73.54 -0.03 (-0.04%)
After hours: 6:30PM EDT
|Bid||73.55 x 900|
|Ask||73.55 x 1000|
|Day's range||71.93 - 74.22|
|52-week range||50.02 - 99.72|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.79|
|PE ratio (TTM)||26.10|
|Earnings date||28 Jul 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||1.64 (2.21%)|
|Ex-dividend date||06 Aug 2020|
|1y target est||79.88|
In the latest trading session, Starbucks (SBUX) closed at $74.14, marking a -0.15% move from the previous day.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s official. TikTok has become a political football.The surging social media app, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., is ensnared in the escalating tensions between China and its global rivals. Last week, India banned TikTok along with dozens of other Chinese apps, citing national security concerns. And on Monday during a Fox News interview, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned for the first time that the Trump administration is “certainly looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese apps, warning of data-privacy issues. Trump echoed those statements on Tuesday.TikTok has said it keeps user data securely in the U.S. with backups in Singapore, and that it has never provided data to the Chinese government. In a further effort to calm stateside angst, TikTok hired former Walt Disney Co. executive Kevin Mayer this year as its chief executive officer.Still, there may be real national security implications stemming from a Chinese company owning a major American social network. ByteDance has been under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. for its 2017 purchase of lip-synching startup Musical.ly, which was popular in the U.S. And it's now said to be facing scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department over whether it has met its commitments to protect children's privacy in a previous settlement. But before the country takes the dramatic step of banning a Chinese competitor (particularly one whose users helped prank the U.S. president earlier this year), the White House should spell out its reasoning. Otherwise, the move looks like political bluster.Some have argued that TikTok should be banned in the U.S. because Facebook Inc.’s social media site is not allowed in China. But such tit-for-tat protectionism would be short-sighted policy. American companies should win in the marketplace through better innovation, not by government assistance. Over the long run, the domestic technology industry is far better served having vigorous competition—and TikTok is certainly that—which pushes U.S. companies to create better products. Plus, a TikTok ban risks Chinese retaliation against American companies inside its borders. The list of potential targets that generate a significant portion of their sales in China is long—including Apple Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Intel Corp.On a relative basis, TikTok isn’t an obvious target in terms of data collection. Its focus is sharing creative short-form videos, like dancing and lip-syncing. The app’s algorithm surfaces relevant content, using metrics like how many similar videos you watched. And compared to an app like Facebook, TikTok doesn’t require a large amount of data entry (at least not manually).There’s also the value of the app itself, which has become a global cultural institution. From my experience, TikTok tends to be less filled with hate and disinformation, and genuinely funnier than most other platforms. (Though its avoidance of controversial topics isn’t always beneficial.) The app is also surfacing new stars: For example, a relatively unknown chef in Philadelphia was able to attract millions of viewers to his cooking videos in a matter of days. And this McFarland family’s viral Dad dancing video landed the family ad deals with Taco Bell and Gillette.A ban might not make sense on a purely political level either. TikTok is regularly on top of the Apple App Store’s most downloaded rankings. According to Sensor Tower, it has been downloaded 165 million times in the U.S. EMarketer estimates there will be 45 million regular TikTok users in the country by year-end. Restricting access could enrage millions of voters (or future voters, anyway). To avoid that, the U.S. government needs to show the evidence it has for being concerned about TikTok. Otherwise, given what we know today, the flood of teen outrage that’s sure to follow any TikTok ban would be justified.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
With almost all stores reopened since the pandemic broke out, the coffee giant is seeing a slow but steady recovery.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. Analysts had been expecting around 72,000, so this is, on a percentage basis, a pretty rock-solid beat in terms of deliveries.
Starbucks has increased its delivery options. Before anyone had ever heard of the coronavirus, Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) were flying high. Disney was the harder hit of the two: Movie theaters shut down, theme parks were closed, and the ad market dried up as companies stopped spending.
