Tag Archives: billion

COIN MARKET CAP TO HIT 31 BILLION

As more people become aware of cryptocurrency and more countries look at the possibility of accepting bitcoin as a legal payment method, the confidence in this market is reflected by the amount of money that pours into it. Three months ago, the market cap had approximately 25 billion dollars. Today, the same market has matured with $30.8 billion in capital. The questions remain the same as three months ago. Where is it going from here? How far is this going?
There is nothing but excitement to see coins like DigiByte, Einsteinium, PinkCoin, etc, making their entrance into the big circus of cryptocurrencies. I know that there is more than enough room for all of them and that we will see them grow along to the Cryptocurrency Market.  By melip50  in cryptocurrency

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The CEO of a billion-dollar brand shares his best strategy to help anyone find a great business idea

You probably won't have a Eureka! moment. Neil Blumenthal pictured. Neil Blumenthal

There's nothing magical about starting a company. In all likelihood, you will not have a Eureka! moment in which you discover the next world-changing business idea.

That's not to say you won't discover the next world-changing business idea — you'll just have to be proactive about it.

Neil Blumenthal, a cofounder and co-CEO of billion-dollar glasses brand Warby Parker, recommends a specific strategy for finding a business idea. In an interview with Business Insider at the Success Makers Summit in April, hosted by American Express OPEN, Blumenthal explained how it works:

"Every day, write down a few frustrations. And then at the end of the week, you'll have maybe 10 problems. By the end of the month, maybe you have 40 to 50 problems. And then you can spend time thinking about: Is there a viable business in solving any of these everyday frustrations?"

Blumenthal said he and his cofounders didn't use this exact technique — the inspiration for Warby Parker came when cofounder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa lost an expensive pair of glasses. The cofounders asked their friends if they'd ever had a similar experience and discovered that overpaying for glasses was a relatively widespread problem.

But Blumenthal emphasized that "successful entrepreneurs are pretty methodical about the problem they're trying to solve." He went on:

"Sometimes, it's not that they just started it in high school or college, because they've actually needed to live a little and experience a little bit of life to identify where there are problems that need solving.

"For every Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, there's 30 other entrepreneurs that started their business after working for several years."

In other words, coming up with a solid business idea — never mind actually building the business — probably takes more time than you think. A combination of patience and a can-do attitude is a must.

 

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Trump Plans Have Deal Makers Dreaming Big ($100-Billion-Cash-Takeover Big)

Bayer’s German headquarters. The company’s $66 billion offer for Monsanto last year is the record for an all-cash takeover bid. Credit Volker Hartmann/Getty Images

By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED APRIL 2, 2017

Bayer’s German headquarters. The company’s $66 billion offer for Monsanto last year is the record for an all-cash takeover bid. Credit Volker HartmanNEW ORLEANS — It wasn’t just cocktails on Bourbon Street or lucky breaks at the blackjack tables that contributed to the buoyant mood of the deal makers who gathered here last week. President Trump — and his support for lower taxes and lighter regulations — also had something to do with it.

At a gathering of the nation’s top mergers and acquisitions lawyers and bankers, the consensus was that under the Trump presidency, deal making should boom.

Lower taxes and less regulation, the thinking goes, should contribute to strong stock prices. And when the markets are up, companies are more likely to strike big deals. Finally, the pro-business Trump administration, most deal makers believe, is likely to take a forgiving view when it comes to antitrust matters.

Taken together, it was enough to lift the spirits of the lawyers, bankers and other advisers who attended Tulane University’s mergers conference last week.

Officially known as the Corporate Law Institute, the event is the year’s pre-eminent gathering of mergers advisers, a Davos for the deal maker set. For decades, top bankers and lawyers from Goldman Sachs; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; and other firms have come to the conference, in good times and in bad.

Lawyers who attend earn legal credits (several lawyers said they eagerly awaited a panel discussion on the arcane matter known as shareholder appraisal rights, a topic that makes nonlawyers’ eyes roll). But the real purpose of the event is to network, whether over butter-laden gulf fish at Galatoire’s or sherried turtle soup at Commander’s Palace or at the high-roller poker tables at Harrah’s.

