War II ends, they come out of the war with a burgeoning defense business. Jet engine is invented during World War II but not deployed until after the war. I don’t know if we had any jet fighters during the war. The Germans had a couple. It certainly didn’t affect the tide of the war, one way or another. COHAN: I mean, I think you know that GE perfected, you know, the jet engine by going up to Pikes Peak, you know. I’m sure you remember that commercial. RITHOLTZ: Yes. It’s an amazing story. COHAN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: They have to drive up there — COHAN: They have to drive up there. RITHOLTZ: — because it’s the highest point you can get to by truck. COHAN: It’s the highest point that you can get to by truck — RITHOLTZ: Yes. COHAN: — because it’s a road up to the top of Pikes Peak. And then they test the engine because they needed to test it out — RITHOLTZ: Was that a propeller engine, not a jet engine, right? COHAN: I think that was a jet engine, but, like, you know — RITHOLTZ: But the whole idea was some of the fighter planes move faster. COHAN: Were losing altitude. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: They would get up to certain altitude — RITHOLTZ: They would lose power. COHAN: They would lose power. And so they needed to test a new jet engine to see whether it would maintain its, you know, velocity — RITHOLTZ: Full thrust that had the higher — COHAN: — of full thrust that had a high altitude. And obviously, GE perfected that on top of Pikes Peak and that made a huge difference for the speed and the, you know, viability of these fighter jets. RITHOLTZ: So, they come out of the war with this huge book of patents, all these new products, essentially an entire new line of aerospace and defense sectors. It seems like the post-war era really began the modern period of General Electric becoming a dominant conglomerate. Fair statement? COHAN: I mean, yes. I mean, you know, GE kind of ended up, for whatever reason, doing some of the largest M&A deals, you know, up to that point. Like, you know, Jack’s predecessor, Reg Jones, bought something called Utah International, which was like a mining company of all things, because he decided that, you know, owning commodities would be a good hedge against the 1970’s inflation. So that was like a two and a half billion-dollar deal. That was, again, Utah International. That was the largest M&A deal, you know, up to that point, prior to RCA. RITHOLTZ: The RCA? COHAN: Right. Which Jack had done a decade later. And of course, when Jack became the CEO in 1980, he hated the Utah International deal. He was against it, but nobody listened to him. And the first thing he did was divest it. So, Jack divests, you know, so that’s not unsurprising that the new CEO, you know, wants to undo. Jack wanted to, you know, make changes to the way Reg Jones ran GE. And so, I think, you know, it was under Jack, really, that GE was just buying and selling so many companies all the time. They were really an M&A machine. You know, they hired this guy, Mike Carpenter, you know, from McKinsey to be the M&A guy and you know, just create a strategic planning department just to do deals. RITHOLTZ: And they did a ton of them, didn’t they? COHAN: Did a ton of deals. RITHOLTZ: So, I have to start by asking, you begin the book telling a story of driving with Jack to the golf course. Tell us a little bit about how you met him and what that set of conversations were like. COHAN: So, once I decided to see if I could do this book in August of 2018 — RITHOLTZ: Geez, that’s a five-year process. COHAN: Well, I mean, it took me probably two and a half years to write it and research it, and then another, you know, 15 months to get it published. You know, getting a book published in the middle of a pandemic is not that easy. RITHOLTZ: You see, I would think it’s easy because you’re at home. They’re at home. COHAN: You know, it was easy for me. But you know, we’re talking about paper supply and printing time on the printer and things like that really got bogged down, and not just for my book, but a lot of books. RITHOLTZ: That’s interesting. I didn’t realize that. COHAN: And getting time on the press was very hard to do, and finding the paper was very hard. RITHOLTZ: So, we had supply chain issues with — COHAN: Supply chain issues. RITHOLTZ: — paper for books. COHAN: Exactly. And time on the press RITHOLTZ: I had no idea. COHAN: I think I actually started it in October of 2018. But one thing I did was, you know, I figured if Jack weren’t going to talk to me, then I would have to think about whether I wanted to do it. You know, I had a home in Nantucket, I was there. He had a home around the corner from me in Nantucket. I would see him occasionally. RITHOLTZ: Did you know him when you worked at GE Capital? COHAN: I mean, of course, we all, quote, “knew” Jack. RITHOLTZ: Did you meet him? Did he chat? Was he familiar with you prior to you reaching out to him? COHAN: Oh, I seriously doubt it. But I think — RITHOLTZ: You were a kid banker and a finance banker. COHAN: I was, you know, a pipsqueak, way down the food chain. And I think over time, over the years, he became aware of who I was, running the book. And when I reached out to him, he surprised me by saying, yeah, let’s have a meeting and let’s meet at the Nantucket Golf Club which, you know, was where he was a member. And we met and — RITHOLTZ: I love the story of him like kind of rolling up in the car to the valet, and the kid, the keys. Tell us a little bit about what that was like. COHAN: You know, I walked into the Nantucket Golf Club and told them I was being a Jack Welch. Of course, you know, it was like I was meeting royalty. I love this story. We go out onto the veranda which was the porch, you know, for lunch, and he was already seated there. And at the next table, there was Phil Mickelson. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: It was a Wednesday. Okay. And the Thursday was, like, I think the Deutsche Bank Golf Tournament, the Annual Deutsche Bank Golf Tournament happens in Massachusetts, right. So the professional golfers were in and around Massachusetts, and Phil Mickelson, Lefty, was doing a practice round at the Nantucket Golf Club the day before the tournament started. So he was there having lunch and he was seated at a table with Bob Diamond who had been the CEO of Barclays and I think had been defenestrated by then. And he was with Paul Salem, who I knew from growing up in Central Massachusetts. And Paul was one of the founders of a private equity firm, Providence Equity Partners. And so they were having lunch and you know, one after another, they came over and paid their respects to Jack. Everybody was always paying their respects to Jack and this was no different. And I knew Bob and I knew Paul, so they’re probably wondering, what the hell is Bill Cohan sitting and having lunch with Jack Welch? The first thing out of Jack Welch’s mouth, as I tell the story, was that, you know, he had messed up. He didn’t use messed up, but he used something — RITHOLTZ: He was not afraid to use salty language. COHAN: He was not afraid. And he had messed up with the succession process. He had messed up the selection of Jeff Immelt, which basically, who was his handpicked successor. And he felt, you know, by 2018, Jeff, of course, had been — RITHOLTZ: Gone. COHAN: — fired. You know, he had been fired a year earlier, and John Flannery was the new CEO. Now, I had worked with John Flannery. John Flannery and I had started at GE Capital together and shared an office together. So, I knew John for 30 years and you know, it was great that John was the new CEO. So the first thing out of Jack’s mouth is how he had messed up the process and I’m thinking to myself, whoa, Jack Welch is telling me that the person he had hand-selected as a successor, he was completely disavowing and, like, saying, I messed this up completely. But I said, Jack, you chose him. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHAN: Yes, I know, but I screwed it up and this is on me, and this is going to affect my legacy. At that moment, I kind of knew I was onto something — RITHOLTZ: You’re in. COHAN: — quite special. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And he had already published his — COHAN: Oh, yeah, his memoir. RITHOLTZ: — autobiography. COHAN: His memoir came out literally on September 11th, 2001. In fact, he had been on the Today show that morning and had finished his segme.....»»
