Wondering how many Stoolies showed up...
Let's address the elephant in the room: a literal elephant was wandering around a 5-star hotel.
In its first major policy meeting of 2020, the Fed decided not to make any game-changing moves, and kept interest rates steady. Markets didn't make big moves either.
Cue the Sweet Caroline playlist... Penn National Gaming shelled out $163M for a 36% stake in Boston-raised Barstool Sports. You've heard of Barstool, the sports-culture blog/video/pod-producer famous for "irreverent" content. You probably hadn't heard of Penn National, which operates casinos like Tropicana and Margaritaville — its shares soared 11% on the news. Here's the deal:
[Insider fan joke] + [Silhouette of athlete] = Barstool t-shirt
It's all about the eyes (and ears)... Media companies boil down to one word: Audience. That's where the real value is for them (and their investors) — Barstool brings in nearly $100M in revenues annually.
Brand is (almost) everything... Since the Supreme Court cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting (Jersey went in hard on this), the race for customers has been heated. Sports betting rivals like FanDuel and DraftKings lead thanks to their well-known logos sponsoring almost every arena bar area. To compete, Penn needs a popular sports-ish brand with a big and relevant audience. Barstool checks both boxes.
Not a secret.. Les Wexner, the billionaire owner of Victoria's Secret parent L Brands, is in talks to step down from his CEO-ship and possibly sell the lingerie brand (WSJ reports). The 82-year-old is the longest-serving CEO of any S&P 500 — and besides V's Secret, he also turned around Abercrombie & Fitch and scaled Bath & Body Works into mall staples. But his association with Jeffrey Epstein hasn't helped.
Spin-off the problem brand... focus on the clean one. Bath & Body Works has shown annual sales growth for 9-straight years (guess the foaming hand soaps never get old). Bath & Body's hygiene and self-care is tapped into the wellness trend, and is L Brands' star performer as Victoria's falls.
Fashion is constantly evolving... And fashion brands succeed through change. VS didn't change. Its sales fell as customers turned to brands more focused on comfort and inclusivity, like American Eagle's Aerie (which enjoyed 20-straight quarters of double-digit sales growth). L Brands cancelled the VS fashion show in an effort to re-invent its marketing — but it may take a new leader (and Les leaving) to save Victoria.
All those ads interrupting your Insta-scrolling?... They added up to $70B of revenue for Facebook in 2019. Although that sounds like Zuck & Co. should be celebrating their dominance in online ads sales, that was up only 27% from last year (and slower than the 35% revenue growth the year before). Shares fell almost 8% on word Facebook's profit got squeezed:
The whole world pays a 7 cents per day "Zuck fee"... To show investors that Facebook is growing despite weakness in its core Facebook app, Zuck included Instagram for the first time in its "average revenue per user" category. Globally, Facebook made $25 off each user last year. That's 2.85B people with Facebook accounts, "paying" 7 cents per day in mid-scrolling attention to Facebook's ridiculously-targeted ads that know you like chocolate.
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