This year’s gathering had more than 600 attendees, setting a record. And the general agreement throughout the crowd attending presentations at the stately Roosevelt Hotel was that the prospects for business were as good as ever. The sentiment was best captured when a senior banker from JPMorgan Chase made the bold claim that, under current market conditions, a company could strike a $100 billion takeover, paid entirely in cash.

Many deal makers had hoped this year would bring more business after a relatively slow 2016. A survey of 120 advisers by the Brunswick Group, a financial public relations firm, found that 44 percent of respondents believed that more mergers would be struck this year than last.

Mergers data for the first three months of the year appeared to at least partly support that. Some 10,229 transactions, worth $771.3 billion, were announced in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters. The dollar value was up 11 percent from the same time a year ago, although the number of deals was down about 11 percent.

Yet doubts were already emerging about whether Mr. Trump will really usher in a boom time for mergers, with the failure of the Republican health care overhaul and the president’s unpredictability threatening to dampen spirits.

Crossing Borders, Making Deals
Mergers worldwide grew 11 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with the period a year ago, as stock markets climbed. Leading the surge were cross-border transactions, which totaled $339.5 billion — the highest level since the first quarter of 2007.

The $100 Billion Deal

The tone for much of the conference was set as Kurt Simon, global chairman for mergers and acquisitions at JPMorgan, made his bold prediction that an enterprising corporate giant today could assemble an all-cash takeover bid of $100 billion.

It was an audacious claim — the record for an all-cash offer is Bayer’s $66 billion bid for Monsanto last year — but it illustrated how favorable the markets are for deal making.

Mr. Simon argued that the right company could borrow enough debt at low interest rates to cover the cash. Investors have largely supported corporate takeovers, pushing up the stocks of purchasers. And the Trump administration, which recently named a health care lobbyist as its choice for the Justice Department’s top merger reviewer, seems unlikely to block many deals.

Some attendees quietly joked that JPMorgan was simply angling for big lending fees. But none disputed the data underlying Mr. Simon’s claim. Interest rates remain low despite two raises by the Federal Reserve. Stock markets have been largely calm, devoid of whipsawing that would give buyers or sellers pause.

“The U.S. economy is in really good shape,” Mr. Simon said.

A Nod to Shareholder Activism

For years, many of the panelists at Tulane argued vigorously that activist hedge funds trying to shake up companies were short-term investors and did not have the best interests of other shareholders at heart.

Now, even the staunchest critics of these activist shareholders concede that the practice is here to stay.
SEE SAMPLE PRIVACY POLICY
This conference was perhaps the first one in which an activist sat on stage with the chief executive of a company his firm had targeted. And each man sang the other’s praises.

Gerald L. Hassell, the chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon, spoke on a panel with Edward Garden, the chief investment officer of Trian Partners, an activist hedge fund that had targeted Bank of New York Mellon. The men discussed how they had cooperated in improving the bank’s financial performance, recounting dinners spent discussing strategy and joint efforts to provide financial benchmarks.

“I just want great outcomes,” Mr. Hassell said when asked who deserved praise for the bank’s turnaround. “It’s not an issue of who gets credit.”

And during another panel on activism, the entire group — advisers both to activists and to the companies those investors target — treated the practice as a permanent fixture on the corporate landscape.

Even Joele Frank, a financial publicist who has long advocated waging war on activists, has mellowed out on the topic.

“The biggest change I’ve seen in my practice is there is positive dialogue between the activist and the company for a settlement,” she told the group.

The Wisdom of Leo Strine

For lawyers in particular, one major draw of the conference is the chance to mingle with judges from Delaware, the corporate home for the vast majority of American companies.

And in particular, that means hearing from the most quotable of them all: Leo E. Strine Jr., the chief justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court.

Mr. Strine is widely regarded as one of the sharpest minds on the Delaware bench, and almost certainly its sharpest wit.

At the Roosevelt, he displayed the offbeat humor that laces his judicial opinions. He described one legally dubious situation as having a smell that was “not Bourbon Street when you’re having fun, but Bourbon Street the next morning.”

