|Bid||0.00 x 1000|
|Ask||46.09 x 800|
|Day's Range||45.01 - 45.97|
|52 Week Range||26.02 - 45.97|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.28|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||7.90|
|Earnings Date||Jul. 15, 2020 - Jul. 20, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.64 (1.45%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||May 29, 2020|
|1y Target Est||41.19|
(Bloomberg) -- Google has taken aggressive action to scrub coronavirus conspiracies from its news service and YouTube, at a time when social media companies have come under intense scrutiny for their potential to spread dangerous disinformation about the global pandemic. It has begun labeling misleading videos aimed at U.S. audiences, and has joined with other major internet companies to coordinate a response against what the World Health Organization has described as an “infodemic.”But Google is also placing advertisements on websites that publish the theories, helping their owners generate revenue and continue their operations. In at least one instance, Google has run ads featuring a conspiracist it has already banned.One ad for Veeam, an independent Microsoft 365 backup service, appeared atop one website featuring an article that includes false claims that Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates’s charitable efforts on pandemics and vaccines are a part of a world domination plot. A Microsoft Teams ad ran with a French language article that alleged Gates tried to bribe Nigerian lawmakers to vote for a Covid-19 vaccine. An ad for the telecommunications provider O2 showed up on another article linking the virus to 5G networks, a common conspiracy theory. The ads were placed through Google’s automated system for matching marketers with websites. The Global Disinformation Index, a research group, recently reviewed 49 sites running baseless claims about the virus, including the stories about Gates and 5G networks. Alphabet Inc.'s Google placed ads on 84% of them, generating the majority of the $135,000 in revenue the sites earned each month, according to the Global Disinformation Index’s estimate.Google has faced criticism for funding hyper-partisan publishers such as Breitbart News in the past. The company has avoided making blanket policies about which publishers can run its ads. Instead, it removes ads only from the specific pages carrying content that violates its content policies. It also allows advertisers to blacklist specific sites. The company has been particularly reluctant to take action with political ramifications now that the Trump administration is taking concrete action to punish companies that it argues show bias against conservative viewpoints. Christa Muldoon, a Google spokesperson, said none of the web pages flagged by the Global Disinformation Index violated its policies. “We are deeply committed to elevating quality content across Google products and that includes protecting our users from medical misinformation. Any time we find publishers that violate our policies, we take immediate action,” she said.‘A Huge Issue’ Google's network ad system is a massive machine for automatically generating money for its owner. Websites apply for Google's program, and they add display banners and pop-ups advertisements to their pages. Google's system automatically fills these slots with digital marketing and takes about 30% of the revenue they generate. Although Google offers a level of control to its marquee advertisers, the self-service system sometimes places ads for brands on websites with which they’d prefer not to be associated.Google’s systems have recently placed ads for eBay Inc., Oracle Corp. and HBO on websites like activistpost.com, thegatewaypundit.com and thewashingtonstandard.com, all of which routinely publish conspiracy theories, according to the Global Disinformation Index.Another company that placed ads on the sites in the study was Criteo SA. When contacted by a reporter about an ad mentioned in the report, Luca Sesti, a spokesman for the company, said it was breaking off its commercial relationship with the website in question, thegatewaypundit.com. “In the event we find a partner is not adhering to our policies, we will terminate the relationship immediately,” he said. “We recognize that the dissemination of inaccurate information through ‘fake news’ is a very real problem on the internet.”Often the ads the researchers found made for uncomfortable pairings. The O2 ad ran alongside an article promoting false claims that 5G wireless technology causes people to experience symptoms of coronavirus because it "poisons their cells." “This is a huge issue that Google needs to tackle now,” said Craig Fagan, program director at the Global Disinformation Index. “It is creating a financial incentive for these websites to continue promoting the conspiracy theories. You go to these sites and there are ads galore, pop ups everywhere. The ads are there to get clicks, monetizing each