18 movies with valuable entrepreneurial lessons: From "Startup.com" to "Becoming Warren Buffett"
Reading isn't the only way to gain entrepreneurial knowledge. Films like 'Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year' can provide valuable business takeaways. Brad Pitt plays Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball."Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing Vikas Jha is a digital entrepreneur who learned a thing or two about entrepreneurship from movies. He's compiled examples that feature practical advice as well as displays of grit and determination. With the right mindset, watching a film can be a masterclass on essential entrepreneurial skills. Along my journey as a two-time digital entrepreneur, I've learned a lot of things, including how to learn, implement, and pivot quickly — but also how to manage employees, pitch investors, create marketing strategies, and more.I started my journey in 2013: I owned a digital marketing agency and then created a news app called Splash. My biggest venture and passion now is a growth enablement platform for businesses called Alore Growth OS.I've had scores of crazy days when stress levels are high and my spirits were low. Reading a good book or watching a good movie often gave me hope that the hard times would pass and that I'm not the only one struggling.While I've actually completed a real MBA, I don't deny learning many valuable lessons from films. I lean on data like Brad Pitt did in Moneyball, design and innovation like Steve Jobs in Jobs, and use some hustling tips from The Wolf of Wall Street. I even try to nurture and protect my dream exactly like Will Smith's character in Pursuit of Happyness.I call this list "The Hollywood MBA." Here are the movies I feel make up the Hollywood school of business, in no particular order. 1. "The Big Short" (2015)Entrepreneurs can learn a lot about risk management in the stock market from "The Big Short."Courtesy of Paramount PicturesWhat happens when one man gets an early glimpse of the subprime mortgage crisis? This movie is a must-watch for entrepreneurs, especially those interested in economics and finance. If you wish to be familiar with these terms before spinning a dime in the stock market, this is your movie!Takeaway: Market optimism will simply not protect against a crash. The movie really brings into focus the harm that can be done when leverage is held by large financial institutions in the derivatives and CDOs market. Investors need to pay attention to risk management if they want to protect themselves.2. "Startup.com" (2001)This documentary shows how difficult it is to push forward on an idea that seems out-of-the-box to everyone else.Courtesy of Artisan EntertainmentThis one is a documentary, but it's worth a mention as it triggers thoughts on what to do and what not to do in startups. It's about the Gold Rush of the 1990s. This one is worth seeing, especially if you're a techie, or someone who's interested in understanding the internet bubble. The movie takes you through the inception and downfall of the internet company govWorks Inc., which at one point raised $60 million USD in funding and went bust in the year 2000 – within two years of having started. It's interesting to know that the company relaunched in January 2018.Takeaway: This movie shows the effect money, greed and power can have on relationships. Friends are not always the best business partners. 3. "The Social Network" (2010)"The Social Network" shows us that business success requires more than just a great idea. You have to be able to execute it.Sony PicturesOf course, this film has to be named in every list of movies a entrepreneur must watch, offering a peek into the world of Silicon Valley and how startups run and succeed. Adapted from Mark Zucker-Facebook-berg's real life, the movie motivates youngsters to dream big and chase that dream to no end.Takeaway: It's not about who has the idea – it's about the one who executes it. Facebook happened because Mark Zuckerberg had the will, the confidence, the vision, and the discipline to make it happen. While it is known that no original idea exists, the real job is to get busy making it a reality.4. "Jobs" (2013)Success can sometimes be a really long road, which is something every entrepreneur should have in mind.Courtesy of Open Road FilmsBased on the life of Steve Jobs, this film is a must-watch. Don't watch it for the acting, but for the story of the great visionary who transformed and fuelled innovation in the technology products industry. Takeaway: Success takes its own sweet time — Apple took 20 years to become the powerhouse it is today. While drooling over successful ventures, most often, entrepreneurs fail to notice that those things didn't happen overnight. Even Apple struggled as a business, as a company, and as a technology for over a decade, before it was steered in the right direction by being innovative again.5. "Becoming Warren Buffett" (2017)In this documentary, Warren Buffett reveals his day-to-day, and his two most important investing rules."Becoming Warren Buffett"/HBOThis documentary tells the story of how the mindset for innovation can be built from a very young age. One of the most essential takeaways from this movie is how to find life goals and objectives unrelated to making more money, and instead, focus on becoming a better human being.Takeaway: Stick to your plan. The movie teaches viewers that investing isn't about picking stocks or finding the next hot company. It's about sticking with a plan and never making emotional decisions when it comes to your money. Buffett also follows two investing rules: never lose money and never forget rule number one. It also teaches that compound interest can make small differences in your investments grow into big ones over time.6. "Joy" (2015)An entrepreneur's business circle should never include family. Lawrence's character in "Joy" is a great example of the reasons why.Courtesy of 20th Century FoxInspired by the real-life of self-made millionaire Joy Mangano and her struggle to do more than make ends meet as an out-of-work mother and aspiring entrepreneur, this movie follows Joy's journey as she struggles with numerous professional and personal obstacles. It's easy to feel wholly enthralled by Joy's determination and won't-quit attitude.Takeaway: Choose advisors from outside your family. Joy found herself in the not-so-unique situation of having her family as her business advisors. It became a problem as they are too close to her to give any objective feedback. The best thing to do if your family wants to work with you, is thank them for their concern, but hire professionals. Create a group of proven successful people in similar businesses. Sometimes the greatest ideas and feedback come from people who are not as emotionally invested in you.7. "Wall Street" (1987)Greed can be your undoing, but there is a way entrepreneurs can use a little greed to motivate themselves.Courtesy of 20th Century FoxThe amount of sales dialogues one can learn from this film is insane. In a world of hunger where nothing can ever be enough, this movie showcases the passion and madness that takes over a businessman when he is maniacal about success. It sheds light on the level of craziness businesses will go to succeed – a notable quote: "greed is good." Charlie Sheen totally embodies the role of a power and success-hungry man who is ready to skirt the law to get what he wants. We all know someone like that in business — don't we?Takeaway: Greed isn't always good, but a little greed can keep us motivated to succeed – everyone likes the perks that come with a fat wallet. But making the acquisition of money the sole reason to wake up in the morning is an act of self-sabotage.In the movie, Gekko's unmitigated greed is his undoing, but the real lesson is what Bud Fox learns. Fox spends money he doesn't have on the big apartment, expensive dinners, and fancy art to emulate Gekko, even though his entry-level stockbroker job can't sustain that kind of spending spree. So, he resorts to insider-trading to pay his bills, even betraying his own father in the process. And, for what? A nicer suit?8. "Moneyball" (2011)"Moneyball" shows that adapting quickly is a requirement to success.Courtesy of Sony Pictures ReleasingBased on the life of Billy Beane, this film highlights the role innovative leadership takes in business. Needless to say, it shows how analytics aces instinct in business. It's a must-watch. Think about this quote from the film: "When your enemy is making mistakes, don't interrupt him."Takeaway: Welcome change. John Chambers once said, "If you don't innovate fast, disrupt your industry, disrupt yourself, you will be left behind." The movie sets the right picture of what he meant. Grady was fired as he was not ready to adapt to the new approach required in the circumstances.9. "Pirates of Silicon Valley" (1999)Adapting quickly to change is how the greatest entrepreneurial minds have succeeded.Courtesy of Turner Network TeleivisionAnother masterpiece on the competition and meteoric rise of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, the titular pirates of silicon valley. My favorite quote from the film is "Success is a menace. It fools smart people into thinking they can't lose." I dearly wish Blackberry, Nokia, and Kodak CXOs had seen the film in time and adapted to change before things went wrong. Some may argue that they blundered themselves into economic ruin by not adapting fast enough to the changing market environment. Others may argue they were victims of technology giants Apple and Google.Takeaway: This movie shows how two young men were pitted against each other, striving to grow in a cut-throat business. You'll definitely relate to the character development from nerd to psychopath, as both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs experience their rise and subsequent backslide. While the movie focuses primarily on their rivalry and the early days of Microsoft & Apple – it also gives you an insight into how talent is formed and potentially suppressed by rigid traditional corporations.10. "Office Space" (1999)Entrepreneurs need to learn that micromanaging can kill employee motivation.Courtesy of 20th Century FoxThis classic film has probably motivated thousands, if not millions, of entrepreneurs globally into leaving their cushy 9-to-5 jobs and answering their callings. In the setting of an IT company, the film takes a humorous look at what it's like to do something you don't love, don't value, or that doesn't inspire.Takeaway: The biggest takeaway is the effect of micromanaging — empowering employees with autonomy for better outcomes is a tried-and-true approach.The layers and layers of bosses at Initech not only demonstrate what micromanaging is but how it demotivates employees from putting forth their best efforts (or any efforts at all).11. "Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year" (2009)Doing work you're passionate about is an important part of succeeding as an an entrepreneur.Courtesy of Yash Raj FilmsThis is a must-watch movie for all budding entrepreneurs, and will surely entice you with