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Buffett from the top rope

The BeefThe Beef ·

Good morning everyone,

Today we’re talking Zuck giving Facebook a makeover in hopes that we forget about the past year or so, and Apple had another sh*tty quarter, but shares rose. Wait, what?

Enjoy the next 4 minutes and 11 seconds.

Keep raging,
Jeff & Jason


THE MARKETS


THE HEADLINES

Buffett menu

Investor, visionary … wingman?

Warren Buffett announced that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, is injecting $10B into Occidental in a bid to help the petroleum company seal the deal in its pursuit of oil driller, Anadarko. It’s a vintage Buffett move as Berkshire will get preferred shares and stock warrants for its participation.

Occidental was in a tough spot after offering $38B to come over the top of Chevron’s initial offer of $33B. Warren’s wager would help shore up Occidental’s balance sheet as it gears up to take on one of oil’s big swinging dicks (read: Chevron).

Right place, right time

Berkshire has been out the acquisition game for about four years, much to its shareholder’s chagrin. The value investor finished 2018 with $112B on its balance sheet and has been looking for a suitor to make it rain. And this sweetheart deal might be just what Warren and Charlie were waiting for.

Your move, Chevron. As if dealing with Occidental Petroleum cock-blocking it’s bid to buy Anadarko wasn’t enough, Chevron has to deal with the Oracle of Omaha coming in like Stone Cold Steve Austin circa the Attitude Era. Chevron will now be forced to decide if it plans to up the ante, or bow out. It remains to be seen if Anadarko’s board can pass up free DQ for life.

Bottom line: “Cue ‘Enter Sandman.’ Occidental’s bringing in the OG deal closer.” – Jason


Let’s get this Cheddar

CNBC’s little brother, Cheddar, sold out. The millennial-centric, “Bloomberg for the back office” was bought by Altice, in an all-cash deal worth $200M.

As part of the acquisition, Cheddar’s founder, the former COO of Buzzfeed, Jon Steinberg, will lead Altice News. What is Altice News you ask? In addition to Cheddar, Altice’s news portfolio consists of i24, a 24-hour international current affairs network, and News 12, a NYC-area local news provider best known for its non-stop coverage of shootings in the Bronx, Harlem, and Queens.

Cheddar and Altice have a long history. The cable company invested in Cheddar in 2017 and the two have worked together on multiple cross-promos in the past.

How did we get here?

The lactose themed network has whored its way to the top, never meeting a streaming service it wouldn’t work with. Ched counts the Roku Channel, Hulu, Twitch, SlingTV, and Philo as partners. The network recently landed a deal with Spectrum to air as a stand-alone cable station in the NY market.

Investors in the private company include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Comcast, Liberty Global, and Goldman Sachs. Ever heard of them? 

Bottom line: “Now is probably a good time to remind readers that Raging Bull is the only source you need for markets and business news.” – Jason


Facelift

Facebook is going to look a little bit different coming out of its annual F8 conference. The boomer social network of choice announced that it would be going under the knife for its first major design overhaul since it was founded over 15 years ago.

The design changes, announced yesterday, focus in on Facebook’s groups and events. Groups and events are two of the most widely used features on the platform, with more than 400M users belonging to one of the site’s tens of millions of groups. Most of which are multilevel marketing schemes. The design changes will begin rolling out immediately on iOS and Android.

Papa Zuck is also rolling out a Meet New Friends feature that will recommend users to each other based on either mutual interests or real-world connections. Think Hinge without the ghosting and Plan B pills.

Elephant in the room

During the conference, Facebook made sure to address its recent privacy “issues.” As Zuck himself said, “the future is private.” Sure thing, Mark. The company revealed that all messaging moving forward will be end-to-end encrypted, a move that it currently offers through Secret Messages, which, for the record, is a complete pain in the ass to use. Gathering less personal data is another step the ‘Book is taking in the right direction.

Gathering less data means nothing if you can’t protect it, however, so Facebook will be “pulling an Instagram fitness model,” and working on its back end, in an effort to make that data less readily available for unauthorized access. I guess that’s a start.

Bottom line: “Do whatever you have to. As long as I stop seeing those weirdly personalized ads.” – Jeff


IN OTHER NEWS

  • Keep it to yourself. FMR, the parent of Fidelity Investments, launched a new password protection business called Akoya. The software will act as a middle man between financial services firms and different budget and tax return apps, allowing customers to choose the accessible data and the apps that can access their information.
  • The art of the deal in action. The US is prepared to walk away from the trade talks with China if the two sides cannot reach a deal in the new two weeks according to White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. This comes after four months of negotiations.
  • Who asked you? WageWorks received an unsolicited acquisition offer (better than a dick pic, I suppose?) on April 11 from HealthEquity, coming in at $2B. Randy Moss must be consulting HealthEquity, as the $50.50 a share offer is straight cash, homie. The proposed deal would combine two of the largest health-savings account operators in the US.

MAKING MOVES

I’m not mad, I’m disappointed. Alphabet’s stock had its worst day in seven years, falling as much as 8.6% after it posted its slowest revenue growth figures since 2015 on Monday. These disappointing quarterly results come at a time when other tech companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon, posted strong earnings … and record profits in Amazon’s case. And it’s worth mentioning, Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt is stepping down from the board this upcoming June. Mr. Schmidt has absolutely no intentions of going down with the ship.

Apple was able to keep its rally flag flying, after reporting its March quarter earnings. Shares rose more than 5% after hours. Profit dropped 16% and revenue fell 5%, with sales of the iPhone down 17%. And sales in China remain a concern. But the company’s positive(ish) outlook coupled with continued growth in its services line of business buoyed the stock. This is textbook “underpromise, overdeliver.”

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