reader.”A Banned Provocateur ReturnsIn one case, Google accepted ad revenue from a company promoting a conspiracy theorist it tried to remove from its own platforms. In early May, YouTube removed the account of David Icke, a British provocateur who often ranted about "Rothschild Zionists" controlling global institutions and has questioned the efficacy of vaccines. In a recent interview about Covid-19, he said that 5G makes people sick and sends out signals that can control their emotions. Icke had posted on YouTube for more than 14 years.Guillaume Chaslot, a former Google engineer and founder of the research group AlgoTransparency, estimated that Icke’s YouTube channel gained 200,000 subscribers during March and April, when he largely touted unproven theories about the virus. Chaslot's research tracks how often YouTube's recommendation system sends viewers to particular videos and channels. In a 10-year span, YouTube promoted Icke's videos about a billion times.YouTube removed Icke’s account for violating its rules about coronavirus disinformation. Since then, Icke has appeared on other YouTube channels and in YouTube ads for Gaia Inc., a streaming network that promotes yoga and alternative healing. "We have to break out of this perceptual prison," Icke said in a voice-over during an ad that ran weeks after his ban. Gaia's network runs several shows featuring Icke. On a recent earnings call, Gaia executives said YouTube had become a "pretty significant" way to get new subscribers.Gaia didn’t respond to requests for comment. Imran Ahmed, chief executive officer of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a U.K. nonprofit, argues that social media platforms should remove Icke entirely. “In a pandemic, lies cost lives," said Ahmed. "Misinformed people put us all at risk through their reckless actions.” His group estimated that Icke earned about $177,000 a year from YouTube ads before the ban.Jaymie Icke, a spokesman for Icke's video service Ickonic, said the earnings estimate was inaccurate because YouTube has restricted ads on controversial videos for several years. "Revenue is nothing and has been for a while," said Icke, who is David Icke’s son. "They removed all ads from the channel two months prior to the full deletion anyway. So that figure has simply been made up."Icke and others blocked from the site are allowed to appear on other accounts and in ads as long as those videos don't break rules, according to Muldoon, the Google spokesperson. While web giants like Google have tried to handle conspiracy theories on their user-generated services, they have also tried to reform their ad systems to handle the growing problem. In October 2018, Google and Facebook Inc. signed a European Union code of conduct on disinformation that contained a commitment to “improve the scrutiny of advertisement placements to reduce revenues of the purveyors of disinformation.”According to Fagan, however, the issue remains a blind spot for the companies. Some of the conspiracy websites attract a large number of visitors, promoting their content across social media platforms.The 49 websites promoting Covid-19 conspiracies that were reviewed by the Global Disinformation Index were just a small sample and offer a snapshot of a much larger program, Fagan said. Last year, the Global Disinformation Index published a study of about 20,000 websites promoting disinformation and conspiracy theories. It estimated that they were generating $235 million every year in advertising revenue, approximately $86.7 million of which was paid out by Google.For 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.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers.
eBay (EBAY) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues.
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(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s Naspers Ltd. and an investor group backed by German publisher Axel Springer SE are among suitors that submitted bids for EBay Inc.’s classified-advertising business, according to people familiar with the matter.Axel Springer teamed up with KKR & Co. for its offer, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Online classifieds company Adevinta ASA also made a bid for the unit by this week’s deadline, the people said. A consortium of Blackstone Group Inc., Permira and Hellman & Friedman has also been pursuing the business, the people said.The unit could fetch $8 billion to $10 billion, according to one of the people. EBay could decide as soon as next week which suitors advance to the next round, the people said.EBay shares rose 2.3% in New York Friday, valuing the company at about $30.5 billion.A potential sale of EBay’s classifieds unit could rank among the largest deals in Europe involving private equity firms this year. EBay is seeking a sale of the business at a time when market turmoil has hampered financing for leveraged buyouts, forcing companies to put a number of bidding processes on