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Investor Relations

Tech Giants Can Handle Their Own Mergers and Acquisitions Now

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A New York Times piece published over the weekend reviewed the strategies employed by massive tech companies like Apple and Google when they want to acquire smaller companies — and there’s reason for both PR and the financial industries to be concerned.

It seems that the primary issue some executives consider when determining whether to buy certain other businesses is not their potential to make money in the short-term (or even the mid-term): it’s whether consumers will really use the products they create in everyday life.

Hence what they call “the toothbrush test”: how often will the average person use this company’s product? Will they use it a few times and get tired of it, or will it be a consistent presence in their lives?

The implication: an increasing number of tech execs think they can make these decisions on their own.

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SeaWorld Finally Confirms a Blackfish Backlash to Investors

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SeaWorld has been very insistent in its messaging since CNN’s Blackfish expose surfaced with variations on “The documentary is skewed and it will not affect our business in any way.”

Despite this claim, the company and its firm 42West launched an aggressive campaign to counter the film’s influence and we posted extensively.

Time has revealed some small cracks in the  facade: Southwest Airlines, for example, recently ended its 26-year partnership with the resort while maintaining ties through the Southwest Vacations unit.

Today, however, the company officially changed its tune in a telling press release.

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THIS JUST IN: Goldman Sachs Thinks Walmart’s Reign Is Coming To An End

THIS JUST IN 2When the humble folks who run Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas (and NOT the equally famous “People of Walmart“) read the story that inspired this headline, they almost certainly voiced expletives and other things we can’t write in this post because Mediabistro insists that this is a family show.

According to this article from HuffPo, a research note published by Goldman Sachs analysts predicted the slow but certain demise of big chain box stores like Walmart and Target — and slapped the companies’ stock prices around a bit in the process.

Now, it’s going to take much more than that topple that king of the discount mountain.

The article, however, did pull out some plastic guns to blow holes in that argument…

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Could 18,000 Layoffs Be a #PRWin for Microsoft?

New-Microsoft-Logo-PPT-BackgroundsIf your stock portfolio contains Microsoft, today is a good day. If you happen to work for Microsoft, then it probably isn’t.

In case you’ve been living underneath a rock, the company announced this morning that it would eliminate up to 18,000 jobs, canning 14% of its workforce.

That’s a big deal on its own, but it isn’t the only story making headlines.

In fact, investors seem quite happy with the news.

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RadioShack Soon to Be Disconnected from NYSE

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First, it was the birth of “big box” electronic stores. Then, it was that whole “shacking up with Lance Armstrong” blowing up in its face (see what I did there). Followed by obliterating brand loyalty for “The Shack.”

Things were looking like a brighter horizon was coming for the Fort Worth, Texas-based iconic brand, thanks to a genius Super Bowl commercial (see below). And then absolutely nothing happened after that. So much for momentum.

Today, we discover an even more somber state of affairs for what was America’s favorite electronics store — its stock is selling for $1 per share, and faces almost certain peril and de-listing from the NYSE.  Read more

GoPro to Go Public via ‘Bro’s Bro’ Strategy

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GoPro may be one of the most interesting Southern California IPOs in recent memory. Absent from this week’s New York Times writeup are most of the key words that scream “this is a tech product of primary interest to tech employees and investors!”

First, we only know the company thanks to its status as the king of viral “wow that lion looks so incredible in HD” spots that usually get far more clicks than your average ad. GoPro’s dominance of the “cameras do amazing things” genre is so complete that we immediately wondered whether they were behind the probably-fake  ”camera falling from the sky and landing in a pig pen” clip.

The question: how can a company making a relatively old-fashioned product stand out in a sea of news about the new?

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Chipotle Comms Clarifies: Fear Not the ‘Guacpocalypse’

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Here’s a case in which a company’s PR might almost regret having to contradict a viral story.

A couple of days ago a post on ThinkProgress highlighted a section of Chipotle’s annual report to investors, which expressed concern over the potential effect of global climate change and subsequent extended droughts on the availability of avocados and other produce.

“…we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost.”

The story went viral primarily due to the fact that it provided alternately bored/hungry/angry Americans with yet another excuse to scream at each other online. In other words, it was just another crappy, completely unproductive day in America’s political comment threads, which exist just to prove our theory that the human race might not be worth saving.

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Millennial Investors More Focused on CSR as a Value Indicator

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Ever had trouble convincing your clients of the value of CSR efforts? We’re guessing the answer to that question is “yes” because, in most cases, businesses judge the importance of public sentiment on the degree to which it influences investor relations.

We found a recent piece in The Guardian encouraging in that regard, however: as the average age of the investor class goes down, its interest in CSR and “profit with purpose” goes up.

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Can PR Spending Predict a New Tech Bubble?

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Earlier this week the San Francisco Chronicle published a sort of insider’s perspective on how the state of tech PR could reveal a pending Silicon Valley “bubble”—and they asked a couple of our favorite contacts to weigh in.

Tech’s venture capital take in 2013 was its highest since 2001, leading some unnamed observers to both wonder whether there’s a new bubble approaching and, if so, when it might burst. As white-hot industries begin their rapid fall back to earth, PR budgets are usually the first to get cut—so market experts look to the communications industry for clues regarding the health of Silicon Valley at large.

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Abercrombie & Fitch Opts for Severe Corporate Makeover

shutterstock_131601398Another troubled company has taken its plastic surgery experiments beyond the cosmetic: this morning Abercrombie & Fitch announced an internal re-structuring that resembles a last-minute attempt to reverse its own failing fortunes.

The company voted to add three new appointees to its board of directors, terminate its “poison pill” shareholders’ rights plan and, perhaps most significantly, officially separate the Chairman and CEO roles.

To summarize, perpetual mouth-in-foot victim Mike Jeffries will remain the company’s leader in name only; the board has effectively re-asserted control over A&F by limiting the power of both its shareholders and its public face.

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