American Apparel Managers Stand By Dov
A group of at least 30 managers and director-level employees appealed to the company's board to reverse its firing of CEO Dov Charney, saying the controversial figure "is what makes this thing tick" at the clothing retailer. Charney was served with a termination letter in June for a long list of reasons including: breaching his fiduciary duty, violating company policy, sexual harassment, and misusing corporate assets.
Soup Sales Improve
Campbell Soup reported better-than-expected quarterly results Tuesday after soup sales rose for only the second time in the last 15 months, bucking pressure for premium and store brand soups. The company reported a 4% increase in revenue to $2.26 billion and a 36% gain in net income to $234 million, or 74 cents per share.
A $9 Billion Day
Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that is bigger than Amazon and eBay combined, sold more than $9 billion worth of goods Tuesday during its annual "Singles' Day" shopping holiday. "Singles' Day," which Alibaba CEO Jack Ma made up to take place every Nov. 11, is the Chinese equivalent of Cyber Monday in the U.S. and is the biggest shopping day of the year globally on a revenue basis.
McDonald's said its profit for the third quarter fell by a whopping 30% to $1.07 billion, missing analysts' estimates of $1.5 billion. The fast food chain has been struggling to retain customers amid competition from Chipotle and others.
Netflix Gets Into The Movie Making Business
Netflix is making the jump from producing TV shows to making movies, saying it will help finance the sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" from The Weinstein Company. The company hinted previously that it would co-produce movies under the condition that they debut on Netflix at the same time they do in theaters. The sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" will debut on Netflix and in Imax theaters next August.
Comcast hit back at critics of its impending $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable in a strongly worded filing with federal regulators. The company, which ranks as the nation's largest cable provider, accused Netflix, Discovery Communications, and others of attempting to extort it in return for sweetheart deals and abstaining from opposing the merger.
Netflix Goes To Europe
The video streaming service led by CEO Reed Hastings launched in France and Germany this week, part of its previously announced plan to focus on international expansion to grow subscribers over the next year. Netflix, which has about 48 million global subscribers, roughly 12 million of them in international markets, plans to launch in four more European countries in the next year.
A $2.5 Billion Vice
Vice Media, which started as a tiny free magazine in Montreal, raised $500 million in a pair of deals that value the company at $2.5 billion. The investments, which come after talks about a deal with Time Warner's HLN cable network fell apart, were from A&E Networks and venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures. Each company invested $250 million in return for a 10% stake.
Big box retailer Target cut its full-year profit forecast Wednesday by roughly 50 cents in the face of continued consumer spending declines. The company, which recently named a new CEO after its customers had their data hacked over the holiday season, now expects to earn between $3.10-$3.30 per share.
McDonald's posted a 2.5% decline in global sales for the month of July, its worst monthly sales performance in a decade. A food safety issue in Asia, along with the promotion of premium rather than value products in the U.S., factored heavily into the decline.
Is Snapchat Worth $10 Billion?
According to reports, that's what a group of investors, including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, are valuing the disappearing photo app company in funding talks. Snapchat, which has already raised $100 million in venture capital, turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook last year, a decision many observers mocked at the time.
Despite raising prices for the first time in three years, consumers's insatiable appetite for Chipotle burritos continued unabated during the second quarter. The casual dining chain easily beat Wall Street's earning expectations, posting revenue of $1.05 billion and net income of $110.3 million.
In a deal that underscores the increasing fragmentation of digital streaming services, Hulu announced over the weekend that it has acquired exclusive streaming rights to South Park. The deal, valued by The New York Times at more than $80 million, gives Hulu the streaming rights to the Trey Parker and Matt Stone cartoon's entire back catalog, as well as new episodes following their premiere on Comedy Central.
Time To Buy Or Time To Sell
As the annual Sun Valley conference hosted by investment bank Allen & Co. gets underway in Idaho this week, the eyes of the media world will be on Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. After years of spinning off assets and slimming down his company, observers are wondering if Time Warner is a buyer or a seller. Does Bewkes want to buy a company like Discovery or sell to someone like Rupert Murdoch's Fox?
More Privacy Problems
Mark Zuckerberg is coming under fire again after it was revealed that Facebook manipulated the News Feeds of just under 700,000 users in the name of a science experiment to determine if online emotions were contagious. Anger among users at the perceived privacy violation spread quickly.
The Supreme Court ruled that Aereo violates the copyrights of broadcasters by streaming local TV signals over the internet via remote antennas. The ruling effectively puts Aereo out of business, as executives have said repeatedly the company has no plan B.
Two Billion Dollar Vice
In a bid to buy both cool and a digital media presence, Time Warner is reportedly talking to Vice Media about a deal. The details are murky, but could involve Time Warner infusing Vice with up to $1 billion in cash and spinning off its HLN cable news network. The reports, which value Vice at around $2 billion, follow Time Warner's spin off of its legacy magazine unit, Time Inc.
Google's Autonomous Automobiles Are Here
Google co-founder Sergey Brin unveiled at Re/code's inaugural Code Conference this week the company's long-awaited self-driving car prototype. Brin said Google would be making around 100 prototype cars, with each lacking a steering wheel, accelerator pedal or brake pedal and featuring a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour.
General Motors announced the recall of another 2.4 million cars this week, bringing the total figure for this year to a stunning 13 million. (Last year it recalled less than one million cars.) The company, which appointed Mary Barra as its first female CEO in December, said the latest recall would result in a $400 million charge.
Dialing For Dollars
Multiple news outlets reported Monday that AT&T is closing in on a deal to acquire DirecTV, the nation's largest satellite TV operator, for $50 billion. The potential deal comes after years of on-again, off-again negotiations between the two companies and follows the impending $45.2 billion merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.