|Bid||1,866.67 x 1400|
|Ask||1,871.00 x 1800|
|Day's Range||1,811.26 - 1,885.88|
|52 Week Range||1,586.57 - 2,185.95|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.62|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||81.18|
|Earnings Date||Apr. 22, 2020 - Apr. 26, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||2,404.29|
Kenya's largest telco, ISP and mobile payment provider — in a collaboration that could spell competition between American cloud providers in Africa. In a statement to TechCrunch, the East African company framed the arrangement as a "strategic agreement" whereby Safaricom will sell AWS services (primarily cloud) to its East Africa customer network.
After investing nearly $2 billion of its Innovation Fund in Latin America in 2019, SoftBank announced this month that it would add an additional $1 billion into the fund to continue supporting tech startups across the region. While the Japanese investor faces the challenge of raising a second global fund after its Vision Fund, SoftBank is still investing heavily in Latin America. One of its early Latin American investments -- and the first in Colombia -- Ayenda Rooms, is performing particularly well, raising $8.7 million from Kaszek Ventures this month.
(Bloomberg) -- The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea crossed 2,000. Japan is closing schools to limit the spread of the outbreak. New cases continue to appear outside of China with New Zealand and Lithuania reporting their first infections. Nigeria confirmed its first case, the first reported in sub-Saharan Africa.Equity markets in Hong Kong, Japan and Australia all tumbled. U.S. health authorities moved to greatly expand the number of people who will be tested, adding travelers from several new countries and people with unexplained, severe respiratory illnesses. California is monitoring 8,400 people for signs of the virus after they traveled to Asia. The virus has spread “very slowly” in the U.S., President Donald Trump said in a tweet.Key DevelopmentsConfirmed cases worldwide pass 83,000; global deaths more than 2,800China death toll at 2,788, up 44; cases climb to 78,824, up 327South Korea confirms 256 more cases, bringing total to 2,022Singapore emerges as litmus test for coronavirus containmentHong Kong dog found to have ‘low level’ of virusCoronavirus crisis seeds chaos in Washington and on Wall StreetClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.Finnair Warns on Profit Due to Virus (3:47 p.m. HK)Finnair Oyj revised its outlook and warned on profit due to the “fast-developing situation with the coronavirus and its wider than originally estimated impact on the global aviation market,” the company said in a statement.Fast Retailing Reopens More Than 100 China Stores: Reuters (3:43 p.m. HK)Fast Retailing Co., the owner of the Uniqlo clothing brand, reopened more than 100 stores in China in the past week, Reuters reported, citing a statement. Almost all partner factories restarted work, while 125 stores in China are still closed because of the virus.Alitalia Plans About 4,000 Temporary Layoffs: Ansa (3:11 p.m. HK)Alitalia SpA plans to extend temporary layoffs for about 4,000 workers following the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, Ansa reported. Alitalia will extend by seven months to the end of October a temporary layoff plan already in place for 1,175 workers to an additional 2,785 employees.British Airways Parent Says Virus Makes Profit Uncertain (3:10 p.m. HK)British Airways parent IAG SA said the spread of the coronavirus made it impossible to predict earnings this year, as demand weakens in Asia and Europe and companies cut back on businesses travel across the globe.The airline group, which also includes Spain’s Iberia and Aer Lingus of Ireland, said it will reduce capacity by 1% to 2% this year, as industry events are canceled and companies impose restrictions on travel.Germany Quarantines About 1,000 People in Heinsberg: Bild (3:03 p.m. HK)An estimated 1,000 people are isolated in the German district of Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia after an outbreak in the region, German newspaper Bild reported.Sweden Reports Five New Cases (2:23 p.m. HK)Five new cases have been confirmed in Sweden, the country’s Public Health Agency said in a statement. That brings the total confirmed cases in the country to seven.BOE’s Carney Says Virus May Impact U.K. Economy: Sky (2:10 p.m. HK)The Bank of England’s Mark Carney said the virus could result in an economic-growth downgrade for the U.K., Sky News reported, citing an interview with the central bank governor. Carney said the bank has already seen a drop in activity, though it’s too early to tell how badly the U.K. would be affected.BASF Says Chemical Industry Taking Hit From Virus (2:01 p.m. HK)The chemical industry became the latest sector to be hit by the coronavirus after German giant BASF SE warned the outbreak could help lead to the lowest growth in production since the financial crisis more than a decade ago.The slump in demand may see the German supplier of plastics and additives slide to a second straight year of falling profit, BASF said in a statement on Friday. The epidemic will have a significant impact worldwide, particularly in the first and second quarters, which won’t be fully offset during the remainder of the year.Trump Says Virus Has Spread ‘Very Slowly’ in U.S. (1:14 p.m. HK)The coronavirus has spread “very slowly” in the U.S., President Donald Trump said in a tweet.“So, the Coronavirus, which started in China and spread to various countries throughout the world, but very slowly in the U.S. because President Trump closed our border, and ended flights, VERY EARLY, is now being blamed, by the Do Nothing Democrats, to be the fault of ‘Trump,’” he said.Singapore Ministers to Take Pay Cut on Virus: CNA (1:03 p.m. HK)All political-office holders in Singapore will take a one-month salary cut in light of the coronavirus outbreak, CNA reported, citing comments from the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. The government’s actions follow recent moves by some of Singapore’s top companies to freeze pay and cut bonuses as the country attempts to combat the impact of the virus.U.A.E. Cancels Rest of Cycling Tour (Correct) (12:47 p.m. HK)The United Arab Emirates has decided to scrap the remaining rounds of the 2020 U.A.E. Tour after two Italian team members tested positive for the coronavirus.All remaining participants, organizers and administrative staff will be screened and some quarantined, according to the state-run Emirates News Agency. Other people who were in contact with the two cyclists will also be placed under observation.(Corrects to clarify two Italian team members tested positive.)New Zealand, Lithuania Report First Cases (12:38 p.m. HK)New Zealand confirmed its first case after a person who recently returned from Iran was diagnosed with the illness, the Ministry of Health said Friday. The person in their 60s is in isolation in Auckland hospital, the ministry said in an emailed statement.Separately, Lithuania reported its first case. The person was infected in the Italian city of Verona, RIA Novosti said.Abe Adviser Says Japan Needs $45 Billion of Extra Spending (11:45 a.m. HK)An adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan should compile another economic package with fresh spending of at least 5 trillion yen ($45 billion) to respond to a severe hit from the coronavirus outbreak.“We should take it very seriously that this is terrible timing, coming right after the sales tax hike,” Etsuro Honda, one of the key architects of Abenomics, said in an interview. “The impact could be devastating in the short term.”FDA Confirms First Drug Shortage Relating to Virus (11:40 a.m. HK)The Food and Drug Administration confirmed the first drug shortage relating to the coronavirus, Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement. The announcement didn’t name the manufacturer but said “there are other alternatives that can be used by patients.” The shortage is due to an active ingredient used to make the drug, the FDA said.South Korea Completes More Tests of Sect Members (11:31 a.m. HK)South Korea’s health ministry completed tests for 1,299 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus who showed symptoms of fever and coughing, among 9,334 members of the sect in Daegu, Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip said at a briefing.The results of the tests will be available during the weekend. So far, the ratio of confirmed cases to suspected cases is “very high.”JPMorgan Restricts All Non-Essential Travel Globally (11:29 a.m. HK)JPMorgan Chase & Co. issued global restrictions on non-essential travel to protect its employees and its business against the spreading coronavirus.Because of the continuing spread of the virus, it’s now “restricting all international travel to essential travel only,” the New York-based bank said in a memo distributed to staff. The memo was confirmed by spokespeople at the bank.Hyundai Halts Korea Plant as Worker Infected (10:34 a.m. HK)Hyundai Motor Co. halted operations at its No. 2 plant in Ulsan for disinfection after a worker tested positive, Maeil Business Newspaper reported, without citing anyone.Tokyo Disney to Shut (10:31 a.m. HK)Tokyo Disney Resort will close for two weeks starting Saturday as a precaution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, operator Oriental Land Co. said.Two parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, will not accept visitors from Feb. 29 to March 15, the company said in a statement Friday. With Disney parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai already closed, this means all of the entertainment company’s resorts in Asia have shut down for the time being due to the spread of the virus.South Korea’s Moon Sees Disapproval Rating Top 50% (9:53 a.m. HK)South Korea President Moon Jae-in’s disapproval rating rose to 51%, the highest level since October, as the virus spreads in the country, a Gallup Korea poll showed. That’s up from 46% a week earlier. The poll showed 51% of respondents aren’t satisfied with the government’s response to the virus.China to Resume Road Traffic in Lower-Risk Regions (9:16 a.m. HK)China will resume buses, subways and taxis in urban and rural areas with lower coronavirus risk, the transport ministry said in a statement. The move is aimed at supporting factory resumptions and stabilizing the economy.Nigeria Confirms First Infection (9:10 a.m. HK)Nigeria confirmed its first case of the coronavirus in Lagos, the West African country’s biggest city and commercial capital, the Health Ministry said. It’s also the first reported in sub-Saharan Africa.Algeria has also reported a case. Health experts have voiced concerns over the possible spread of the virus in places like Africa that may be ill-equipped to handle such a crisis.South Korea Cases Top 2,000 (9:01 a.m. HK)South Korea confirmed 256 more infections, bringing the total in the country to 2,022, the health ministry said in a statement. Among the 256, 182 cases are from Daegu, at the center of the outbreak, and 49 are from the neighboring North Gyeongsang province.Hong Kong Dog Found to Have ‘Low Level’ of Virus (8:49 a.m. HK)The pet dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong has been found to have a “low level” of the virus, the Hong Kong government said.The dog tested “weak positive,” the city’s agricultural and fisheries department said in a statement, without giving further details. Officials will carry out further tests to confirm whether the dog has really been infected, or if it was a result of environmental contamination of its mouth and nose.Japan Children’s Day-Care Centers to Stay Open (8:06 a.m. HK)Japan’s children’s day-care centers and after-school clubs will stay open, even as schools nationwide close for at least a month in a bid to control the outbreak, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said. Japan wants to make it easy for people to take time off work, Kato said. This is an important time for controlling the domestic spread of the virus, he said.Plague Inc. Removed From Apple’s Chinese Store (8:04 a.m. HK)Plague Inc. -- the mobile simulation of a global pandemic that topped download charts in February after the outbreak -- has been removed from Apple Inc.’s Chinese app store. The eight-year-old game’s developers said on their website Chinese regulators determined it contained “illegal” content. The developers say they’re trying to contact the Cyberspace Administration of China to get the game back online.Plague Inc. became the most downloaded paid game on iPhones in at least 80 countries early this month, according to research firm App Annie.China Death Toll Rises to 2,788, Up 44 (7:53 a.m. HK)China’s death toll rose to 2,788 by the end of Thursday as it reported 44 new fatalities, according to a statement from the country’s National Health Commission. The number of cases climbed to 78,824 as 327 additional infections were reported. Discharged patients increased by 3,622 to 36,117.Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak, had 318 additional cases and 41 new deaths.Trump Says He’s Doing ‘Incredible Job’ (7:13 a.m. HK)President Donald Trump said his administration has done an “incredible job” preventing the spread of coronavirus after California’s governor said the state is monitoring 8,400 for signs of exposure.Limited Testing in Japan Masks Scale of Infection (6:57 a.m. HK)Japan is becoming a center of concern, with the country’s official infection tally suspected to be the tip of the iceberg of a much wider outbreak.“For every one who tests positive there are probably hundreds with mild symptoms,” said Masahiro Kami, chair of the Medical Governance Research Institute in Tokyo, and a practicing doctor. “Those with mild symptoms are not being tested.”Read more here.U.S. Workers Didn’t Get Protective Gear: Report (5:05 p.m. NY)Federal employees who helped evacuate people from the center of the coronavirus outbreak in China didn’t get protective gear or training, the Washington Post said, citing a whistleblower’s complaint.Trump administration officials disputed the report.“Every precaution has been taken,” said William Walters, a health official with the U.S. State Department. “I can say unequivocally that everyone involved with those evacuations was appropriately equipped and trained.”One member of Congress called the situation deeply concerning. “Finding out that the U.S. government might have put its own personnel in harm’s way is deeply concerning to me,” said Representative Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat from Virginia.Mask Prices and Interest Spike on Amazon (4:52 p.m. NY)Prices for face masks spiked on Amazon.com Inc. in early February, with many items sold out, according to a firm that tracks traffic on the website.Searches over the past 30 days for N95 masks, which are tighter fitting and filter out smaller particles than surgical masks, surged to 1.3 million on Feb. 10, up from 23,000 on Jan. 10, according to Helium 10, the monitoring company.Daily sales of a 20-pack of popular N95 masks from 3M jumped to more than 1,000 in February, from roughly 25 in December, according to Helium. Prices for the product, which typically sells for $29.99, climbed as high as $99.“Many third-party sellers appear to be outright price-gouging, likely due to low stock and high demand,” Lee said. “Even Amazon, which has kept pricing mostly stable across products, has had to increase prices on some products.”Amazon’s pricing policies suggest the company monitors for gouging and can punish merchants with irregular prices, but the policies lack specifics. “Setting a price on a product or service that is significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon” is a potential violation, the company says on its policy page.“Sellers set their own product prices in our store and we have policies to help ensure sellers are pricing products competitively,” Amazon said in an emailed statement. “We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies.”CDC Expands Coronavirus Testing to More Patients (4:38 p.m. NY)U.S. health authorities moved to greatly expand the number of people who will be tested for the coronavirus, adding travelers from several new countries with outbreaks as well as people with unexplained, severe respiratory illnesses.People showing respiratory symptoms and who have been in China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea within the past 14 days will be screened for the virus under the new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The CDC is also calling for testing of patients who have unexplained, severe lower-respiratory illnesses that require hospitalization, but no other history of potential exposure to coronavirus. The expansion comes after a patient in California, who had no known ties to an infected area, was confirmed to have the virus after a long delay to get tested.Pence Says He’s In Charge, Not Azar (3:36 p.m. NY)U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he’s now leading the government’s coronavirus task force instead of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.