It was a busy week for direct listings as Asana and Palantir got off to a flying start in public life.
The Quick Fix
#GazeIntoThePalantir — After oceans of paperwork and years of secretive dealing, Palantir finally went public via a direct listing on Wednesday.
#ReturnOfTheMac — Security software king McAfee is seeking a return to life as a public company, according to a filing with the SEC on Monday.
#TheSaddestPlaceOnEarth — Despite the majority of its parks reopening, Disney looks set to reduce its staff significantly.
#WatchOutRoku — Google may not be known for its hardware, but there was no messing around from the tech giant this week as it unveiled a host of new products.
#AndFinally — America’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, agreed Tuesday to pay a record $920 million to settle charges related to ‘spoofing’.
In one of the most hotly-anticipated stock market listings this year, Palantir Technologies Inc went public via a direct listing on the NYSE on Wednesday.
“Hi Palantir, how was your first day at school?”
If Palantir did have a mother to ask them that question, they probably wouldn’t tell you about her anyway. The ‘Johnny Tightlips’ of the data industry has a secretive streak that would give even Elizabeth Holmes a run for her money. However, there was no hiding a great opening day on the public stock exchanges after Palantir closed up more than 31% at $9.50 per share with a valuation of $21 billion. For all the foresight their data gives them, Palantir’s perfect day didn’t go off without a hitch though. The data-mining company’s stock opened for trading at $10 a share around 1:40 PM ET, but once it did, current and former employees of Palantir who wanted to sell some of their stake on the open market had difficulty doing so. The problems eased late in the day, and the system was fully functional by 3:30 PM ET, but many frustrated shareholders did not manage to offload stock at its intra-day high of $11.42.
Bet you didn’t know
Palantir is named after the powerful all-seeing stones from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ novels. We’ll leave it up to you to figure out why a data company would choose that name.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, McAfee is headed back to Wall Street as the company filed on Monday for an IPO, naming Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as lead underwriters.
Wait, doesn’t my Grandpa use McAfee?
It’s possible! My mid-50’s software developing father has sworn by McAfee for years, and he’s a grey ol’ grandaddy himself. To the younger folk among us, we — yes, we — might recall McAfee as that annoying pop-up on our earlier computers that just wouldn’t stop bugging us about how “YOUR COMPUTER IS AT RISK”. Ugh… Anyway, McAfee’s SEC filing paves the way for its return to the stock market, having traded publicly from 1999 to 2011 prior to being acquired by Intel. Within 6 years and after sinking $7.6 billion into the company, Intel sold McAfee to TPG Global, LLC. Now, McAfee is back and it listed a placeholder valuation of $100 million in its IPO filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, though the actual number is expected to be much higher. McAfee hasn’t detailed a planned IPO date, the number of shares to be offered or the price range, though it has applied to list its Class A common stock on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “MCFE.”
Bet you didn’t know
McAfee’s customer list includes 86% of the Fortune 100, 78% of the Fortune 500, and over 61% of the Global 2000, as of June 27, 2020.
Some worrying news regarding Disney’s workforce proved a stark reminder of the tenuous nature of working life during a pandemic.
What’s going on with Disney?
Often we try to keep the Five On Friday lighthearted and fun, perhaps with a smidgen of sarcasm and dry humor tossed in for flavor. However, Disney’s announcement this week that it would be laying off a whopping 28,000 of its staff at its domestic theme parks comes as a warning that we are far from out of the woods regarding COVID-19. The House of Mouse announced its plans shortly after the state of California signaled that Disneyland Resort would likely have to remain closed for the foreseeable future. Although the majority of its other parks have since reopened, albeit with limited capacity, Disney has been publicly outspoken against California’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.” These latest reports sent Disney stock tumbling once more, with the popular stock still remaining in the red year-to-date. Disney lost $4.72 billion in the three months ended June 27, its first quarterly loss in nearly two decades.
Bet you didn’t know
Disney has more than 223,000 staff worldwide, meaning that these announced layoffs will account for more than 12.5% of its total global workforce.
Google’s got it sights on more than just data collection as the tech giant launched a host of new hardware products this week, including a direct competitor to Roku and the Amazon Fire Stick.
Pray tell, what is this intriguing device?
This new device is a brand-agnostic streaming device, exactly like Roku, and it’s called GoogleTV+… Just kidding, unlike literally every new product released in the past two years, it will not contain a lazy ‘+’ in the name, but is called ‘Chromecast with Google TV’. It’s just a little dongle that plugs into the back of your TV, like a Roku, and gives you access to more than 6,500 apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Peloton, YouTube, and more. If anything, Roku stock reacted well following the event with its stock rising. Also unveiled was a new Nest Audio home speaker to compete with Amazon Echo. It’s a home assistant and plays sounds loudly; let’s move on. The final object on display was Google’s new Android phones, the 5G capable Pixel 5, and Pixel 4a. It’s quite admirable that after years of complete and utter failure, Google still believes that it can create a smartphone capable of competing with Apple or Samsung. Well, if you throw enough *ahem* at the wall and all that…
Bet you didn’t know
Google allegedly only sold around 2 million series 4 Pixel phones in the 6 months following their launch, ending March 31 this year, compared to roughly 114 million iPhones in the same period.
Here in Ireland, we have a word for someone who pretends to know what they’re talking about but doesn’t: Spoofer. For example, every time I talk about the NFL as if I know what I’m talking about, one of my knowledgable friends — always a Patriots fan btw — might call me out as a ‘spoofer’. That’s why I found it particularly funny when news broke that the largest bank in America, JPMorgan, agreed to pay a record $920 million to settle ‘spoofing’ charges. Unlike my NFL discussions though, this kind of spoofing is much more serious. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a statement that JPMorgan was involved in “deceptive conduct” over a period of at least eight years that included hundreds of thousands of so-called spoof trades — orders that were placed and quickly canceled because they were never intended to be executed — designed to fool investors. What’s more serious is that spoofing is illegal; plain and simple.
If this is so illegal, shouldn’t it be a bigger deal?
Well, you’re missing one key element here: JPMorgan is a bank. And sure, banks may not be the pre-2008 crash cesspits of corruption that they once were, but they still seem to get away with quite a bit. However, slapping an almost billion-dollar fine/settlement will go a long way to stopping any future spoofing. Luckily too, those involved no longer work there.
Bet you didn’t know
JPMorgan founder, J.P. Morgan, was famed for taking over failing businesses and reorganizing them into profitability. He did this so often, the process became known as “Morganization”.
The Week In Numbers
was the closing price of Asana stock after its first day of trading Wednesday — a jump of 37.14%.
will be chalked out by Caesars Entertainment for UK sports betting company William Hill, it was revealed this week.
is how much Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party’s new coronavirus aid bill could be worth.
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