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A growing economy coupled with new applications and convenience of online shopping could provide a catalyst to businesses that sell merchandise through online channels.
Alibaba Group Holding Limited
Trip.com Group Limited
Expedia Group, Inc.
Vipshop Holdings Limited
Liquidity Services, Inc.
Retail sales figures for October will take centerstage Friday.
As it’s becoming easier for consumers to shop online rather than in stores, results from a new Deloitte survey results show that Cyber Monday is more relevant than Black Friday.
Alibaba Group Chairman Daniel Zhang said Hong Kong's "future is bright" as the ecommerce giant kicked off the retail campaign for its secondary listing in the city gripped by increasingly violent protests and recession. In a first for the Asian financial hub, Alibaba said the listing would be fully automated and paperless to reflect its environmental standards, confirming an earlier Reuters story. Four thousand people have been arrested in Hong Kong since June and the territory’s economy has sunk into recession for the first time in a decade as the anti-government demonstrations disrupt business and deter tourists.
(Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. kicked off a Hong Kong public offering that may raise about $12 billion for the largest Chinese e-commerce company.The company said it will sell 500 million shares, with 12.5 million of the securities for retail investors. The retail offering will be priced at no more than HK$188 each, according to a statement on Thursday. Alibaba will set price for the rest of the international offering by Nov. 20. At the HK$188 price, the offering would raise about HK$94 billion ($12 billion)."The listing in Hong Kong will allow more of the company’s users and stakeholders in the Alibaba digital economy across Asia to invest and participate in Alibaba’s growth," the company said.Asia’s largest corporation is proceeding with what could be one of this year’s biggest stock offering globally despite violent pro-democracy protests gripping the city."During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright," Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba, said in a letter to investors. To contact the reporter on this story: Alistair Barr in San Francisco 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.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Here are three highly-ranked REITs we found using our Zacks Stock Screener that dividend investors might want to buy with stock indexes at new highs...
Expedia Group's vacation rental business Vrbo plans to reposition itself as a family travel site that would offer vacation rentals, resorts, and other features facilitating family vacations. The unit's new general manager Jeff Hurst told Skift Thursday that the move has been in the works behind the scenes for some time. Hurst, who was interviewed […]
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Jack Ma, the co-founder and former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said the U.S.-China relationship could face 20 years of “turbulence” if the two superpowers aren’t careful in how they handle trade.“We have to be very, very careful,” Ma said on Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We have to solve problems, we should not create more problems.”While a full-scale trade war might not last that long, relations could end up rocky for the next two decades, he said. Ma emphasized the importance of the two countries working together and sharing technology.The trade dispute, which has been going on for more than a year and a half, has already ensnared more than 70% of bilateral trade in goods. If the two countries can’t resolve at least some of their differences in the coming weeks, the White House on Dec. 15 will add 15% punitive tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese imports. China-based Alibaba, one of Asia’s biggest companies, is expected to ride out the storm better than some, thanks to booming online consumption in the world’s No. 2 economy. But Alibaba saw its stock dip earlier this fall on reports that the Trump administration was weighing a limit on U.S. government pension funds buying Chinese stocks.The internet giant listed shares in New York in 2014, in the biggest ever initial public offering. It’s now readying a share sale in Hong Kong that could raise almost $12 billion. Alibaba’s shares were little changed in New York Thursday at $182.80. They have risen 33% this year.(Updates with shares in final paragraph. An earlier version was corrected to remove a reference to Ma’s reason for Hong Kong listing)To contact the reporter on this story: Kiley Roache in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The latest U.S.-China trade war setback. Walmart's blowout quarterly earnings and early Disney+ success. Other quarterly results. And why Douglas Dynamics (PLOW) is a Zacks Rank 1 (Strong Buy) stock at the moment...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- When I read my colleague Tara Lachapelle’s column on Wednesday about how the “great unbundling” of cable television could turn into the “great re-bundling,” I had to chuckle. It was inevitable that once consumers got a taste of what an unbundled world looked like, they would begin to appreciate some of the virtues of the once-despised cable bundle.Yet not many people realized that a decade or so ago, when talk about a-la-carte television (as unbundling was then called) was all the rage. Back then, it seemed so simple. As cable bills grew more expensive, consumers questioned why they were forced to take — and pay for — 300 channels when they only really watched 9 or 10. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just get the stations they cared about? More to the point, wouldn’t it be cheaper once they were rid of the 290 stations they didn’t want? Obviously, the bundle was the problem.In Washington, two successive Republican chairmen of the Federal Communications Commission, Michael Powell and Kevin Martin, were big advocates of a-la-carte television back in the 2000s. Gene Kimmelman, an executive with Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, told me in 2007 that a-la-carte television “would create marketplace pressure to reduce prices.” I wrote about cable television frequently in the mid-2000s, and the reader feedback was almost unanimous. “What we really need is a la carte TV,” one reader wrote. “That way I can buy what I want rather than what someone forces into my TV.”The one person I knew who never bought the hype was a Wall Street analyst named Craig Moffett. Today, Moffett is a partner at MoffettNathanson LLC, a research boutique he co-founded in 2013. When I first got to know him, he was with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC(1) covering the telecom and cable industries. I recently went back and looked at his old research — not only because it has turned out to be prophetic, but because a-la-carte television is a good example of why we should be careful of what we wish for.What Moffett understood, and unbundling’s proponents didn’t, was that the economics of cable was, in one important sense, illusory. Cable companies paid stations based on the number of total subscribers — not on the number of people who actually watched. This system had two big benefits. It allowed niche stations without a lot of advertising to reap enough revenue to make a go of it. And it allowed the more popular stations to charge more for advertising than if they were unbundled.Without the cable bundle, Moffett said, many of the niche channels wouldn’t survive. And the bigger ones would have to charge so much that it wouldn’t be long before consumers were paying more for their 10 channels than they had for 300.One example he used in a note to clients in 2007 was Black Entertainment Television. Without the cable bundle, Moffett estimated that BET would need to raise its subscription price by 588% to maintain its revenue at the time — and that would have only been possible if every African-American household in the U.S. subscribed. “If just half opted in — a wildly optimistic scenario — the price would rise by 1,200%,” he wrote.Moffett saw early on that streaming, barely a blip on the horizon, would disrupt the bundle. During this past decade, millions of American households have cut the cord. Perhaps more important, according to one survey, almost three-fourths of all U.S. households subscribe to at least one streaming service like Netflix or Hulu.Streaming obviously has a lot of upside. The quality of a typical, streamed TV show today is superior to the vast majority of shows the networks used to offer. Being able to watch on demand is a blessing. The fact that shows on Amazon Prime or Netflix have no ads, well, who doesn’t love that?But there have also been downsides, just as Moffett predicted. Let’s face it: you’re not really saving money. I pay $15.99 a month for a Netflix premium subscription, $11.99 for Hulu premium (which means no ads), $14.99 for HBO NOW, $11 for Showtime, and $4.99 for the new Apple TV service. If I decide to add Disney+ that’ll be another $6.99 a month.Because I’m a sports fan, I need a way to get ESPN and ESPN 2, which remain tethered to the bundle because their costs are so enormous they would simply be unaffordable as stand-alone streaming services. I’ve been using PlayStation Vue’s mini-bundle, which costs $54.99. Sony Corp. recently announced it will be ending the service at the end of January, so I’ll have to find a replacement. But they’re all in the same basic price range.When you add it all up — something I’d avoided doing until I wrote this column — it comes to $113.95. A month. Ouch. And that doesn’t include the $12.99 a month I pay to be an Amazon Prime member, which gives me access to shows like “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”Here’s another data point. Remember Moffett’s prediction about what would happen if BET left the bundle? We now have the proof. Cable subscribers pay 27 cents a month for BET, according to research from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. A subscriber to its spanking new streaming app, BET Plus: Try $9.99. So much for all the money we were going to save.The other problem, as Tara noted in her column, is the frustration that has come with dealing with all these different services. It means “knowing which TV programs and movies reside where, having to toggle among those different apps — which isn’t as smooth as simply channel-surfing — and managing multiple monthly subscriptions,” Tara wrote.Wouldn’t you know it: Moffett saw this coming too. In 2006, he wrote a tongue-in-cheek note to clients from sometime in the future. Streaming, he predicted, had become a burden:The complexity was overwhelming. Forgotten passwords. Balky navigation. And lord, were the subscription fees astronomical, what with the average consumer having to sign up for six or seven different companies’ offerings in order to satisfy all the different members of the family.The solution, Moffett projected, would come from a clever entrepreneur with a once-in-a-lifetime idea:What if we could aggregate all the channels in one place? Disney, Fox, Turner, ABC, NBC, YouTube, CBS, MTV, the whole works, accessible from a single source. For one monthly subscription, we could bring viewers all of this amazing content, smoothly and easily! One navigation framework. A single interface. One bill. All the channels at your fingertips. And even huge libraries of content, available on demand!!!We’re not there yet. But we’re heading in that direction. It won’t be cheap. But I have my own prediction: This time around, nobody’s going to be complaining about the bundle.