A Green Giant Farewell; Mobile-ads: Verizon Set to Unleash Service; Everything Is Fiscally Awesome at Lego

Yo ho ho…

Image courtesy of  Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s time for the Jolly Green Giant to pack his bags. Together with Le Sueur, the two brands are getting some new digs over at B&G Foods, home to favorites such as Cream of Wheat and snack sensation Pirate’s Booty (a personal fave). B&G is paying $765 million in cash for the joy of adding the oversized brand symbol to its coffers and is expecting the Giant and his 160 plus products to bring in net sales of over half a billion, adding 60 cents per share. Jolly Green Giant and Le Suer are currently under General Mills, however, the maker of  Cheerios has been noting a shift in consumer preferences and has decided now would be a good time to unload the two companies. Apparently, shoppers are preferring fresher selections, as opposed to the sauce laden and frozen offerings that Green Giant and Le Sueur crank out. General Mills, which also has Yoplait yogurt, will now focus its efforts – and of course, money – into cultivating its brands and geographical locations that have more potential. It will also put a bit more oomph into some edible health and wellness endeavors. Which basically means it will shift gears to whatever products and areas will bring in the most amounts of cash. Sounds fair.

You’ve got ad-sales…

Image courtesy of twobee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of twobee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

AOL (remember them?) also did a little shopping today picking up Maryland-based Millennial Media Inc. to the tune of $250 million to broaden its mobile-ad market share. At that price, the company was bought for $1.75 a share, a 31% premium to its closing price on Wednesday. Millenial took in almost $300 million in sales with an $83 million net loss last year. Verizon Communications Inc picked up AOL back in June for a trifle $4 billion, in an attempt to beef up its mobile ad technology, something at which AOL apparently excels. Verizon AOL now has big plans to challenge Facebook and Google (is that even possible?) who currently reign supreme over the mobile-ad market, and unleash its own mobile streaming video service called Go90.

Brick by brick…

Image courtesy of ArtJSan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ArtJSan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lego may not be a publicly traded company, but the company sure manages to pull in some boffo numbers, even surpassing Mattel as the world’s largest toymaker. Which is particularly insane since it only makes…well, Lego.  And while Mattel’s Barbie, Hot Wheel and Fisher-Price products still have sway, those toys, can’t seem to get a plastic leg up on Lego’s mesmerizing Ninjas and elves and…well, everything else. In fact, Mattel’s revenue fell almost 5% to $1.91 billion, with unwelcome help from Barbie and company. Lego, however, benefitted from foreign currency swings, not to mention a boost from The Lego Movie. The Danish company scored 3.55 billion Danish kroner, which translates to $537.5 million in the first half of the year and took in a 31% jump in profits. The company’s revenue also rose 23% to $14.14 billion. And there’s no reason to forecast that theses numbers won’t continue to rise. With a new Star wars movie coming out, which always does a fine job of boosting Lego sales, and a new video game, Lego Dimensions, due out late September, the toy company’s outlook is nothing but rosy.


So Long and Goodbye to Twitter’s Dick Costolo; Where Have All the Cereal Eaters Gone for General Mills; Hillary Clinton’s Bringing Her Grassroots Game On

What a long strange social media trip it’s been…

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dick Costolo might just have some extra time on his hands tomorrow seeing as how today is the CEO’s last day at Twitter. Okay, maybe not so much time. He’s still going to remain on the board. Costolo has the dubious distinction of having been the longest serving CEO at Twitter and it was under his leadership that the company even went public, leaving it with a $23.5 billion valuation. But from an all-time high of $69 back in January of 2014, the stock seemed to have lost its mojo and well…apparently so did Costolo.  Dick Costolo had mentioned in an exit interview how he underestimated the pressures and short-term fiscal expectations of running a publicly traded company. The soon-to-be ex Twitter CEO took a lot of heat, and not just from investors who were underwhelmed by Twitter’s slow growth and disappointing revenues. Many critics also thought Costolo didn’t do enough to stop abuse and terrorist activity.  Then there were all these pesky geopolitical issues that came up. Like how people that it was odd, and even a bit hypocritical of Twitter, that Iranian authorities use the social media platform all the time to communicate their thoughts and evil decrees, yet the citizens of Iran are forbidden to use the micro-blogging site. Until Twitter finds a more permanent solution, Jack Dorsey, who conveniently enough, is one of Twitter’s co-founders, will serve as its interim CEO.

No love for the Cheerios…

Image courtesy of  bearvader/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bearvader/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For some odd reason, sales of General Mills are down. Well, the reason, in fact, is not that odd. It seems the gluten-free food movement and high-protein diets have been biting into the Cheerio maker’s numbers sending sales and shares down for its fourth quarter. Let us also not forget to put some blame on the strong dollar of ours that affected sales for the company in other parts of the world. Then there’s the issue with its Green Giant brand. Yeah, they own that too. General Mills had to write down the value of the brand that sports the over-sized, leafy green dude for a whopping $263 million. It seems that, in addition to the gluten-free and high-protein trends, consumers also now prefer their veggies fresh as opposed to the frozen varieties that Green Giant does so well. However, it should be duly noted that Green Giant still does well and scores plenty of cash for the company. Just not as much as it used to. General Mills, which also owns Yoplait and Betty Crocker, pulled in about $187 million in profits with 71 cents per share added and revenues of $4.3 billion. Analysts expected revenues to come in closer to $4.5 billion and 75 cents added per share.

This means war…

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It really does’t matter how you feel about Hillary Clinton running for President. What does matter are her numbers.  As in, the number of dollars she already banked for her presidential primary war chest. That magical number has already hit $45 million, exceeding the $42 million President Obama raised for his  2011 primary bid. That magical number also managed to exceed Hilary Clinton’s previous 2008 $36 million presidential primary war chest. I dare you to say that one three times fast. And don’t think for a second that all that cash is coming from just a small handful of wealthy donors. Hillary Clinton has garnered some major grassroots support with over 91% of contributions coming in at $100 or less. Yeah, she’s that popular.