“I’m leading the task force,” Pence said Thursday at a meeting on the virus at HHS headquarters. “We’ll continue to rely on the secretary’s role as chairman of the task force.”Trump initially appointed Azar to lead the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, but on Wednesday, he named Pence to the role at a news conference. The Washington Post reported that Azar was blindsided by the decision, though Azar told lawmakers that he thought Pence’s appointment was “genius.”California Monitoring 8,400 Travelers and Contacts (2:16 p.m.)California is monitoring 8,400 people who flew into its airports from Asia and their close contacts for possible infection from the novel coronavirus, Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday. Thousands of people around the U.S. have been asked to self-isolate or check themselves for symptoms since the U.S. put new limits on travel earlier this month.Those people are scattered across 49 local jurisdictions, he said. There have been 33 people confirmed to be infected with the virus in California.Earlier, health officials said a woman from Northern California has the virus and hadn’t traveled to China. She also didn’t have any close contact with anyone who did and appears to be the first case of community transmission in the U.S.Lagarde: ECB Response Not Required Yet (11:30 a.m. NY)European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the coronavirus outbreak carefully isn’t yet at the stage that would require a monetary-policy response, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.Lagarde said the ECB would have to determine whether the coronavirus could become a “long-lasting shock” that would affect inflation. “But we are certainly not at that point yet,” Lagarde told the FT.Outbreak Is At Decisive Stage, WHO Says (10:10 a.m. NY)The novel coronavirus has the potential to become a pandemic and is at a decisive stage, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday.“The outbreak can go in any direction based on how we handle it,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during the group’s daily briefing in Geneva.China’s efforts show that containment can work, while clusters of infections in Iran, Italy and South Korea are cause for concern, he said. For a second day, there were fewer new cases in China than in the rest of the world.Several countries that have reported cases previously -- including India, Russia and Vietnam -- haven’t had any new infections in two weeks, Tedros said. However, Finland and Sweden, which had gone without infections for a prolonged period, reported cases Wednesday.Middle East Cases Rise (7:30 a.m. NY)Iran reported 87 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 245 including 26 deaths. The number of patients in Kuwait almost doubled to 43, with all the cases linked to Iran. The United Arab Emirates, which has 13 cases and hasn’t given an update since Saturday, said it’s setting up a medical facility to quarantine patients.Italy Coronavirus Cases Rise to 528, With 14 Possible Deaths (7:09 a.m. NY)Total cases increased from the 400 reported late Wednesday, civil protection head and emergency chief Angelo Borrelli said. Forty people have recovered. The number of possible virus-linked deaths reached 14.(An earlier version was corrected to say the number of cases in South Korea crossed 2,000.)\--With assistance from Isabel Reynolds, Emi Nobuhiro, Dominic Lau, Edwin Chan, Zheping Huang, Josh Wingrove, Shiho Takezawa, Li Liu, Dulue Mbachu, Shinhye Kang, Kanga Kong, Lily Nonomiya, Reed Stevenson, Alfred Liu, Chelsea Mes, Toru Fujioka, Emi Urabe, Eduard Gismatullin, Matthew Brockett, Farah Elbahrawy and Melissa Cheok.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jeff Sutherland in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at email@example.com, ;Drew Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tom Redmond, Jeff SutherlandFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s Fair Trade Commission asked a Tokyo court to delay Rakuten Inc.’s plan to begin offering free shipping on March 18, citing concerns about how the initiative would affect commerce in the country.The JFTC, which oversees business practices in Japan, made the announcement saying that Rakuten’s free shipping plans could unfairly disadvantage some of the sellers on the platform. The agency is still investigating their full impact on the market.The Japanese e-commerce giant has been struggling against Amazon.com Inc. after helping to pioneer online shopping in the country. Rakuten said this month that the JFTC had started a probe into its free shipping plans and requested the company’s voluntary cooperation. Rakuten said at the time it believed its free shipping program is in accordance with antitrust law and would maintain its scheduled mid-March start.Chief Executive Officer Hiroshi Mikitani tweeted about a month ago that free shipping would debut as planned next month.Separately, Rakuten is expected to unveil pricing plans next week for a wireless network it has been building in Japan, making it the fourth competitor in a market against NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp.Read more: SoftBank Faces Pressure If Rakuten Embraces Unlimited Data PlansTo contact the reporters on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at email@example.com;Go Onomitsu in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Peter Elstrom, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- WeDoctor, one of China’s biggest online health-care startups, is hiring a new chief financial officer to spearhead a Hong Kong initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.John Cai, formerly chief executive for AIA Group Ltd.’s operations in key markets including China, Malaysia and Vietnam, will join as CFO in a few weeks, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. Cai will oversee the company’s listing and potentially a pre-IPO financing round, the people said. WeDoctor has reached out to investment banks and is expected to pick underwriters over the next few months, they said.WeDoctor, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., joins a growing contingent of tech giants hoping to revolutionize a traditional health-care industry after the novel coronavirus underscored its shortcomings. The startup, whose business spans insurance policies and medical supplies to online appointment-booking and physical clinics, is aiming for a $10 billion valuation when it eventually goes public, one of the people said, almost double its last price tag of around $5.5 billion. The startup is currently targeting an IPO in late 2020 or 2021, another person said.A WeDoctor representative declined to comment in an emailed statement. An AIA representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Read more: Coronavirus Shows Scale of Task to Fix China’s Flawed HealthcareThe Covid-19 epidemic has brought inadequacies in the country’s medical care system into stark relief, exposing an over-reliance on big hospitals in major cities and flaws in how the state responds to emergencies, even with a mechanism built after the SARS outbreak in 2003. The startup said in a statement it launched an online platform dedicated to treating coronavirus cases on Jan. 23 and has helped facilitate 1.4 million consultations with doctors in the month since it began.Longer term, startups like WeDoctor could play a pivotal role in a nationwide effort to wrench its ailing healthcare sector into the modern age. Beijing envisions a 16 trillion yuan ($2.3 trillion) healthcare industry by 2030 and, in a blueprint laid out in 2016 called “Healthy China 2030,” vowed to improve public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities to match those of developed countries.A $6 Billion China Startup Wants to Be the Amazon of Health CareFounded by artificial intelligence maven Jerry Liao Jieyuan in 2010, WeDoctor aims to compete with both fellow startups and major corporations such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in the burgeoning field of online healthcare.It needs capital to expand. It has yet to decide whether to include its cloud business -- where sensitive patient information and government data reside -- in the envisioned Hong Kong public offering, the people said. And it’s still too early to judge whether it can achieve its $10 billion valuation target, one of the people said.Cai, who joined AIA in 2009, helped the insurer bolster its business in China before driving expansions in Vietnam and Malaysia. He will also join WeDoctor’s board as vice chairman, the people said. His new employer counts China Development Bank Capital, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. and AIA as backers. The company said in a statement it connects 360,000 doctors with some 210 million registered users.To contact the reporter on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.com, Edwin Chan, Jun LuoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon.com Inc has barred more than 1 million products from sale in recent weeks that had inaccurately claimed to cure or defend against the coronavirus, the company told Reuters on Thursday. Amazon also removed tens of thousands of deals from merchants that it said attempted to price-gouge customers. The coronavirus has caused at least 2,797 deaths globally.