hold. Walmart Inc. paused the sale of a majority stake in its U.K. grocery chain Asda to focus management’s attention on running the business amid unprecedented spikes in demand driven by the coronavirus.Representatives for EBay, Adevinta, Axel Springer, Blackstone, KKR, Naspers and Permira declined to comment. A spokesperson for Hellman & Friedman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.EBay said in February it was in talks with multiple parties about a sale of the business and expected to update investors by the end of the first half. While the San Jose, California-based company reported better-than-expected sales in the first quarter, the classifieds unit dragged on results as the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of car dealerships.EBay’s classified business has attracted interest from several strategic and private equity firms, Dealreporter and The Wall Street Journal have previously reported, citing unidentified people. Permira partially owns Polish online auction site Allegro. Hellman & Friedman is a backer of digital car marketplace Autoscout24 GmbH.E-commerce group Naspers, Africa’s largest company by market value, is seeking to boost its portfolios in classifieds, food delivery and digital-payments businesses as well as education, Chief Executive Officer Bob Van Dijk said in an interview this month. The company acquires online companies around the world through Amsterdam-listed Prosus NV, which the company spun off in September last year.German publisher Axel Springer has ramped up its hunt for deals to accelerate a shift into digital media since agreeing to go private with the help of KKR last year.Norway’s Adevinta was spun off of Scandinavian media conglomerate Schibsted ASA last year with the goal of expanding in the global online classified market.(Updates with details on Axel Springer and Adevinta in last two paragraphs)For 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) -- With online shopping increasing amid Covid-19 lockdowns, the U.K.’s competition regulator is clamping down on fake and misleading reviews on popular shopping websites.The Competition and Markets Authority said Friday it’s probing several major websites to see if they are doing enough to protect shoppers. It will examine how these sites detect, investigate and respond to suspicious reviews.So far, the CMA has not singled any companies out and isn’t alleging that any website has acted illegally. The watchdog said it may resort to legal action if online platforms don’t do what’s required to protect consumers.With consumers stuck at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, retail websites have been the go-to for most products. Amazon.com Inc. has seen a spike in sales since lockdowns began and has had to hire 175,000 people to cope with demand. Last year it responded to criticism by changing how it displays feedback by prioritizing ratings from customers rather than reviews.Amazon said in an e-mailed statement it’s “happy to assist the CMA” with its inquiries.“Customer trust has always been at the heart of our approach and we want to ensure you can shop with confidence knowing that reviews are authentic and relevant,” it said. “We welcome the fact that the CMA shares our view on the importance of robust mechanisms to tackle attempted abuse of customer reviews.”EBay Inc. said it’s “committed to cooperating with the CMA on any investigation to tackle fake reviews.”Instagram CommitmentsThe CMA’s probe comes the same day it secured commitments from Facebook Inc.-owned Instagram to tackle the risk that users can buy and sell fake reviews through the social media platform. Instagram has committed to providing more robust systems to detect and remove such material, the regulator said. Facebook and EBay have also previously assured the regulator it would put measures in place to tackle the issue.“During lockdown, we’re more dependent than ever on online shopping, so it’s really important that the online reviews we read are genuine opinions,” said Andrea Coscelli, chief executive officer of the CMA.(Updates with Amazon, EBay responses starting in fifth paragraph)For 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.
In the latest trading session, eBay (EBAY) closed at $42.47, marking a -0.56% move from the previous day.
Twitter allowed employees to work from home permanent if they choose to amid the COVID-19 outbreak. These ETF areas should gain in the coming days.
In this episode of MarketFoolery, Chris Hill and Motley Fool analyst Bill Mann go through some of the latest earning reports. To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center.
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has had an epic run since its founding. Amazon went public on May 15, 1997 at $18 per share, but it has split its stock three different times since then, such that the "split-adjusted" IPO price was $1.50 per share. As founder and CEO Jeff Bezos likes to say, "it's still day one" at Amazon.