(1) The firm is now known as AllianceBernstein L.P.To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Video-streaming space gets increasingly intense as Disney and Apple join the bandwagon amid flaring up price war and content exclusivity.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Startups and tech companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Gojek, Bird and Compass operate in many cities and often multiple countries, and they typically have a repeatable playbook for each time they arrive in a new place.What Gojek, the food delivery and rides startup in Southeast Asia, learns about optimal pay for couriers in Jakarta can translate, at least in part, to Ho Chi Minh City. Airbnb’s experience in navigating local bureaucracies has been honed from its experience in hundreds of cities around the world.That’s not necessarily true for the people, industries and policy makers with whom these companies work. The Gojek courier in Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t necessarily know how to avoid the pitfalls his counterparts in Jakarta already encountered. A city planner in New York may not have the luxury of learning from a counterpart in Paris what taxes or guardrails were effective for Airbnb rentals in that city.The companies are armed with centralized knowledge and act consistently based on those experiences. On the other side, there is often highly fragmented knowledge and action by the contract drivers, homeowners, mom-and-pop restaurants, local real estate agents, trucking companies and governments that deal with startups trying to shake up how the real world functions.This imbalance is what I think about when I read articles like this one about hotel operators, delivery couriers and others who feel they got the short end of the stick from startups backed by SoftBank Group Corp. or its Vision Fund. Bloomberg News has also covered the continuing city-by-city or state-by-state efforts to tax or put limits on on-demand companies such as Airbnb and Uber. (Disclosure: A family member works for a labor organization that has advocated for legislation of short-term home rentals, such as those provided by Airbnb.)There are exceptions. Chain restaurants that deal with delivery startups have the advantage of identifying patterns in their dealings with the tech disruptors, as do multi-city adversaries such as hotel industry trade groups. U.S. cities that were caught off guard by on-demand ride services a few years ago learned to move more quickly when scooter-rental companies came to town. It helped that cities could force companies to comply by impounding scooters, said Brooks Rainwater, director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities.Coordinated knowledge and action isn’t easy, though. In recently published research on regulating ride-hail services, the New York University Rudin Center for Transportation found that local policy makers were so overwhelmed that it was difficult for cities to learn best practices from one another. Rainwater said that some cities were coordinating a few years ago on effective policies for on-demand ride companies. Then the companies and some lawmakers pushed to take action out of city planners’ hands in favor of statewide rules. Meera Joshi, an NYU visiting scholar and one of the authors of the Rudin Center’s report, said some cities are coordinating directly or have been inspired by others. Mexico City is taking steps that may lead to sliding, per-kilometer fees for on-demand rides similar to those of Sao Paulo, which imposed the surcharges to mitigate traffic congestion. New York and Chicago, she said, gained confidence from talking to each other about compelling ride companies to provide data that can help cities with transportation planning and other goals. The superior knowledge and power of sprawling companies isn’t unique to on-demand startups, of course. When General Motors builds a factory, Walmart opens a distribution center and Amazon pushes for a local tax break, the lawmakers, workers and business partners with whom they’re dealing probably don’t have the same experience as a company that has gone through this process many times before.The scale of the startups, however, is on a whole other level. Uber had 3.9 million contract drivers and couriers working on its system at the end of 2018, and it operates in more than 700 cities. There are more than 100,000 cities with Airbnb listings and more than 7 million listings globally. There are not 100,000 cities with a Walmart.The bigger the startups get, the more the parties they deal with will become fragmented. That is a lot of people potentially learning from scratch how to work a system the companies have mastered.A version of this column originally appeared in Bloomberg’s Fully Charged technology newsletter. You can sign up here.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide 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 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.