(Bloomberg) -- In the suburbs of Dublin on a windy, overcast day in January, several alumni of Airbus and the U.K.’s Royal Air Force watched as a flying object, shaped a bit like a crouching frog, hovered about 10 meters (33 feet) up in the air.The craft, called MNA-1090, opened its cargo bay door, and lowered a package — about the size of a shoebox — to the ground on a string. The robotics engineers who’d helped design the vehicle opened the carton, looked inside, and smiled: the dozen-or-so pots of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream were still perfectly frozen.In late March, customers on the outskirts of Dublin, far from the dense metropolises that make services like Uber Eats and Deliveroo viable in terms of revenue, will get to try ordering food and drink the same way. Manna.aero built the MNA-1090 drone to be an airborne replacement for the human-and-bicycle formula used the world over by food-delivery apps, and is preparing to run a couple of hundred test flights per day over several weeks to lay the groundwork for a permanent service for small Irish towns. Ben & Jerry’s, U.K. food delivery firm Just Eat Plc, and local Irish restaurant chain Camile Thai are signed up to participate in the pilot that will take place at the University College Dublin campus.“In five years, it’s going to be the most normal thing you can imagine,” Manna Chief Executive Officer Bobby Healy says.If you live in a city, having a hot meal delivered to your doorstep in under an hour has never been easier or cheaper. For about the price of a small coffee, a human being will cycle to a restaurant, collect your freshly baked pizza and bring it to your apartment. Innovations in smartphones, mapping and gig-economy logistics have catalyzed growth of the sector, which research firm Frost & Sullivan estimates will be worth $200 billion by 2025.But the margins are tiny for the companies handling the delivery, and the competition fierce. In October, Grubhub Inc. executives told shareholders they didn’t believe it was even possible to generate significant profit from food delivery. The cost of paying people to drive food around was just too much, they said.Companies are looking for an alternative, and a roster of investors believe Healy might have a model that could work: a drones-as-a-service for restaurants and delivery apps.Here’s how Healy said it will work: Manna will partner with restaurants or food courts that have a high-throughput of orders and a small outdoor space to house a drone-loading team. The Manna craft itself is about the size of a computer printer and will carry meals weighing around 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in under three minutes, even in wind and rain.Upon arriving at its destination, the drone will hover and wait for the customer to accept delivery using an app, having indicated when ordering exactly where they want their food to land — on the lawn, an outdoor dining table or just in the driveway. The drone will descend and lower the food parcel that, Healy said, will still be “piping hot.”Manna’s vehicle has been designed to travel for 100 million hours without a problem, Healy said in an interview. But, alongside space for three 10-inch pizzas, it also has a backup battery and two parachutes, just in case.The 51-year-old Irish entrepreneur is a mobility veteran: In 2003, he sold off travel software firm Eland Technologies to industry titan Sita.Aero. He then helped build CarTrawler into a transportation platform used by more than 100 international airlines. Healy’s got some well-known names putting $5.2 million behind Manna, including billionaire Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Dynamo venture capital, and FFVC, among others.For food platforms, Manna says the service is more than just a gimmick — it will lower delivery costs and allow them to scale to currently under-served suburban areas in a profitable way. Healy said Manna’s drone delivery will cost platforms $3 to $5 per delivery.Fabricio Bloisi, CEO of online delivery platform iFood in Brazil, said the use of drones is a “great breakthrough” for the industry because of their efficiency and ability to travel relatively large distances. He said his company’s working with Sao Paulo-based Speedbird to reduce delivery time by combining the use of drones with bicycles and motorbikes.Uber’s testing a drone for food delivery in the San Diego area, and Alphabet Inc.’s Wing is already delivering coffee, food, medicine and household items directly to homes in Finland, Australia and the U.S. state of Virginia.Amazon.com Inc.’s also developing its Prime Air service, with a view to delivering parcels, not necessarily food, of up to five pounds via drone. The company’s bidding for a stake in the U.K.’s Deliveroo.Healy isn’t worried. He’s pitching Manna as a business-to-business company, where its drones are used by food delivery companies, not end consumers. To the entrepreneur, Wing isn’t his rival. “We’re arming their competitors.”Still, not everyone is so rosy about the drone delivery trend. In a sign of how divided views are on the technology, Dutch food delivery firm Takeaway.com NV — which recently bought Just Eat, one of Manna’s partners for the March pilot — said it thinks drone delivery for food is a “fantasy.”“We just don’t see any way how it can work currently from a technical perspective,” said Joris Wilton, a spokesman for Takeaway. “We will not be investing in developing it in-house.”Miki Kuusi, co-founder and CEO of Helsinki-based food delivery company Wolt, said his company has tested drone deliveries, but, “it’s been more PR than actually about a business case.”That partly has to do with complexities around picking up the food orders, he said. Drone services have to be deeply integrated with the restaurants to ensure that drones are loaded in the right way, something “most restaurants in a hectic environment are not equipped to do.”Then there’s the tricky issue of regulation. Airspace authorities have tightened restrictions on drone usage as their popularity with consumers and troublemakers has grown. People also express discomfort at the idea of machinery whizzing above their homes — both for privacy and safety reasons. Add to that the complexity of hauling hot food in the sky over several kilometres and it’s an uphill battle for any startup to launch a service.Healy recognizes that changing the industry won’t come overnight, given the need to safely test the technology, get approvals from regulators at each new stage as well as from the local communities.Still, he expects to have completed between 20,0000 and 50,000 successful deliveries by year-end.