Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer’s Expensive Goodbye; Intel Revs it Up on Self-Driving Cars; Another Sporting Goods Chain Throws in the Towel

Yah-who?

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Well the good news is that Marissa Mayer will get to add $23 million to her bank account. And who wouldn’t like to see their bank account get a deposit like that? The bad news is that the $23 million is part of her severance package from Yahoo. At least that’s what a regulatory filing indicated. And no one seems to know – and if they do, they are not talking – whether Ms. Mayer will be staying with the remaining entities of Yahoo that Verizon is buying. The parts of the company that Verizon is not buying will eventually be formed into a new company called Altaba, to be headed by Thomas J. McInerney. If you recall, Verizon got to cut $350 million from the final purchase price of $4.5 billion because of Yahoo’s fiscally disastrous data breach. Verizon’s feelings were that Yahoo execs didn’t quite “properly comprehend or investigate” those breaches that affected hundreds of millions of people. At this point, feel free to get a little more colorful in rephrasing that last bit with your own words and thoughts. Especially if you are a Yahoo account holder. The data breach also cost Ms. Mayer her own 2016 cash bonus of up to $2 million. However, to her credit, she did graciously gave up her bonus and equity grants for 2017.

Start me up…

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Intel just threw down over $15 billion to buy Israeli tech company, Mobileye NV.  What,  might you be wondering, is so special about this particular tech company that had a chip-maker eager to plunk down a 30% premium of $63.54 per share? Self-driving cars, which you may or may not realize, are all the rage these days. And since Mobileye already commands 70% of the global market for driver-assistance and anti-collision  technology, this acquisition seemed like an awfully prudent way for Intel to break into that industry in a very big way. So I think we can all agree that even though this was Intel’s most expensive purchase of any single company, it was totally worth it. I suppose Mobileye would have to agree as well, since its own stock went up a very substantial 30% on this latest news.

Another one bites the dust…

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Just when you thought you’d seen the last of the sporting goods chains bankruptcies, along comes Gander Mountain to remind us that, alas, those days are far from their bitter end. The Minnesota-based company will follow the unfortunate fiscal footsteps of Sports Authority, Golfsmith and about ten other retailers from the last year or so, and shutter over 30 of its 162 stores. Fierce online competition led to less traffic in stores and too much merchandise on the shelves. Around 1,300 employees will be affected by the closures, but will apparently have an opportunity to be relocated to locations that aren’t floundering. Yet, anyway.

 

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Yahoo’s Got Major Un-security Issues; Big Pharma Slapped With Big Lawsuit; Super Bowl “Ads” Up to Big Bucks

Some heads are gonna roll…

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Today’s massive data breach is brought to us by Yahoo. Again. It’s estimated that a billion users had their personal data breached back in 2013, which is nearly twice as big as the last data breach Yahoo reported just a few months ago that happened in 2014. Now Yahoo has the dubious distinction of being the target of arguably the largest data breach. Ever. Incidentally, it wasn’t even Yahoo that discovered the breach but rather law enforcement officials. Law enforcement handed over files to the internet company that they received from a third party who said the info was stolen. Way to stay on top of things, Yahoo! Virginia Senator Mark Warner is now on a mission to investigate why Yahoo can’t seem to get its cyber-defense act together, while Yahoo is on its own mission to investigate who was responsible for the breach.  The Senator went to the SEC  back in September to ask them to investigate if Yahoo did what it was required to do by informing the public about the breach that occurred in 2014.  Warner would have preferred that Yahoo informed the public about the breach when it first happened – and NOT three years later. Sounds fair. In the meantime, there’s talk about whether Verizon still plans to acquire Yahoo’s core internet business for $4.83 billion. With Yahoo’s stock experiencing its biggest intraday drop in almost a year, that deal might go buh-bye as Verizon reviews “the impact of this new development.”  Or Verizon will just offer Yahoo a lower price to acquire it. Because, apparently it still makes strategic sense to purchase Yahoo even with two massive data breaches under its belt.