its inspirational plot. This movie can teach you a lot about sales, corporate life, and the real world. It educates viewers about original methods of working with clients and the subtleties of relationships between buyer and seller.Takeaway: The movie demonstrates how we should treat our customers and how we should network with them. It also shows us that one must have passion for what they do, and be dedicated to achieving their goals. The movie also teaches entrepreneurs to recruit smartly: if you want to build a successful team, it is essential that you recruit people who have the right skills and are willing to work hard.12. "Catch Me if You Can" (2002)A good entrepreneur knows how to take even the smallest opportunity and make something great out of it.DreamWorks PicturesOkay, so I understand that this film is about social engineering and the story of real-life con artist Frank Abagnale, but hear me out on why this film makes this list. The level of creative thinking the protagonist displays is amazing. This is the growth hacking mindset every entrepreneur needs. You have to always be thinking about growth and new ideas as a young business.Takeaway: There's always a new area in which you can find success. When Abagnale is eventually caught by the FBI, he receives a job offer from them and is released from his prison sentence.Is this an opportunity Abagnale sought out specifically? Not exactly. But it was a very small opportunity that he took advantage of.Instead of entirely relying on word-of-mouth to get traction, find opportunities for yourself — continue demonstrating your skills to pull yourself up in the world.13. "The Pursuit of Happyness" (2006)Will Smith and Jaden Smith in "The Pursuit of Happyness."Columbia PicturesA timeless classic, this movie is a must-watch for every entrepreneur out there with a dream. Based on the real-life story of Chris Gardener and portrayed by Will Smith, the film is an excellent window into the life of a common man with uncommon dreams, and his determination and perseverance to achieve them. It also shows how no struggle is too tough if your dream is important to you. The film also reminds us that what matters at the end of the day is happiness, and life should be invested in the pursuit of it.Takeaway: Recognizing an opportunity and grabbing it at the right time is easier said than done. But it is what paves the path to success for an entrepreneur. For Gardner, the opportunity presented itself in the form of an internship at Dean Witter. It was an extremely risky choice to make considering his financial and personal situation. In one scene, his wife is seen scoffing at him — "Salesman to intern is backward." But Gardner knew that he needed to take a step back to make a leap forward. He was willing to constantly learn and adapt because no one's ever too old to do something new.14. "Jerry Maguire" (1996)Putting people over money is smart business sense.Courtesy of Sony Pictures ReleasingThis is an excellent film on the power of passion and the entrepreneurial zeal to make your own mark. It also pleasantly shows the importance of work-life balance and has many motivational dialogues within. I love the movie for resonating with what I believe in strongly — valuing those who value you. Having a strong support system around you is a blessing in life.Takeaway: Focus on quality and customer experience. Jerry got fired from the company for choosing people over money. Jerry's journey becomes a struggle at the beginning of the movie for the same reason. The story shows that while the idea of focusing on improving the lives of people seems counterintuitive in the short term, in the long run, it brings loyal customers and sustainable business.15. "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006)Sometimes, you have to start something new with no knowledge, like Hathaway's character in "The Devil Wears Prada."20th Century FoxSet in the ever-evolving fashion industry, this movie provides a delightful insight into what it takes to be at the top and how identifying a leadership style that works for you is important. What I also like about the film is how Anne Hathaway's character transmutes into a smart and confident young woman, which shows it doesn't matter if you start with no knowledge. Hard work can teach you to be the best version of yourself.Takeaway: Confidence is key. No matter how nervous you are, fake it 'til you make it. Projecting a smart, self-assured persona is half the battle in most scenarios. Remember Miranda Priestley's elevator exit that left everyone awe-struck and intimidated? That's a great example.16. "Nightcrawler" (2014)Lou is determined to make a name for himself.Courtesy of Open Road FilmsIt follows the story of a stringer played by Jake Gyllenhaal who is self-motivated, focused, and understands constant improvement. It's a dark drama about how a guy hustles his way from rookie to a pro in his game. It teaches you to — utilize an opportunity to its fullest.Takeaway: Build a hunger for success — Hard work and hunger can simultaneously go with each other and can really set one apart. Lou was hungry for success and money, and was willing to go to great lengths to achieve his goals. His choices were immoral, which is why he most certainly should not be your role model. However, he was ready to go that extra mile. If applied morally, in the real world, hunger for your goals, and hard work backing them up, can really help you in the long run.17. "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013)Success is hard-fought — it's important to mix in some fun.James Devaney/Getty ImagesThis movie leaves you bewildered at times but will also wow you with the energy and sales-hacker mindset of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio's character). Moreover, it also gives you moments of truth about how things can spiral out of control if you're not mindful.Takeaway: Enjoy the process more. Belfort and Stratton Oakmont made so many crazy decisions, and although they paid the consequences for those choices, they had a ton of fun.Running a company is enormously challenging. Therefore, it is essential to enjoy the process. Endless stress can only make it more difficult, so remember to take life a little less seriously.18. "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994)Ventures usually don't take off right away. It's important to have hope when things look bleak.Courtesy of Columbia PIcturesThough not a business-inspired film, this film is an excellent reminder of the power of the human spirit when the odds are stacked. It teaches perseverance, planning, and patience in a way no movie can. Entrepreneurship is a similar setting. Sometimes odds and situations spiral out of control, and only a calm mind, knowledge, and planning get you out.Takeaway: Hold on to hope. The movie reminds us that hope is a good thing. When Andy first entered Shawshank, it's likely he felt despondent at his circumstances, which would break most of us. Yet, he chose to hope, and eventually found that freedom was tangible. There are moments when we lose hope. Andy shows us that no matter how bleak the circumstances are, there is always the potential for them to be better.I've learned some incredible business lessons through these filmsOn one hand, I'm a believer in the fact that readers make great leaders – but I also understand that reading is not the only way to fire up your soul.I've found myself feeling motivated after watching a great film with lessons I can transpose to my entrepreneurial journey. Watching a great film can be a masterclass on navigating a storm in your own life. You can relate to it and analyze it better when you see it happen in someone else's life on-screen.Vikas Jha is a digital entrepreneur and founder of Alore Growth OS.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
How Warner Bros. Discovery layoffs, content cuts, and reorganization shocked Hollywood and fired up Wall Street
Here's everything to know to get caught up on the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, including what challenges lie ahead and how WBD CEO David Zaslav plans to tackle them. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav attends the 2022 Time100 gala in New York City.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME Warner Bros. Discovery formed in 2022, combining a rich array of properties from HBO to CNN. The mega-merger faces challenges including huge debt and rising content costs amid economic headwinds. CEO David Zaslav has slashed content and staff. Read about how his strategy's working and what's ahead. David Zaslav has been enjoying a stock runup after Wall Street analysts expressed increased optimism about Warner Bros. Discovery, with much cost-cutting behind it and growth ahead as it plans to launch a new streaming service.AT&T's WarnerMedia merged with Discovery in 2022 in a $43 billion deal, creating a content behemoth combining Warner's HBO, CNN, and famed Warner Bros. film studio with Discovery's lifestyle and reality fare. The promise was to create a media powerhouse with a new streaming giant that could compete with Netflix and Disney.But the threat of a recession, inflation, a declining ad market, and toughening streaming market have made CEO Zaslav and his team's job of merging the companies — and slashing WBD's debt load of about $50 billion — significantly harder.As the company looks to wring $3 billion-plus in synergies from its units, management has axed creative projects and headcount. Zaslav is facing strategy headaches at CNN, the task of launching a new streamer, and growing competition for top sports rights — all the while batting away rumors of a sale to Comcast and a stock price that's fallen more than 50% since the deal closed, before a jump in January.Here's everything to know to get caught up on the merger, challenges ahead, and how Zaslav plans to tackle them.New leadership to tackle integration challenges and synergiesZaslav quickly assembled a team of Discovery vets who've been together for decades to help him integrate and lead the new company. As part of the merger, top WarnerMedia leaders left, starting with WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and including most of his deputies like WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group CEO Ann Sarnoff and HBO Max General Manager Andy Forssell.The new team set out to evaluate every property in search of cost savings and ways to juice ad revenue and viewership across the organization.Read more: David Zaslav is about to shake up Hollywood as the new Discovery-WarnerMedia chief. Insiders describe an aggressive deal-maker and demanding boss.Meet the 6 key executives helping CEO David Zaslav integrate Discovery and WarnerMedia, building the new company into a streaming powerWarner Bros. Discovery streaming chief JB Perrette is driving the integration of HBO Max and Discovery+. Here's what insiders say about his low-key leadership style.How Warner Bros. Discovery CEO will tackle his top 3 challenges: streaming integration, rebuilding CNN, and finding a new leader for DC ComicsWarner Bros. Discovery overplayed its hand with hiked ad rates, insiders