These companies offer income investors the possibility of substantial long-term share price growth in addition to their regular quarterly payouts.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- If you’re not clear on Environmental, Social and Governance investing, you’re not alone. The Department of Labor appears to be just as confused. Luckily, Facebook Inc. may serve as an example to help clarify the burgeoning investing movement. The Labor Department issued a proposed rule recently that is being widely interpreted as a ban on ESG investing in retirement accounts. A news release said the rule “is intended to provide clear regulatory guideposts” for corporate pensions and 401(k) plans around ESG investing. What it’s actually doing, however, is sowing utter confusion. “Private employer-sponsored retirement plans are not vehicles for furthering social goals or policy objectives that are not in the financial interest of the plan,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said. But ESG has nothing to do with furthering social goals or policy objectives. By definition, ESG investing is strictly a financial endeavor, an attempt to improve the performance of portfolios by limiting their exposure to companies whose environmental, social or governance policies, or lack of them, are deemed risky. In that regard, it’s no different from striking a balance between stocks and bonds, investment-grade bonds and junk, stocks of large and small companies, or any number of decisions investors routinely make to manage risk and attempt to boost risk-adjusted returns. Consider Facebook. The social media behemoth has problems. A growing number of big corporate advertisers such as Coca-Cola Co., Starbucks Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Ford Motor Co. are pulling their ads, fearing they might appear alongside hate speech, misinformation and other divisive content routinely posted on the platform. Facebook also faces a slew of antitrust inquiries from Congress, the Justice Department and a coalition of state attorneys general, as well as increasing bipartisan calls to remove legal protections that limit the company’s liability over content posted by users. Complaints about Facebook aren’t new. There have been widespread concerns about how the company handles user data since at least 2018, when news surfaced that Cambridge Analytica had obtained personal data of up to 87 million users. But Facebook has largely ignored its critics, mainly because co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg controls the company and doesn’t appear to share the concerns, at least not enough to do anything meaningful about them. So far, Zuckerberg has made mostly symbolic gestures, such as rolling out a new voter information hub and agreeing to meet with civil rights groups who organized the advertising boycott. Zuckerberg no doubt prefers to wield absolute power, but it’s a risky proposition for Facebook’s shareholders. There is growing evidence that companies with strong governance generally perform better and are less likely to fail than those with weak governance, which also makes them a less volatile and better-performing investment over time. The best ones have policies that hold management accountable and balance the competing demands of shareholders, creditors, workers, suppliers, customers and regulators. Suffice it to say, while Zuckerberg is on the throne, Facebook has few of those checks and balances.That’s a problem because Zuckerberg is the sole arbiter of what is and isn’t a hazard for Facebook, even if all indications are to the contrary. And clearly, not everyone at the company agrees with Zuckerberg’s sanguine outlook. Facebook employees recently staged a virtual walkout, and some senior figures publicly expressed their disapproval of Zuckerberg’s laissez-faire approach to policing content. If there were a greater diversity of opinion in Facebook’s decision-making process, perhaps it would have been more attune to the many threats it now faces. The risk posed by Facebook’s strongman governance is the “G” in ESG. Not surprisingly, Facebook receives poor marks for governance. Institutional Shareholder Services, a leading provider of ESG ratings, gives Facebook a 10 for governance, the highest risk score on its 10-point scale. And according to various governance metrics tracked by Bloomberg, such as percentage of independent directors and board size, governance has weakened at Facebook over the last decade. For investors worried about the governance risk around Facebook, reducing their exposure to the company, or even eliminating it entirely, is a reasonable financial move — one that is consistent with, in fact prescribed by, the Labor Department’s “longstanding position” that retirement plans “select investments and investment courses of action based on financial considerations relevant to the risk-adjusted economic value of a particular investment.” It’s also the essence of ESG.Scalia and the Labor Department appear to confuse ESG with what would more accurately be called socially responsible investing, or SRI, which attempts to align investors’ portfolios with their values by excluding companies and industries that conflict with those values, regardless of financial impact. It’s no less odd that the Labor Department wants to ban SRI. While I suspect SRI investors will pay a price for mixing their money and their values, there’s little evidence so far that SRI is a drag on portfolios or that it would undermine the “retirement security of American workers,” as Scalia seems to fear. So if 401(k) participants and pension beneficiaries want their money aligned with their conscience, it’s not clear why the Labor Department should stand in the way, particularly when it’s part of an administration that professes devotion to deregulation, small government and religious freedom. But at the very least, the Labor Department should clarify that it’s targeting SRI, not ESG.If the rule stands, one silver lining is that it might promote a clearer separation between ESG and SRI, which would help investors navigate the growing social investing landscape. Funds that blend the two are a particular source of confusion. The iShares ESG MSCI USA ETF, for example, both invests in stocks with strong ESG scores and excludes tobacco and weapons companies. The Labor Department’s proposed rule would presumably disqualify it from inclusion in retirement plans, and thereby discourage more funds from mixing ESG and SRI. However the rule shakes out, one thing should be clear: When ESG takes issue with companies such as Facebook, it’s about money, not values. If the Labor Department finds that confusing, imagine how ordinary investors must feel. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nir Kaissar is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the markets. He is the founder of Unison Advisors, an asset management firm. He has worked as a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell and a consultant at Ernst & Young. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- For years, Facebook Inc. brushed off complaints from civil rights groups that it didn’t do enough to combat racism, discrimination and voter suppression flourishing on its site. Now, pressure from a boycott by major advertisers is forcing the social media giant to address their concerns.Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to meet on Tuesday with leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change to discuss their requests. Facebook is increasingly playing defense against a growing group of civil rights organizations, employees and companies demanding that the technology giant do more to fight injustice on its platform.