🪃 We-turn of the founder

Friday, January 7, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
When no one bought you the self-driving vacuum [ArtMarie/E+ via Getty Images]

When no one bought you the self-driving vacuum [ArtMarie/E+ via Getty Images]

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
36,236 (-0.47%)
S&P 500
4,696 (-0.09%)
Nasdaq
15,081 (-0.13%)
Bitcoin
$43,187 (-0.77%)

Hey Snackers,

Mother of Dragons or mother of Fabergé eggs? A “Game of Thrones”-themed Fabergé dragon egg sold for $2.2M. The “commemorative egg objet” will go on tour this year, at the same time GoT’s prequel series debuts.

Stocks ticked down yesterday with Big Techies like Meta, Netflix, and Tesla all losing more than 2%. Today the Supreme Court is meeting to consider whether the Biden admin can enforce vaccine and testing rules for private employers. Meanwhile, the president is prepping Americans to start accepting Covid as a part of daily life.

We-quel

1. Fallen WeWork founder Adam Neumann attempts a billion-dollar return to real estate

We-turn of the king… WeWork founder Adam Neumann stepped down as CEO in 2019 after being accused of unethical practices like pregnancy discrimination, excessive drug use, and misuse of company cash (see: private-jet parties). But he didn’t walk away empty-handed: Softbank reportedly paid Neumann $1.7B to ditch his coworking empire. Now he’s reportedly returning to the real-estate game:

  • Neumann, WeLoaded: He’s invested $1B in 4K+ apartments, WSJ reports. He’s said to be building a company to shake up the rental biz (no concrete deets yet).
  • Neumann’s new digs focus on Southern cities like Miami, Atlanta, and Nashville, where real estate has boomed as workers flock to warmer, cheaper, and tax-friendlier locales.

Kicked out of their companies… and into the news cycle. Neumann isn’t the only disgraced founder who’s been very visible lately. Elizabeth Holmes, founder of blood-testing biz Theranos, has been dominating headlines during her criminal trial — and was just found guilty of fraud. Meanwhile, Uber founder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted on allegations of fostering workplace harassment, has made headlines for his new ventures.

THE TAKEAWAY

Founder drive doesn’t bruise as easily as reputations… Determined founders can rebound even after their reputations take huge hits, especially if they’ve got enough cash. It’s TBD whether Neumann will raise money from investors for his rental venture — but he may not need to, thanks to his personal stash. Kalanick had no trouble raising $1.3B for his ghost-kitchen biz CloudKitchens, which just hit a $15B valuation. And while Holmes was barred from taking an exec role at a public company for a decade, we could be reading about her next startup down the line.

Ring

Sold out: Rachel Ray cooking set… Bed Bath & Beyond was a draw during the holidays as shoppers wrapped up Ring doorbells and weighted blankets. Despite that, BBB’s sales fell 28% last quarter, and its loss quadrupled to $280M as it tackled supply and labor bottlenecks. BBB closed 170 stores, and even temporarily axed its iconic discount catalog (tragic).

Chateau wedding < Maldives honeymoon… BBB is famous for fitted dorm sheets, but it’s also a wedding-gift destination. For years BBB dominated the registry biz, as guests splurged on crystal wine glasses and Dysons. To make up for Covid postponements, a record 2M+ couples plan to get married in the US this year. But the timing couldn’t be worse for BBB:

  • 30%: The share of gifts registered to BBB — the lowest in six years. In 2017 it was #1 with 44% of US listings.
  • New #1: Amazon is now the go-to for wedding registries, accounting for nearly half. Target also entered the top three as couples opt for cheaper, broader retailers.
  • BTW: A quarter of millennials expect to never tie the knot, while others are choosing smaller (or no) wedding venues to fund lavish honeymoons.
THE TAKEAWAY

Life milestones create sales momentum… but so do routines. BBB is no longer #1 for your big day, but it’s making strides in other areas of your life. Its BuyBuyBaby franchise saw double-digit growth last quarter as parents stocked on onesies and strollers. Meanwhile, the $29/year Beyond+ loyalty program added nearly 500K members, suggesting shoppers are turning to BBB for more routine purchases — from shampoo to face towels. Beyond’s partnership with grocery chain Kroger also suggests it’s trying to cash in on routines.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Test: Walgreens raised its annual forecast on expectation-beating sales and $3.6B in quarterly profit, as shoppers rushed to its stores for at-home and on-site Covid tests, plus millions of booster shots.
  • Yuan: China launched an app to expand use of its state-run digital currency (#DigiYuan) ahead of a nationwide rollout. Meanwhile, Tencent-owned WeChat, which has 1B+ users, will begin supporting the digi-yuan.
  • LeFine: Google and Facebook were slapped with $238M fines by France’s data-protection regulator for not providing an easy way for users to disable tracking, as regulatory scrutiny of American tech giants goes on.
  • Bubbly: Coke is teaming up with booze giant Constellation Brands to create alcoholic Fresca cocktails, adding buzz to the growing market for ready-to-drink cocktails. FYI: Fresca is Coke’s fastest-growing soft drink.
  • Down: ARK Innovation, the flagship fund of Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management, reached a low point yesterday as the tech selloff continued. The innovation-focused ETF was down 48% from its February high.

Snacks Daily Podcast

The New York Times announced plans to buy subscription-based sports news site The Athletic for $550M. That would be its biggest acquisition since the Boston Globe in 1993.

Tune in to hear why NYT is “lifestyling itself” to hit 10M subscribers by 2025.

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Snack Fact of the Day

“Don’t Look Up” broke Netflix’s record for weekly viewership — last week the star-studded flick logged 152M viewing hours
Read more

Friday

  • Earnings expected from: PriceSmart

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Tesla, Google, Amazon, Uber, Netflix, New York Times

ID: 1979205