say, and advertisers are 'nervous' about layoffs that 'cut to the bone'Layoffs and culture clashes as 40,000 employees combineOnce the deal closed, Zaslav and his team faced the gargantuan task of integrating two companies with 40,000 employees globally. Waves of layoffs followed as he and his management team sought to find a promised $3 billion in "synergies," a figure they later increased to $3.5 billion.One of Zaslav's earliest and most dramatic moves was to shutter CNN's streaming service, CNN+, just weeks after it launched, eliminating hundreds of jobs. Buyouts and layoffs on ad sales teams followed.WBD also axed most of HBO Max's non-scripted division and TBS/TNT's scripted teams, and pulled back on CNN's originals.Read more:WarnerMedia-Discovery merger is expected to create $3 billion in savings — here are some of the jobs at risk21 streaming and media free agents on the market after Warner Bros. Discovery layoffsWarner Bros. Discovery insiders fear post-merger structure will chip away at past diversity efforts and innovation: 'Are we going to lose this advantage?'Warner Bros. Discovery touts its huge reality TV portfolio but insiders predict staff cuts and 'intense pressure' to trim unscripted budgets at HBO and HBO MaxWarner Bros. Discovery cost-cutting measures rankle CNN staffers as layoffs across divisions loomA new content strategy that could tarnish crown jewel HBOWBD also looked for savings and revenue by shifting its content strategy ahead of combining HBO Max and Discovery+ into a mega streaming service to launch this spring. The hope is that the new streamer will reduce churn, cut costs, and grow subscriptions by maximizing the content and features of both brands. It's a tricky job that must be executed without disrupting the user experience. There are also questions about how to brand the new service and get consumers to pay more; HBO Max is already at the high end of the streaming market, now at $16 a month for the ad-free version.WBD shocked entertainment insiders by canceling high-profile projects like "Batgirl" and yanking episodes of shows including "Sesame Street" from HBO Max, and it has made other moves that concerned Hollywood creatives. Changes to WBD's crown jewel, HBO, and its programming have been seen by some stakeholders as a threat to the brand's prestige.Read more:Netflix, HBO Max, and more streamers are scrapping original kids series and battling for more IP-based hits like 'CoComelon' in a 'bummer year for animation'Warner Bros. Discovery nearly axed the TV writers workshop known as its own 'farm team,' then rushed to announce a new plan amid Hollywood backlashHBO drama reruns could be headed to TNT or TBS as Warner Bros. Discovery eyes a shakeup of its cable channelsHBO Max could stay as the name for Warner Bros. Discovery's upcoming streamerHBO layoffs, cuts, and 'ill will' over show cancellations have damaged its reputation among TV creatorsRebuilding CNN after hundreds of staff cuts2022 was a year of sweeping layoffs and organizational changes at CNN. Zaslav surprised onlookers in picking Chris Licht, who was a longtime acquaintance but who had never run a news enterprise of CNN's size, and tasking him to overhaul the network. Following in the footsteps of the popular Jeff Zucker, Licht has had a tough start. He's made a series of cost-cutting moves, including hundreds of layoffs. He's also made sweeping programming changes and tried to position the network as less partisan, leading to some head-scratching and confusion about what the strategy is.Read more:CNN CEO Chris Licht is facing an increasingly angry newsroom as more layoffs loom, plans are murky, and staff have lost confidence after 'horrible programming decisions'20 top CNN execs who are on the market after Warner Bros. Discovery layoffs and the shutdown of CNN+ in 2022CNN's new streaming service is shutting down just weeks after its pricey launch, 'a combination of the wrong strategy and wrong capital allocation''Hubris. Nothing more.' Insiders blame Jeff Zucker and Jason Kilar for the rapid demise of CNN+ as Warner Bros. Discovery leadership looks forward.DC Comics, box office battle, and sports rightsZaslav has sought to improve relations with Hollywood and theater owners, but the cancellation of big projects, while delighting Wall Street, has sowed distrust among the creative set. He's found new leadership for DC Comics — James Gunn and Peter Safran — ending a long search, but the unit faces roadblocks, with many different parties in the mix, each with their own vision. WBD wants to remain a big player in sports, so Zaslav will be battling rivals for ever-costlier sports rights, starting with the NBA. To succeed, he'll also have to balance investing in WBD's streaming business without hurting the linear TV business. Read more:CEO David Zaslav is setting priorities for Warner Bros. Discovery, with plans to marshal streaming power, preserve legacy businesses, and shake up cultureDC's movie and TV division has finally found its own version of Marvel's Kevin FeigeWarner Bros. Discovery looks to max out its massive sports portfolio with a possible TV push for Bleacher ReportWarner Bros. Discovery salaries revealed: Pay data shows how much the company recently offered for jobs at HBO and more, despite waves of layoffs and cutsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»
See the brands poised to crush their rivals in 2023, including Wawa, Five Below, and Whataburger
Brands like Wawa and Whataburger are uncovering expansion potential in underserved markets and doubling down on value in 2023, according to Placer.ai. Placer.ai's most promising 2023 retailers and restaurantsPlacer.ai Data firm Placer.ai tracks where people shop, work, and live using their mobile phones. Their data shows the most promising retailers and restaurants for 2023. Chains with winning strategies are growing in underserved markets and giving shoppers value. Restaurants and retailers faced headwinds as they closed out 2022, with staffing challenges and rising inflation. But the chains well-positioned to succeed in 2023 are the ones that are expanding stores in underserved markets, capitalizing on shifts in consumer preferences, and doubling down on value pricing to appeal to bargain hunters, according to Placer.ai, a firm that uses mobile-phone data to track where people shop and eat. Chains with cult-like followings like Whataburger and Wawa are among the brands to watch in 2023, Placer.ai said Tuesday. "While each company highlighted here is implementing a slightly different approach, these 10 brands have one thing in common – they all have a winning strategy for the coming year," the firm said.Here are the 10 brands to watch in 2023, according to Placer.ai.WhataburgerEric Gay/APWhataburger increased from 828 to 923 locations between 2019 to 2022, which has led to skyrocketing foot traffic, Placer.ai said. Visits to the 24-hour chain have been especially strong between 9 p.m and midnight. "The combination of Whataburger's cult status, its new focus on expansion, and its late-night hours in the context of a shifting dining landscape all bode well for the chain heading into 2023," Placer.ai said in its report.Hibbett SportsA new Kansas City Hibbett Sports store in 2021.Hibbett SportsAlabama-based Hibbett Sports, which sells footwear and clothes from brands like Nike, Adidas, and Puma, has seen year-over-year growth in nearly all months of 2022. This comes as the overall sporting goods space has experienced multiple headwinds in 2022, including rising inflation and reduced foot traffic. Hibbett's small-market growth strategy is a winner because stores are opening in "underserved areas with little to no competition," Placer.ai said.Boot BarnGetty ImagesBoot Barn is a Western-focused shoe and apparel retailer that has been successful by opening stores in areas retail executives previously considered to be "flyover states." Founded in Southern California in 1978, it now has 321 stores. "Boot Barn has deftly managed to reach a wide market segment, from farm workers to fashionistas alike. As the chain continues to grow into new markets, it seems poised for a successful 2023," Placer.ai said.Grocery OutletGetty ImagesGrocery Outlet often refers to itself as the "T.J. Maxx of food" as it sells a random assortment of national and regional grocery brands at discounted prices. Placer.ai said. That strategy has led to strong foot traffic as shoppers are responding to well-priced groceries of trusted brands. "And with the brand continuing to post impressive earnings and lean into on-demand ordering, 2023 is looking bright," Placer.ai said.Altar'd StateGetty ImagesAltar'd State is a rapidly growing women's fashion retailer. The chain has grown to 128 locations across 39 states since it launched in 2009. While originally positioned as a "modern Christian retail store," Placer.ai said the company has since evolved to a retail powerhouse in the South and Midwest as its "cozy-chic fashions" have become popular among young, career-focused women. Data shows higher-income households are also trading down to Altar'd State stores, Placer.ai said. Clothes tend to never exceed $150.Dave & Busters and Main Event EntertainmentGetty ImagesSo-called "eatertainment" venues, where dining is blended with family-fun activities like bowling, have been around for years. Brands like Dave & Busters suffered more than most restaurants at the onset of the pandemic, as they catered to big crowds. As such, they were shut down much longer. But now these venues are on the rise thanks to "kidults" looking for a combination of dining and experience, Placer.ai said. In June 2022, Dave & Busters bought rival Main Event Entertainment, creating a strong "eatertainment" portfolio that caters to families and singles seeking unique activities, Placer.ai said.Total Wine & MoreGetty ImagesTotal Wine & More has seen its nationwide visits skyrocket, with foot traffic up by double-digits for much of 2022 compared to 2019, Placer.ai said. The company has seen traffic spike in the Midwest, where it's continuing to open new stores in underserved markets. "The pandemic provided a boost to the chain as bars shuttered and home bars and ready-to-drink cocktails rose in popularity, and the company is continuing with expansion plans already set in 2019," Placer.ai said.WawaHollis JohnsonWawa has a loyal following of customers dubbed Wawaholics and is often credited for having the best convenience-store food offerings by culinary publications such as Food & Wine and Saveur. Loyalty is increasing. Between July and November 2022, the share of loyal customers – customers returning to a Wawa location more than twice in a given time period – increased by 4.5% when compared to the same period in 2019, Placer.ai said. "This juxtaposition of strong loyalty, expansion plans, and food that is celebrated by foodies and regular joes alike can help position the brand for success into the new year," Placer.ai said.Five BelowFive Below is opening new stores.Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderDiscount and dollar stores are thriving, including Five Below. The discounter sells a majority of items for $5 and under, with merchandise that appeals to tweens and teens, Placer.ai said. Traffic is up in the double digits compared to 2019 as the chain has grown to over 1,000 stores. Another 1,000 stores are planned by 2025. "As the company expands both its retail footprint and technological capabilities, its momentum should continue to increase into the new year," Placer.ai said.Bob's Discount FurnitureJim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesThe home decor and furnishings industry is seeing a decline in monthly visits compared to 2019, with one exception: Bob's Discount Furniture. The company is embedding stores in areas with lower home values, which is helping the company to grow more effectively as home costs continue to increase, Placer.ai said. Value pricing and free coffee are giving Bob's an edge over rivals in 2023, Placer.ai said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Southwest Airlines grew to become the US"s largest domestic carrier by offering free checked baggage, easy-to-change tickets — and still sticks to unassigned seats