“With this industry it’s ‘crawl, walk, run,’” Healy said, “and we want to crawl for a little while, we want everyone to feel good about it.” To contact the author of this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Nate Lanxon at email@example.com, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- iDreamSky Technology Holdings Ltd. is in advanced talks with buyout firm CVC Capital Partners to jointly acquire gaming firm Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter.iDreamSky, which counts Tencent Holdings Ltd. among its investors, has been in exclusive talks with Leyou’s controlling shareholder since late last year, Bloomberg News previously reported. Leyou later confirmed that it’s been in negotiations with iDreamSky and had extended the exclusivity for five times.CVC emerged as a likely partner for iDreamsky, which has been seeking co-investors to help finance the $1.4 billion transaction, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. The private equity firm was once among bidders for Leyou, people familiar with the matter have said.In a deal, Shenzhen-based iDreamSky plans to hold a majority stake after it combines with Leyou, while CVC is set to hold a significant minority stake in the merged entity, the people said. The prospective buyers would retain Leyou’s biggest hits including the free shooting online game Warframe and consider selling some of its games under development and physical studios to help fund the acquisition, the people said.Shares of Leyou climbed as much as 4.2% in their biggest gain in almost two weeks in Hong Kong, while iDreamSky reversed earlier losses, rising as much as 2.3%.Leyou’s controlling shareholder Charles Yuk and other selling holders “are in the course of finalizing the transaction and financing documents.” with iDreamSky even as the exclusivity period has ended, the company said in a Feb. 17 exchange filing.The companies are seeking to reach a formal agreement within the next few weeks, the people said. Talks could still fall apart and other bidders could emerge, they said. Representatives for CVC and iDreamSky declined to comment, while a representative for Leyou didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Leyou, listed in Hong Kong in 2011, has developed free shooting games Warframe and Dirty Bomb. The Fujian-based company is also working with Amazon.com Inc. to co-produce a video game based on the popular fantasy series “The Lord of the Rings.” Other upcoming games are Civilization Online and Transformers.Listed in Hong Kong in 2018, iDreamSky had 57 games including 16 role-playing games on its platform as of June 30, according to its interim report. It has exclusive publishing rights in China for popular titles including Subway Surfers and Temple Run.Michael Chen, its co-founder and chief executive officer, is iDreamSky’s largest shareholder with a 25.9% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Tencent Mobility, a unit of the Chinese technology giant Tencent, owns about 18.6% as the second-largest holder.(Updates to add share prices of Leyou and iDreamSky in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at email@example.com, David ScanlanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. drivers and takeout delivery workers have a new champion in the European Union’s antitrust chief, who wants to help them fight for better pay and conditions.In an interview with Bloomberg, Margrethe Vestager says she’s looking at ways to help “people who work in a weak negotiating position” amid concerns about the plight of workers in the so-called gig economy.A key question is whether the EU can “give sort of European level guidance as to how to allow people to organize” without it being seen “as a cartel,” she said, referring to rules that curb price-fixing between businesses.Europe’s tough cartel rules have squeezed billions of euros in fines out of companies that collude to increase prices. The same rules have also been used to prevent freelance workers from teaming up to collectively lobby for better wages from powerful employers such as internet platforms.Vestager, who has become the bloc’s tech chief in addition to her role as competition watchdog, plans to change that. “We can make sure that people can unionize” because “if you’re just seen as another independent self-employed” person, “it’s very, very difficult to make that happen,” she said. Companies like Uber have transformed how many people travel in cities and order food. Amsterdam-based Takeaway.com is merging with JustEat Plc to create a $10 billion-plus food delivery giant, and Deliveroo has attracted investors such as Amazon.com Inc. to garner a $4 billion valuation.Tension RemainsWhile some companies, such as Takeaway.com, have increased the rights they offer couriers and drivers, tension remains. In 2018 UberEats riders in the U.K. went on strike after a cut in delivery fees, but there is little riders or drivers can do to protest against wages or working conditions. They can’t argue with the software that spits out the orders.And while the couriers might be viewed as freelancers or second-jobbers, increasingly they are low-income earners who rely on one website for pay that varies wildly. Unlike most European workers, they often have limited or no insurance for accidents on the job.“If you look at Deliveroo and UberEats, the app decides what they do when they work and how much they earn. So there is no way of negotiating with those platforms,” said Joris den Ouden, a labor organizer for the Dutch trade union FNV working with food delivery riders. “The amount of money you make depends on how many orders you can do so people are buying electric bikes to be faster and jumping lights.”“Deliveroo has long campaigned for a change to the law to enable self-employed riders to be given more benefits by platforms and will continue to do so,” a spokesman for Deliveroo said in an emailed statement. A spokesman for Uber declined to comment.Minimum WageIn the U.K., the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain has challenged companies such as Uber on whether drivers should be entitled to overtime and holidays. Some riders in the Netherlands are working 50-60 hours a week and some are making less than the minimum wage of just under 10 euros ($10.90) an hour, den Ouden said in a phone interview. Deliveroo riders went on strike in the country last August after the company ended some bonuses “but in the end, nothing really changed,” he said.Working out the impact for online platforms such as delivery apps is difficult, given the variable nature of the jobs involved. But in 2016 Takeaway.com launched Scoober -- a restaurant delivery service. By the end of 2019, Scoober used around 9,000 couriers that delivered 5.4% of Takeaway.com’s orders.Even though Scoober is a small cut of Takeaway.com’s total deliveries, it is an expensive business to run, with the company often hiring couriers via employment agencies. Over 2019, Scoober expenses accounted for 73.9 million euros of Takeaway.com’s cost of sales, representing 67% of the total cost of sales in that period, or about 8,000 euros per courier.Worker CartelsCartel rules are part of the problem. In 2004, freelance Irish actors were forced to halt a union pact that set a minimum rate of pay for voiceover work after the country’s antitrust regulator declared their agreement illegal. Dutch musicians fought a similar stance taken by Dutch authorities -- and won in 2014 after an EU court backed their argument that wage pacts should be allowed for workers who are “falsely self-employed” and reliant on one powerful employer.The inability to bargain for wages had a chilling effect, said Ivana Bacik, an Irish senator who eventually pushed Ireland to change the law to allow some types of freelance workers to bargain as a group for better pay. “It became a race to the bottom. The rates were dropped and people found their incomes affected very severely,” she said of the antitrust ruling.Vestager, who previously served as Denmark’s economy minister, is clearly sympathetic to labor rights, saying she comes “from a country which has had built a success on a model” based on the right to unionize. Regulators are looking at exemptions from competition law “to make sure that people who are not really independent” or self-employed “actually can unionize and be a much stronger force in negotiations.”Vestager has previously flagged the rights of workers on tech platforms as an area that deserves scrutiny. However, the European Commission is set to move slowly, suggesting ways to improve labor conditions for platform workers next year, according to a strategy document published in