“Right now is a moment of real reckoning for the company,” said Vanita Gupta, chief executive officer of The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights. “There’s a lot of pressure.”The advocates led the campaign to persuade advertisers including Starbucks Corp. and PepsiCo Inc. to halt spending on the platform, focusing attention on Facebook’s policies as public outrage swells over racial inequities in America following the shocking video of the death of George Floyd in police custody.Civil rights groups have long been asking Facebook to make policy and staffing changes to address their grievances. Concerns have included how the platform has promoted discriminatory advertising, allowed foreign adversaries to try to suppress the Black vote, and let white supremacy groups organize rallies.Leaders of the groups said their efforts to get the social media platform to change have often been only given lip-service, and, at times, even attacked.Facebook declined to comment, but pointed to an announcement Friday that it will attach to posts about voting a link to an information portal that explains how and when users can vote and how to register. The company has set a goal of helping to register 4 million new voters before the presidential election.Increasing ScrutinyFacebook is also under increasing scrutiny in Washington. Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before a House antitrust panel along with CEOs of other large technology platforms and the company faces antitrust investigations by two federal agencies and nearly all 50 states.Gupta and other advocates said Facebook has improved its response to concerns about Census misinformation and has curtailed discriminatory ads, but has fallen short in fighting voter suppression, election misinformation and moderating political speech.“They are making many of the changes at our urging, but are missing the core piece,” Gupta said, pointing to Zuckerberg’s insistence on leaving misleading political speech unchecked because he deems the content newsworthy.Gupta was on a call with Zuckerberg last month, along with Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, and Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, to discuss Facebook’s plans to prepare for the upcoming elections. Donald Trump had recently threatened on social media to withhold funding from Michigan over the state’s mail-in balloting plans. When Gupta questioned Facebook’s policy on political speech, Zuckerberg told her Trump’s posts represented hard “edge cases,” she recalls. Gupta said she disagreed and told him “at every turn you should be making the decision to weigh in favor of fair elections and protecting voting rights.”Civil rights advocates had been contacting Facebook as early as 2017 about issues such as hate speech and election interference, but intensified their outreach following reports that Russian operatives had exploited Facebook and other platforms to suppress Black voting, stir social unrest and help Trump win the 2016 election.Madihha Ahussain, a special counsel for Washington-based group Muslim Advocates, said that while her group initially thought they were making progress with Facebook over anti-Muslim posts, they began to realize the company wasn’t taking systematic action. They were “just listening to us and nothing is changing on the platform itself,” Ahussain said. “We were just getting the runaround.”For Robinson, the turning point came in November 2018, when he got a call from a New York Times reporter asking him to comment on startling revelations: Facebook had hired Definers Public Affairs, a former Republican-linked firm, to compile opposition research about billionaire investor George Soros’s funding of groups that were critical of Facebook -- including Color of Change -- and circulate it to reporters. Soros had attacked Facebook earlier that year as a menace to society.“It became very clear that we had to reset the terms of the relationship,” with Facebook, said Robinson. “We knew that we must have been on to something if they were trying to spend their money to discredit us.”The advocates sent an open letter to Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg calling for the creation of a C-suite position to advocate for users’ needs and work with civil rights groups. They also sought more transparency about a civil rights audit the company had initiated.Facebook fired Definers and Sandberg later apologized in a meeting with the advocates. Facebook tapped Laura Murphy, a veteran at the American Civil Liberties Union, to do the audit and agreed to release the results.Election War RoomMeanwhile, the groups were growing increasingly concerned that Facebook wasn’t prepared to spot and eliminate voter-suppression campaigns or misinformation on its platform ahead of the 2018 midterms.About two months before the election, groups including the National Urban League and the NAACP traveled to Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley to see its election “war room” and discuss its election-integrity plan with company officials, including Sandberg, said LaShawn Warren, executive vice president of government affairs at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which also attended.To Warren, the Facebook team seemed more focused on eliminating inaccurate information about poll locations and opening and closing times than it was in detecting more sophisticated ways bad actors could try to dissuade voters. Her group pressed Facebook to hire more people with voter-suppression expertise.On Dec. 18 2018, Facebook released an update from Murphy detailing what Facebook had done. Facebook had also hired voting experts to help with its election-integrity work.It wasn’t enough for the groups. That same day, more than 30 organizations representing civil rights advocates, big tech critics and liberal causes wrote a letter expressing “profound disappointment regarding Facebook’s role in generating bigotry and hatred toward vulnerable communities” and called for Zuckerberg and Sandberg to step down from the board.They didn’t step down, but Sandberg and other Facebook officials continued to talk with civil rights groups about their complaints. Sandberg met with advocates and members of the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington in May 2019.Facebook won praise from the groups for its plan to ban content that misrepresents the 2020 U.S. Census, but tensions flared again in October of last year around Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University, in which he defended the company’s policy to not fact-checking political ads. He extolled the platform’s fight to uphold free speech, citing protests against the Vietnam War and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”Zuckerberg had previewed his remarks during a phone call with at least one civil rights leader who expressed concern that his emphasis on free speech could come at the expense of civil rights, according to a person familiar with the matter. The leader told Zuckerberg that Facebook’s top executives had no civil rights experience. The co-founder responded that he had a lot of former President Barack Obama people on staff, the person said. The leader also cautioned him against invoking Martin Luther King Jr. to make his point, the person said.Zuckerberg’s speech won praise from conservatives, but criticism from civil rights advocates including King’s daughter, Bernice King, who argued that Facebook was avoiding reforming its content-moderation practices.Just before the speech, Politico reported that since July 2019, Zuckerberg had been meeting with prominent conservative thinkers, including commentator Ben Shapiro, Brent Bozell and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.Facebook was increasingly facing criticism for catering to conservatives in its polices and rhetoric. It was only after news broke about Zuckerberg’s meetings with right-leaning pundits that he invited the civil rights advocates to a dinner at his Palo Alto, California, home in November 2019.“I did feel that Zuckerberg listened to us,” said Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, who was at the dinner. “Listening is not quite the same, you know, as being willing to actually make change.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
It envisions being a top-10 restaurant brand, and the COVID-19 pandemic has done nothing to slow it down.