Southwest prides itself on bringing "LUV" to its operation. But it's faced delays and cancellations this holiday season. Here's how it grew so fast. Southwest Airlines flight attendants in an undated historic picture.Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines, the US's largest domestic carrier, experienced an operations meltdown in this holiday season. Despite its problems, Southwest celebrates its customer- and employee-focused mission. The airline found success using unconventional marketing strategies focused on humor, booze, arm wrestling, and go-go boots. Southwest Airlines is the US's largest domestic carrier, serving over 100 destinations across the country. The carrier has been in operation since 1971 and just celebrated its 51st anniversary in June.Stephen M. Keller/Southwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestWith Southwest's immense size, it has a lot of systems at play to keep it running efficiently and on time. But, sometimes a nasty winter storm can derail even the best carrier's operations.Elliott Cowand Jr/ShutterstockBut, Southwest suffered from more than just the weather in the holiday season of 2022.Canceled flight travelers line up in front of Southwest Airlines sign at Denver International Airport.Hyoung Chang/Getty ImagesCaptain Mike Santoro, vice president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, told Insider the storm was the catalyst of the meltdown, but "outdated" scheduling software created the snowball.Southwest Airlines cabin.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFrustrated Southwest pilot and union rep says the airline's flight meltdown was caused by outdated scheduling softwareSouthwest confirmed to Insider that its systems were unable to handle the "magnitude" of disruptions, which amounted to over 7,000 from Christmas to December 28 alone.Travelers wait at a Southwest Airlines baggage counter to retrieve their bags after canceled flights at Los Angeles International Airport on December 26, 2022.Eugene Garcia/AP PhotoSource: FlightAwareThe company acknowledged its software needs an update, with a spokesperson saying, "we are focused on making investments in technology upgrades to work toward that solution."Passengers line up at the Southwest ticket desk at San Francisco International Airport on December 26, amid widespread delays and cancellations for the airline.Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesDespite its operations issues in the holiday season of 2022, Southwest prides itself on being a customer- and employee-focused airline, bringing "LUV" to its operation, and keeping safety, hospitality, and customer service at the forefront of its mission. (LUV is its stock symbol.)Southwest AirlinesAccording to financial information company BrightScope, Southwest has one of the highest-rated employee 401k plans. Meanwhile, J.D. Power reported in May that customers ranked Southwest as having the best economy product in North America.The grieving owner is planning to sue the airline.MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: BrightScope, J.D. Power ranked airlines across 3 fare classes according to its annual customer satisfaction survey — see the resultsHaley Woods, founder of Girls LOVE Travel — a Facebook group with over one million members — told Insider that when her flight was canceled over the holiday week, she encountered the most "professional" and "upbeat" Southwest employees.V_E/Shutterstock"While this disruption might derail others from using SWA in the future — their customer kindness has reminded me that I will absolutely be looking past this and onward for future adventures," she said.Passengers wait in line to check in for their flights at Southwest Airlines service desk at LaGuardia Airport, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, in New York.Yuki Iwamura/APWhile it's could still lose some trust from customers, Southwest is likely to eventually bounce back. See how the airline has grown over the years to be the powerhouse it is today.Jonathan Weiss/ShutterstockSource: Southwest AirlinesSouthwest started as a small carrier based in Texas and only operated intra-state routes between three cities, San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. The airline, which was originally called Air Southwest, was dreamt up by Rollin King and Herb Kelleher on a cocktail napkin in 1966.Herb Kelleher (left) and Rollin King (right)Southwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestKing mapped the network he envisioned, making a triangle between the three key cities. He explained to Kelleher that operating solely in Texas would make the company exempt from the Civil Aeronautics Board's federal regulations, which controlled fares, routes, and schedules.Rollin King's "Texas Triangle"Southwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestFrom 1938 to 1978, the airline industry was federally regulated under the CAB as means to ensure major carriers like United and Pan Am were profitable. Fares were sky-high and only business travelers and deep-pocket leisure customers could afford the luxury of flight. The downside was that a lot of the time, planes flew half-empty.Convair 880 club cabinBettmann/Getty ImagesSource: Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumBecause Air Southwest was certified under the state's aviation regulator, the Texas Aeronautics Commission, it was not bound to federal rules — a clever loophole King unapologetically copied from California carrier Pacific Southwest Airlines.Rollin KingSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestThe loophole allowed Air Southwest to fly freely in Texas and undercut competitors' fares, offering more customers the option to fly instead of drive in the large state. The business model was game-changing and a threat to legacy airlines.Herb Kelleher with model of Southwest aircraftSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn 1967, three airlines operating under federal rules, Braniff, Trans-Texas Airways, and Continental Airlines, took legal action against Air Southwest, saying it does not have the right to fly in Texas.Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson, steps off Braniff Airways jetHarvey Georges/Associated PressSource: Companies HistoryThe lawsuit took three years to resolve, and in 1970, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Air Southwest could fly in the state. The three airlines then took the case to the US Supreme Court, which declined to review it.Herb Kelleher (left) Lamar Muse (second from left) and Rollin King (center)Southwest AirlinesSource: Companies HistoryAir Southwest's right to fly in Texas was finalized in December of 1970. The carrier officially changed its name to Southwest Airlines in 1971 and commenced operations on June 18 of the same year.Southwest flight attendant points to scheduleSouthwest AirlinesSource: Companies HistoryThe carrier launched with two routes from Dallas Love Field to Houston and San Antonio using three new Boeing 737-200 aircraft. Flights between Houston and San Antonio commenced in November 1971.Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-2T4 at Los Angeles International Airport in 1991.Torsten Maiwald/Airliners.netPart of Southwest's immense success was due to Kelleher's focus on unconventional marketing and unique corporate culture.Herb Kelleher on Southwest tailSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestKelleher used Pacific Southwest Airways' idea of "Long Legs And Short Nights" for hostesses, as they were called at the time, keeping with the theme of hiring attractive women to work Southwest flights.Southwest Airlines flight attendants in an undated historic picture.Southwest AirlinesSource: Companies HistoryThe airline's first flight attendants were described as long-legged dancers and were handpicked by a committee that included the same individual who picked the hostess on Hugh Hefner's Playboy jet.Southwest Airlines first flight attendant uniformsSouthwest AirlinesSource: Companies HistoryKelleher dressed the flight attendants in a bright orange top, orange hot pants, a white belt around the hips, and white side-laced go-go boots. He also pushed for a laid-back, casual inflight experience and only hired female hostesses who were fun, engaging, and had a sense of humor.First Southwest Airlines hostess classSouthwest AirlinesSource: Texas MonthlySouthwest also provided a winter version of the uniform, which included orange and white striped hot pants, a blazer, a white top, and an ascot.Southwest winter version of hot pants uniformSouthwest AirlinesSource: Texas MonthlyKelleher continued the playboy theme by creating a "love" culture at Southwest. The carrier was called the "love airline,” automatic ticket dispensers were "love machines," inflight snacks were "love bites," and drinks were "love potions."Southwest "love" adSouthwest AirlinesSource: Texas MonthlyThe airline also crafted its own special inflight cocktails, which were free for passengers. A few were appropriately named Kentucky Matchmaker, the Pucker Potion, and the Lucky Lindsay.Southwest Airlines flight attendant preparing beverage orders in the galleySouthwest AirlinesSource: Texas MonthlyHe even went on to create ads centered around humor and attractive women. In the context of the 1970s, using attractive female flight attendants to gain customers was an industry norm.A 1968 photo of three flight attendants for Southwest AirlinesAlan Band/Keystone/Getty ImagesSource: Texas MonthlyIn 1972, Southwest made a game-changing, innovative marketing move. The company introduced the "two-tier" fare system, which established two separate price points aimed at different types of travelers.A Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agent checks in a Customer at the gateDavid Woo/Southwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestThe fares were the regularly priced "Executive Class Service" at $26 one-way and the "Pleasure Class" at $13 one-way or $25 roundtrip. "Pleasure Class" fares were available after 6:59 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.Southwest