|Bid||28.48 x 1100|
|Ask||28.50 x 1000|
|Day's Range||27.85 - 28.55|
|52 Week Range||25.58 - 47.08|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||N/A|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Earnings Date||Nov. 4, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||43.77|
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc.’s purchase of a minority stake in Deliveroo may get an extended review by U.K. antitrust regulators, who said the purchase could hurt competition by discouraging the American company from re-entering the British food-delivery market on its own.The Competition and Markets Authority will continue to review Amazon’s investment in the fast-growing startup unless they offered remedies to address competition concerns within five days. The investigation, which began in October, may go into a second phase and could eventually result in the blocking of the investment of around $500 million.Over the next four years, the food-delivery business is estimated to increase 12% a year, to $76 billion in 2022, according to investment firm Cowen Inc. While the U.K. market is competitive, Amazon’s size makes it a major force in any sector. The CMA said the deal might end Amazon’s interest, discussed in internal documents, in re-entering the British market through the purchase of another platform. It shuttered its Amazon Restaurants delivery unit in 2018.“Evidence examined in the CMA’s investigation indicated that Amazon has a strong continued interest in the restaurant delivery sector,” the regulator said Wednesday. “The CMA believes that Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo was strategic and that offering rapid food delivery is important to Amazon, and so it may have looked to invest in an alternative business absent the merger.”The original decision to investigate the deal was unusual for the CMA as it doesn’t typically review minority acquisitions. Fears of damage to competition may have been fed by previous mergers by tech giants that were let through by regulators, such as Facebook Inc.’s acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp.Amazon’s British Takeout Leaves an Unpleasant Taste: Alex WebbThere is a “real risk” that Amazon’s investment “could leave customers, restaurants and grocers facing higher prices” because of reduced competition, CMA Executive Director Andrea Gomes da Silva said in the statement.A spokesman for Deliveroo said the company is “confident” it can persuade the CMA the investment will “add to competition,” while an Amazon spokesman said Deliveroo should have “broad access to investors and supporters.”The decision may cause concern for the internet giant, which has already faced European hurdles.It closed its own U.K. food-delivery service in December 2018, with the U.S. unit following the same path several months later. Amazon was among the five big businesses singled out in December by the Labour Party, which said they “exploited, ripped off and dehumanized” their workers, just after regulators in Europe said over the summer that they would start looking into how tech companies protect customers’ privacy.Difficult DecisionsThe CMA has offered Amazon and Deliveroo the chance to avoid an extended probe if they offer changes to its competition worries. Alan Davis, a competition lawyer at Pinsent Masons, said it is “difficult to see immediately what remedies they could offer at Phase 1 to resolve the concerns.”The U.K. food delivery sector is dominated by three players, Just Eat Plc, Uber Technologies Inc.’s unit Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Competition between them is considered fairly fierce, making it difficult to make money. Deliveroo has never made a profit, losing 232 million pounds ($305 million) last year.Meanwhile, Just Eat, the U.K.’s biggest food deliverer by market share, has been in talks with Prosus NV about a possible bid for the firm. The company advised shareholders to reject Prosus’s latest 740 pence-per-share offer Tuesday, preferring them to stick to an all-share combination with Netherlands-based Takeaway.com NV.The CMA decision also puts the undisclosed rights that Amazon acquired as part of the acquisition in the spotlight.“The nature of the CMA’s concerns seems the rights that come with the minority holding,” said Josh Buckland, a competition lawyer at Linklaters. “One potential solution could be to relinquish those rights and stay on board as a minority shareholder.”It’s very likely that the deal would be referred to an in-depth investigation, Buckland said.The CMA also expressed concern about how Amazon’s investment might change the online convenience grocery delivery market outside food. Deliveroo is focused on food delivery, and supermarket chains may rely on it to deliver “ultrafast” groceries because their own logistics providers can’t meet the tight deadlines, the CMA said.“The CMA believes that both parties have major expansion plans in this area which would bring them in closer competition in the future,” the regulator said. “The merger would result in the combination of two of the largest and best established suppliers of online convenience groceries. Most competing grocery retailers that are trialing propositions in this market are reliant on a single logistics supplier” without the scale of either Deliveroo or Amazon.(Updates with comments and detail from seventh paragraph onwards.)To contact the reporter on this story: Eddie Spence in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com, Giles TurnerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Like many Uber drivers in Sao Paulo, the ride-hailing app's busiest city in the world, Augusto Caio Pereira does not actually own or lease the car he nudges through the city's notorious traffic jams every day. Instead, he rents Brazil's best-selling car, the Chevrolet Onix hatchback, for 390 reais (£72.44) a week from Localiza Rent a Car, the country's largest rental company. Pereira lost his job at a law firm a few months ago, joining Brazil's 12 million unemployed.
Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER) announced today that Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer, will participate in a keynote at the Barclays 2019 Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. Mr. Khosrowshahi is scheduled to appear at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
(Bloomberg) -- OMERS Ventures, the venture capital wing of the Canadian pension plan, has hired former Uber Technologies Inc. executive Jambu Palaniappan to become a managing partner in its London office.Palaniappan spent nearly six years at Uber, most recently leading the expansion of Uber Eats in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to his LinkedIn page, and recently joined the board of Just Eat Plc. After an intense few years at the Silicon Valley startup, Palaniappan said he moved to London and began mentoring startups as he decided what to do next.The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System expanded its venture capital operations into Europe this year, setting up a 300 million-euro ($332 million) fund for early stage European technology companies. It’s part of a global expansion strategy for the Toronto-based pension giant and the firm opened a Silicon Valley office earlier in the year.“This isn’t about making rich people richer. This is about helping to build a retirement plan and provide access to venture returns to a larger group of people,” Palaniappan said in an interview. OMERS Ventures was started in 2011 in response to a dearth of startup funding in Canada following the last recession. It’s known for being among the first to invest in a resurgent wave of Canadian tech startups, including Shopify Inc., Hootsuite Inc. and Hopper Inc. The fund has invested more than 76 million euros in Europe so far in companies including WeFox, Resi, FirstVet, and Quorso.Investments in European tech companies are surging, helped by an influx of venture capital from North America and Asia, according to a report from Atomico last month. European tech companies are set to raise a record $34.3 billion in 2019, up from $24.6 billion last year. About $10 billion of that is coming from North America, up 72% from last year.OMERS’s European fund is led by Harry Briggs, who was previously a principal at Balderton Capital and founding partner at BGF Ventures. It also hired Turo Inc. co-founder and former LocalGlobe partner Tara Reeves this year.(Updates with commnets from Palaniappan in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Giles Turner at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Just Eat Plc has rejected Prosus NV’s higher bid saying that the latest offer still significantly undervalues the company.Prosus raised its offer for the U.K. food delivery firm by 4.2% to 740 pence-per-share offer on Monday. Just Eat advised shareholders to stick with an all-share combination with Takeaway.com NV in a statement on Tuesday.Just Eat’s stock has been trading above the offer price as shareholders hold out for a bigger premium. It closed at 781 pence in London trading on Monday valuing the company at about 5.3 billion pounds ($7 billion).Analysts at Liberum said that the offer undervalued the company and was likely to be rejected by shareholders, while other analysts said Prosus’s bid could put pressure on Takeaway to bump. Cat Rock Capital Management, which owns shares in both Takeaway and Just Eat, has said a Prosus cash bid would need to be 925 pence to compete with the merger.Read more about what analysts are saying here.The Just Eat board recommends the Takeaway offer, which is “based on a compelling strategic rationale that allows shareholders to participate in the upside potential of the enlarged group and, based on its own analysis, will deliver greater value creation to Just Eat Shareholders than the Prosus Offer of 740 pence per share in cash,” the company said in the statement.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysProsus’ unsurprising increased hostile cash offer for Just Eat of 7.4 pounds a share from 7.1 pounds, still doesn’t make it irresistible to shareholders, as it denies the potential growth of a combined Just Eat-Takeaway.com. Sweetening from both sides is possible, even after Dec. 27, in our view, with the new offer 5% below the U.K. online food-delivery leader’s last share price.\-- Diana Gomes, BI technology analystJust Eat May Get Sweeter Combo Takeaway.com Offer to Defy RivalsWhile the Takeaway.com deal values Just Eat shares at about 694 pence, the merger would create a sizeable European food-delivery company to compete with the likes of Uber Eats. Just Eat shareholders would own about 52% of the newly combined company.Shareholders have until Dec. 27 to accept Prosus’s new offer. Prosus needs investors with more than 50% of shares to agree to the deal for it to go through.