|Bid||177.40 x 800|
|Ask||177.52 x 900|
|Day's Range||176.66 - 183.13|
|52 Week Range||123.02 - 208.66|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.25|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||30.06|
|Earnings Date||Oct 28, 2019 - Nov 1, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||232.33|
Reports are stating that newly released documents are showing that Facebook apparently learned about the Cambridge Analytica scandal as early as September of 2015. Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel discusses.
For a long time, working in Big Tech was the dream for many young people. Big Tech might be concerned about government fines and PR emergencies, but its biggest problem could be failing to recruit and keep talented staff. Some high-profile leavers are going public with their complaints about the companies and the lure of Big Tech for graduates is being eroded.
The chair of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee said on Sunday she remained concerned about Facebook's plans for a digital currency after meeting the government officials in Switzerland that Facebook has said will regulate it. "While I appreciate the time that the Swiss government officials took to meet with us, my concerns remain with allowing a large tech company to create a privately controlled, alternative global currency," Congresswoman Maxine Waters said in a statement. Facebook is trying to get Washington on its side after the social media company shocked regulators and lawmakers with its announcement in June that it was hoping to launch a new digital coin called Libra in 2020.
If you are looking for some fresh investing inspiration, look no further. Hedge funds have just revealed their second quarter trades, and the results are now in. RBC Capital has analyzed the 2Q19 13f’s of 363 major hedge funds with significant stakes in US equities. And from this data it has compiled a list of hedge funds’ most popular stocks right now i.e. stocks with the most hedge fund dollars invested. “In our experience, crowded names among active managers, including hedge funds, are usually crowded for a reason (good fundamentals). Most of our baskets of crowded names have outperformed since we started tracking the data at the end of 2010, and our stats can be used to make the case for hedge fund management” comments the firm. Nonetheless the firm does add that positioning is still a risk factor worth monitoring. After all, outperformance of popular hedge fund longs has occurred against the backdrop of strong growth leadership in the market “and may merely reflect the underlying style bias of the market that has been in place” says RBC Capital. Notably 60% of the list falls in TIMT (technology, internet, media and telecommunications), down from 70% last quarter.Here we take a closer look at five top stocks that feature in the Top 20 list. What’s more all these stocks also score a ‘Strong Buy’ analyst consensus, based on all the ratings over the last three months. Let’s see which five stocks make the grade now: 1\. Microsoft (MSFT)Microsoft refused to give up its no. 1 position in the second quarter. It remains the most popular hedge fund stock- despite a sizable decline in the number of funds owning the stock (for the second quarter in a row). Indeed, RBC Capital reveals that hedge funds still hold a whopping $18,131 million of Microsoft shares. That’s with 29% of the 363 funds that it examined holding MSFT stock. Luckily for these funds MSFT scores a firm ‘Strong Buy’ analyst consensus. That's with a $154 average price target (15% upside potential). Out of 24 analysts covering MSFT right now, 22 are bullish with only 1 hold rating and 1 sell rating (from long time MSFT bear Jefferies' John Difucci). “We maintain a bullish stance on MSFT as one of our top cloud ideas to own in 2019 based on a multiyear transformation of the model driven by commercial cloud revenue that could reach $100B in CY23 from a $44B run-rate today” celebrated KeyBanc analyst Brent Bracelin after the company reported a solid revenue beat on commercial cloud growth of 39% y/y.Aptly calling his report ‘On Cloud Nine’, the analyst reiterated his MSFT buy rating while ramping up the price target from $143 to $155. Fiscal 4Q19 results impressed as it sustained double-digit growth for the eighth consecutive quarter, despite a material two-point FX headwind, summed up Bracelin. 2\. Facebook (FB)Facebook shifted up a notch in the second quarter. The social media giant is now the third favorite hedge fund stock, up from fourth place in Q1. That’s due to Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) slipping from 2 to 4 in the quarter after seeing a double-digit decline in ownership. In contrast, six new funds bought into FB in Q2.According to RBC Capital, 34% of the funds it tracks hold Facebook stock, while the total value of the holding comes out at $16,191 million (so still quite a way off Microsoft). Analysts share this bullish outlook. With 33 out of 36 analysts calling FB a buy, the $234 average price target suggests over 30% upside lies ahead. Rosenblatt Securities analyst Mark Zgutowicz believes that the demand picture for FB properties could not be stronger. “We maintain our Buy rating and $242 PT on FB shares and would be aggressive buyers on any weakness related to the 4Q guide deceleration” he instructed investors recently. Demand for the feeds remains high, says Zgutowicz, given stellar ROAS [return on ad spend] and Stories ad tests are steadily progressing at still a low bar for the stock. “Our checks with direct response advertisers continue to point to stellar ROAS on the triple strength targeting platform of News Feed (NF), Messenger and Instagram” he concluded. 