Not all was sunshine at the Tulane conference, whether with the mercurial New Orleans weather or with the outlook on transactions.

Panelists pointed to the rise of economic nationalism as a potential dampener on mergers. Both the Brunswick survey and Mr. Simon, of JPMorgan, cited a likely drop in offers for American companies by Chinese and Russian bidders.

Then there was the prospect that the Republicans’ failure to pass a replacement for Obama-era health care regulations made a sweeping tax law overhaul less likely. Some deal makers feared that the issues on which they most want to see reform — corporate tax rates and the taxation of sales made abroad and then brought back to the United States — could end up felled by political gridlock.

“Post-heath care, we have to consider a number of scenarios, one of which is that nothing happens,” said Eileen T. Nugent of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

And finally, there is Mr. Trump himself, and his brand of economic populism.

Merger proposals that would lead to big job cuts would be unlikely to go anywhere, George R. Bason Jr. of the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell said, calling such layoffs “a tragedy for a lot of people.”

A version of this article appears in print on April 3, 2017, on Page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump’s Plans Fuel Big Dreams by Deal Makers. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

 

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Oculus could cost Facebook up to $11 billion, but it might be worth it

In 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent $2 billion to purchase the virtual reality startup Oculus and its Rift headset. The deal was huge, not just from a price standpoint, but because it was proof of momentum behind the nascent VR industry.

Nearly three years later, though, it looks like that $2 billion was just a down payment for the VR company, as Facebook will likely have to shell out billions more until the social network can get the Oculus’ technology to a point where Zuckerberg and co. are satisfied.

The Facebook founder said as much while on the witness stand for a lawsuit that accuses Oculus of stealing some of its VR technology from video game company ZeniMax Media, according to The New York Times.

From $2 billion to $11 billion

That initial $2 billion payment for Oculus wasn’t even the entire amount Facebook paid for the company. The social networking giant also paid $700 million to keep certain Oculus employees and promised an additional $300 million if the company met specific milestones, according to the report.

On top of that, Zuckerberg said Facebook might have to dump an additional $3 billion into Oculus to shore up its technology.

Why commit to spending nearly $7 billion — plus an extra $2 billion if Oculus loses its lawsuit — on a technology that has yet to blow up in the consumer market? Well, because Zuckerberg is looking beyond VR in the traditional sense. See, where the Rift, HTC’s Vive and Sony’s PlayStation VR are primarily designed as gaming systems, the Facebook founder has his sights on making virtual reality a more social experience.

During the Oculus Connect 3 conference in October, Zuckerberg took the stage to show off a kind of virtual/augmented reality system the company was working on. In the demo Zuckerberg showed how he, through a digital avatar, could interact with friends and family in real time in a digital space as if they were all in the same room.

Price is still a barrier

It’s an interesting gambit, but it’s still far from complete. What’s more, the cost of VR systems like the Rift is still prohibitively high for many consumers. The company is working to bring prices down, though.

For instance, when Oculus launched the Rift in 2016, you needed to purchase a $1,000 to $1,500 PC to run the headset, plus another $600 for the device itself. Since then, the company has worked to ensure the Rift can run on systems that cost as little as $500. Still, at $1,100 for the whole setup, the Rift isn’t exactly cheap.

HTC’s Vive costs $800 and still requires a powerful PC, while Sony’s PSVR costs $400 and only works with that company’s PlayStation 4 console. Sure, gaming enthusiasts might not have a problem spending that kind of cash on a top-notch gaming experience, but none of these headsets is quite there yet. There’s no “killer app” for high-end VR systems.

The most successful headsets, so far at least, have been Samsung’s Gear VR, which costs $100 plus the price of a compatible Samsung smartphone, and Google’s Cardboard, which costs $15 in addition to the cost of a smartphone.

Zuckerberg’s big bet

Zuckerberg is obviously keenly aware of the importance of mobile platforms — the majority of Facebook’s traffic comes from mobile users and that will only continue to grow. Which is why Facebook split Oculus into two divisions, one primarily focused on PC-style VR and the other focused on mobile VR.