Suited up…

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Twenty states are going after big pharma via a massive lawsuit that probably wont be going away anytime soon. Mylan NV,Teva Pharmaceuticals and four other companies that manufacture generic medicines are now staring at the wrong end of a very big lawsuit. This lawsuit, by the way, is completely separate from the investigations being led by the Justice Department and other agencies. The companies are being sued for conspiring to fix drug pricing on two generic drugs: an antibiotic called doxycycline and a drug used to treat diabetes called glyburide. The suit charges that brass at the pharmaceutical companies jacked up the drug prices by setting them and also allocated markets, which they all knew was illegal. They made sure any incriminating correspondence was deleted or simply avoided written communication. When asked for a comment, one of the companies named in the suit, Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., conveniently blamed former executives who had since been fired.  Jeffrey Glazer, former CEO of Heritage Pharmaceuticals is actually expected to plead guilty next month. Mylan predictably denied the charges while Teva said it’s still reviewing the complaint. The others remained mum.

Ad-citing news…

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The Super Bowl is still a couple of months away but the advertisers are gearing up for their multi-million dollar thirty second spots come February 5. Rumor has it Fox is charging between $5 million – $5.5 million. GoDaddy, which skipped last year’s Super Bowl ad festivities, is coming back this year, along with Snickers, Skittles and – get this – Avocados from Mexico. Can’t wait to see how Donald Trump tweets about that one.  GoDaddy skipped last year’s festivities, apparently to focus on breaking into more international markets. That mission has presumably been accomplished as the domain services company is now available in 56 markets. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without beer ads and Anheuser Busch has got a whole bunch of spots lined up touting its refreshing assortment. In the meantime, regular advertisers, PepsiCo and FritoLay are sitting out this year. It’ll be the first time in ten years that viewers will not see a Doritos ad during the big game. But don’t get too choked up about Pepsico’s absence. The company will still figure prominently since its Pepsi Zero Sugar is the official sponsor of the half-time show starring Lady Gaga.

Up up and away….

Image courtesy of xedos4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of xedos4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We had another good month, at least according to the Labor Department anyways, which graciously just informed us that 214,000 jobs were added in October. But it gets even more exciting because the unemployment rate dropped. Yes you read that correctly, my fiscal minded friend. Instead of the unemployment rate hovering in the 5.9% range, that rate now hovers around (drum roll please) 5.8%. Yep that .1% drop actually means super huge things. Unfortunately those smug analysts estimated that about 16,000 more jobs would be added. But oh well, what’re you gonna do? The government happened to have added 5,000 of those jobs, by the way. And speaking of more labor, it would seem that the average amount of time Americans work per week has gone up as well. By ten minutes, that is, if my math is correct. So now we collectively work, on average, 34.6 hours per week. No matter how you personally feel about the amount of time you work. Just know that an increase like that is also a good sign. But if you prefer to work less, hey, far be it from me to stop you.

Gone phishing…

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It wasn’t enough that Home Depot now holds the dubious distinction of having suffered the LARGEST data breach. Ever. I’m sure Target’s pretty stoked not to be rocking that honor anymore. But now, it seems that in addition to the 56 million debit and credit cards that were compromised, 53 million email accounts were also stolen. So what do these hackers intend to do with all those email accounts? Well, phishing attacks are definitely on their to do list.  The unfortunately resourceful hackers entered Home Depot’s system through vendor accounts using usernames and passwords. The breach happened between April and September. Apparently, that was how Targets data breached was executed as well.

Fitched out…

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Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s no coincidence that you’ve been noticing a lot less of Abercrombie and Fitch logos flitting about. But maybe you never noticed them to begin with. In any case, the company just released its earnings and they were way untrendy. The company’s target demographic, teenagers, and by that I do mean that portion of the human population that changes its mind quicker than you can say…well anything…may be flocking to the mall but they’re not flocking to A&F. That goes even more so for its Hollister brand. Our tres tres trendy pals across the pond also have seem to moved on to other brands as well. In fact the retailer hit a two-year low. Analysts expected revenues over $982 million. But instead the retailer took a 12% hit getting just past the $911 million mark.  Last year at this time the company pulled in over a billion dollars.

 

Breach of Staples; McBummer Earnings; Coke’s Earnings Fizzing Out

You can’t take my stapler…

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now let us welcome Staples into the not-so-exclusive-ranks of the breached – data breached, that is. The world’s largest office supply supplier becomes the latest corporate cyber-attack victim. The company is currently conducting an investigation after banks began noticing a strange pattern of fraudulent activity among a specific group of consumers, presumably ones who have swiped their plastic at Staples. Before Staples, Sears was making headlines for its data breach. But no word yet if this breach will be as epically huge as those that Home Depot and Target had to endure.