3\. Netflix (NFLX)Netflix is hedge funds’ fifth most popular stock. Funds have now invested a jaw-dropping $10,504 million in the stock, with two new funds creating NFLX positions in Q2. As a result, just over a fifth of the funds polled hold NFLX in their portfolio. So does this mean we have a buying opportunity at hand? After all the stock has pulled back significantly following disappointing earnings results. According to the Street, the answer seems to be yes. The stock is showing a Strong Buy consensus with an average price target of $423. This translates into considerable upside potential of 45%. “It’s still early in the quarter, but data through July looks solid (rebound from 2Q),” commented SunTrust Robinson’s Matthew Thornton on August 19. “Google searches (on keyword “Netflix”) and mobile app downloads for the month also show nice upticks vs 2Q19 and back toward or above the 1Q19 high-water-mark.”Although NFLX lost 126,000 US customers in the second quarter, Thornton believes popular series like Sacred Games, The Crown and Peaky Blinders can help stem the losses. With this in mind, the analyst reiterated his NFLX buy rating and $402 price target. A similar message comes from Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger. “The defining question for investors coming out of Netflix [second quarter] is whether the subscriber miss was simply natural variation (tied to a price increase) in a long-term growth trajectory, in other words a ‘blip,” he told investors. “We think the case for ‘this is a blip’ is compelling.” Clearly hedge funds think so too. 4\. Boeing (BA)Boeing was a new name to the Top 20 hedge fund list in Q2. The world’s largest aerospace company now features in 19% of the 363 funds in RBC’s study (with 9 funds creating new positions in the quarter). These funds own a total of $5,458 million of BA stock.And on the whole analysts would approve of the fund enthusiasm for BA. If we look at only the Street’s best-performing analysts, the consensus works out at ‘Strong Buy.’ Plus the $429 average analyst price target indicates 20% upside lies ahead. Of course, all eyes are on Boeing’s 737 Max plane, which suffered two fatal crashes in a five-month span and is currently grounded. According to Bloomberg, there about 600 planes now out of service. However, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) just indicated that the model could be ungrounded come October. “We continue to support the FAA and global regulators on the safe return of the Max to service,” Boeing said in a statement. Following the latest news, five-star Cowen & Co analyst Cai Rumohr reiterated his buy rating with a bullish $460 price target (29% upside potential). He sees a 3-to-1 positive risk-reward around the FAA certification, and expects the stock to react to early indicators of success/failure.“MAX recovery profile looks intact, and FAA certification flight could be 4-6 weeks off -- a key milestone for the stock” Rumohr said. “Traffic growth, 787 demand, 777x schedule are "watch" items; but they are offset by robust 787 cash generation.” Bottom line: BA remains the analyst’s top pick for cash flow per share of $30+ (9-10% yield) in 2020 & 2021. 5\. Union Pacific Corp (UNP) Union Pacific is a leading railroad franchise, covering 23 states in the western two-thirds of the United States. Like BA, UNP is a new addition to the Top 20 list of hedge fund stock holdings. Eight new funds created UNP positions in Q2, while the total $ value owned now stands at $5,157 million. We can also see that 15% of funds in RBC’s study own Union Pacific.So what’s driving this wave of bullish sentiment? Well, the company just posted a 2Q EPS and EBIT beat and a record operating ratio despite being significantly hindered by flooding. “We raise our estimates and PT and continue recommending UNP as a top pick” five-star Cowen & Co analyst Jason Seidl wrote following earnings. He now sees shares hitting $184 vs his previous $180 price target. “UNP is one of the best managed North American Class I railroads and the only western one that is publicly traded” stated Seidl. With the hire of Jim Vena as COO, he believes the company is on its way to revenue improvement.That’s thanks to the adoption of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR). Created by the late Hunter Harrison, PSR refers to the principle of generating extra revenues by using fewer railcars and locomotives. According to Seidl, UNP's precision scheduled railroading rollout is on the right track so far. He notes, for instance, a 10% increase in train length that has seen UNP increase their parked locomotives to 2,150. Find analysts’ favorite stocks with the Top Analysts’ Stocks tool
(Bloomberg) -- Australia will establish a mechanism for internet providers to quickly and effectively block websites hosting terror attacks in the wake of the Christchurch shooting, according to an emailed statement.The government is also creating a center to rapidly detect and shut down the sharing and live-streaming of the violent material as an attack takes place, according to the statement. They are recommendations from an industry and government body established after a man in March live-streamed the killing of more than 40 people in two Christchurch mosques.“The shocking events that took place in Christchurch demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in the statement. “That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally.”Read More: Facebook, Twitter Pressed to Help Prevent Domestic TerrorismTo contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Burgess in Melbourne at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at email@example.com, Linus ChuaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Each of the four Big Tech companies under investigation, to varying degrees, faces exposure to antitrust charges. Their vulnerabilities reflect their marketing strengths, from Apple Inc.’s money-minting App Store to Facebook Inc.’s vice-like grip on social media through its acquisition of WhatsApp.