Less than two weeks after a coalition of nonprofit organizations launched the #StopHateForProfit campaign, some of the world's biggest brands are pulling their advertising off of Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) -- at least for July. The moves are to protest the company's lax policies against the use of its social media platforms to spread political misinformation and calls to violence, and to support voter suppression. Facebook's inaction in these areas has been in notable contrast with Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), which recently began adding warning labels to posts from President Trump that contain questionable or false information, or violate its rules on such things as promoting violence.
(Bloomberg) -- Here’s a list of companies that are planning to halt spending on social media. Some have joined a boycott of Facebook Inc. after critics accused the social network of inadequately policing hateful and misleading content on its platform:Harley Davidson Inc. -- The motorcycle maker said in an email it was pausing Facebook ads in July “to stand in support of efforts to stop the spread of hateful content.”Pernod Ricard SA -- The French distiller of Jameson whiskey and Absolut Vodka, which spends more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.69 billion) on advertising annually, is boycotting Facebook and some other U.S. sites through July 31 and working with partners on an app to help victims of online abuse.Daimler AG -- The Mercedes-Benz maker is pausing its paid advertising on Facebook platforms in July, while adding that it expects to the relationship to resume because it’s confident the social-media company will take “necessary steps.”Molson Coors Beverage Co. -- The brewer is choosing to pause advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while it reviews its own standards and ways to protect the brands and guard against hate speech, Chief Marketing Officer Michelle St. Jacques said in an internal email.Constellation Brands -- The maker of Corona beer and Kim Crawford wines is pausing Facebook ads for the month of July.Dunkin’ Brands Group -- The donut chain is temporarily pausing its paid media on Facebook and Instagram, a spokesperson says, adding that it’s in discussions with Facebook about efforts to stop hate speech and thwart “the spread of “racist rhetoric and false information.”Lego A/S -- Stopping all advertising on social media for at least 30 days to review its standards and will “invest in other channels” during that time.The Body Shop -- The beauty chain says it’s halting paid activity on all Facebook channels and asking the social-media company to enhance and enforce its content-moderation policies.Starbucks Corp. -- Pausing advertising on all social media platforms. Will post on social media without paid promotion.Microsoft Corp. -- Paused global advertising spending on Facebook and Instagram because of concerns about ads appearing next to inappropriate content, according to a person familiar with the matter.Unilever Plc -- Halting advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. through Dec. 31.Volkswagen AG -- The ad stop on Facebook affects the direct ad accounts of the German manufacturer’s brands, including Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini. VW, its ad agencies and the Anti Defamation League will enter talks with Facebook over how to deal with hate speech, discrimination and false information, according to an emailed statement.Mars -- Starting in July, a pause on paid advertising globally across social-media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.Target Corp. -- Pausing ads on Facebook in July.Coca-Cola Co. -- Pausing advertising on all social media platforms.Clorox Co. -- Will stop advertising spending with Facebook through December.Conagra Brands Inc. -- Will stop advertising in U.S. on Facebook and Instagram through the rest of the year.Ford Motor Co. -- Halting U.S. social media for 30 days, won’t purchase social media ads for Bronco unveiling.Honda Motor Co. -- “For the month of July, Honda will withhold its advertising on Facebook and Instagram, choosing to stand with people united against hate and racism.” Acura, a Honda brand, said in a tweet that it was “choosing to stand with people united against hate and racism.”Hershey Co. -- Will halt spending on Facebook in July and cut its spend on the platform by a third for the remainder of the year, according to Business Insider.Diageo Plc -- Pausing paid advertising globally on major social media platforms beginning in July.PepsiCo Inc. -- Pulling ads on Facebook from July through August.Verizon Communications Inc. -- “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with we’ve done with YouTube and other partners,” said John Nitti, chief media officer for Verizon.SAP SE -- “We will suspend all paid advertisements across Facebook and Instagram until the company signals a significant, action-driven commitment to combatting the spread of hate speech and racism on its platforms.”Levi Strauss & Co. -- Pausing all paid Facebook and Instagram advertising globally and across all brands through July.Diamond Foundry Inc. -- Pulling all of advertising from Facebook, including Instagram, for