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Wynn slumps as high rollers stay away in Macau (WYNN)

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 3:44pm

  • Wynn Resorts shares slumped 5% after missing on revenue and giving weak guidance.
  • The casino operator cited weakness in VIP gaming, and specifically baccarat.
  • Watch Wynn Resorts trade live.

Wynn Resorts was hit by a sharp slowdown in its VIP segment, with overall table turnover (money in play) plunging 18% from a year ago. The casino operator suggested the weakness was likely to continue going forward.

Revenues for the first quarter came in at $1.65 billion, slightly below the $1.67 billion that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.61, beating the $1.58 that was anticipated.

Wynn's Macau operations were particularly hit hard as overall revenue slid 16% and VIP turnover plunged 40%. Wynn's performance was further evidence that an economic slowdown in China may be having an impact, particularly among the high rollers that drive much of the industry's profitability.

The Financial Times reported that January's 5% year-over-year drop represented the first monthly decline for Macau gaming revenue in over two years.

The disappointing results comes alongside a host of indicators showing signs the Chinese economy is losing steam. In March, China cut its official growth target for 2019 to a range between 6% and 6.5%, its lowest since 1990.

In addition, markets have been particularly volatile amid mounting concerns surrounding the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China.  

On Friday, President Donald Trump made good on his threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%. The president also indicated he would place tariffs on an additional $325 billion of goods should the talks not reach a satisfactory resolution.

Gaming stocks are particularly sensitive to economic weakness in China as much of the high-roller category is driven by Chinese tourism. Wynn reported the primary driver of revenue declines was weakness in baccarat, a well-known choice for high rollers from Asia. Still management indicated it believed the declines were temporary.

"There's been a lot of discussion about new jurisdictions opening up in Asia and around the world and that may be baccarat's best days are behind it in Las Vegas or that Macau can continue to see some cannibalization. And what I would say to that is I totally disagree," said CEO Matt Maddox on the earnings call.

"We've experienced gaming expansion in the United States for decades. And we're experiencing it now in Asia."

The company is also recovering from the departure of its founder and former CEO Steve Wynn, who resigned in 2018 amid reports of sexual misconduct. In 2018, Wynn fully divested his $2 billion stake in the company.

Wynn Resorts is up 32% year to date.

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Online pharmacy PillPack was reportedly on track to make $299 million in revenue when Amazon acquired the company in a $750 million deal

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 3:33pm

  • Amazon sent shockwaves through the healthcare industry when in June 2018 it acquired online pharmacy PillPack in a $750 million deal. 
  • At the time of the deal, the company was on track to make $299 million in annual revenue, according to a pitch deck reviewed by CNBC reporter Christina Farr.
  • In 2019, that number was expected to double to $635 million. PillPack projected 2020 revenue of $1.2 billion, CNBC reported.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

At the time that Amazon acquired PillPack, the pharmacy startup was making hundreds of millions in revenue, CNBC reported.

In June 2018, Amazon bought online pharmacy startup PillPack for about $750 million. The deal sent shockwaves through the healthcare industry as Amazon's playbook for upending healthcare got clearer. 

At the time of the deal, the company was on track to make $299 million in annual revenue, according to a pitch deck reviewed by CNBC reporter Christina Farr.  In 2019, that number was expected to reach $635 million, before doubling again to $1.2 billion in 2020.

That'd still be a relatively small piece of the US's massive market prescription drug market — pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens, for instance, make hundreds of billions in revenue.  

PillPack mails prescriptions to people who take multiple medications, packaging them together based on dose. The company has pharmacies around the country that send out medication via mail. 

Read more: We tried PillPack, the pharmacy startup Amazon acquired for $1 billion, and we can see why it has big pharmacies terrified

A representative for PillPack declined to comment on the report. 

So far, Amazon hasn't said much about what its plan is for PillPack. CNBC reported that a group of health insurers approached PillPack about providing its services to their customers, though no agreement has yet been reached. 

Former Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told Business Insider's Rich Feloni in 2019, that from where he Bertolini sits, the deal had less to do with running a pharmacy and was more about finding a new way to get into people's homes.

"Amazon bought PillPack, but it wasn't about the pills," Bertolini said. "It was about getting into the home with Alexa where they can learn more about what we can do to provide health."

Read the full story of the Amazon-PillPack deal at CNBC.

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A Silicon Valley stock exchange backed by Peter Thiel and Andreessen Horowitz just got SEC approval

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 2:54pm

  • A new stock exchange backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists just gained approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission. 
  • The Long-Term Stock Exchange is a new stock exchange designed to encourage long-term thinking and investors.
  • It will compete with the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq to take companies public.
  • Read more stories on the Business Insider homepage.

The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq may have a stronghold on initial public offerings in the US, but Silicon Valley is ready to challenge the status quo.

The Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE), a new exchange backed by Peter Thiel's Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz, just gained approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company announced on Friday.

The approval makes the LTSE one of about a dozen exchanges that are qualified to take companies public, and it will allow the buying and selling of shares on its automated platform. While the NYSE and the Nasdaq are large and well-known, companies have the option to list with a number of exchanges, including ones based in Chicago, Miami, and Philadelphia. 

Each exchange comes with its own value proposition, but across the world, the NYSE and the Nasdaq are the exchanges of choice for high-profile and high-value companies, especially in the technology industry.

The New York Stock Exchange, which took Uber public on Friday, is the most storied of US exchanges. It's known in part for its historic way of launching IPOs, in which on-floor traders stand near one another and shout numbers.

Read more: A Nasdaq executive says companies are rushing to get their IPOs out before Trump goes up for re-election

The Nasdaq was founded in 1971 as a fully automated stock exchange, where on-floor traders were obsolete. For that reason, it was a hit with tech companies during the dot-com boom and through Facebook's error-ridden IPO in 2012. The Nasdaq also took Lyft public at the end of March.

The LTSE has its own value proposition, which is its focus on long-term investors and business strategies. Long-term investing is a philosophy that discourages decision-making based off of quarterly earnings and short-term share value. Some of its biggest supporters are pension funds, which operate with nearly a century-long investor horizon.

It was unclear whether the SEC would approve its application when it applied at the end of November, The Wall Street Journal reported, in part because of the LTSE's rules that give expanded control and voting powers to founders and long-term shareholders.

In Silicon Valley, many startup founders have opted to stay private for longer, in part because the tech industry is still flush with willing investors and loads of cash, and in part because private companies aren't subject to quarterly earnings reports.

Like its dream customers, the LTSE is a startup in its own right. Run by CEO Eric Ries, LTSE has the backing of several high-profile venture-capital firms, including Peter Thiel's Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz, along with the Collaborative Fund and Obvious Ventures.

SEE ALSO: The head of Nasdaq explains what changed when she transitioned from C-suite exec to CEO, and what every leader can learn from that difference

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49 of the biggest scandals in Uber's history

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 2:38pm

  • Uber went public on Friday, May 10, in one of the biggest IPOs ever, but news hasn't always been so rosy for the company.
  • Over the years, Uber has been plagued by a long list of scandals, ranging from reports of sexual harassment to aggressive strategies to take down the competition. 
  • Here's a look back at the biggest scandals that have rocked the company over the last decade. 
  • Read more stories like this on the Business Insider homepage.

Uber went public on Friday, May 10, in one of the biggest IPOs in history. The major move paints a rosy picture for the company but over the years a series of scandals helped define the thriving organization's legacy as one mired in scandal.

Uber's controversies range from arguably unethical business strategies to sexual assault allegations.

Here's a look back at the scandals the came before Uber went public at an initial market cap of $75.5 billion.

Biz Carson, Julie Bort, and Graham Rapier contributed reporting to this story. 

SEE ALSO: How Uber reportedly tried to keep the lid on the data breach that affected 57 million people

October 2010: UberCab receives its first cease and desist

According to New York Magazine's extensive list of Uber's ups and downs, the company's first scandal came before the startup changed its name from UberCab to Uber. Four months after launching in San Francisco, the San Francisco Metro Transit Authority & the Public Utilities Commission of California issued a cease and desist order. 

UberCab changed its name to Uber. Six years later, San Francisco would have roughly 45,000 Uber drivers, compared to just 2,026 licensed taxis. 

January 2012: Uber gets slammed in its first major surge pricing backlash

Uber told customers that prices would increase due to increased demand on New Years Eve. However, people were still furious when they were forced to pay three to six-times the normal amount to get a ride. 

November 2012: Prices soar during Hurricane Sandy

With most public transportation down in New York City, Ubers were in high demand, leading to prices doubling. After being accused to price gouging, the company made prices revert back to normal, while continuing to pay drivers two times the rate. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Uber just went public. Here's what 12 of its earliest employees are doing now, from the former intern who's now a powerful exec to the ousted former CEO who's worth $5.4 billion

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 2:23pm

In 2009, a tiny startup called UberCab was founded; today, it's just called Uber, and it's one of Silicon Valley's most successful companies. Uber operates in more than 700 cities worldwide.

Now, Uber is going public in one of the biggest IPOs of all time with an initial market cap of $75.5 billion. Trading opened at $42 per share. Some of Uber's first investors could make up to $1.3 billion in total from the IPO, according to Bloomberg.

Read more: Uber is sliding after its IPO, and Main Street traders who struggled to invest dodged a bullet

Many of Uber's earliest employees still work at Uber, including former intern Austin Geidt, who's now the Head of Strategy for the company's Advanced Technologies Group and rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on the day of Uber's IPO.