(Updates with analyst comments from the fourth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Giles Turner at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Prosus NV’s latest bid to acquire food delivery specialist Just Eat Plc was still little more than an appetizer.The Amsterdam-based technology investment firm raised its offer a measly 4.2% to 740 pence-per-share, while lowering the acceptance threshold to 50%. It had little alternative but to increase the value of its proposal: the recent recovery in shares of counterbidder Takeaway.com NV meant that company’s all-stock offer had closed the gap to Prosus’s cash bid, while offering the potential for more upside from the combined entity. The new bid, which was unanimously rejected by the Just Eat board on Tuesday, nonetheless increases the pressure on the Takeaway.com bid as it nears its Dec. 11 deadline for investors to tender their Just Eat stock.Just Eat shares have been trading above 780 pence, higher than both offers. Investors are still expecting a main course — in the form of more generous bids — and they’re right to do so. Takeaway.com’s initial offer back in July looked mightily opportunistic. It could think about giving Just Eat shareholders more of the combined company, up from the current offer of 52%. Prosus’s net cash position means it has plenty of scope to return with a higher bid.Even with the new bid, Just Eat still looks cheap. The Prosus offer values it at just 22 times predicted 2020 Ebitda. Takeaway.com and U.S. peer GrubHub Inc. are valued at 60 times and 32 times forward earnings respectively. Both of Just Eat’s suitors should be able to offer more without riling their own investors.For sure, the British firm has its problems. It faces heightened competition in its home market from Uber Technologies Inc.’s food delivery arm and Deliveroo, which is seeking regulatory approval for a massive cash injection from Amazon.com Inc. It’s also been slow to build out captive delivery networks, which can help attract new restaurants and foster growth (albeit at the cost of short-term profitability).But there’s a reason that the bun fight is over Just Eat, rather than Deliveroo, which has been up for sale at various times over the past 18 months. Just Eat enjoyed an operating profit of 124 million pounds ($163 million) on sales of 780 million pounds last year, while Deliveroo endured a 257 million-pound loss on revenue of just 476 million pounds. Yet the smaller firm was still seeking a valuation of more than 4 billion pounds in its most recent private fundraising round.With each passing month at the center of the takeover scrap, Just Eat risks losing out to its rivals, not least because it has yet to appoint a permanent CEO after the departure of Peter Plumb in January. If neither bidder emerges victorious by their respective deadlines (Dec. 11 for Takeaway.com; Dec. 27 for Prosus), then perhaps the U.K.’s Takeover Panel will step in to create a formal auction and seek final bids.As it stands, Just Eat investors have good reason to ask for a bigger sweetener.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The slump in SoftBank Group Corp.’s shares could prompt Masayoshi Son to play an ace card -- cashing in part of his stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.Son is likely to sell Alibaba stock to help pay for another buyback in an attempt to bolster SoftBank shares, according to Jefferies Group analyst Atul Goyal. It’s a surprise the Japanese technology giant’s shares are “languishing” despite its large stake in Alibaba, Goyal wrote in a note. The shares have become “decoupled,” and SoftBank is seeing little upside from its holding, he said. SoftBank’s stock is up 16% this year, while Alibaba’s has surged 45%. SoftBank’s market cap is about $82 billion, though its Alibaba shares alone are worth about $128 billion.SoftBank’s February announcement of a record 600 billion yen ($5.5 billion) buyback sent its shares to a peak in April, but the stock has since lost most of the gains. Investors have been spooked by the one-two punch of Uber Technologies Inc.’s plunge after an initial public offering in June and WeWork’s meltdown that forced a bailout by SoftBank. The poor performance of Son’s two marquee investments called into question the billionaire founder’s deal-making approach just as he’s trying to raise a successor to his $100 billion Vision Fund.As the current stock price is “well below” the average price paid in the stock repurchase earlier this year, “we will not be surprised if SoftBank Group funds yet another buyback, perhaps in February 2020, by selling some more stake in Alibaba,” Goyal said.SoftBank’s sale of part of its stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant earlier this year and using Alibaba shares as collateral for a loan indicate Son’s willingness for such a move, Goyal said. In addition to buybacks, proceeds could be used for investment in the second Vision Fund, the analyst said.Responding to criticism about his reluctance to exit successful investments, Son in June 2016 unveiled a plan to sell 73 million American Depositary Shares in the online mall operator. The complex transaction, structured so that he could retain some upside if the stock rose, took three years to complete. SoftBank booked 1.2 trillion yen in pre-tax profit from the deal and still holds about 26% of Alibaba.To contact the reporters on this story: Kurt Schussler in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lianting Tu at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Peter Elstrom, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 9, 2019 / Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of Uber Technologies Inc. ("Uber" or the "Company") (NYSE:UBER). Such investors ...
