Japanese Airbag Maker Goes Bust; Pandora CEO Sings the Blues; ‘Pharma Bro’ Goes on Trial

Deflated…

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Japanese airbag maker, Takata Corp has filed for bankruptcy.  In the United States. Sure  companies file for bankruptcy almost everyday. But what makes this one unique is that Takata has the dubious distinction of issuing the largest auto-industry recall. Ever. With over 40 million vehicles in the U.S. possessing the potentially deadly airbags, some 125 million vehicles have been and will be recalled by 2019. It’s also the largest bankruptcy of a Japanese manufacturer, and one that finds itself staring down the wrong end of billions of dollars worth of losses over recalls that lasted the better part of a decade. From paying settlements to individuals who were harmed, to paying car makers, including Honda, BMW and Toyota – to name just a few – Takata’s fiscal trouble will take years to reverse. It seems that Takata’s faulty products were the cause for at least 16 deaths – that we know of. Fortunately a Chinese company had the good sense to swoop in and acquire Takata for a whopping $1.6 billion. Although, that is apparently a thorn in the side of the Japanese, since selling off to foreigners is something the country would rather like to avoid. Incidentally, the Chinese company that bought Takata is called Key Safety Systems and is based right here in the U.S. Go figure.

Cue the goodbye music…

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Looks like the music’s gone for Pandora CEO and Co-founder Tim Westergren. His departure may – or may not – have something to do with Sirius XM’x recent purchase of a $480 million, 16% stake in Pandora. But rumor has it that investors are bummed because they wanted Sirius to buy up the whole operation. If you recall, and it’s okay if you don’t, Howard Stern makes his radio home at Sirius. Not that this has anything to do with Westergren’s exit either. To add insult to injury, shares jumped a little on the news of Westergren’s impending departure, signaling that investors are stoked about his exit.  That itty bitty jump must have been especially welcome since Pandora’s stock has been down over 35% this year.  After all, Pandora is staring at some fierce competition from Spotify, Apple and JZ’s Tidal, to name just a few. As of yet, no replacement has been named so if you’re looking to throw your hat into the ring, now might be your chance.

What a pill…

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The time has come for everyone’s least favorite Pharma bro’ to head to court. And thus Monday begins with Martin Shkreli finding himself in a Brooklyn Fraud courthouse instead of a beach mansion in the Hamptons. But considering he raised the price of a life-saving drug by 5000%, he might very well go down as the least sympathetic defendant to ever sit in that courtroom. And just so ya’ know, being an a–hole isn’t crime and it’s not the reason why pharma-gazillionaire Shkreli is sitting in a courtroom on this fine summer day.  Rather ‘Pharma bro’ is on trial because prosecutors charged him with “widespread fraudulent conduct” and running a ponzi-like scheme that had him lying to investors while working at a hedge fund and his drug company.  Fun-fact: Shkreli was banned from Twitter back in January after harassing a female journalist who wrote an op-ed criticizing Donald Trump. Oh, the irony.

Is Justin Bieber Set to Become Silicon Valley’s Newest Titan?; Microsoft Has “Taxing” Scuffle With Chinese; Not Thankful for Jobless Claims Number

Smile and say Bieber!

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like Twitter is going shopping this holiday season. It also looks like Twitter CFO Anthony Noto could use a comprehensive tutorial on how his company’s platform works. The social media exec publicly tweeted about a potential acquisition, which judging by the context, was actually meant as a private message. Of course, the internet universe went into overdrive speculating which company was the subject of the accidental tweet. The mystery was solved when CNBC reported that the company in question is none other than Shots, a selfie app backed by Justin Bieber. How convenient for him. And while it may be difficult for some (many) to stomach that Justin Bieber stands to make a fortune from an industry dominated by geniuses, know that the app already has 3 million users, 2/3 of whom are women under the age of 24.

Taxed out…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Microsoft is in really big trouble. Like $150 million worth of trouble. According to a report by the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency, Microsoft, while not specifically named, but rather referred to as “Corp. M”  has to pay $150 million in back taxes and interest. A source, who is not officially allowed to speak about it publicly, (but spoke about it anyways, presumably in private, to someone who then made it public) confirmed that Corp. M is indeed Microsoft. Along with car manufacturers, GlaxoSmithKline, other tech companies – the list goes on, that have had actions taken against them, Microsoft is being accused of tax evasion because its China subsidiary reported losses while other players in the field did not. Hmm. China says Microsoft was moving the profits offshore. Of course, Microsoft disputed all this and says the settlement actually has to do with a “bilateral advanced pricing agreement” and not back taxes. By the way, back in May China banned Windows 8 from being installed on public computers. Just saying.

Thanksgiving downer…

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Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not that I’m trying to put a downer on your holiday weekend, but jobless claims are up. If you think that sucks, be thankful that you’re not among the jobless. And if you are, my apologies. The number of claims increased by 21,000 to 313,000 claims, according to the always-good-for-a-downer Labor Department. That’s the highest number in three months. Analysts actually predicted a drop to about 288,000 claims. The number of people, however, receiving jobless claims dropped by 17,000 to 2.32 million people. So it’s not all bad. Besides, there really is no need to freak out, just yet, anyways, since the holiday season has just begun and for some reason that means those gosh-darn numbers aren’t as ominous as they would be at other times during the year.