Others have left to pursue other startups and related ventures. At least three of the company's early employees — former CEO Travis Kalanick, Ryan Graves, and Garrett Camp — are now billionaires.

Here's what 12 of Uber's earliest employees are doing now.

SEE ALSO: Here's who's getting rich on Uber's massive IPO

DON'T MISS: Uber's first employee is poised to make over $1 billion in the company’s massive public offering, and he’s already committed to donating at least $14 million to charity

Oscar Salazar

Employed by Uber from: 2009 to 2011

Former position at Uber: Founding Member

Where he is now: Although there's some dispute about it, early Uber documentation refers to Salazar as a cofounder of the company. He and cofounder Garrett Camp attended business school together, then built Uber's first prototype with another school friend, Conrad Whelan.

Salazar departed the company amicably soon after it launched. Besides being an active investor in companies like Egyptian motorcycle and tuk-tuk ride-hailing startup Halan, he has launched other companies like Pager, which sends a doctor or nurse to you with a tap of your phone, and Ride, a carpooling app for commuters.

More recently, he launched Ogon LLC, an advisory firm to companies like Rubicon Global Inc., ALEX AND ANI, and Sontra Cargo.

Salazar has a roughly $250 million stake in Uber and is expected to sell about $10 million  worth of shares, Bloomberg reported in April.

Curtis Chambers

Employed by Uber from: 2010 to 2017

Former position at Uber: Director of Engineering

Where he is now: Before Uber, Chambers helped build Expensify, the popular online expense-reports startup, as well as contributing to open-source Drupal and Django. As Uber's seventh employee, Chambers worked on UberEATS and later became the director of engineering for Uber's trucking operation, the position he held when he left the company in 2017.

On both Twitter and LinkedIn, Chambers now describes himself as a "Professional Dad."


Austin Geidt

Employed by Uber from: 2010 to present

Position at Uber: Head of Strategy for Uber's Advanced Technologies Group

Where she is now: Geidt started at Uber as an "overdressed" intern and employee number four; she says she struggled for the first months. At first, her job wasn't well defined and saw her moving from handing out flyers to passersby to cold-calling drivers.

In the past, she has also been open about her history with drug addiction and recovery.

Geidt has moved up as Uber has grown. Since 2016, she's been the head of strategy for Uber's Advanced Technologies Group, which deals with self-driving technology.

On May 10, 2019, the day of Uber's IPO, Geidt was one the one to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's who's getting rich on Uber's massive IPO (UBER)

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 2:16pm

  • Uber just had one of biggest tech initial public offerings of all time, even though its stock price fell on opening day.
  • Its paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission gave us a glimpse at who its biggest shareholders are.
  • These are the people that stand to gain the most if Uber's entrance as a public company is well received by investors, and the shareprice remains high at the six month mark, when they will be free to sell their shares

Uber is now a public company. The paperwork it filed for its giant initial public offering (IPO) also reveals who the biggest shareholders are.

And with that knowledge — plus a little digging on Pitchbook, a database that tracks financial-deal details — we know which people and investors will score the biggest on Uber's stock, should its share price rise in six months. That's when these existing owners will be free to start selling their stakes on the public market. (They are subject to a 180-day lock up period.)

The opening day share price has been a disappointment. Uber's board was clearly hoping that the company would command a high stock price, valuing the company at $120 billion or more. It agreed to bonus its CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, $100 million or more in stock if the company hit that valuation and kept it for three months straight.

But Uber prices its initial shares at $45, a valuation of $75.5 billion. That's still enormous and yet retail investors didn't want to bite at that price. Shares opened $42 and have slowly inched back to the $43 and $44 range.

So, for the sake of calculating how much the stake of each of the major shareholders is worth, we are using a $43 share price.

SEE ALSO: The takedown of Travis Kalanick — The untold story of Uber's infighting, backstabbing, and multimillion-dollar exit packages

SoftBank — $9.3 billion

SoftBank drove a hard bargain when it picked up a 16% stake in Uber, buying shares from other stockholders at about $33 a share.

SoftBank's billionaire CEO Masayoshi Son capitalized on Uber's boardroom troubles a couple of years ago and the infighting on the board to grab a big chunk of the company for his investment company, the SoftBank Vision Fund, at what he hopes will prove to be a bargain price.

SoftBank Vision Fund, through an entity called SB Cayman 2 Ltd., owns nearly 217 million shares, or 13% of the company. It sold nearly 5.5 million shares in the IPO, presumably at $45 for more than $245 million.

Its remaining stake, at $43 a share is worth $9.3 billion.