The report did not mention the deal terms but said the price mainly covered the cost of hiring the team behind the Silicon Valley-based company that makes the software used in autonomous driving. Uber's simulation software has suffered from various deficiencies and still has trouble predicting how its self-driving car prototypes will handle the real world, the report said, citing the source. Foresight did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Amazon.com Inc.’s bid to buy into one of the U.K.’s most successful startups may get caught up in antitrust authorities’ fear that they made mistakes in the past.The Competition and Markets Authority has until Wednesday to decide whether to continue a two-month-old probe that froze Amazon’s bid of around $500 million for a minority stake in food-delivery service Deliveroo.“The CMA is very interested in tech giants extending their tentacles into other markets,” said Alan Davis, a competition lawyer at Pinsent Masons in London. Antitrust regulators “are paranoid about it at the moment because they are concerned they have not looked at these mergers enough in the past, like Facebook-WhatsApp.”Authorities were put off over Facebook Inc.’s change of position on how it handled data from WhatsApp, prompting EU officials to accuse the company of misleading them to win approval for the takeover in 2014. Big Tech is a flash point now for antitrust across the globe. In the U.S., there are probes into Google, Facebook and Amazon over allegations they unfairly hinder competition. The CMA is investigating how Google plans to use Looker Data Sciences Inc. data before approving that $2.6 billion takeover.While the CMA’s mission is in part to ensure big deals won’t hamper competition, it doesn’t usually investigate bids for minority stakes. It may have been moved to act this time because of Amazon’s access to an unending reservoir of data from its many businesses. And CMA’s Chief Executive Officer Andrea Coscelli has said that it was a mistake to allow deals like Facebook’s purchase of Instagram.“U.K. regulators may have some antitrust concerns with the proposed investment,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Aitor Ortiz and Diana Gomes. “One of them could be whether Amazon could get access to Deliveroo’s user data, leveraging the delivery giant’s position in other markets besides on-demand restaurant delivery, such as online groceries.”Amazon, Deliveroo and the CMA declined to comment on the matter.Cut-Throat CompetitionThe food-delivery business is no stranger to the regulator’s attention. Two years ago the agency began investigating Just Eat Plc’s merger with a smaller rival Hungryhouse, eventually allowing it to go through because of the competition in the sector.Since then the delivery business has seen a wave of acquisitions and international expansion. Just Eat agreed to a 5 billion-pound merger ($6.6 billion) with Dutch firm Takeaway.com NV in July, while Uber Technologies Inc. was reported to be showing interest in Spanish startup Glovo. However, according to food-service consultant Peter Backman, competition in the sector remains strong.“It’s getting more intense because the pressure to get scale is becoming more intense,” said Backman, a former director of Horizons FS. “Although the market has gotten bigger, they are under huge pressure to become profitable.”Deliveroo has never turned a profit, losing 232 million pounds last year despite a 72% increase in global sales. A ruling against Amazon would be a setback for the U.K. company, which has already raised $1.53 billion in investor funding.In August, it was forced to make an abrupt retreat from Germany after struggling to get a grip on the market.For Amazon, the stakes aren’t as high, but if the CMA decision goes the wrong way, it faces yet another embarrassing exit from a market it has found difficult to crack. It closed its own U.K. food delivery unit Amazon Restaurants U.K. in December 2018, with its American counterpart following suite last summer.To contact the reporter on this story: Eddie Spence in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.com, Christopher Elser, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The past decade saw a ton of innovation from incumbent companies — like Amazon, Google, and Facebook. But new companies emerged as well and made their mark.