the month of July.Patagonia Inc. -- Will pull all ads on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately, through at least the end of July, pending meaningful action from Facebook.Viber Media Inc. -- The messaging service, owned by Japanese conglomerate Rakuten, plans to cut ties with the social network entirely, according to the Guardian.VF Corp. -- The North Face will pause ads on Facebook for the month of July. Vans, another VF brand, will also pull ad dollars from Facebook and Instagram next month, and said it will use the money to support Black communities through empowerment and education programs.REI -- “For 82 years, we have put people over profits. We’re pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July.”Upwork Inc. -- No Facebook advertising in July.Eileen Fisher Inc. -- Pulling ads from Facebook through July.Adidas AG -- Will stop ads on Facebook and Instagram internationally through July, according to Adweek.Puma SE -- Will stop all advertisements on Facebook and Instagram throughout July.Madewell Inc. -- Will pause ads on Facebook and Instagram through July.Pfizer Inc. -- Removing all advertising from Facebook and Instagram in July, calls on Facebook to heed the concerns of the StopHateForProfit boycott campaign “and take action.”Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. -- To pause Facebook advertising beginning July 1, according to an email.Chobani -- The Greek-yogurt company paused all paid social-media advertising.Peet’s Coffee -- Paused advertising on Facebook.Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. -- ”In support of the StopHateForProfit campaign, we have globally suspended our Facebook and Instagram activity, including advertising and non-paid content, until the end of July.”(Updates with Sony Interactive Entertainment)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Colin Huang’s ascent is one for the history books: In just six months, his fortune swelled by $25 billion -- one of the biggest gains among the world’s richest people.His Pinduoduo Inc., a Groupon-like shopping app he founded in 2015, has become China’s third-largest e-commerce platform, with a market value of more than $100 billion. In the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic caused most of the nation’s economy to grind to a halt, PDD’s active users surged 68% and revenue jumped 44%, the company said in May.Now Huang, who has overseen the firm as its American depositary receipts have more than quadrupled in less than two years, has stepped down as chief executive officer.At one point, his net worth climbed as high as $45 billion, placing him just behind China’s wealthiest people -- Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma -- on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s even as PDD continued to post losses, primarily because it chases growth with the help of generous subsidies and has been known to spend more on marketing than it earns in sales.“Pinduoduo was perfectly positioned for people being stuck at home,” said Tom Ronk, CEO of Century Pacific Investments in Newport, California.Huang, who controlled 43.3% of PDD shares, has reduced his stake to 29.4%, according to a June 30 regulatory filing. His fortune now stands at $30 billion.That excludes a $2.4 billion charitable holding that he shares with PDD’s founding team, and $7.9 billion that went to Pinduoduo Partnership, of which Huang and newly named CEO Lei Chen are members. The partnership will help fund science research and management incentives, according to a letter following Huang’s resignation. The wealth estimate also excludes $3.9 billion that people familiar with the matter said was transferred to an angel investor.PDD declined to comment on Huang’s holdings or net worth.Facing ChallengesHe will remain chairman and work on the company’s long-term strategy and corporate structure to help drive the future of the e-commerce giant, PDD said.“PDD is still facing some high-level challenges in product supply, relationship with brand merchants, logistics and payments,” said Shawn Yang, an analyst at Blue Lotus Capital Advisors. “Colin may want to focus more on these issues.”PDD’s success hinges on deals, which have become particularly popular with customers looking for bargains as the world’s second-largest economy slows. Most of its users come from smaller Chinese cities, and the app gives them extra discounts when they recommend a product through social networks and get friends to buy the same item.Fen Liu, a homemaker in Quanzhou, a provincial city in Fujian, said she accrued enough coupons with her friends’ help to reduce the price of a suitcase to zero.“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my suitcase arrive in the mail,” she said. “It’s made me a loyal Pinduoduo user ever since.”‘Bargain Hunters’While PDD’s aggressive price-reduction strategies have helped win over people with lower incomes, they may stifle the company’s efforts to attract wealthier consumers, according to Charlie Chen and Veronica Shen, analysts at China Renaissance Securities in Hong Kong.