airlines customer service agents with customers at the ticket counterSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestThe two-tier structure was a wild success, with Southwest increasing its average passenger load from 17 before the move to 75 after.Southwest pilotsSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn 1973, the company launched a $13 one-way "half-fare" sale on all flights to San Antonio. Southwest's rival, Braniff, responded with its own "get acquainted sale" with $13 fares between Dallas and Houston. This was the start of the $13 Fare War.Southwest’s ad declaring war against Braniff’s fare cutSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestSouthwest knew $13 fares on its only profitable route would run it straight into bankruptcy, so King quickly came up with a marketing campaign that would put Southwest on top. "Nobody's going to shoot Southwest out of the sky for a lousy $13," read the bold ad.Southwest ad against Braniff's $13 fare warSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestSouthwest matched Braniff's fare between Dallas and Houston, which was met with praise and respect from customers. As part of the campaign, the airline also offered a free fifth of liquor for passengers who paid the full $26 fare.Ticket agent poses with a bottle of Chivas Regal in front of adSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestBusiness travelers loved the promotion, and lucky for Southwest, three-fourths of its customers opted to pay full price and pocket the free booze. The airline soon became a fan favorite among many Texas business communities, and Braniff was fuming.Southwest customer holding advertisement and receiving free liquorSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestBy the end of 1973, Southwest finally turned its first profit and would continue to profit for 47 years until the coronavirus pandemic ended the streak. Meanwhile, Braniff lost the battle and the war, ceasing operations in 1982.Braniff Airways aircraft in PeruCarl & Ann Purcell/Getty ImagesSource: Southwest, Braniff International Airways BoutiqueSouthwest's early challenges did not end with Braniff. In 1964, the Civil Aeronautics Board demanded the city of Dallas build an airport to serve the entire Dallas/Fort Worth area. In 1968, every air carrier operating out of Love Field agreed to move to DFW when it opened in 1974.British Airways Concord at DFW in 1973 after the airport was finished-/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: Encyclopedia.comHowever, Southwest was not a part of that agreement and filed suit that it would not move from Love Field when the new airport opened. The airline claimed there was no legal reason to end commercial traffic at Love Field and that the company made no written agreement to move its operations.Concord and Boeing 747 at DFW after the airport's completion in 1973-/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: Encyclopedia.comThe city and the DFW Airport Board sued Southwest, saying the CAB rule applied to the airline even if it was made before Southwest was officially founded. However, Southwest argued that its intra-state flights fell outside the jurisdiction of the CAB, so it did not have to leave Love Field.Opening day of new Love Field terminal in 2013Southwest AirlinesSource: Encyclopedia.comA federal district court agreed with Southwest and ruled that it could operate out of the airport as long as it remained open. When DFW opened in 1974, every airline except Southwest left Love Field.Southwest aircraft takes off from Love Fieldstock_photo_world/ShutterstockSource: Encyclopedia.comSouthwest continued to grow through the 70s, acquiring 10 aircraft and carrying its five-millionth customer by the end of 1977.Southwest's 3 millionth passenger Bob Pianta in 1976 (middle)Southwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestBy 1976, Southwest Airlines had been profitable for three years and proven that government regulation was not necessary for airlines to be successful. Deregulation was a top priority for Jimmy Carter's administration, and it passed the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, effectively abolishing the Civil Aeronautics Board.President Carter signs the airline deregulation bill at the White HouseBettmann/Getty ImagesSource: National ReviewFinally, Southwest Airlines was free to operate interstate flights and the airline began to thrive. Meanwhile, major carriers like Eastern Airlines, Trans World Airlines, and Pan Am spread themselves too thin as they tried to rapidly expand.Southwest Boeing 737-300Southwest AirlinesSource: US Centennial of Flight CommissionUnlike major carriers, Southwest maintained a simple strategy for success after deregulation, like only operating one aircraft type, cleaning the aircraft before landing to allow for a quicker turn, and focusing on humor in marketing.Southwest flight attendant cleans the aircraftSouthwest AirlinesSource: USA TodayAnd its strategy worked. Southwest was prospering while other airlines like Pan Am and TWA collapsed. However, it was not long before the Wright Amendment put another wrench in the company's plans.Colleen Barrett with Wright is Wrong petitionsSouthwest AirlinesAfter deregulation, Southwest wanted to commence interstate flights from Love Field to New Orleans in 1979, but officials at DFW airport feared the increased traffic would hurt the airport financially. So, US Congressman Jim Wright drafted, sponsored, and helped pass a bill restricting passenger traffic at Love Field.Wright is Wrong signSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestThe law, known as the Wright Amendment, was signed in early 1980 and amended the International Air Transportation Act of 1979. It restricted flying out of Love Field to cities in Texas and the surrounding states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and New Mexico. The law was meant to keep Southwest from expanding operations out of Dallas.Wright Amendment protestersSouthwest AirlinesSource: The Dallas Morning NewsIt only applied to carriers that operated aircraft with more than 56 seats, which Southwest did. So, the airline had to rely on short-haul flights in the five-state area to bolster Love Field operations.Southwest employees protest the Wright AmendmentSouthwest AirlinesSource: The Dallas Morning NewsIn 1997, Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi were added to the list of reachable states. In 2005, Missouri was also added.Southwest employees celebrate end of Wright AmendmentSouthwest AirlinesSource: The Dallas Morning NewsHowever, in 2004, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly launched efforts to repeal the Wright Amendment, using the slogans "Set Love Free" and "Wright is Wrong" in the campaign.Herb Kelleher with "Wright is Wrong" sloganSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn 2006, an agreement was made between Southwest, American Airlines, Dallas, and Forth Worth to phase out the law. They agreed that in eight years, the amendment would be gone, but until then, carriers could fly to any US destination out of Love Field as long as at least one stop was made in any of the nine states under the Wright Amendment.Passengers sit in new Love Field terminalSouthwest AirlinesSource: Southwest, The Dallas Morning NewsOn October 13, 2014, at exactly 12:01 a.m., a countdown clock at Southwest's Headquarters in Dallas hit zero, officially ending the Wright Amendment. A few minutes after, the airline's first scheduled flight outside of the nine Wright states took off from Love Field to Denver.Wright Amendment endsSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestThe deal also capped the number of gates at Love Field to 20, and the airport still only has 20 to this day.Southwest aircraft at gate 2 at Love Fieldstock_photo_world/ShutterstockSource: The Dallas Morning NewsWhile the Wright Amendment restricted expansion out of Love Field, Southwest was still able to bolster its network out of other Texas cities in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.Customer service employee at Houston HobbySouthwest AirlinesThroughout the 1980s, the airline expanded north into cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Kansas City, and west to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and California. The airline moved east in the late 1980s with flights to Nashville and into the Midwest with flights to Chicago Midway and Detroit.Southwest flight takes off from VegasSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestThe airline also updated its livery in the 1980s. Southwest wanted to stand out in the skies and make its brand easily recognizable, so it wrapped its fuselage in desert gold and other warm colors. It received its first 737-300 jet in 1984, dubbed Spirit of Kitty Hawk.Herb Kelleher with Spirit of Kitty Hawk aircraftSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestSouthwest's flight attendant uniform was also updated by the 80s. Instead of hot pants and go-go boots, the airline allowed employees to wear real pants and skirts.Southwest Airlines 90s flight attendant uniformsSouthwest AirlinesSource: RackedIn the 1990s, the network expanded further east to cities like Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Providence, Islip, and Raleigh-Durham. The airline also began its Pacific Northwest expansion with the acquisition of Morris Air in 1994.Southwest aircraft dedicated to Rollin KingSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn 1991, the "Friends Fly Free" campaign was launched to battle the recession. The promotion allowed anyone 18 or older to bring a friend of any age free on their flight. It was so popular that Southwest offered the promotion for the next five years.Southwest's Friend Fly Free adSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn 1992, Southwest's most infamous marketing stunt occurred between Herb Kelleher and Kurt Herwald, chairman of Stevens Aviation.Kelleher and Herwald at the Malice in DallasSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestSouthwest had been using the slogan "Just Plane Smart" in its ads, but Stevens Aviation sent a letter to Kelleher noting its similarity to its "Plane Smart" slogan.Kelleher wearing "Just Plane Smart" sloganSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestInstead of entering a legal battle over the phrase, a Steven Aviation executive suggested an arm-wrestling competition between Herwald and Kelleher. The victor would have full rights to the slogan.Herb and Herwald arm wrestle at the Malice in DallasSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestKelleher marketed the event, dubbed the "Malice in Dallas," which received worldwide press coverage. "Smokin" Herb Kelleher and "Curtsy" Kurt Herwald put on a full show at the arena, which even earned a congratulatory note from President George Bush.Malice in Dallas artwork in Southwest HQSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestAt the turn of the century, Southwest revealed the livery that most people know today. The Canyon Blue color scheme debuted in January 2001.Debut of Southwest's Canyon Blue livery in 