Spotify grabbed headlines Wednesday as the music streaming service with $4 billion in annual revenue in 2017 filed papers with the SEC to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "SPOT." But while, everyone was paying attention to Spotify's offering paperwork-which revealed a near $400 million loss for 2017, mind you-the filing for one of China's largest media companies came with little fanfare.
Baidu's (BIDU - Get Report) streaming subsidiary, iQIYI, has filed paperwork to go public, with a $1.5 billion (yes, billion with a "b") placeholder. According to the filing, the company has licensing agreements with the likes of Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) and took in more than $2.6 billion in revenue from its more than 50 million active subscribers in China. iQIYI and U.K.-based Spotify have a couple of things in common. They both pay large money to content producers to license material and they both are losing money hand over fist while also raking in some serious top-line sterling and yen. I can't endorse these stocks-for one because i just don't know enough about them-but what I can tell you is that lots of people said the same thing about Netflix-great user growth, no money -- in the early days and here we are.
Outside of Dropbox, which filed papers last week, it seems as though much of the big U.S. tech unicorns aren't quite ready to dip their toes into the IPO waters. We'll have to wait on Uber and Airbnb, it seems. But for this pair of foreign companies-and I'll bet you a few more Chinese companies with aspirations of a U.S. listing-there seems to be no better time than now as investors still seem hungry for the next big thing in a volatile market.
While investors poured over Spotify, investors were fleeing Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe's (LOW - Get Report) as the home improvement company dipped more than 5% on weaker than expected results for the fourth quarter. But for those that have the stomach to hang in the stock, there could be a payout at the end of the journey. The Deal's Ron Orol points out that last year, D.E. Shaw & Co., a multi-strategy fund with $47 billion in assets, hired former Elliott Management portfolio manager Quentin Koffey, a veteran of insurgency campaigns including one at Hess Corp. (HES - Get Report) , to lead its activist investing operation. D.E. Shaw owns about $1 billion worth of shares in Lowe's and reached a settlement on Feb. 2 to add directors to the company's board.
David Batchelder, an ex-Home Depot Inc. (HD - Get Report) board member and co-founder of the trailblazing insurgent fund Relational Investors, is set to join Lowe's board. According to Ron, you can expect the new directors to push Lowe's in the direction of closing its enterprise valuation gap with Home Depot while at the same it's possible Lowe's management could be on the hotseat. "Consider that in 2007 Batchelder and Relational helped drive out then-Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli as part of a campaign focused on executive compensation issues," writes Orol on The Deal earlier today.
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Photo of the day: Better than the Three Stooges?
So long neighborhood watch. For every Mo, Larry and Curly out there helping patrol our neighborhoods from their living room windows, your days are numbered. Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) has agreed to acquire Ring, a maker of smart doorbells and other household fixtures that help keep your property safe. For Seattle-based Amazon, the deal appears to be another step to get more data around its users, get deeper into the homes of customers and to help better deliver packages in the future. It is also another salvo in its ongoing battle for the connected home, a fight that includes fellow Action Alerts Plus Holdings Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) and Apple (AAPL - Get Report) . Read more
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