“PDD’s users are largely bargain hunters reluctant to buy large-ticket items,” they wrote in a June 29 note, adding that the company’s image remains a key obstacle to users spending more. “We believe PDD is working to change its low-price brand image -- but this could be costly.”That may require heavy marketing and hurt margins further despite a strong user-base foundation for future growth, the analysts said. And PDD’s management has offered no clear path to profitability.Last year, the company’s “10 Billion RMB Subsidies” campaign, which is ongoing, led to a $2 billion increase in sales and marketing expenses to $3.9 billion, and those costs have been at 90% to 120% of revenue for the past two quarters, China Renaissance said.For the nation’s June 18 shopping festival, PDD provided a subsidy program with no cap across different product categories to push spending and attract more users. Other fast-growing Chinese startups -- including rival Meituan Dianping, ride-hailing app DiDi Chuxing and Starbucks Corp. competitor Luckin Coffee Inc. -- have also adopted subsidies strategies to maintain customer loyalty.Huang, 40, grew up in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba has its headquarters. After receiving a degree at Zhejiang University, he went to the University of Wisconsin for a master’s in computer science. He began his career at Google in 2004 as a software engineer and returned to China in 2006 to help establish its operations in the country.He then became a serial entrepreneur. He started his first company in 2007, an e-commerce website called Ouku.com that he sold three years later after realizing it was too similar to thousands of others. He then launched Leqi, which helped companies market their services on websites like Alibaba’s Taobao or JD.com Inc., and a gaming firm that let users play on Tencent’s messaging app WeChat. Both took off and Huang found himself “financially free,” according to a 2017 interview.After getting an ear infection, he decided to retire in 2013 at age 33. But following a year of pondering what to do with his life -- he contemplated starting a hedge fund and moving to the U.S. -- he came up with the idea of combining e-commerce and social media. At the time, Alibaba dominated the online business, and WeChat became a must-have application on smartphones in China.The tables have turned since. In 2018, Alibaba launched a PDD-style app in an attempt to lure smaller-town users with bargains. It came months before Huang took his company public in New York, raising $1.63 billion in its July 2018 initial public offering. Since then, PDD has surged 389%, while Alibaba has gained just 13%.In 2017, Huang had said he was unlikely to spend the rest of his life at PDD. While he’s still chairman of the company, he now wants to give more responsibility to younger colleagues to keep the entrepreneurial spirit as PDD matures, he wrote in a letter to employees.“We envision Pinduoduo to be an organization that creates value for the public rather than being a showoff trophy for a few or carry too much personal color,” Huang said. “This will allow Pinduoduo to continually evolve with or without us one day.”(Updates PDD, Alibaba moves in 22nd paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected Fen Liu’s location.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will meet with at least three civil rights groups on Tuesday after their organizations led an advertising boycott of the social media giant.The Facebook executives will meet with Anti-Defamation League Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Greenblatt, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Derrick Johnson, chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a Facebook spokesman confirmed.Facebook and the groups didn’t disclose further details of the meeting.Facebook reached out to the civil rights groups last week to arrange a meeting with Sandberg and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, a company spokesman said. The civil rights groups said they wanted Zuckerberg to be at the meeting and he later confirmed he would attend, the spokesman added.Starbucks Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Diageo Plc were among the most recent companies to say they’re curtailing ad spending, part of an exodus aimed at pushing Facebook and its peers to suppress posts that glorify violence, divide and misinform the public, and promote racism and discrimination.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
In this episode of Industry Focus: Consumer Goods, Emily Flippen with Motley Fool contributor Dan Kline give a breakdown of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report. To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. This week, I'm welcoming back Dan Kline as we dissect the most recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report.
Alternative meat producer Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND) announced a new partnership with Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) to expand its reach in mainland China, according to CNBC. The company's Beyond Burgers will initially be sold in 50 of Alibaba's Freshippo grocery stores in Shanghai beginning Saturday. Beyond Meat already has a presence in mainland China through partnerships with Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) and Yum China (NYSE: YUMC).
Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), Dunkin' Brands Group (NASDAQ: DNKN), and Ruth's Hospitality Group (NASDAQ: RUTH) are three chains that seem vulnerable this month. It's hard to dislike the baron of baristas, but Starbucks feels more than a little vulnerable here. It experienced a 10% decline in comparable sales in the fiscal second quarter that ended in March, as a 3% dip in its Americas and U.S. segment was pulled down by a brutal 31% plunge in its smaller international operations.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg took the unusual step on Friday of publicly broadcasting a weekly Q&A with employees. Over a live video feed, the CEO announced a series of updates to Facebook’s policies around hate speech -- the central topic fueling a growing boycott of Facebook advertising.But the new policies, like labeling posts from public figures who break its terms of service, didn’t assuage critics. The coalition of civil rights groups organizing the boycott called the announcement “a small number of small changes.” Demands like adding a high-ranking executive focused on civil rights, providing face-to-face customer service for hate speech victims and removing extra protections for elected leaders were still unmet.And, though it wasn’t officially included on their public list of proposed changes, the boycott organizers also have a more fundamental complaint: Zuckerberg has too much control.“Mark Zuckerberg has way too much power for a company of this size and reach,” said Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns at Color of Change, one of the boycott’s organizers. “He is the one that is blocking progress in this moment.”Zuckerberg, who famously co-founded Facebook as a student before dropping out of Harvard University, has always been the most important person at the company, partly thanks to his out-sized control of its board. Recently, he has consolidated even more power. Since 2018 the founders of Facebook’s other properties, like Instagram and WhatsApp, have left the company, giving Zuckerberg more say over its product empire. And a number of board members -- including former Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann and former American Express Co. CEO Kenneth Chenault -- departed in the past two years, many of them over frustrations with Facebook’s corporate governance, according to the Wall Street Journal.For some, the lack of dissenting voices within and around Facebook is worrying. “This behemoth of a company, that’s operating more as a public utility, must be more accountable,” said NAACP CEO and boycott organizer Derrick Johnson.Zuckerberg is not the only important executive at the company. He has long relied on Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to run Facebook’s business and policy divisions, and he has a number of top executives who advise him. But unlike Twitter Inc., which goes out of its way to say that CEO Jack Dorsey does not make content decisions, Zuckerberg is clearly the final say on all things Facebook.“The way decisions escalate in Facebook are very much what you’d expect in any complex organization where there was a hierarchy,” Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president for global affairs and communications, told reporters earlier this month. “For the most difficult decisions, there’s one ultimate decision maker, our CEO and Chair and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg.”As Facebook’s advertising boycott has grown to include household names like Starbucks Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and Unilever, the social network has fought back with an information campaign intended to demonstrate how much the company already does to fight hate online. Facebook has repeated a series of statistics in interviews and in emails to advertising partners, including that the company detects 90% of the hate speech it removes from the platform before any user even flags it.The company has also been touting a voting information campaign announced earlier this month with the goal of registering 4 million new U.S. voters before the 2020 presidential election. On Friday, Facebook said it would arrange a third-party audit of its quarterly report detailing how much content it takes down for rules violations.But so far, the piecemeal changes have done little to placate the company’s critics. “It’s unclear what the perfect solution is,” said Mark Shmulik, an analyst at Bernstein Securities. “There’s no kind of silver bullet here to fix it -- it’s a very broad, ambiguous problem.”On the larger issues, Facebook has shown little sign of relenting. Diminishing Zuckerberg’s control over the company is almost entirely out of the question. Repeated shareholder proposals to change Facebook’s voting structure or replace Zuckerberg as chairman have failed to clear the company’s board because Zuckerberg himself has voted against them -- the CEO has almost 60% of the vote thanks to a special class of shares unavailable to public investors. The arrangement has raised the question of who, specifically, Zuckerberg is accountable to.“This is where you have a runaway train,” the NAACP’s Johnson said on Monday on Bloomberg Television. “And that runaway train is causing harm to the public and it’s causing harm to our democracy.”The group calling for a Facebook boycott has several demands around removing hateful content that could prove difficult for the company to adhere to. Facebook said it’s already doing the best it can to find and remove posts promoting hate. In an interview on Bloomberg Television Monday, Clegg said Facebook does not profit off hate speech, and that it had an “industry-leading record” when it came to dealing with issues related to the “dark side of the internet.”But Clegg added: “I don’t want to pretend this is an easy straightforward task, that there is a switch we can flick and all hate speech suddenly disappears.”Hate has always been a problem for open platforms, in part because it’s difficult to define. In some cases, a post that clearly appears to be a rules violation to some people, is considered allowable by others. This dynamic played out late last month after a series of posts from President Trump struck many as a clear threat of violence. However, Zuckerberg said the posts were not actually a violation of Facebook’s policies. The posts remained up and untouched, even though Twitter flagged the same language.At Color of Change, Hatch understands that the social network, with more than 2 billion monthly users, probably cannot remove hate speech entirely, but she believes Facebook can do more within its current structure. “Certainly when things are flagged they need to be removed, and certainly when things are coming from the current president or an elected official, it needs to be removed,” Hatch said.Even though the boycott has trimmed billions off Facebook’s market capitalization, it’s not clear how much influence advertisers will have over the company’s processes. Some of the participating companies are heavy spenders, including Starbucks and Unilever, who together spent more than $30 million on Facebook ads during the first six months of the year, according to Pathmatics, a digital marketing analytics company. However, that’s a small amount compared with the almost $35 billion in sales Facebook is projected to report for the same six-month period.The vast majority of the company’s advertisers are small businesses, not name-brand marketers. Smaller companies rely on Facebook’s direct response ads, which drive specific outcomes like a website visit or an app install. Facebook’s top 100 advertisers accounted for roughly $4.2 billion in sales revenue last year, Pathmatics estimates, or just 6% of all Facebook revenue. So far, only a handful of the company’s 100 top-spending advertisers from 2019 are pulling money from Facebook ads.