THE WEEK’S OUTLOOK – CORPORATE

Items of interest that might have been missed in the press of events:

  • Corning released some cautionary news, saying that its display division is being hit by reduced orders from TV manufacturers, at the same time that it’s optical-communications unit is beset by reduced capital spending by wireless projects.  That news was followed within a day by Apple’s announcement that it has awarded Corning another $250 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund which invests in U.S.-based manufacturers.  Wall Street analysts reacted poorly to the first news, and not at all to the second.  However, Apple’s commitment should serve as a reminder that the company that developed the glass for Thomas Edison’s first light bulbs still “has some juice.”
  • We Company continued to be buffeted by continuing news about its IPO process.  The company’s largest shareholder, SoftBank, is concerned about the outcome of the process.  WeWork’s original valuation at $47 billion has now been reduced to around $20 billion and SoftBank is concerned that that drastic drop in valuation will hurt their company, which has given $11 billion to We, including the $1 billion that they have committed through warrants.  In addition, some WeWork board members are pressing for the current CEO and co-founder, Adam Neumann, to step down.  During the past week, Neumann’s full range of eccentric behavior as well as drug use has come to light.  The proposal is for Neumann to become We’s nonexecutive chairman.
  • There’s a new way of doing business for those waging a “war of talent.”  Walt Disney recently struck a big production deal with Dan Fogelman and in so doing tore up the playbook for signing TV talent.  Usually, a TV producer’s biggest paydays come after a show has run for a long time, in the sale of the reruns.    But Fogelman’s new deal is valued between $100 and $150 million and he won’t get any profits from reruns down the road.  Neftlix popularized this new model and it seems that all the companies vying for securing the best talent for their streaming wars are following suit.
  • And to round out the week’s news on the more practical side, there’s a new bug in town, or, at least in 22 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey where folks there are in a fierce and pitched battle with the Spotted Lanternfly in an effort to eradicate it before it spreads further.  This latest bug menace has been imported within the last year, where it was included among the products that came from China, India and Vietnam.

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