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- What to make of the alarming data on assaults, murders and other unsafe incidents reported by Uber Technologies Inc. on Thursday?More than 3,000 sexual assault allegations were made in 2018 by Uber drivers and passengers in the U.S., the company said in a first-of-its-kind safety report. We can't know from the data if Uber is statistically safer than other forms of transportation, or safer than being a human — particularly a female human — in the United States in 2019. Taxis, public-transit agencies, professional-car services and other transportation providers don’t make comparable national reports of crime as Uber has done.The reported incidents are a fraction of the more than 1 billion rides Uber transacts in the U.S. each year. There is, though, one sure thing we can say about Uber, Lyft and related services that make them different than other forms of transportation: They sold us on the power of trust, and any erosion in that trust makes the companies vulnerable.When services such as Uber and Airbnb were getting off the ground earlier this decade, people were understandably apprehensive about taking a ride with strangers, or staying in the home of a random person. Our parents literally cautioned us against this our whole lives, and it seemed incredibly stupid to defy a lifetime of warnings.Slowly, though, these services wore down many people's natural reluctance to trust strangers in these circumstances. That was partly because Uber, Airbnb and similar companies were too convenient and useful for many people to shun. But also, and importantly, our stranger-danger fears wore down because the companies successfully convinced us to trust that any danger of that type was remote.The idea is that the collective power of millions of riders and drivers rating and reviewing each other would keep us safe. Uber and its peers around the world also touted their ability to screen drivers and passengers, and track rides to protect people from possible harm. There were questions from the beginning about how well Uber and other companies that put regular folks in the role of professional driver were screening people who used its service. But the companies’ ability to convince many people to tamp down their stranger-danger anxiety was a secret to success for Uber, Airbnb and the like.That's why anecdotes — and now data — of horrible crimes on Uber passengers and drivers matter, no matter whether they are statistically large or small. Those old feelings of anxiety recur.The sad fact is that assault is a common crime we don't like to think or talk about, because it makes us feel vulnerable. Every institution in America can do much more to protect vulnerable people. None of that absolves Uber from responsibility to do more.There is compelling reporting indicating that Uber sometimes protects itself from liability at the expense of drivers and riders who are preyed upon. Uber in its early years of aggressive expansion did truly unconscionable things in response to allegations of a passenger raped in India.Now, Uber deserves credit for doing the work to catalog and disclose incidents of abuse in its network, but we can’t be confident how many terrible abuses could have been avoided if Uber did more to prioritize safety. How much of the problem is Uber, and how much is the world? Because companies such as Uber sold us on trust, they get no passes when it comes to ensuring the safety of riders and drivers.The collective power of trust is one of those internet-era truisms that is coming under question now. It turns out those five-star product reviews can be bought and gamed. That person on Facebook who says she’s a civil rights activist may be a Russian propagandist. It turns out that even genius technology companies are fallible, perhaps willfully so, about letting dangerous people slip through the cracks.These risks are all present in the real world, of course, but for a long time we were convinced the power of the internet made trust more solid. Now companies, and the users of their products and services, are reckoning with the limits of trust. To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urged Uber Technologies Inc to take action after the company disclosed on Thursday it received over 3,000 reports of sexual assault related to its 1.3 billion rides in the United States last year. "As a country, we must ensure safety is a priority, and make it clear that sexual assault and harassment will not be tolerated anywhere, no matter where it occurs," he said. The sexual assault figure represents a 16% fall in the rate of incidents from the previous year in the five most serious categories of sexual assault reported, Uber said on Thursday in its first biennial U.S. Safety Report.