2001Southwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestWhile many airlines opted to introduce fees for things like checked bags and flight changes to recuperate funds, Southwest refused. Instead, the airline launched its "bags fly free" campaign which allows customers two complimentary checked bags. Southwest has not gone back on the offer to this day.Southwest ramp crew promotes free bagsSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestThroughout the 2000s, Southwest continued to focus on humor in its marketing. Its Wanna Get Away commercials proved successful, which promoted $49 one-way fares.Southwest Boeing 737-800Steven M. KellerSource: SouthwestBy 2010, Southwest added "Transfarency" to its brand. The airline would not have any hidden fees and would remain customer-focused with an emphasis on Hospitality and Heart. The recognizable tri-color heart was added to its airplanes and workplace.Heart OneSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn 2011, Southwest acquired AirTran Airways, which opened slots up out of Atlanta and gave it more network expansion opportunities in Mexico and the Caribbean. The two were fully integrated by 2014.Southwest acquires AirTranSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestAlso in 2014, the company's livery got another new look, with a harder focus on the heart, a new logo, and a sleek new color scheme.Southwest Airlines' updated 2014 liverySouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn July 2014, the airline officially became international with its first flight to Oranjestad, Aruba. In the same month, Southwest also started service to Nassau, Bahamas, and Jamaica.First international Southwest flight lands in Montego Bay, JamaicaStephen M. KellerSource: SouthwestThe company's flight attendant uniform got an update in 2017, marking the first time in 20 years the airline changed the look. Womenswear included two dresses, one black with blue and red stripes and the other gray with red and black stripes. Menswear included a black blazer, a gray shirt and pants, and a red tie.2017 Southwest flight attendant uniformsSouthwest AirlinesSource: Travel + LeisureIn October 2017, Southwest became the launch customer for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet, with its first revenue flight occurring on October 1. However, the aircraft was grounded in 2019 after two fatal accidents involved the MAX. The airline did not fly the plane again until March 2021.Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8Southwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn 2019, Southwest reached its goal of operating flights to Hawaii with its inaugural service from Oakland to Honolulu.Passenger boards first Southwest flight to HawaiiSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestIn 2020, Southwest ended its 47-year profit streak when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Since last March, the airline has remained focused on the health and safety of its customers and employees.Southwest flight attendant greets passengers during the pandemicStephen M. Keller/Southwest AirlinesSource: CNNWhile the pandemic was a major blow to Southwest's operation, the carrier has continued to grow with 18 new cities announced in 2020.Passengers board Southwest flight during covid-19Stephen M. Keller/Southwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestAnd, it is continuing to expand with new routes and destinations, thanks to newly-appointed CEO Bob Jordan, who took over in February 2022.Southwest CEO Bob Jordan.Southwest AirlinesBob Jordan is Southwest Airlines' new CEO. Experts outline a 100-day plan for keeping customers, employees, and investors happySince the pandemic, Southwest has become profitable again and, like other carriers, is trying to keep up with the surge in air travel.Southwest Heart OneSouthwest AirlinesSource: SouthwestDespite its operations meltdown over the holiday of 2022, the carrier has vowed to get its operation back on track, compensate passengers for their time and added expenses, and continue to bring low fares to customers.A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 at a gate in Austin, TexasGeorge Rose/Getty ImagesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Top Wall Street Stories of 2022 to Continue in 2023: 5 Picks
Some hot events of 2022 may influence markets in 2023 and stocks like Sociedad Quimica (SQM), NBT Bancorp (NBTB), Cal-Maine Foods (CALM), e.l.f. Beauty (ELF) and Halliburton (HAL) could be compelling picks to tap the trend. With just a few trading days left, 2022 is likely to turn out the worst year for the U.S. stock market in over a decade. The S&P 500 Index is down 19.8% this year — the benchmark’s first double-digit percentage loss since 2008, when it slid 36.6% during the global financial crisis, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 8.6% while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index plunged the most by 32.9%.Persistently high inflation, a hawkish Fed, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China are weighing heavily on investor sentiment. The combination has sparked fears of a recession anytime soon and is expected to influence the stock market in a big way in the New Year as well.As such, investors should consider stocks such as Sociedad Quimica Minera Chile SA SQM, NBT Bancorp NBTB, Cal-Maine Foods Inc. CALM, e.l.f. Beauty, Inc. ELF and Halliburton Company HAL that could be compelling picks to tap the trend.Let’s discuss these events in detail below with the stocks:Skyrocketing InflationInflation in the United States is cooling down gradually, underscoring that the worst of inflation has likely passed and the economy will be back on track sooner than expected. This is especially true as the consumer price index jumped 7.1% year over year in November, down from a 7.7% year-over-year increase in October and a recent peak of 9.1% in June. This represents the lowest annual increase since late 2021 but was still more than three times the Fed's historic 2% inflation target.Investors could make some profits by investing in stocks benefiting from rising inflation. While there are many options, Sociedad Quimica could be an exciting bet. With a market cap of $23.5 billion, Sociedad Quimica produces fertilizer and iodine and manufactures industrial chemicals and iodine derivative products.The stock has soared nearly 63% this year. Sociedad Quimica has an estimated earnings growth rate of 176.6% for next year. It carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and has a VGM Score of B. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Hawkish FedThe Fed has been on an aggressive tightening spree for more than decades. Fed Chair Jerome Powell raised interest rates for the seventh time this year, taking the benchmark rate to the range of 3.75% and 4.00% — the highest level since 2008. The hike in interest rates has made borrowing expensive, pushed up the cost of buying a new car or house and increased the cost of carrying credit card debt.The financial sector seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the Fed’s move. This is because the steepening yield curve would bolster profits for banks, insurance companies and discount brokerage firms. NBT Bancorp is a one bank holding company engaged in the general banking business. The stock has risen about 13% this year and is expected to maintain its bullish trend heading into 2023.With a market cap of $1.9 billion, NBT Bancorp has an impressive estimated earnings growth of 3% for next year. It has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a Momentum Score of A.Russia-Ukraine CrisisThe ongoing tensions between Moscow and Western countries over Ukraine have led to supply disruption fears in an already-tight commodity market. Russia is a commodities powerhouse and a key supplier of energy, metals and agriculture, while Ukraine is a major exporter of corn and wheat. Together, Russia and Ukraine account for roughly 29% of the global wheat export market.Although most companies are benefiting from this trend, Cal-Maine Foods surged about 75% this year. It is primarily engaged in the production, grading, packing and sale of fresh shell eggs, including conventional, cage-free, organic and nutritionally-enhanced eggs. Cal-Maine Foods has an estimated growth rate of 222% for the fiscal year (ending May 2023) and has a market cap of $3.2 billion.CALM has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 and a VGM Score of A.Recession FearsAs the global economy is struggling with skyrocketing inflation and low growth, the recession seems to be warranted. Economists predict that there is a 7-in-10 likelihood that the U.S. economy will sink into a recession next year, in the wake of massive interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. The probability of a downturn in 2023 climbed from 65% odds in November and is more than double than what was projected six months ago, according to the latest Bloomberg monthly survey of economists.The consumer staples sector is viewed as defensive as it includes a variety of items like food & beverages, non-durable household goods, hypermarkets and consumer supercenters that are essential for daily needs. These products see steady demand even during an economic downturn due to their low levels of correlation with economic cycles. e.l.f. Beauty operates as a cosmetic company. Its cosmetic category primarily consists of face makeup, eye makeup, lip products, nail products and cosmetics sets/kits, excludes beauty tools and accessories, such as brushes and applicators.e.l.f. Beauty earnings are expected to be 33.3% for the fiscal year (ending March 2023). ELF is up 64% this year and has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The stock has a Growth Score of B and a market cap of $2.9 billion.Energy Sector: A WinnerThe energy sector has been the outperformer this year on surging oil prices. Tightening supply and improving demand fundamentals have been driving prices higher. Overall demand for fuel has rebounded to the pre-pandemic levels. As such, shares of Halliburton jumped 71% this year and has the potential to move higher further in 2023. The company is one of the largest oilfield service providers in the world, offering a variety of equipment, maintenance, and engineering and construction services to the energy, industrial and government sectors.Halliburton Company has an estimated earnings growth rate of 41.9% for next year and carries a Zacks Rank #2. The stock has a Growth Score of B and a market cap of $35.5 billion. 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +24.8% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Halliburton Company (HAL): Free Stock Analysis Report CalMaine Foods, Inc. (CALM): Free Stock Analysis Report Sociedad Quimica y Minera S.A. (SQM): Free Stock Analysis Report e.l.f. Beauty (ELF): Free Stock Analysis Report NBT Bancorp Inc. (NBTB): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»
Asia"s 2 richest men have multiplied their fortunes since 2020, but they"re known to spend them very differently. Here"s how the tycoons" wealth, businesses, and properties stack up.