Facebook's Libra could change how people around the world send and receive money. But will Libra actually launch? This presentation tells you what Libra is, who's behind it, and which obstacles are standing in its way.
An investigation of Amazon's marketplace found thousands of items that have been banned or declared unsafe by regulators, or had misleading labels. Third-party sellers comprise an increasing proportion of items sold on Amazon.
(Bloomberg) -- Central bankers from around the world are gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the Kansas City Federal Reserve’s annual retreat.This year’s meeting occurs against a backdrop of volatile financial markets, rising fears of recession and global trade tensions. On Friday, the trade war between the world’s biggest economies escalated further as China announced that it would levy retaliatory tariffs on another $75 billion of U.S. goods. President Donald Trump quickly tweeted that he’ll respond later in the day.Markets gyrated as the U.S.-China news unfolded and as comments emerged from Jackson Hole, headlined by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who said the U.S. economy was in a favorable place but faced “significant risks.”Here’s a running summary of news and commentary from the gathering.Fed’s Clarida: 4:25 p.m.Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida says the U.S. economy is in a good place, but the global outlook has worsened and policy makers will take that into account when they meet next month.“We adjusted policy at our July meeting. We take our policy decisions one meeting at a time,” he tells CNBC in an interview at Jackson Hole. “But as we’ve indicated, we will do what we need to, to put in place the appropriate policies and we’ll act as appropriate to keep the economy in a good place.”“We run monetary policy for the U.S., but we have to take into account global developments,” he said. “They impact exports, they impact inflation, and we are going to factor that in.”BOE’s Carney: 3 p.m.A collapse of Brexit talks resulting in the U.K. leaving the European Union without a transition agreement would likely prompt the Bank of England to loosen monetary policy, Governor Mark Carney said in a speech at the symposium.Carney, who is a few months away from stepping down as BOE governor, also laid out a proposal for an overhaul of the global financial system that would eventually replace the dollar as a reserve currency with some form of global digital currency -- similar to Facebook Inc.’s proposed Libra.Read more about Carney’s remarks here.Choose a Rule: 12:55 p.m.Former Federal Reserve Economist and European Central Bank policy maker Athanasios Orphanides renewed the argument for central bankers to set interest rates by following a formulaic policy rule.“Monetary policy is most effective when it is formulated in a systematic manner, following a clearly communicated monetary policy rule,” Orphanides wrote in the third paper presented Friday at Jackson Hole.A long-time proponent of policy formulas, Orphanides argued that choosing a simple rule as a benchmark would help the Fed communicate its reasons for interest-rate movements and shield it from the perception that it was influenced by political pressure. That’s a timely point as the Fed has been under relentless pressure from Trump to slash rates.Orphanides, who is now an economics professor at MIT, recommended a so-called first-difference rule, which would adjust the benchmark interest rate according to changes in near-term projections for inflation and growth. He and New York Fed President John Williams co-authored a paper on the concept in 2002.World’s Central Bank: 11:55 a.m.Powell and his colleagues don’t want the Fed to be viewed as the world’s central bank, but their monetary policy has huge ripple effects on economies in Europe and Asia, according to the second paper presented Friday at Jackson Hole.University of Maryland economist Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, in a review of policy implications, found that Fed interest rate changes have “large spillover effects” on emerging markets, affecting capital flows, domestic borrowing and exchange rates.Developing countries can mitigate the impact of U.S. rate change in part by having a flexible exchange rate and by strengthening institutions to reduce corruption and ensure the rule of law, the economist wrote in the paper “U.S. Monetary Policy and International Risk Spillovers.”Riders on the Storm: 10:30 a.m.Central bankers are like “riders on the storm,” their policies buffeted by global forces beyond their control. That was the argument made in a paper by that name which was the first presented Friday at Jackson Hole.In it, economists Oscar Jorda of the San Francisco Fed and Alan Taylor of the University of California, Davis argue that central banks that ignore global interest rate trends risk generating imbalances and credit dislocations in their own economies.The research has some relevance for Fed officials today, as they struggle over what policy changes, if any, to make in response to weakening economies and falling interest rates overseas, and a rising dollar.Much of the paper deals with the so-called neutral interest rate that neither spurs nor restricts a nation’s economy.Powell Speaks: 10 a.m.Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says the U.S. economy is in a favorable place but faces “significant risks” as growth abroad slows amid trade uncertainty, keeping another rate cut on the table when officials meet next month.“We will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2% objective,” Powell said in the text of his remarks to the conference.“We have seen further evidence of a global slowdown, notably in Germany and China. Geopolitical events have been much in the news, including the growing possibility of a hard Brexit, rising tensions in Hong Kong, and the dissolution of the Italian government,” he said.Fed’s Harker: 9:45 a.m.Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker weighed in with the hawks in a Jackson Hole interview, saying lower rates wouldn’t boost the economy when the concern is a trade war.“Right now, we are where we need to be,” Harker told Bloomberg Television. “There are clearly downside risks to the economy. We would have to act as appropriate if those look like they are coming to fruition.”“If business investment is not being held back by the cost of capital, us reducing interest rates will have no effect,” he said. “What is holding you back is uncertainty around policy, particularly trade policy.”Fed’s Mester: 9 a.m.Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester says she will probably favor keeping rates on hold when policy makers gather in September, but she has an “open mind” about the argument for further cuts.“At this point, if the economy continues where it is, I would probably say we should keep things where they are, but I am very attuned to the downside risks of the economy,” Mester said in interview Friday with CNBC television.Mester isn’t a voter on the Federal Open Market Committee this year. Several of the Fed’s policy makers have voiced their resistance this week to the notion that the U.S. economy needs lower interest rates.The Cleveland official told Bloomberg’s Michael McKee Friday that China’s latest plan to impose additional tariffs against the U.S. just adds to the uncertainty surrounding businesses’ plans.“If we were ever data-dependent before, we have to be uber-data dependent now,” she said.As Mester spoke from Jackson Hole, U.S. President Donald Trump resumed his tweets pressuring the Fed. He’s repeatedly called for the central bank to slash rates more aggressively.Fed’s Kaplan: 8:40 a.m.Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who is not an FOMC voter this year, also sounded hesitant about cutting at the next Fed meeting, set for Sept. 17-18.“Even though I am open to an adjustment either in September or the next few meetings, I prefer not to have to make an adjustment,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Friday, because it encourages risk taking.“The fulcrum or center of gravity of U.S. economic today policy is not monetary policy. It is trade uncertainty, it is probably immigration policy to some extent, it is policies that relate to improved skills training, infrastructure spending,” he said. “That is the center of gravity.”Fed’s Bullard: 8 a.m.Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said Friday that the central bank needs to take out additional “insurance” in lowering interest rates, and hinted he might be willing to support a cut larger than a quarter point.“I think there will be a robust debate about 50, so I think it’s creeping on to the table here, but obviously the markets have a base case of 25 basis points,” Bullard said in a Bloomberg TV interview with Michael McKee from Jackson Hole.Bullard said the Fed needs to be cushioning against the impact of a global manufacturing slowdown and U.S. trade war with China. He compared the situation to the mid-1990s, when a Fed led by Alan Greenspan reduced rates 75 basis points to keep the expansion going.“That’s what they did in the 1990s, I don’t know where we will end up,” Bullard said.Insurance Cut: 7:30 a.m.“How much risk are we facing from the fact that we’ve got a global manufacturing contraction going on?,” Bullard asked in an earlier interview Friday with CNBC television. “There is some downside risk, and I would like to take out more insurance against the downside risks.”One of the most dovish members of the Federal Open Market committee, Bullard said low inflation and the unusual dynamic in the U.S. Treasuries market also provide policy makers justifications to cut.“The yield curve has inverted,” he said, referring to the fact that yields on longer-dated debt have fallen below yields on short-term securities. He also noted that the federal funds rate is high relative to Treasury yields. “We have one of the higher rates on the yield curve. That is not a good place to be.”\--With assistance from Vince Golle, Michael McKee, Christopher Condon, Steve Matthews and Brian Swint.To contact the reporters on this story: Rich Miller in Jackson Hole at firstname.lastname@example.org;Craig Torres in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alister BullFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares of Apple and Silicon Valley's semiconductor companies were pummeled on Friday as President Trump responded to new tariffs from China with a tweet saying he's demanding that American companies "immediately start looking for an alternative to China."