February.There are limits to who Vestager is looking out for. “We would not want dentists and lawyers” and professions in a more powerful position be able to gain the same advantage as more vulnerable workers who depend on an internet website for their livelihoods, she added.To contact the reporters on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org;Giles Turner in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Chapman, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. became the latest tech giant to reduce its quarterly outlook based on the outbreak of a novel coronavirus that’s slowing production of computers and crimping sales of an array of consumer services and electronics.In a statement Wednesday, the company said it doesn’t expect to meet earlier guidance for fiscal third-quarter revenue in the Windows personal-computer software and Surface device business because the supply chain is returning to normal at a slower pace than expected. Last month, Microsoft gave a wider-than-usual sales target -- $10.75 billion to $11.15 billion -- for that division, citing uncertainty related to the spread of the deadly respiratory virus.The world’s largest software maker joins iPhone maker Apple Inc. and PC company HP Inc. in cutting estimates because of supply-chain disruptions related to the virus, known as Covid-19. Merchants who sell on Amazon.com Inc. also are trimming ad spending on the e-commerce giant’s marketplace, seeking to moderate demand amid worries they may run out of inventory of Chinese-made goods. Questions about the virus’ economic ripples had already sent the S&P 500 Index down by 6.6% this week; Microsoft’s acknowledgment that the PC market is being hit reinforces investor concerns about broader consequences, said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.“It fans the flames on Corona worries,” Ives said. “Apple and Microsoft now confirm the negative impact the Street had feared.”In recent days, anxiety has mounted about the spread of the virus outside of China, where it originated. For the first time, more cases were reported in countries other than China in the past 24 hours, the World Health Organization said late Wednesday, a significant development as new cases spread around the globe, with South Korea, Italy and Iran particularly hard hit. Globally 2,771 have died and 81,317 people have been infected.As component makers and tech-gadget assembly companies in China continue to face production slowdowns due to quarantines and shuttered factories, U.S. technology companies are reported to be scrambling for alternatives. Microsoft and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are looking at manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and Thailand, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Wednesday.Microsoft shares declined about 2% in late trading following the announcement. The stock has fallen in four of the last five trading sessions, along with the broader market, on concerns that the spreading health crisis could hurt the global economy and the technology sector. The shares had been trading at all-time highs earlier this month. Shares of Intel Corp., the biggest PC chipmaker, and rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. also fell in extended trading, as did PC makers Dell Technologies Inc. and HP. Dell reports earnings Thursday.The reduced forecasts come as Covid-19’s impact spreads through global companies in a range of industries. Booking Holdings Inc. on Wednesday said room nights booked would drop 5% to 10% in the first quarter, compared with analysts’ estimates for an increase of 5%. The company said cancellations are rising.For Microsoft, demand for Windows operating-system software is strong and has been in line with the company’s forecasts, according to the statement. The rest of the company’s outlook for the current quarter remains unchanged. On average, analysts were predicting total sales of $34.6 billion for the period ending in March, according to estimates gathered by Bloomberg. The More Personal Computing unit typically generates more than a third of Microsoft’s annual sales.Microsoft will have to account for supply issues with its Surface devices and lost software sales from Windows on PCs made by other manufacturers who may be facing the same production and parts challenges in China. The Redmond, Washington-based company is also preparing to release a new generation of Xbox video-game consoles in the fall, and will need to work through setting the final production lines and then building up inventory ahead of that release, a process that could be affected by lingering shutdowns in China.The spread of the virus outside of China also raises the chances of impact of work shutdowns, quarantines, store closures, and conference and meeting cancellations in other countries where technology and other global firms have a significant presence.To contact the reporter on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Andrew Chung of 1955 Capital Speaking at the Swiss Energy and Climate Summit in 2015 By IPO Edge Staff The climate has long been a hot button topic for politicians and activists, and it is becoming one for investors too. Millennials, now the largest demographic in the United States, are far more likely to choose […]
(Bloomberg) -- Americans have so far largely been spared measures taken in China and elsewhere to contain the deadly coronavirus, keeping thousands of healthy people homebound and left to binge-streaming entertainment to ward off boredom. But that could soon change, and home-exercise company Peloton Interactive Inc. may be well-placed to benefit from restless workout fans.This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak at home that could lead to significant disruptions of daily life, including school closings, cancellations of sporting events, concerts and business meetings.“We believe certain U.S. consumers will be less comfortable over time going to their gym and more likely to order a Peloton bike to stay home,” Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham and Co., wrote in a note to investors Tuesday. “This may drive higher unit sales and subscription revenue in 2020 than are currently in our estimates.”A few Chinese gym companies are seeing a similar reaction. Some analysts say the virus may provoke a moment when people learn to get comfortable doing a lot more at home and keep up the newfound habits after life returns to normal.New York-based Peloton, which makes internet-connected exercise equipment, also has an app that people can buy as a monthly subscription. While its workouts have been available on phones and tablets for some time, the company recently began offering an app for the Apple Watch, as well as the ability to stream classes on Amazon.com Inc.’s Fire TV.In its most recent earnings report, Peloton said it added 149,000 new subscribers during the quarter, bringing its total to 712,000. The company estimated it will have as many as 930,000 connected fitness subscribers this year. Connected fitness subscribers are people who own a piece of Peloton hardware, like the bike or treadmill, and pay a monthly subscription to access digital workouts. It’s a more lucrative category than people who pay for its app alone. If the Covid-19 virus, as it’s officially known, does lead to more in-home workouts, the figures could be on the high end or even above that range.Peloton shares were up about 7% on Wednesday, while the broader markets were generally down, having slid more than 6% over the prior two days. In China, there’s evidence that demand for at-home workouts is increasing. Apps like Fit.me and 7 Minute Workout, which both offer workouts in the home, have been rising in rankings of top health and fitness apps in the region, according to data tracking site SimilarWeb. Meanwhile Nike Inc.’s Run Club, used to track outdoor activity, has fallen. In the U.S., Aaptiv Inc., Mirror, and Nike’s Training Club could stand to benefit as well if U.S. consumers opt to skip the gym and get their sweat on at home instead.To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Verhage in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Chuck Gregorich, who sells China-made patio furniture on Amazon.com Inc., expects to lose as much as $2 million in sales this year due to factory closings and other coronavirus-related slowdowns. So he’s cutting his ad spending on Amazon and thinking about raising prices to avoid running out of inventory. The sudden shift in sales tactics by merchants like Gregorich threatens Amazon’s fastest-growing and profitable revenue source.