After a 16-year exclusive relationship, American Express announced yesterday that it would be splitting up with Costco when its current agreement comes to an end on March 31, 2016, sending its stock into a downward spin and setting up speculation about which company - if any - will next co-brand with the No. 2 chain after Walmart in worldwide retail sales, according to Kantar Retail data.
PepsiCo's earnings were down 24% for the quarter due to currency fluctuations but the news about its 3% bump in sales for Frito-Lay snacks and 1% in beverages was cheery enough to boost its stock 2.5% yesterday. That followed Coca-Cola's immediate jump of 2% earlier this week "following the release of better-than-expected financial results," as Barron's Ben Levisohn put it.
The food order-and-delivery fight intensified on both the home and at-work fronts yesterday with the review-site Yelp buying Eat24, which serves about 20,000 restaurants in 1,500 cities nationwide, for $134 million.
With McDonald's announcing yesterday that its quarterly same-store sales were down an even-worse-than-expected 1.8% globally, there's no shortage of advice out there in the IMHOsphere for incoming CEO Steve Easterbrook from academics, marketing experts and just plain consumers - some of them lapsed believers, some of them disdainful of the whole dated concept of Mickey D's version of fast food in the face of Shake Shack and its more-attuned brethren. (Or is that chain yesterday's news already?)
Frontier Communications' acquisition of Verizon's landline business in California, Texas and Florida late last week might logically invite comparisons to buggy whips and telegraph lines were it not for the $10.5 billion price tag, which more than suggests there's a real business there. MoffettNathanson telecom analyst Craig Moffett hits closer to home in a piece by the "Wall Street Journal"'s Ryan Knutson today. "They're trying to be the last newspaper," he says.
Pfizer is buying Hospira, a company that makes injectable drugs and infusion technologies as well as "biosimilars" - generic versions of costly biotech drugs made from living cells - in a deal valued at $15 to $17 billion, depending on which story you're reading. The company's joint release says Pfizer is paying "$90 a share in cash for a total enterprise value of approximately $17 billion."
The retail climate has changed so drastically since Staples and Office Depot first tried to merge in the mid-'90s - including the Federal Trade Commission's unanimous approval of the Office Depot acquisition of Office Max in 2013 - that it's natural to assume that the FTC will look more favorably on the deal announced yesterday. If the deal is given the green light, Framingham, Mass.-based Staples will pay $6.3 billion to acquire its rival, whose headquarters are in Boca Raton, Fla.
If it's Smucker's, it now has to be meow and woof, too. The homey Midwest maker of jams and spreads is diversifying into pet foods with the acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands, which markets Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, 9Lives, Gravy Train, Kibbles'nBits and other well-known brands, in a deal valued at $5.8 billion when debt is included.
An anti-aging pill that is backed by five Nobel laureates and some serious science - albeit on mice - "is wading into the murky world of dietary supplements," the "Boston Globe" reports, in order to avoid all of the testing required by the Food and Drug Administration to allow it to be sold as a medicine.
Did you see that? Holy cow! Unbelievable! The game last night, in the eyes of many, was more entertaining than the commercials.