Money Quote Monday Nov. 13 2017
How could the darling of the Valley become the bane of Wall St. in just one quarter?
Just a year ago, GE was the poster child for corporate transformation, turning jet engines into digital data, running whimsical ads that attracted top tech talent to the century-plus old industrial giant. Today, the company’s stock has plummeted, its top executives have all been canned, and the new CEO is promising the kind of austerity only a corporate raider could love. So what happened? To be honest, it’s not clear. At some point, the full GE story will be written, but that day is not today. Today GE announced its plan to respond to Wall Street criticism, including cutting its dividend for the second time since WWII. Money quote: “GE is the worst-performing Dow component this year, down 35 percent through Friday’s close. GE stock has effectively been dead money since September 2001, when recently retired Chief Executive Jeff Immelt took over, posting a negative total return even after reinvesting its juicy dividends.”
Wow. Here is all of tech’s power imbalances, misogyny, and institutional resistance to change in one long, compelling read. Money quote: “It’s the imbalance of pay and power that puts men in a position to harass, that gives them unchecked control over the economic lives of women and, as a result, influence over their physical lives. These subtler forms of discrimination, familiar to almost any woman who has held a job, can in fact be especially insidious, since they are easier for companies, and even victims, to dismiss.”
Timely, scary, and fodder for lots of conspiracy theories. I mean, “The Shadow Brokers”? Really? Save this one for a long read sometime this week. It will change how you think about the role technology plays in business and geopolitics. Money quote: “Lurking in the background of the Shadow Brokers investigation is American officials’ strong belief that it is a Russian operation. The pattern of dribbling out stolen documents over many months, they say, echoes the slow release of Democratic emails purloined by Russian hackers last year.”
Well, it looks like Benchmark won — Kawalnick is pretty much defanged, and the company is going forward with a deal that will buy out a lot of the “hair” on the cap table. What remains unknown is the price that hair will command, and that could still crush the deal. Money quote: “Uber does not necessarily need new money, as it has raised more than $10 billion in debt and equity and has some $5 billion in the bank. But the SoftBank investment will let some of the company’s investors sell their shares to lock in huge gains. Early employees also stand to sell for significant sums.”
Uh oh. Money quote: “Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley on Monday said he issued an investigative subpoena to probe Google’s collection of user data, its use of other sites’ content, and its alleged manipulation of search results to favor its own services. Mr. Hawley said his probe was in part prompted by a record $2.7 billion fine European regulators levied against Google in June for allegedly favoring its services in its search results.”