(Bloomberg) -- The $100 million fine that Facebook Inc. agreed to pay last month over claims that it misled investors about business risks tied to Cambridge Analytica’s use of account holders’ private data wasn’t supported by all of the members of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Robert Jackson Jr., who occupies a Democratic seat at the regulator, voted against the settlement, according to a tally of commission votes posted on the agency’s website.Key DetailsOn Thursday, a federal judge signed off on the agreement between Facebook and the SEC.The settlement was approved in a 3-1 vote, with SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and two Republican commissioners supporting it.Jackson, who was only commissioner in Democratic seat at time of the June vote, declined to comment.The SEC announced the settlement on July 24.Facebook separately agreed to pay a $5 billion penalty levied by the Federal Trade Commission in a related case stemming from data obtained by Cambridge Analytica.The FTC’s two Democratic commissioners opposed that agency’s settlement, arguing it was too weak.Read MoreFacebook to Pay $100 Million SEC Fine Over Cambridge Data UseTo contact the reporter on this story: Ben Bain in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jesse Westbrook at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss argue that the retail sector remains one step ahead of financial institutions (and other top headlines) on all-things cryptocurrency.
Shopify stock has been a huge winner in 2019. Shopify earnings are booming and the company plans to compete more with Amazon. But is SHOP stock a buy now?
The company that is often criticized for generating revenue by invading user privacy is implementing new tools to protect just that — user privacy. Facebook (FB) is allowing users in Ireland, Spain and South Korea to better control the social network’s ability to track them outside the Facebook platform by launching the “Off-Facebook Activity” tool. The tool will allow users to disconnect Facebook’s tracking of users on non-Facebook sites. The move comes as Facebook looks to raise user confidence and regain trust, after a host of privacy scandals hit the company. While some are concerned about what less access over user data would mean for Facebook’s business, 5-star Suntrust analyst Youssef Squali is maintaining his Buy rating and $236 price target on the stock. Though Facebook may be in the good graces of some for the move, Squali points out that the data is disconnected but not deleted. This could be a good thing for the company — while the headline reads positive, the fine print tells investors that the business itself should not take a hit, as the company is still able to use past data to tailor ads to users. On this loophole, however, Squali says the company “appears to fall somewhat short” of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pledge of allowing users to “flush their history whenever they want.” Notwithstanding the fine print, Squali “believe[s] the impact of the new tools will be relatively limited” as the three countries represent only a fraction of Facebook revenue, while “a global release will take some time to happen.”But perhaps most importantly is the way in which this tool will be implemented — manually. Instead of Facebook automatically enabling the tool for its entire user base, users must manually go through the process of turning it on. So even when this is released globally, Squali believes “requiring users to go through settings options to make changes to their privacy likely increases friction enough to discourage and limit mass adoption of the new tool.” As a result, the analyst thinks, “any impact would be gradual and take place over several quarters, at the earliest.” Facebook is playing a balancing act with privacy. On the one hand, the company must regain user trust, which means limited access to data. On the other hand, investors expect the company to use data to generate revenue. The Off-Facebook Activity tool seems to accomplish both: While the headlines make it seem that Facebook is doing good, the fine print shows the company will still generate money off users, even if they decide to opt-out of tracking. All in all, the social network giant continues to be one of Wall Street's favorite stocks, even amid privacy challenges and increased scrutiny. TipRanks analysis of 36 analysts shows a consensus Strong Buy, with 33 of analysts rating the stock a Buy and only three suggesting Hold. The average price target among these analysts stands at $234.40, which represents about 31% upside from current levels. (See FB's price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s kinda, sorta funny, I suppose, that Patrick Byrne resigned Thursday as chief executive of Overstock.com Inc. a week after issuing a bizarre press release bragging about his romantic entanglement with a Russian spy while also being involved with the “deep state” and the “Men in Black.” Just as it’s kinda, sorta funny that President Donald Trump canceled a state visit to Denmark because its prime minister told him she wouldn’t discuss his “absurd” idea of selling Greenland to the U.S.Except that Byrne (like Trump) has been prone to saying and doing unhinged things since at least the mid-2000s. What’s more, as Bloomberg Opinion’s Barry Ritholtz pointed out Thursday on Twitter, “He was a terrible CEO of a not very good company.”I began paying attention to Byrne in 2005, six years after he took over an online retailer and renamed it Overstock. That year, he held the looniest conference call I’ve ever heard. He claimed that there was a vast conspiracy to drive down Overstock’s shares orchestrated by someone he called the “Sith Lord.” He wouldn’t name the Sith Lord, but described him as “one of the master criminals of the 1980s.” He titled the conspiracy “the Miscreants Ball.”