THE WEEK’S OVERVIEW – CORPORATE

Interesting items that might have been missed in the press of events:

  • Concern about the clout of tech companies is intensifying, with increased scrutiny of the U.S. government.  That situation is seen as likely to slow the pace of Amazon’s recent acquisition spree – the company has struck more than $20 billion in acquisitions and investments since the beginning of 2017, more than the total deal volume of its previous 23 years in business.  Amazon’s deal-making style is to act quickly, quietly and frequently without investment bankers (ref WSJ).  Closer attention from Washington might cramp this style.
  • P&G has been searching for years for a new product hit and think that they have found it.  The company is rolling out a line of household insecticides safe for pets and people.  The brand is Zevo and offers a bug-killing spray that will cost about 1/3 more than Raid – which can’t be used around pets and children.  The company believes that they have solved the forced trade-off of families who search for ways to get rid of bugs without harming family members or pets.  P&G acquired the spray technology from Envance Technologies, a chemical company that is involved in developing new products.
  • The Brits are petitioning McDonald’s to scrap the plastic toys included in their Happy Meals.  Currently, the toys used in Happy Meals can’t be recycled because they’re made from a variety of plastic materials.  As a result of the call to stop using them, the company is developing new toys made from a single plastic source.
  • WeWork has come up with a plan to shore up confidence in its business before going public by offering billions of dollars in debt that is designed to fund its growth until it can turn a profit.  The company, which has yet to make a profit, will offer from $3 – 4 billion, and perhaps more, in the coming months through a debt facility.  The debt offering will be independent from the money that WeWork raises through its IPO and could raise even more for the company than the IPO itself.
  • The England-based supermarket chain Tesco is beginning to offer cashierless shopping where cameras follow what the customer takes off the shelves and then allows them to simply walk out the door by using pre-arranged credit/debit card payment.  Amazon has pioneered this technology and uses it in their Amazon Go stores in the U.S.

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