Gautam Adani, now the world's third-richest man, is worth $125 billion, while Mukesh Ambani, who's number nine on the list, is worth $89.7 billion. Mukesh Ambani (L) and Gautam Adani (R) have grown their empires for years without competing directly with each other.Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images and Prodip Guha/Getty Images Two of Asia's moguls now rank among the world's top 10 wealthiest people. Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani own giant multi-sector companies in a rapidly developing India. The two moguls may soon butt heads as their empires grow larger. Editor's note: This story was first published in August 2022 and has been updated to reflect the most recent financial figures.Billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani are both central figures in the rapid growth of India's industries.A girl walks past a Reliance Jio store in Kolkata, India, 03 March, 2021.Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesMukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani have both seen a meteoric rise in their wealth in the last decade as they've dominated India's energy, infrastructure, retail, and defense development industries.But it's in the last three years that the pair has seen its fortunes roar to heights unprecedented in Asia. Adani, whose personal wealth grew from around $13 billion in 2020 to $110 billion as of December 27, is now the third-richest person in the world, per Bloomberg's Billionaire Index. That puts him and his fortune ahead of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.Ambani is currently the world's ninth-richest person, with a net worth of $85 billion as of December 27, per the index. He's still seen a great leap in wealth since 2020, when he was worth around $32 billion.We took a look at each of the two billionaires' business empires, fortunes, and real-estate investments. Representatives for Ambani and Adani did not respond to Insider's requests for comment.NET WORTH: Gautam Adani is the only top 10 billionaire who grew his personal fortune this year.Gautam Adani (R) interacts Chief economic advisor Amit Mitra (L) during sixth edition of Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) with industrial stalwarts and representatives from 49 countries at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, New Town on April 20, 2022 in Kolkata, India.Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesAmid a rocky economy and a post-COVID slump for most of the world's richest people, Adani is the standout this year. He made $33.8 billion over the last 12 months, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.That makes him the only top 10 billionaire to post gains this year so far, while high-profile plutocrats like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos lost $132 billion and $84 billion respectively, per Bloomberg.Once a college dropout, Adani overtook Ambani in February as the richest man in Asia, after his wealth skyrocketed by $12 billion in the first two months of 2022.He was briefly the world's second-richest person in September, behind only Elon Musk's then-$263.9 billion fortune, according to Bloomberg. But he was later knocked down from the spot after Louis Vuitton founder Bernard Arnault enjoyed a post-COVID boost in luxury brand sales.Mukesh Ambani, the second-richest person in Asia, is an energy mogul who recently started dominating India's telecom space.Mukesh Ambani and his family attend the IPL opening celebration in 2010.Prodip Guha/Getty ImagesAmbani is currently worth $85.4 billion, making him the second-richest person in Asia, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He nearly tripled his wealth during the pandemic — his net worth was around $36 billion in 2020, per Forbes.Ambani's telecom company, Jio Infocomm, has seen a staggering rise: It claims to have accrued more than 350 million subscribers in the first five years after its launch in 2015. This year, Jio Infocomm was estimated to have around 410 million subscribers, according to the company's latest annual reports.BUSINESS EMPIRE: Adani Group, a powerhouse in energy, logistics, and renewal resources, saw profits soar over the last few years.Wespro, India's largest state-of-the-art coal terminal at the Adani Port in Gujarat, India.Soumik Kar/Getty ImagesThe Adani Group, founded in 1988, is Adani's multi-industry powerhouse firm based in India. Its share price has jumped nearly 20-fold since August 2020, and the company hit $260 billion in market value in September.Adani Group's ports and terminals are its hallmark trade. Adani first developed a port in 1995 in his home province of Gujarat, and it claims to be India's largest private commercial port. It now operates alongside 12 other Adani ports and terminals along India's coast. The organization also has businesses in power-grid distribution, gas, solar, and thermal power, data centers, real estate, airports, water management, retail for fruit and edible oils, and financial services, according to its annual report.Adani's recent success is often attributed to his companies moving in lockstep with India's leadership.The Adani Group made significant gains this year by expanding beyond coal and fossil fuels, investing billions into green energy industries as Prime Minister Narendra Modi also pushes India toward renewable power.Modi has also established a vision for India to boost its defence equipment exports and lower its dependence on foreign military supplies. Meanwhile, Adani Group has started developing UAVs, small arms and ammo, and counter drone technology, helping it secure contracts with the Indian Armed Forces.Ambani's Reliance Industries is a heavyweight in oil and gas. It also owns India's biggest telco.Of the 1,394 petrol pumps that Reliance operates, 518 are company owned and the remaining dealer operated,RIL outperforms industry in petrol, diesel sales from its 1,400-odd outlets, near Kolkata in 2020.Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesAmbani's Reliance Industries started growing exponentially around 2014, according to its annual reports, putting it ahead of the Adani Group in its rise to prominence.In 2020, it became the first Indian company to cross an estimated $200 billion in market value, although the Adani Group also achieved that milestone this year.Reliance Industries has delved into fewer sectors than the Adani Group, focusing instead on several core pillars such as gas production, media and entertainment, digital services, retail stores, and oil refinement — its biggest business, per its 2021-2022 annual report.Its oil refining ventures alone raked in $40 billion in revenue last year, the report states.The 38-year-old company operates India's largest telecom network through Jio Infocomm, which has grown by 120 million subscribers since the pandemic began.Its vast retail network of 15,000 branded stores for toys, jewelry, clothing, and groceries covers at least 41.6 million square feet in total, per its annual report.SPENDING HABITS: Adani keeps his wealth and assets low key, but reports say he owns at least three private jets, travels by chopper, and has a $50 million bungalow.AW-139 model helicopter by Italian-British manufacturer AgustaWestland is seen during the 8th International Helicopter Industry Exhibition HeliRussia 2015, at the Crocus Expo Center, on May 21, 2015, in Moscow, Russia. International helicopter industry exhibition HeliRussia will take place in the comfortable walls of the IEC Crocus Expo on May 21-23, 2015.Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesLittle of Adani's lifestyle or spending is publicly known. Older news reports, such as a 2011 article from India's Economic Times, say Adani built a helipad in his home and regularly travels via helicopter instead of on the road.The Economic Times reported that one of these choppers is the Agusta Westland A139, a 15-seat twin-engined helicopter that's marketed as both a luxury travel option as well as a vehicle for law enforcement or fire and rescue work. The chopper can cost up to $9.65 million, according to aircraft sales website AVBuyer. In 2012, the outlet reported that Adani owns three private jets — a Canadian Challenger 605, an Embraer Legacy 650, and a Hawker Beechcraft 850XP. NDTV reported in 2020 that Adani purchased a $50 million residential property in New Delhi, citing a bid by his company. But while Ambani has given tours of his luxurious home before, the exact location and features of Adani's home are not publicly known.On social media, Adani shies away from flashy posts. One of the only personal photos he's ever tweeted was of him and his family celebrating his birthday with a cake at home.Ambani's family lives in a 27-floor mansion replete with helicopter pads, a snow room, and a garage for 168 cars.The twenty-seven storey Antilia is seen in Mumbai on October 19, 2010. The 400,000 square foot residence, named after a mythical island in the Atlantic, is expected to be occupied by Ambani, his wife and three children later in the year. The building has three helicopter pads, underground parking for 160 cars, and requires some 600 staff to run.INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty ImagesAmbani's home, fleet of luxury vehicles, family events, and vacations have been the subject of vast public scrutiny.He and his family live in Antilia, a 400,000-square-foot mansion with 27 floors, three helipads, a 168-car garage, nine elevators, and a snow room, per Architectural Digest.According to The South China Morning Post, it takes around 600 staff to run Antilia and maintain its ballroom, temple, and 50-seat theater.The outlet also reported that Antilia is outfitted with a snow room that pumps artificial snow on demand, as well as its own ice cream parlor.Ambani made international headlines in 2018, when it was said that the wedding of his daughter, Isha Ambani, cost around $100 million. The 600 attendees of the high-profile event included Beyoncé, Hillary Clinton, Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan, and Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington.Ambani also owns more than 170 luxury cars, including a $2 million Rolls-Royce Cullinan with a $128,000 paint job, per Luxury Launches, an Indian lifestyle news website.Recently, Ambani booked his family into suites at Switzerland's luxurious Bürgenstock Resort at around $74,000 per night in July.Ambani and Adani grew their empires separately for years, but in 2022 signs emerged that a momentous clash could be drawing ever closer.Mukesh Ambani stands next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event celebrating the launch of 5G services in India.Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesThough they operate in some of the same industries, Adani and Ambani's gigantic multi-sector companies have largely steered clear of direct competition with one another. They dodged a clash over a telecommunications bid in August, when Adani was said to be keen on vying for India's first 5G airwaves — new territory for him, but one of Ambani's main pillars of business. He ultimately declined to challenge the bid, Bloomberg reported.Still, the rapid growth of each billionaire's business territory has given rise to speculation that the two giants will eventually go head-to-head over a massive deal, Bloomberg wrote. Adani and Ambani's companies have been competing for other smaller deals this year, such as when they both tried in November to acquire the beleaguered Future Retail, which was once India's second-largest retail company but defaulted on its loans. Ambani's Reliance landed the purchase, though it later dropped the deal because Future Retail's creditors didn't approve of its $3.4 billion offer.In the same month, Adani's and Ambani's groups both expressed interest in purchasing the same assets from an insolvent energy company, Lanco Infratech.But both backed off from the auction on December 1, citing concerns over a reported violation in the sale process, local media reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»