“If we’re going to run out, why not run out at full price,” he says. “We have to make sure the sales we have are as profitable as they can be."Amazon merchants spent about 6% less on advertising over the past two weeks than they did a year ago, says Daniel Knijnik, who runs Quartile Digital, a New York firm that helps manage Amazon advertising for 2,300 brands selling goods on the site. Many of them are small outfits forced to react more quickly than big brands selling to the likes of Walmart Inc. and Target Corp., he says, because they lack the inventory stockpiles and alternative suppliers their larger counterparts can draw on.Amazon’s advertising sales are a small piece of overall revenue, but they help the company offset the huge costs of storing and shipping millions of products. In the holiday quarter, what Amazon calls "other" revenue—most of which is advertising—totaled $4.78 billion, up 41% from a year earlier.Like many of its tech industry peers, Amazon started 2020 predicting strong sales growth. Now mounting fears of a pandemic and the related economic fallout has put those rosy projections in question. Amazon’s shares had dipped 5.9% by the Tuesday close and were up less than 1% at midday Wednesday. The falloff in advertising could be a harbinger of worse news to come.Amazon last month forecast sales of $69 billion to $73 billion in the current quarter and has not adjusted that outlook in response to the coronavirus. Apple Inc. warned that it is likely to miss its sales forecast for the current quarter due to the outbreak, which disrupted smartphone production and forced store closings in China. “We are monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and taking appropriate steps as needed,” Amazon said in an email, using the official name for the virus.The company is taking other measures to soften any virus impact for smaller sellers. As previously reported by Business Insider, Amazon on Feb. 7 advised merchants that they could put their accounts in “vacation status” to avoid getting penalized by its algorithms if they suspected items would run out of stock. It also instructed merchants to cancel any customer orders they would not be able to fulfill.“If your performance metrics have been impacted by this event, please include a brief description of how your business was impacted when you respond to the relevant performance notification,” Amazon said in a notice. “We will consider this unforeseen event when we evaluate your account’s recent performance.”More than half of the items sold on Amazon come from independent merchants like Gregorich, who pay the company a commission only when shoppers buy their goods. That puts Amazon in a very different position than traditional retailers when reacting to supply-chain disruptions. Walmart and Target remain in constant contact with their wholesale suppliers about postponing delivery deadlines and finding alternative sources for products to keep shelves stocked. Amazon has those relationships as well, but has less direct contact with smaller merchants.Its marketplace is largely managed by machine, with algorithms deciding in real time which products people see. Prices, consumer feedback, advertising and the speed of delivery all factor into the calculation. Amazon’s algorithms can punish merchants whose products sell out by making it harder for shoppers to find their wares, giving sellers an incentive to protect their inventory until they can replenish it. Cutting ad spending is the easiest lever for them to pull.“We have reduced our ad spend and have identified the stock level where we’ll increase prices to slow down the rate of sale even more,” says Jerry Kavesh, a Seattle merchant who sells cowboy boots and hats on the site.Mark Looram, managing director of GTO Limited, which oversees factory operations in China and the Asia Pacific region for big importers, expects prices for China-made products to shoot up on Amazon more quickly than at competing retailers that have more control. “One of the major differences with Amazon sellers is that they control their pricing and can increase or decrease depending on market conditions,” he says.Price spikes can attract the attention of regulators. In 2017, after back-to-back hurricanes struck Florida and Texas, Amazon fielded complaints of price-gouging on bottled water. In fact, the high price reflected the expense of quickly shipping a heavy case of water across the country when local supplies were depleted. It was an example of how Amazon’s machines, designed to help match supply with demand, lack the judgment of a human touch.So far, there haven’t been reports of virus-related shortages of essentials in the U.S. Instead, merchants are facing delays in replenishing inventory of things like dog treats, wine refrigerators and patio umbrellas. With no clear answers about when China will be back to full production, sellers are trying to stretch out what they have until new supplies roll in. Even with those adjustments, some merchants have already run out of stock.“I have clients in various categories that are getting crushed because of the coronavirus,” says Dan Brownsher, who runs Channel Key, a Las Vegas e-commerce consulting business with more than 50 customers who sell products on Amazon. “What was supposed to ship in February or March now won’t be shipped until April. We have items out of stock that won’t be back until April.”Virus-related disruptions will be most immediate to those selling spring and summer seasonal goods like inflatable pool toys and patio umbrellas, which could push any impact on Amazon into the second quarter.Gregorich might have to hold off introducing a new line of patio furniture until next year. He ordered 14 containers of products from a Chinese factory, which recently refunded his deposit because it can’t complete the order in time. He’s keeping in touch with the factory in case it can make part of the order before the outdoor furniture selling season ends in the summer.“We told the factory to let us know where they are and maybe get a partial order in the summer and still make some sales so we don't miss the whole season,” he says. “We’re going to miss that product this year.”(Updates shares. A previous version of this story was corrected to show that the note Amazon sent to merchants was previously reported by Business Insider.)To contact the author of this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
ReFrame and IMDbPro award a record 26 ReFrame Stamp recipients from the 100 top-grossing films of 2019
With its newly-opened cashierless supermarket in Seattle, Amazon is not only challenging traditional checkouts but also the American grocery bigwigs to up their game in the grocery industry.
