Month: December 2017

Distracted CEOs and CEO Overreach<span class="badge-status" style="background:red">Premium</span> 

Distracted CEOs and CEO OverreachPremium 

We Have Entered an Unprecedented Era of Shareholder Tolerance It is interesting that corporate boards and institutional investors are willing to tolerate “Distracted CEOs” and founder CEOs who wish to exercise outsized control of the companies they founded. Both are examples of poor corporate governance. Our definition of a Distracted CEO is the CEO that…

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Automobiles as a Service (AaaS); Uber Completes Tender Offer

Automobiles as a Service (AaaS); Uber Completes Tender Offer

Cadillac‘s “BookbyCadillac” premium automobile subscription service (we refer to as AaaS), sits comfortably between the traditional car ownership model and the pure rideshare model (Uber, Lyft, Waymo). Priced at $1,500/month (plus $500 initiation fee), we don’t believe that Cadillac’s bundled subscription service is a good value – flexibility and convenience come at a price. Listen to CEORater Podcast Ep. 102 to learn more.

In other news, Uber completed its tender offer to an investor group led by SoftBank. Listen to CEORater Podcast Ep. 103 to learn more.

The Wall Street Journal published Uber’s financials.

Uber Financials

The Soundtrack to Your Life. Facebook Continues to Distance Itself from the Competition

The Soundtrack to Your Life. Facebook Continues to Distance Itself from the Competition

Recently Facebook (tkr: FB) signed an agreement with Universal Music Group to license UMG’s music library so that Facebook users may incorporate UMG music into user-generated content. Facebook’s Instagram platform is the hottest social media platform at the moment. Instagram kneecapped Snapchat (tkr: SNAP) earlier this year when the former rolled out its “stories” feature. Instagram has further extended its lead over Snapchat and Twitter (tkr: TWTR) by making music available to users – who essentially may create mini soundtracks for each post. Facebook’s limitless balance sheet makes the company an attractive prospective customer/partner for cash hungry music labels. We expect that UMG will be the first in a string of music licensing agreements for Facebook – effectively putting the squeeze to Twitter, Snap and any upstart social network. Snap plans to respond by rolling out a “stories”-like feature called “stories everywhere” which will extend beyond the Snapchat network.

The Content Game Has Just Begun!

The Content Game Has Just Begun!

Disney plans to acquire 21st Century Fox in order to create scale for its OTT Netflix competitor. We previously wrote about the deal announcement here. Post close, the content streaming game is effectively a two-horse race between Netflix and Disney. Game over you say? Au contraire – the game has just begun!

No, we’re not referring to bit player Hulu – which Disney will own 60% of post Fox deal close. Rather, the media/technology landscape is not static. Apple plans to invest $1 billion in original content (TV and film). Amazon is a content juggernaut and will have invested approximately $5 billion in video content during calendar year 2017 (Netflix approximately $6 billion over the same period, $8 billion in 2018).  Facebook announced a deal with the NFL in September 2017 to stream game highlights and is reportedly looking to hire executives to secure the rights to additional live sports-related content. Could TV and film be far behind for Facebook? You may have noticed that Google is pushing its YouTube subscription service if you’ve watched a YouTube video lately. However, we haven’t heard rumblings of YouTube looking to become aggressive in acquiring third-party content or investing in original content. Video content libraries are grist for the mill for these content giants. Every independent video content provider and content library (i.e. movie & TV studios) is “in-play.

A combined Disney/Fox OTT service and Netflix are the clear OTT content leaders. However, when the dust settles we suspect that both Disney/Fox and Netflix will be acquired by some combination of Apple, Amazon and Facebook. Apple and Disney have a relationship and therefore we would favor Apple as the likely Disney acquirer. It is unclear if Apple would initiate takeover talks with Disney or if Tim Cook is a counter-puncher and would wait for another company to move first on Disney before making an approach. Our view is that Apple, Amazon or Facebook could potentially move on Disney as soon as the Fox deal closes or nears close. Disney negotiations with Apple or any potential suitor would likely put Netflix in play. This time around it may be more difficult for Reed Hastings to resist.

 

Crowdsourced Review Company – CEORater – Is Crowdsourcing Ideas

Crowdsourced Review Company – CEORater – Is Crowdsourcing Ideas

We are crowdsourcing ideas for our crowdsourced CEO & Company review Website CEORater. Employees, customers and investors post anonymous reviews to CEORater. Reviews consist of text-based reviews as well as a set of pre-defined attributes which may be viewed HEREShould you have ideas as to additional CEO attributes that you wish to see us track, feel free to post a comment here. In addition, you may submit feedback at CEORater