Aramco Goes Public, Finally Saudi Arabia took the biggest company in the world public today in the Saudi Arabian exchange, for what logically ended up being the biggest IPO in the world. It sold 3 billion shares at $8.53 a share, raising more than the now-runner-up Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) when it went public in 2014. Since […]The post Market Morning: Aramco Goes Public, Pelosi to Save Democracy, Payrolls Beat, Uber Assaults appeared first on Market Exclusive.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- One consequence of America’s Cyber Monday shopping binge is the imminent arrival of $9.4 billion worth of merchandise on the nation’s doorsteps. And that will cue the annual cries of frustration about porch pirates — along with a raft of local news stories on how to evade them, and a few viral tales of consumers attempting to spook them with booby-trapped packages or glitter bombs.The fixation on thwarting porch pirates is understandable. (I, for one, will confess to being irrationally angry recently when a $27 baby onesie was swiped from my front stoop.) But it is also a flawed way of thinking about a legitimate and persistent problem with e-commerce.The problem is not just theft. It is that shipping giants such as United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp., as well as big retailers, are not moving fast enough to make delivery of online orders more flexible and to turn over more control to shoppers.Consumers and neighborhood associations should spend less time trying to answer the question, “How can we create a world where expensive goods can sit on my doorstep for hours and not get stolen?” Instead, they should be asking, “How can we make it so that expensive goods are not left on my doorstep in the first place?”UPS and FedEx, to be fair, have made strides toward giving customers more options. Each has a network of thousands of access points where shoppers can pick up packages, including at ubiquitous stores such as Dollar General or CVS Pharmacy. Both shippers have apps that allow residents to provide delivery instructions for a driver.Retailers, too, are getting more creative. Amazon.com Inc. now offers the option of choosing a single day each week for all of your recent orders to arrive, making it easier to ensure you’ll be home when your haul is delivered. And both Amazon and Walmart Inc. are piloting services that rely on smart-home technology that allows a driver one-time, secure access to your home.Surely such a service, or some variation of it, will become commonplace within a decade. (After all, there was once a time when it was creepy to get in a stranger’s car, but thanks to Uber and Lyft that’s now ordinary.) For now, though, the choices for consumers are underwhelming or confusing — or, in some cases, both.For example, UPS and FedEx both trumpet the convenience of letting you reroute an in-progress shipment to an access point. But online shoppers aren’t able to fully take advantage because retailers can put restrictions on packages preventing the recipient from redirecting them. This is likely a well-intentioned anti-fraud tactic, but it means access points aren’t the reliable solution they’re cracked up to be.And retailers aren’t always great at steering customers toward desirable secure options. Amazon, for example, routinely tries to nudge me at checkout to try a pickup point that is a 30-minute drive from my home, even though there is a Whole Foods Market with Amazon lockers in walking distance.But there are bigger ideas that could do even more to ensure package security. What if UPS or FedEx were to more routinely provide narrower time windows for drop-offs, or to allocate more workers for nighttime deliveries when nine-to-fivers are likely to be at home? What if retailers allowed customers to choose their shipping provider at checkout, which might force shippers to compete for their loyalty?Such changes would further complicate the “last-mile” delivery challenges the industry has been addressing for decades, and would likely add costs. But these are the same logistics experts and retailers that were able to make speedy two-day delivery standard. It’s not unreasonable to expect them to innovate their way to giving shoppers more choice.Even if it’s difficult, improved delivery flexibility is a far better remedy for porch piracy than other headline-grabbing approaches. Police departments have experimented with planting bait packages on doorsteps that are outfitted with GPS trackers, potentially allowing them to catch individual thieves. Texas has a new law on the books that makes package theft punishable by up to 10 years in prison.Never mind that there are already laws against theft. These kinds of punitive measures are not useless, but they are likely to be helpful only in a limited area for a limited period of time.The more productive approach is to focus on reducing the unsecured supply of porch treasures. And no one is better equipped to attack that problem than the retailers and shippers. So shoppers should raise their expectations of these companies and demand that they do more.To contact the author of this story: Sarah Halzack at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- As protests jolt Hong Kong business, organizations from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to universities are adapting by going digital, switching to video-conferencing app Zoom to conduct online investor briefings and virtual lectures.Zoom Video Communications Inc. joins a number of internet services that have taken off since the unrest began over the summer, from mobile messenger Telegram to work-at-home apps. In a financial hub that thrives on face-to-face deal-making and power lunches, Zoom helps fill a void created by transport