(1)At the same time — and this is what caught my attention — Overstock filed a lawsuit against Gradient Analytics, a research firm, and Rocker Partners, a hedge fund run by David Rocker and Marc Cohodes — yes, the very same Marc Cohodes who was the subject of my columns this week about MiMedx Group Inc. — that specialized in short-selling. Byrne claimed in the lawsuit (as I wrote at the time) “that they were acting in concert to hurt the company and manipulate its stock price.”It wasn’t long before Byrne was including certain financial journalists in the conspiracy. When a television interviewer asked him if he was accusing Herb Greenberg,(2) the great former MarketWatch reporter, of “helping others front-run” the company’s stock, he replied, “That’s correct.” His “thesis” was that Greenberg was taking orders from Rocker.That wasn’t the worst of it. Byrne became convinced that an illegal practice called “naked short-selling”(3) was Wall Street’s dirty little secret, and he devoted himself to rooting it out and exposing it. (Barron’s once described naked short-selling, rather aptly, as “the grassy knoll of the equity markets, denounced by crackpots, devotees of penny stocks, and troubled companies eager to divert attention from their failings.”)Overstock’s director of communications, Judd Bagley, would “friend” Byrne’s critics on Facebook, then publish the names of their friends on a website, especially those friends who could serve as “evidence” of a conspiracy. (I’m one of the journalists this happened to.) Byrne started a conspiracy-minded website called Deep Capture, the purpose of which was to smear his critics, myself included.If the purpose of all this was to silence us, it worked. I wrote three columns about Byrne, and then moved on. So did most of the other journalists who had once covered him and Overstock. Rocker, the rare short-seller willing to talk to reporters on the record, stopped giving interviews. The journalist (and my friend and former co-author) Bethany McLean once told an interviewer that in effect, Byrne had won, because his tactics had caused his critics to stop writing about him.Since his Deep Capture days, Byrne has found a different means to distract people from Overstock’s lousy performance: In 2015, he announced the formation of a company that would issue a cryptocurrency called tZero. For a while, at least, it worked. Between July 2017 and January 2018, the Overstock share price went from around $20 to almost $87. But it couldn’t last. With the company’s free cash flow negative $168 million in 2018, and its net income negative $169 million,(4) the stock sank back down to earth, bottoming out at $9.40 a share in June.Yet when he finally stepped down, it wasn’t because the company was losing money, or because the tZero effort was faltering, or because, as usual, Byrne was too busy with his side ventures to focus on the company he was supposed to be running. It was because he wrote a bonkers press release.On Thursday evening, Byrne was interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo. Byrne claimed that FBI agents — including James Comey! — had instructed him to “rekindle” his relationship with the Russian spy, Maria Butina. Later that evening, as Cuomo discussed the interview with another CNN host, Don Lemon, he defended Byrne. “He’s not some lunatic or something like that,” he said.Clearly, Cuomo should have had a seat on the Overstock board.(1) Byrne later told me that his Sith Lord conference call was “one of the 10 proudest moments of my life.”(2) Alas, Greenberg has since left financial journalism and now runs his own investment research firm, Pacific Square Research.(3) Don’t ask.(4) According to Bloomberg data.To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stacey Shick 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.
Blank-check company Legacy Acquisition Corp. has agreed to purchase a global digital marketing company to be renamed Blue Impact Inc., clearing the way to grow organically and through M&A. Legacy, which raised $300 million almost two years ago, is led by former Procter & Gamble executive Edwin Rigaud but the new company will be […]
Oh hey, y'all, it's Friday! It's August! Which means it's a great day forFacebook to drop a little news it would prefer you don't notice
DICK'S Sporting (DKS) posts better-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2019 results driven by solid same-store sales performance. Also, it raises its bottom-line view for fiscal 2019.