(Bloomberg) -- One of the most exciting fields in climate science at present is attribution studies: investigating the extent to which climate change can be blamed for raising the odds of specific weather conditions, such as heatwaves and drought.There’s another climate attribution issue out there, though, that’s potentially more important: understanding what causes individuals, businesses and governments to change their policies on climate in favor of the more dramatic emissions reductions the world needs. That’s an important backdrop to Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos’s announcement last week that he would give $10 billion to climate researchers and activists.Amazon and Bezos have historically been strong on messaging but weak on execution where climate change mitigation is concerned. Despite announcing a long-term goal to power all of its data centers via 100% renewable energy in 2014, it’s well behind its tech sector peers on this front. To the extent that’s changing, a lot can be put down not to external activists, executive ambition, or even shareholder pressure, but rather to employees.Late in 2018, a group of mostly software engineers started organizing a shareholder resolution on climate issues to bring to Amazon’s annual general meeting in May of the following year. Many had vested equity, which qualified them as shareholders. Two outside advisory firms recommended the measure, giving it an added boost of credibility. In the end, the resolution was voted for by investors owning 30.9% of the company’s shares—a decent result considering Bezos himself owns 11% and company management opposed the resolution, but short of the required 50%.The employees didn’t give up. When Bezos announced new targets for renewable energy use and emissions reductions in September, a day before some were planning to join the global climate strike that drew over 1 million participants around the world, it appeared to be in response to their efforts.They’ve been less successful on some other goals, in particular a push to stop Amazon’s providing cloud services to the oil and gas industries. But the extent to which they’ve pushed one of the world’s most powerful chief executives towards change has been impressive.Could this achievement be repeated in other industries? The tech sector is probably uniquely susceptible to such interventions: Statistical and IT jobs are some of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. white collar workforce, so employers are especially wary of driving staff away.Investment banking is similarly generous in terms of compensation and also provides a crucial service to carbon-intensive industries: finance. Still, with job cuts in recent quarters numbering in the tens of thousands and a far slower pace of forecast employment growth, employees are likely to feel much less secure. The culture of financial services is also not famous for encouraging employees to speak out, especially in areas where it might interfere with winning business from major clients.That culture is far from impregnable, though. Finance thrives on making persuasive predictions about the future, and the arguments in favor of aggressive action to prevent climate change get stronger by the day. That’s especially the case when major polluting sectors are struggling to make money. With the U.S. coal sector stricken by repeated waves of bankruptcy and the shale oil business persistently failing to cover its costs of capital, the attack on fossil fuels is increasingly happening on purely economic grounds.There’s also what economist Robert Frank, in a recent column for the Washington Post, described as “behavioral contagion”—that is, peer pressure. Some of these individual commitments on climate—such as the recent ones by Bezos, or BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink, or BP Plc’s Bernard Looney—may lack the level detail or ambition that would satisfy campaigners, but they serve to raise the salience of the issue in the minds of other businesses and encourage them to make and meet more ambitious pledges of their own.Many people—myself included—thought the fossil fuel divestment campaigns that kicked off in 2012 and 2013 were naive and would never actually move the needle in terms of reducing capital costs. Just a few years later, however, it’s clear that thermal coal companies are struggling to get financing. Some of this is undoubtedly due to the economics of alternative sources of energy, rather than any campaigns or moral imperative, but there’s more to it than that. Many investment professionals have told me over the years that divestment campaigns got the attention of more senior executives, which in turn led to a more serious examination of the losses fossil fuel investments might sustain as markets opted for lower-emission alternatives. Once those “transition risks” had been assessed, they were hard to ignore.That’s why employees should consider following the example of the Amazon group. If our world is going to make the huge changes in our energy and agricultural systems needed to limit global warming, it’s going to need pressure not just from shareholders, activists and regulators, but from every side. With more and more businesses waking up to the need to do more in the years ahead, those who speak up may well find they’re pushing at an open door.Kate Mackenzie writes the Stranded Assets column for Bloomberg Green. She advises organizations working to limit climate change to the Paris Agreement goals. Follow her on Twitter: @kmac. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.To contact the author of this story: Kate Mackenzie in Sydney at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jillian Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The stock market with the most to lose from a wider coronavirus outbreak is the one in the U.S.Global markets sold off on Monday and Tuesday on reports that authorities are struggling to contain the virus, which has now spread to more than 30 countries and increasingly threatens the global economy. Until this week, the declines in global stocks seemed to be driven by proximity to the virus’s epicenter in China, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that few markets will escape harm if the virus isn’t contained.What’s not clear is which stock markets would suffer the sharpest declines. That obviously depends on how the crisis unfolds — where the virus spreads, how many people are affected, the impact on regional economies and trading routes, and so forth. But it also depends on the extent to which markets have already digested the potential risks, and by that criterion, the U.S. stock market appears particularly vulnerable. To see stock investors at their most carefree, take a look at the NYSE FANG+ Index. It’s a pantheon of the Great Disruptors – 10 companies that many investors believe are poised to dominate their respective industries. In order of market value, they are Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., NVIDIA Corp., Netflix Inc., Tesla Inc., Baidu Inc. and Twitter Inc. As a group, they are among the most extravagantly priced stocks in history, even for growth stocks.By any measure of price relative to earnings, the FANG index is nearly as expensive as the Russell 1000 Growth Index was at the peak of the dot-com mania two decades ago — or even more so. The price-to-earnings ratio of the FANG index is 34 based on analysts’ estimates of this year’s earnings per share, which is just 6% cheaper than the comparable P/E ratio for the growth index in March 2000. Other measures are even less flattering. Based on last year’s earnings, the FANG index’s P/E ratio jumps to 55, or an 8% premium over the comparable ratio for the growth index. And using an average of inflation-adjusted earnings over the last 10 years, it jumps again to 73, or a 16% premium over the growth index.Investors value the FANG index’s revenue even more than its profits. The price-to-sales ratio of the FANG index is 5.9, or 41% higher than the growth index’s P/S ratio of 4.2 in March 2000. Suffice it to say, when it comes to the FANGs, the market appears to have little concern for the risks around coronavirus or anything else.The reason that’s a potential problem for the U.S. is that eight of the 10 stocks in the FANG index are American companies. Remember that stocks in broad-market gauges such as the S&P 500 Index or Russell 1000 Index are weighted based on their market value. Therefore, as the market value of the stocks in the FANG index has spiked relative to others, so has their weighting in broad-market indexes. Those eight U.S. stocks represent less than 1% of the Russell 1000 by number, but they now account for more than 13% of its market value. That more than anything else explains the wide gap in the valuation between U.S. and foreign stocks. The P/E ratio of the Russell 1000 is 29, based on an average of inflation-adjusted earnings over the last 10 years, which captures the growth of both earnings and stock prices during the decade. By comparison, the P/E ratio of the MSCI ACWI ex USA Index, a gauge of global stocks excluding the U.S., is 19. That’s a premium of 53% for U.S. over foreign stocks, the largest since the data series begins in 1998. If the virus turns out to be a serious and sustained threat to the global economy, markets are likely to rethink stock prices, including those of companies in the FANG index. And the higher the valuation, the greater the potential for downward revision. That may seem unlikely to investors who view the FANGs as the ultimate blue chips, capable of navigating any environment, but no company is an island. Apple, the largest of the FANGs by market value, has already warned that it will miss sales forecasts because of coronavirus-related disruptions in production and demand for its products.More important, blue chips don’t necessarily provide more safety, particularly when valuations are stretched. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, for example, investors piled into U.S. growth stocks, driving up valuations of companies with fat profits, a key measure of quality. In the ensuing sell-off sparked by the 1973 oil crisis, the most profitable 30% of U.S. stocks, weighted by market value, tumbled 48% from January 1973 to September 1974, including dividends, according to numbers compiled by Dartmouth professor Ken French. Meanwhile, the cheapest 30% of U.S. stocks by price-to-book ratio, which are widely viewed as lower quality, declined 28% during the same period.It happened again during the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. Investors’ renewed obsession with growth stocks drove up the valuations of highly profitable companies. In the ensuing bear market sparked by the collapse of internet companies, the most profitable 30% of U.S. stocks fell 32% from April 2000 to September 2002, while the cheapest 30% of U.S. stocks declined just 10%. So there’s a lot riding on whether the U.S. disruptors can navigate the risks around coronavirus, not just for their own investors but also for those betting on the broad U.S. stock market. It makes sense that overseas markets took the first hit, but if the virus isn’t contained soon, don’t be surprised if the U.S. stock market turns out to be hit the hardest.To contact the author of this story: Nir Kaissar at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nir Kaissar is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the markets. He is the founder of Unison Advisors, an asset management firm. He has worked as a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell and a consultant at Ernst & Young. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.