disruptions and concerns about personal safety.Hong Kong’s business community leans on the app’s features, which include slide-sharing and support for up to 1,000 call participants, to carry on cross-border communications and with mainland China, where WhatsApp, Telegram and Google alternatives are banned. There’s a local version of Zoom that’s compatible, which is why the app’s downloads in Hong Kong soared 460% in November, after an escalation in protest violence first triggered a spike in September, according to researcher Sensor Tower.Read more: Zoom’s Eric Yuan, the CEO Who Made Videoconferencing Bearable“As schools continue to be in lock-down mode, we’ve had to move our lectures online to minimize disruption,” said Cheung Siu Wai, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, adding Skype has been another option.Now valued at $19 billion, Zoom’s shares have almost doubled since listing on the Nasdaq this year. It’s unclear how the spike in downloads may translate into revenue growth for Zoom, founded by Chinese emigrant Eric Yuan, who now resides in California.The company has various pricing tiers and recently added HSBC to a roster of paying clients that includes Uber Technologies Inc. and Zendesk Inc., underpinning 85% growth in revenue to $167 million in the October quarter. Representatives for the company, which is backed by investors including Salesforce.com Inc., Tiger Global and Qualcomm Inc., declined to comment on how the Hong Kong protests have affected its business.”With the periodic traffic disruptions, our colleagues have no choice but to use video-conferencing apps,” said Derek Chan, co-founder of Master Concept, a Hong Kong-based cloud service provider.To contact the reporters on this story: Carol Zhong in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org;Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Investing.com -- U.S. stock futures drifted higher early Friday in New York, consolidating overnight gains made after China said it would waive import tariffs on U.S. pork and soybeans.
(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son unveiled a $184 million initiative Friday to accelerate artificial intelligence research in Japan, enlisting Alibaba’s Jack Ma to expound on his goal of commercializing the technology.Son’s company announced a partnership with the University of Tokyo that includes spending 20 billion yen ($184 million) over 10 years by mobile arm SoftBank Corp. to establish the Beyond AI Institute. He roped in the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder for an on-campus chat, during which the two billionaires discussed their vision for the future of technology.The institute will support 150 researchers from various disciplines and focus on transitioning AI research from the academic to the commercial using joint ventures between universities and companies. Health-care, city and social infrastructure and manufacturing will be the primary areas of focus, SoftBank Corp. said in a statement. That dovetails with its own goals: in November, SoftBank and Korea’s Naver Corp. said they plan to merge Yahoo Japan and Line Corp. into an internet giant under SoftBank’s control, to combine resources on AI and challenge leaders from Google to Tencent Holdings Ltd.Read more: SoftBank to Create Japan Internet Giant to Battle Global RivalsSon has long advocated AI as the most revolutionary new field of technological development. The Beyond AI Institute marks an investment in accelerating that research on his home turf, where he has previously bemoaned the relative under-performance of Japan’s startup scene. At the same time, he’ll be eager to put behind him a tough 2019 thanks to the calamitous implosion at WeWork and the shrinking values of Uber Technologies Inc. and Slack Technologies Inc.Offering a reminder of his most fruitful investment, Son hosted a talk with Ma, whose online retail empire has been the crown jewel in SoftBank’s investment portfolio. The two exchanged compliments and advocated passion, optimism and world-changing visions as essential to successful entrepreneurship.“In the past 20 years, we’ve been friends, partners and like soulmates in changing people’s lives,” said Son. Ma, in turn, said: “He probably has the biggest guts in the world when doing investment.”In a rare expression of contrition, Son recently said “there was a problem with my own judgment” after the WeWork debacle. He has imposed greater financial discipline on startups since then. On Friday, he said his enthusiasm for grand projects was undimmed. “My passion and dream is more than 100 times bigger than what I am right now. I am still only at the first step to my 100 steps.”To contact the reporters on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at email@example.com;Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Vlad Savov, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. found more than 3,000 allegations of sexual assaults involving drivers or passengers on its platform in the U.S. last year, part of an extensive and long-awaited review in response to public safety concerns.The ride-hailing company released an 84-page safety report Thursday, seeking to quantify the misconduct and deaths that occur on its system and argue that its service is safer than alternatives.U.S. customers took about 1.3 billion trips last year, Uber said. About 50 people have died in Uber collisions annually for the past two years, at a rate about half the national average for automotive fatalities, according to the company. Nine people were killed in physical assaults last year, Uber said.Uber drivers reported nearly as many allegations of sexual assault as passengers, who made 56% of the claims. There is little comparable data on assaults in taxis or other transportation systems, and experts have said the attacks are widely under-reported. The assault claims reported to Uber ranged from unwanted kissing to forcible penetration.