“Bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for him.”
Hey there carnivores,
The markets were up yesterday thanks to a few key stocks.
And today we’re talking Uber getting investors’ hot and bothered.
Jeff & Jason
Ride or die
Investors found another bright spot in the stock market yesterday after Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that the company has enough money to ride out the coronavirus epidemic.
Uber’s core riding business is down 60% to 70%, and it even banned cheaper Uber Pool options. NYC mayor Bill de Blasio clarified that shared ride-hail trips were reserved for families and “real couples.” Not surprisingly he was trolled relentlessly on twitter for the gaffe.
But the car-service slowdown doesn’t mean that Uber drivers are being rendered useless. UberEats is still thriving during this quaran-time. In fact, Uber claims it is doing a bang-up job at offsetting the losses due to a lack of riders.
Don’t call it a comeback
Shares of Uber’s stock were at their lowest point ever earlier this week as investors, understandably, viewed the tech play as a travel company. It was a good move by DK to get out in front of investors and assure them that the company’s $10B of unrestricted cash would be enough to get it through the epidemic.
The news sent Uber’s stock surging, closing 38% higher on the day at $20.49. For what it’s worth, things still aren’t “good”… that’s more than 50% below its all-time high of above $47.
Spread the wealth
The ride-sharer went all Reaganomics on the industry, with the good fortune trickling down to its pink-mustached competitor. Lyft’s shares rose 29% on the news, as well, closing at $20.70. Editor’s note: Lyft doesn’t have a food delivery biz.
The bottom line …
And that’s where Dara should have STFU.
Uber’s CEO casually dropped this gem during his call with analysts: “We believe we’re already seeing the worst of the impact and the recovery in some places.” Wait, what?
*Checks Dara’s LinkedIn to see what medical school he attended*
Dara is going full spin zone and Wall Street appears to be eating it up hook line and sinker. For now. But just weeks into this sh*tstorm, with so many unknowns, Uber could be in a very different liquidity position should additional measures (read: “shelter-in-place”) be taken by Uncle Sam or the coronavirus decides to make itself at home.
☑️ Silver linings.
If you’re a remote work communication solution, coronavirus ain’t so bad. Slack, for example, announced Thursday that it’s added 7k new paid customers since February, which, not coincidentally, was the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the US. The increase between February 1st and March 18th is larger than both the company’s previous quarters by about 40%.
It’s not just Slack benefitting either. Microsoft Teams announced that it acquired 12M daily active users just in the last week.
☑️ No (buy) backsies.
Donald Trump doesn’t want companies receiving bailouts to get off that easy. He said on Thursday that he doesn’t oppose preventing companies that receive a federal “bailout” from conducting stock buybacks for an undisclosed period.
The airline industry is looking for $50B in aid as it hemorrhages money amid coronavirus cancellations. It’s largest players, however, spent about $39 billion over the last five years buying back stock to boost share prices and dividends. Much of that money should have been set aside for “emergencies,” like, oh, I don’t know, a global pandemic that destroys the travel industry?
Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban took it a step further, saying bailed out companies should be barred from buybacks forever. And for that reason, he’s out.
☑️ On the ropes.
SoftBank is looking to do a little bailing out of its own, as it looks to raise $10B to support companies in its VIsion Fund that have been affected by coronavirus’ economic impact. Currently, SoftBank is seeking $5B from outside investors, which it would then match.
Unfortunately for SoftBank, it’s Middle Eastern ATM, the sovereign funds it’s received investment from in the past, have gotten crushed by the rapidly declining price of oil. Tough break.
☑️ Message received.
Elon didn’t take long to fold. Just a day after a story accused him of keeping employees working through the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order, Tesla announced its Fremont, CA plant would halt production. Tesla said it remained open by following “the Federal Government’s direction to continue operating.” I’m sure its hourly employees with minimal health insurance appreciated that.
Tesla is also shutting down its NY-based solar panel factory, and while both plants will halt production, some employees still have to show up, to keep supercharging structures running. As their fearless leader himself said, “I will personally be at work, but that’s just me.”