This meal’s not so happy…

Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Despite its best efforts to wage breakfast wars and valiant campaigns against pink-slime infested meat, McDonald’s third quarter earnings had no beef to stand on. Revenue, shares and all those fiscal details that make up a Big Mac were nothing short of dismal with earnings tanking 30%. The fast food chain pulled in a $1.07 billion profit which might seem nice, at first. But when you consider that McDonald’s earned $1.52 billion a year earlier then it’s easy to see why the earnings were particularly McLousy. CEO Don Thompson also blamed “unusual events” in Europe and Asia for the bummer quarter. Perhaps he was referring to that pesky “expired meat” issue in China. Or maybe all that stuff with Russia. But let’s not forget to also point the finger at those Millennials who have the nerve to prefer healthier, higher-quality alternatives like those being offered up at Panera and Chipotle (which, by the way, had a really great quarter).

Cola’s going flat…

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Image courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apparently not enough consumers are sharing a Coke as evidenced by Coa Cola’s just released earnings that seemed to have lost their bubbles. In fact, it’s lost the most in six years. Profits fizzed out 14% with net income down to $2.1 billion. A year ago people were still drinking Coca Cola to the net income tune of $2.4 billion. Revenue was but a mere $11.97 billion. Sounds like a lot, huh? Well, Wall Street would have preferred more. Like more than $2 billion.  So what gives? Apparently consumers are turning to healthier alternatives and Coca Cola is still in the midst of improving and expanding its healthier alternatives.

CVS Not Getting Smoked; Home Depot Data Breach? Check; Viva La Truce!

Quitter…

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You might want to think about skipping CVS today if you were jonesing for a cigarette. Well maybe you should consider skipping the cigarette altogether, but I digress. Since really this is all about how CVS is kicking the cigarette habit out the door from all of its 7,700 plus establishments. It’s also launching a campaign to get people to be quitters – of smoking, that is. CVS is hoping that with its new “wellness” initiative it will attract even more consumers to those thousand of stores. And CVS is gong to need all the customers it can get as this move is expected to cost $2 billion in annual revenue. That’s a lot of wellness to make up for. Besides dumping its tobaacco products, CVS is also dumping the name CVS Caremark and is now going by CVS Health. Got that? The move was initially slated for October 1, but I guess they decided the sooner, the better (to lose that $2 billion). By the way, Walgreens has not announced a similar plan.

Breached…

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Home Depot officially joins the illustrious ranks of companies who’ve been targeted (no pun intended – well, maybe just a little) with a data breach. To be fair, however, the issue is still under investigation after some “unusual activity” was noted. Hmmm.  Apparently a large cache of sensitive info made its murky little way onto some dubious black market sites. Of course, customers will not be responsible for any charges incurred as a result of the breach. Because it would be rude to hold a customer liable for such a thing. Just to be on the safe side, Home Depot is taking a page from its fellow data breach victims and is offering free ID protection. The home improvement company is just hoping its breach will be nothing comapred to Target’s $150 million breach, from which it is still reeling. The theft is thought to have been perpetrated by Ukranian or Russian hackers. How this is known I really couldn’t tell you. But some very official sources have said said this and probably could tell how they know but are probably not allowed to share such information, I presume. And of course, the stock took a a 2% hit over this recent revelation.

Making up is fashionable to do…

Image courtesy of John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The long awaited truce has finally arrived. Of course, I am referring to the one between the world’s numero uno luxury brand LVMH and equally luxurious and ridiculously expensive retailer Hermes. What? That’s not what you thought I meant? Were you expecting a different truce? Anyways, after four years of intense, but supremely fashionable courtroom drama, the two sides have reached a very posh agreement where everybody wins. LVMH has graciously (and grace never goes out of style) agreed to sell off most of its 23.2% stake in the 177 year old, family controlled, Hermes, to the tune of over $4 billion. Also LVMH will not pursue a takeover, for the next five years anyway. It all started when LVMH kept scooping up Hermes stock in an attempt to takeover the illustrious maker of those outrageously expensive handbags. Except that it acquired all that stock in a way that didn’t require it to declare its stock acquisitions until it was almost too late, for Hermes that is. And who could blame LVMH? After all Hermes’ annual revenue consistently increases by at least 10% every single year.