“Uber is very much a reflection of society,” said Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer who helped spearhead the two-year research effort. “The sad, unfortunate fact is that sexual violence is more prevalent in our society than people think. People don’t like to talk about this issue.”Uber had committed more than a year ago to release a safety study, a promise Lyft Inc. made soon after. Lyft, the second-biggest ride-hailing provider in the U.S., has yet to publish a report. On Thursday, Uber said it would regularly share data with Lyft and other companies about drivers accused of serious safety lapses and continue publishing safety reports every two years.Uber has faced a steady stream of complaints in court across the country over driver misconduct, and Lyft has recently seen an explosion in legal claims by passengers. Just in California, at least 52 riders have sued Lyft this year over allegations they were assaulted or harassed by their drivers, according to filings reviewed by Bloomberg.“We remain committed to releasing our own safety transparency report and working within the industry to share information about drivers who don’t pass our initial or continuous background checks or are deactivated from our platform,” Lyft spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said in a statement.Any number of deaths or violence is a reminder of the risks inherent to taking a ride with a stranger and the limited oversight the company has over what occurs. By publishing the data, Uber is taking an unusual step for a company, by drawing attention to the dangers of its product. The stock fell about 1.5% in extended trading after Uber put out the report.Uber shares had already fallen more than 35% from its May initial public offering through Thursday’s close. Its largest shareholder is Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., which has struggled with its bets on Uber, WeWork and other startups in recent months.Uber has faced similar complaints in countries beyond the U.S. The company was sued in 2017 by a woman who alleged top executives violated her privacy after one of its drivers in India allegedly raped her.Regulators in London cited uncertainty about Uber’s ability to ensure the well-being of its passengers as a reason they revoked the company’s license to operate there last week. Uber will be able to continue operating in the U.K. capital as it appeals the decision. Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive officer, said at an event earlier this week that “a precursor to trust is transparency.”According to the study, the proportion of assaults to total trips decreased by 16% last year as Uber implemented new safety tools, such as contacting drivers and customers when the system identifies unusual activity, as well as adding a button to dial 9-1-1 from the app. “I do think Uber is one of the safest ways to get from point A to point B,” said West.Uber disclosed five categories of sexual assault allegations. In 2018, Uber received 1,560 reports of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, 594 reports of non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, 376 reports of non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part, 280 reports of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration and 235 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration.The extent of sexual misconduct, while staggering, isn’t unique to Uber, said Ebony Tucker, executive director at Raliance, an advocacy and consulting firm focused on preventing sexual violence. Uber’s findings “didn’t surprise any of us,” she said. “Sexual assault is pervasive. It’s everywhere.”Counting assaults is a complicated exercise. Only about a third of claims the company received about penetration without consent were reported to the police, Uber estimated. In about a quarter of cases, Uber said its team didn’t successfully communicate with the victim after the initial report. Women reported 89% of the rape allegations, the company said.Uber opted not to disclose many other troubling forms of sexual misconduct that it had previously identified as possible reporting categories. For instance, the company didn’t say how many times drivers and riders made inappropriate comments to one another, nor did it disclose incidents of indecent exposure.But advocates for victims of sexual violence called the decision to release data a potential watershed moment. “It’s really unprecedented for a company to collect this kind of systematic data over time and then share it with the public,” said Karen Baker, chief executive officer of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, which advised Uber on the study. Baker said she has urged other companies in the hospitality and transportation industries in the U.S. to follow suit.Both Baker and Uber’s legal chief said the company may see an increase in reports of sexual misconduct in the future. That would actually be a positive sign, Baker said, because it would reflect victims’ confidence that their claims would be taken seriously.(Updates with Lyft statement in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Robert Burnson.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.org, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Uber just released its first-ever safety report that covers sexual assault. In 2017, Uber received 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault, and received 3,045 in 2018. Despite the increase in raw numbers, Uber saw a 16% decrease in the average incident rate, which it suggests may correlate with the company's increased focus on safety as of late.