(Bloomberg) -- Isolation is old hat for Eric Jackson. Since he launched his technology-focused hedge fund in 2017, he has been running it from a home office.The pandemic requires little adjustment in how he works. But it does force investors everywhere to think about which companies will do better in a scarred global economy. In Jackson’s case, the crisis has given his key holdings a huge boost: Zoom Video Communications Inc. and German food app company Delivery Hero SE have lifted his long-short fund at EMJ Capital Ltd. to a 56% gain this year.Jackson tries to hunt down data on technology usage that will lead him to winners. On Feb. 3, more than a month before the virus was declared a pandemic, Jackson noticed a sudden spike in downloads of the Zoom app in China. He already owned the stock because he liked its video conferencing technology and its CEO. The China numbers persuaded him to double down.“They are a verb. You don’t see too many verbs in the tech space. When one comes along like Google, you would have been wise to plunk down an investment and stick with it and I think the same is going to be the case for Zoom,” he said. Zoom shares have more than doubled this year.Hedge funds were hit hard by client withdrawals and investment losses during the March market rout, with global hedge fund assets dropping below $3 trillion for the first time in six years. In Canada, only five of 61 hedge funds tracked by Venator Capital Management Ltd. posted gains in the first quarter of the year.Read more: Hedge Fund Stock Exposure Is the Highest in at Least Three YearsListening in Silicon ValleyJackson runs one long-short fund, which has about $61 million in assets and is up 131% since inception in October 2017, as of Tuesday’s close. It typically owns about 11 to 20 stocks and has a similar number of short positions. Options are part of the strategy: the fund held out-of-the-money put options against some indices that rose sharply in value during the sell-off of late February and March as investors sought to buy protection against further declines.On the long side, “I’m trying to find companies that I think have a good shot at doubling or tripling over the next two to three years and I typically want to hold them for that long,” he said. As is common in funds that focus on tech growth stocks, there can be high day-to-day volatility. In normal times, he travels regularly to San Francisco and Silicon Valley to meet with contacts he’s built over decades after working in the tech industry himself. From 2000 to 2004, he worked at Toronto-based VoiceGenie Technologies Inc., a voice-recognition firm acquired by Alcatel for an undisclosed sum in 2006.“If I start to hear the same name come up over and over again, that’s usually a good sign that the company is just on the cusp of something great,” Jackson said. “So I’m getting behind those companies early, sticking with them, not just sort of selling out quickly.”Twilio Inc. was his biggest winner in 2018 after hearing about the company through friends and contacts. Shares of the San Francisco-based software maker rose 278% in 2018 and climbed another 10% last year as quarterly results kept beating expectations.He replaced Twilio in his fund with Delivery Hero and HelloFresh SE, a seller of meal kits. Both have been big contributors to his fund’s surge this year.“I was into them from last year. But when the pandemic kind of began to emerge and they canceled the NBA season, that was really the first time I realized that this was going to be a be a much bigger deal than I expected at the beginning of the year,” said Jackson, a Brooklyn Nets fan.Internet DinosaursJackson is also betting that EBay Inc. makes a comeback after buying shares last quarter.“It lost the war to Amazon, yet they have a bunch of interesting catalysts that I think are going to play out this year.”With a new CEO on board, former Walmart Inc. e-commerce executive Jamie Iannone, the company could see some renewed revenue growth, Jackson said. Iannone started as head of the company last month.EBay recently sold ticket-resale site StubHub for $4.05 billion and is in the midst of evaluating offers for its classified ads business. Jackson, who has been an activist investor in Yahoo and Viacom, hopes EBay will use its cash for acquisitions.“There’s a turnaround story there that people aren’t paying attention to because it’s this boring dinosaur of a company.” He sees EBay’s share price rising to $100 over the next six to 18 months. EBay’s stock closed at $40.32 on Tuesday.Health TechPutting his “citizen hat” on, Jackson is pessimistic that the reopening of economies will go smoothly as bankruptcies hit small businesses and energy companies. But the pandemic will lead to big changes in health care and technology, he predicts.“I think there’s an opportunity for other devices to keep track of people’s health and connect to the hospitals so you don’t have to travel in and your doctors can have this remote relationship with you,” he said.He owns shares of DexCom Inc., which develops devices to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Jackson’s son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a few years ago and that’s how he came across the company. “They keep making these devices smaller and lighter, less obtrusive and less expensive so I think they are an interesting company to watch.”He also owns Livongo Health Inc., a U.S.-focused remote health monitoring company. The shares have gained 75% this year, while DexCom is up 67%.For 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.