“As important as these advertisers are to Facebook, it would likely take a far broader advertising boycott over a longer period of time to materially impact Facebook’s ad revenue,” Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analysts wrote Monday in a note to investors. Facebook stock ended the day Monday up 2.1% despite the new additions to the ad holdout.Facebook will have more opportunities to try to alleviate concern this week in a series of meetings, including a round table discussion with advertisers and Facebook executives on Tuesday. Color of Change would also like to meet with Facebook this week -- but the group is holding out unless Zuckerberg also attends, a spokesperson said. It’s possible that the boycott, which is formally running through July, could extend further depending on how Facebook responds, Hatch said.“It’s definitely a live, dynamic campaign,” she said. “We’re hopeful we won’t have to make any further adjustments or asks. But that’s up to Facebook really.”(Updates with details on Color of Change meeting in 21st paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Starbucks (SBUX) closed the most recent trading day at $73.59, moving +0.15% from the previous trading session.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. banned the violent faction of the so-called “boogaloo” movement -- an anti-government group who believe in a coming civil war -- amid mounting pressure from the private sector and lawmakers to take a more aggressive stance on hate speech as protests over racial inequality have swept the country.“Today we are designating a violent U.S.-based anti-government network as a dangerous organization and banning it from our platform,” Facebook said in a blog post published Tuesday, as hundreds of accounts, groups and pages affiliated with the boogaloo movement were removed from Facebook and Instagram.Members of the movement, which Facebook described as encompassing “a range of anti-government activists who generally believe civil conflict in the U.S. is inevitable,” have recently been identified by government officials as “those responsible for several attacks over the past few months,” the post said. “These acts of real-world violence and our investigations into them are what led us to identify and designate this distinct network.”On Monday, an Air Force sergeant who prosecutors have connected to the movement, Steven Carrillo, was indicted for allegedly killing a federal security guard in Oakland and later ambushing a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.Facebook’s announcement coincides with a wide-ranging advertiser boycott, in which hundreds of marketers, including well-known brands like Starbucks Corp. and Unilever, have sworn off Facebook advertising for the month of July in protest of the company’s policies. Organizers of the boycott have specifically called out “hate speech” as an area where Facebook needs to better police its services.The social media giant has also come under increasing criticism by lawmakers, who are pressuring the platform to take more active responsibility for problematic content and disinformation. In a Tuesday letter, three U.S. Senators, Mark Warner, Mazie Hirono and Bob Menendez, all of them Democrats, wrote to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg that the company’s “failure to address the hate spreading on its platform reveals significant gaps between Facebook’s professed commitment to racial justice and the company’s actions and business interests.”Facebook acted to ban violent boogaloo content on Tuesday under its policy against dangerous individuals and organizations -- removing 220 Facebook accounts, 28 Facebook pages, 95 Instagram accounts and 106 Facebook groups that were part of a boogaloo network. It also removed 400 additional groups and 100 pages that “hosted similar content as the violent network” but were not technically part of it, according to the post.The boogaloo movement, which Facebook dates back to 2012, contains internal divisions, including over “the goal of a civil conflict, racism and anti-Semitism, and whether to instigate violent conflict or be prepared to react when it occurs,” according to the blog post. Facebook banned the part of the movement that “actively seeks to commit violence” rather than the “loosely affiliated movement” as a whole, according to the post.In the first three months of the year, Facebook removed 6 million pieces of terrorist content -- including posts by white supremacists -- and 4 million pieces of content tied to hate groups, according to a Facebook representative who spoke on a call with reporters under the condition of anonymity due to safety concerns. Even so, the platform remains concerned about the other white supremacist content that it hasn’t yet found, the person said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil and McCormick CEO Lawrence Kurzius talks about the company's diversity efforts with Yahoo Finance.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. has paused global advertising spending on Facebook Inc. and Instagram because of concerns about ads appearing next to inappropriate content, according to a person familiar with the matter.The software giant spent an estimated $116 million in Facebook advertising in 2019, and was the company’s third-largest advertiser last year, according to data from Pathmatics. Microsoft initially halted spending on the sites in the U.S. in May and has now expanded that globally, said the person, who didn’t want to be named discussing internal corporate matters. Axios earlier reported the move, citing comments from Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela in an internal Microsoft message board.Capossela did not immediately return an email asking for comment.A list of companies pulling back spending on Facebook properties is lengthening almost by the minute, part of an exodus aimed at pushing the social network and its peers to limit hate speech and posts that divide and misinform. Starbucks Corp. and Diageo Plc, Ford Motor Co. and HP Inc. are among those who said they are stopping ads on social networks for now.Microsoft’s concerns relate purely to the placement of ads next to certain content and aren’t a statement about Facebook’s policies, the person said.The company has spoken with Facebook and Instagram executives on what steps will be needed to resume spending and expects the advertising halt to be in effect through August.Although it didn’t disclose it publicly at the time, Microsoft was among companies that pulled ads from YouTube in February 2019 amid concerns about child pornography, the person said.(Updates with timing in the sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.