The hope is that Facebook and Oculus will be able to create a system impressive enough for all consumers to want to use. How long will it take for the company to get there? If Zuckerberg’s prediction on the stand holds up, it could take anywhere from 5 to 10 years.

Still, Oculus will be in an enviable position if Zuckerberg’s prognostications prove correct. That’s because the Facebook CEO sees gaming as just the tip of the VR iceberg. In its ultimate form, Zuckerberg sees virtual reality as a means to share experiences with others in real time and feel as though you’re actually there.

In a July interview with Bloomberg, Zuckerberg explained how virtual reality is the natural progression from sharing experiences via video, just as video was the natural progression of sharing experiences via photos. VR, then, will almost literally allow us to stand in another person’s shoes as they explore the world.

And with Facebook’s enormous audience — it has roughly 1.8 billion monthly active users, already sharing everything from selfies to wedding videos — the social network is just about the only company that can help push VR forward as a means to connect the masses. If that all works out, and Facebook becomes the VR company just as it is the social network, the billions Zuckerberg spent on Oculus will surely have been worth it.

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Dollar Shave Club Sells For $1 Billion, What a Remarkable Story

Dollar Shave Club (DSC), founded just 5 years ago, has been acquired for a reported $1 billion in cash by U.K. based Unilever. DSC was launched in March 2012 by Mark Levine and Michael Dubin and is based in Venice, California which is next to Santa Monica outside of Los Angeles. Michael Dubin will continue to serve as CEO of DSC. Unilver approached Dollar Shave Club about the acquisition, according to Dan Primack of Fortune.

Dollar Shave Club had a simple concept that resonated with men, "Shave Time, Shave Money", and launched with a YouTube video that immediately became a viral hit. As of today, it has been viewed nearly 23 million times.

 

If the price is accurate, it will be one of the largest in e-commerce history, with the most expensive acquisition being Zulily in 2015, purchased by Liberty, owner of QVC, for $2.4 billion. DSC had 15% of the men’s razor cartridge market share in the U.S. last year, according to investor David Pakman who is a Partner at Venrock, which was the original investor in Dollar Shave Club. DSC received $163.5 million in 5 Rounds from 21 investors prior to the acquisition.

Michael Dubin, founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club, added: “DSC couldn’t be happier to have the world’s most innovative and progressive consumer-product company in our corner. We have long admired Unilever’s purpose-driven business leadership and its category expertise is unmatched. We are excited to be part of the family.”

The company in less than 5 years has not only transformed the shaving category but has singlehandedly supercharged the consumer products subscription category. DSC has over 3.2 million members with revenue of $152 million in 2015 and on track to exceed $200 million in 2016. The Dollar Shave Club brand has also transformed from a single razor to a multi-products lifestyle brand that includes other branded products such as Wanderer, Big Cloud, Boogies and One Wipe Charlies.

“Dollar Shave Club is an innovative and disruptive male grooming brand with incredibly deep connections to its diverse and highly engaged consumers,” said Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever North America. “In addition to its unique consumer and data insights, Dollar Shave Club is the category leader in its direct-to-consumer space. We plan to leverage the global strength of Unilever to support Dollar Shave Club in achieving its full potential in terms of offering and reach.”

Using Digital Disruption to Establish a Direct Customer Relationship

David Pakman posted this slide from the original Series A Dollar Shave Club Pitch Deck saying "His plan was grand, but his formula was simple…"

"I've been telling the Dollar Shave story lately as a way to describe the disruption possible when a company uses digital technology to establish a direct relationship with a customer," said Ted Schadler in his blog. Ted is Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. "Dollar Shave Club is in its customers' daily shower and conscientiousness. It's a digital disruptor, not because it has a revolutionary product, t's because it has a revolutionary relationship." He adds that digital disruption starts with a direct customer relationship.

"In the age of social media, brands must become direct-to-consumer in order to know their own customers," said Pakman in a blog post giving his insider take on the business. "Success has many fathers, but in this case, there is only one."

https://youtu.be/ZUG9qYTJMsI

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