As promised a few months ago, Expedia Group began this week to send hotel listings lower in the sort order on its Expedia.com and Hotels.com pages when properties add resort fees to base room rates. Speaking at a lodging breakout session on stage at the Expedia Explore '19 conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, Cyril Ranque, […]
In the recent series of record highs, the S&P 500 crossed the 3,100 level for the first time ever. We have highlighted 10 best performing stocks in ETF that tracks this index.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a company that is so good at so many things, Amazon is remarkably bad at politics.Exhibit A is the latest debacle in its hometown of Seattle, where the company’s push to seat a more politically moderate city council backfired. Campaign cash aimed at producing a less tax-happy council triggered the opposite result and turned a socialist headed for defeat into a martyr.Amazon has never been known for subtlety. The $1.45 million it spread around in political contributions to City Council candidates not only set a record, but also changed the trajectory of the election. Polls showed that voters who were poised to replace some leftist council members changed course. After Amazon’s donations became public, they elected five of seven candidates opposed by a business coalition. One of them was Councilmember Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative party, who declared her come-from-behind re-election victory in front of a giant red sign that declared, “Tax Amazon.” Which the newly Amazon-unfriendly council almost certainly will do.Amazon employs 54,000 people in Seattle and owns or occupies 47 buildings there. That’s made the city seem like the biggest company town in the U.S., and has probably blinded Amazon’s leaders to the angst and tumult they’ve unleashed in a place that’s become both more prosperous and less livable.Sawant, who managed less than 40% of the vote in the August primary, went so far as to call Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, “our enemy,” and described her victory as a win for working people against the world’s richest man.“Amazon overplayed their hand,” said Egan Orion, the candidate who lost to Sawant. “I wasn’t able to make my closing arguments. There was so much noise.”Once Amazon donated in such a big way, the race became nationalized. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidates vying for the hearts of the Democratic Party’s left flank, chimed in via Twitter to trash the Amazon contributions.Here’s what Warren had to say:Here’s Sanders:Another winner, Tammy Morales, favors a bevy of local tax options to raise money for homeless services, housing and other needs. Her list includes revisiting an employee head tax similar to one Amazon successfully fought in 2018, plus a local estate tax and a tax on high salaries dubbed an “excess compensation tax.”Amazon has been trying to fine-tune its relationship with Seattle for years, and concern about relations with the City Council was among the reasons it announced in 2017 that it was looking for a second headquarters location — another endeavor that showcased the company’s limited political skills.That contest blew up in New York City when politicians and others protested the size of an Amazon enticement package — up to $3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives.In Seattle, Amazon had mostly maintained a quiet political presence until May 2018, when the City Council passed the Amazon Tax on larger companies, a head tax of $275 per employee.Amazon promptly announced that it would stop construction on one of its new buildings if the tax were imposed.The council then hastily repealed it when polls showed it could harm the council at the next election — the contest that ended so disastrously for the company this month.Starbucks, also headquartered in Seattle, took a different approach, donating a much smaller sum to the business campaign. A Starbucks executive also sent a letter to employees urging a vote for unspecified “change” and invited the public to have a cup of coffee. This was a subtle, defter move, in part because it was hard to tell exactly what the company was saying.At this juncture, perhaps after apologizing or remaining quiet a while, Amazon has a few choices. It could face probable new taxes gamely or think along the lines of Apple, which recently announced a $2.5 billion plan to ease the housing shortages and affordability crisis in California. Or take a page from Microsoft, the tech giant across Lake Washington from Amazon, which last winter offered a well received $500 million investment in affordable housing and homelessness relief across the region.To be fair, Amazon has invested in a homeless shelter in Seattle for families, Mary’s Place, which will eventually occupy eight floors in one of the new Amazon buildings. Mary’s Place does great work. But that answer to the enormous problem of homelessness and housing affordability now seems a trifle. The overall contribution to challenges facing the city is too small to those who believe Amazon needs to step up and invest in ways commensurate with its size and impact.To contact the author of this story: Joni Balter at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joni Balter is a longtime Seattle columnist and writer who contributes to local NPR and PBS affiliates.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Albeit the market sentiment is bullish on Walgreens Boots' (WBA) potential acquisition deal, many analysts are in doubt about the company's effective approach to get privatized.
Amazon.com is lowering the fee it charges customers in Germany for delivering fresh groceries and allowing its Prime subscribers to pay per order instead of committing to monthly membership, the U.S. company said on Thursday. Amazon said last month it would eliminate its grocery delivery charge for Prime members in the United States and make shopping easier by combining AmazonFresh and Whole Foods Market ordering on a single site, as it battles rival grocery sellers. On Thursday, Amazon said it would cut the monthly membership fee for fresh deliveries in Germany to 7.99 euros ($8.80) from 9.99 euros and also reduce the additional delivery fee for orders worth less than 40 euros to 3.99 euros from a previous 5.99 euros.