Benchmark Capital — $6.2 billion

The A-list venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, under partner Bill Gurley, led Uber's $11 million series A funding round back in 2011, and invested in later rounds. The $12 million Benchmark invested over time became valued at as high as $7 billion, records from its lawsuits with Uber revealed.

Benchmark sold about 14.5% of its stake to SoftBank when SoftBank bought in, but it also held on to a considerable stake. It still owns more than 144 million shares, or 8% of the company.

As Business Insider previously reported, Gurley was one cofounder Travis Kalanick's earliest advisers and then became one of the ringleaders who ousted Kalanick.

After that, Gurley resigned from the board, and Matt Cohler took his place. Cohler remains on the board today.

Benchmark sold nearly 5.8 million shares at the IPO. At $45, that would have brought in nearly $259 million. At $43 a share, its remaining stake is worth $6.2 billion.

Travis Kalanick - $5 billion

Travis Kalanick's rise and fall as Uber's founder and CEO has been well documented. He left the CEO job in summer 2017 (and launched a new company) and sold off a sizeable chunk of his stake to Softbank at that time. That sale put $1.4 billion in his pocket, and it represented only 30% of his stake.

He's still the largest individual Uber shareholder. He owns nearly 114 million shares, or about 7% of the company. He sold $3.7 million shares in the IPO presumably at the $45 share price, which, at that price, would have brought in $168 million.

At $43 a share, his remaining stake is worth more than $5 billion.





See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Beyond Meat's scorching-hot IPO has shades of the dot-com bubble (BYND)

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 1:26pm

  • Beyond Meat shares skyrocketed 163% during their first day of trading.
  • The last time an initial public offering saw such a big pop was during the tech bubble. 
  • Beyond Meat has never turned a profit. 
  • Watch Beyond Meat trade live.

Beyond Meat shares have been on fire since making their stock-market debut. 

Last Wednesday, the plant-based burger maker priced its initial public offering at $25 a share. By the end of trading on Thursday, the stock had surged by 163% to settle at $65.75.

The opening-day advance was the largest since the height of the dot-com bubble, which occurred at the turn of the millennium. In fact, Beyond Meat's gain was the 16th biggest of all time for an initial public offering, and every one above it occurred in 1999 or 2000, according to Dealogic.

"The 163% first-day surge for Beyond Meat was beyond comprehension for a company that's never turned a profit," tweeted David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff. 

Beyond Meat has a history of losing money. It has yet to turn a profit since its founding in 2009, losing $29.9 million in 2018, $30.4 million in 2017, and $25.1 million in 2016 as it "invested in innovation and growth." 

The losses have come even though sales have grown mightily over the same time, something not uncommon among start-ups. Beyond Meat's net revenue grew from $16.2 million in 2016 to $32.6 million in 2017 and $87.9 million in 2018.

"The recent large IPO pop for Beyond Meat highlights the market's appetite for innovation in the same nontech industry," said Joseph Mezrich, head of US quantitative analysis at Nomura.

That excitement has caused Beyond Meat's valuation to sky rocket from $1.5 billion at its IPO pricing on May 1, to as high as $4.7 billion on Tuesday. Currently the company is valued at $4.1 billion.

"You know things are getting bubbly when a food producer with no earnings sees its market cap balloon to over $4 bln in just days after its IPO, and with a price/sales ratio of 50x! For veggie burgers!!" Rosenberg added. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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IT'S OFFICIAL: Trump ramps up tariffs on China, escalating the high-stakes trade war

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 12:00am

  • President Donald Trump more than doubled the tariff rate on more than a third of Chinese imports early Friday morning.
  • Beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET, a total of about $250 billion worth of shipments from China will face an import tax of 25%. 
  • The escalation has cast doubt on trade negotiations and is expected to lead to higher prices for American businesses and consumers.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Friday more than doubled the tariff rate on roughly $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, a move that sets the stage for retaliation from Beijing and that significantly raises the stakes in a yearlong trade war between the world's largest economies.

After accusing China of reneging on past trade commitments, the Trump administration has sought to increase pressure on Chinese officials in negotiations taking place this week. About $250 billion worth of Chinese products will now face a 25% duty when shipped to the US. Previously, a majority of those had been subject to a 10% import tax.

That could lead to higher prices on a wide range of everyday products from electronics to clothing. While Trump claims Chinese companies will pay the price, research suggests American businesses and consumers bear the brunt of tariffs.

Officials at the Chinese Commerce Ministry — who have denied that they made reversals on major aspects of a draft trade agreement — vowed on Wednesday to take countermeasures against increased tariff rates.

Those could include tariffs on American products or other trade barriers. China has already placed retaliatory duties on $110 billion worth of imports from the US, which had caused significant trouble for the US agricultural sector.

Read more: Uber chose the worst possible week to have its IPO, and the bad timing will cost it billions

The escalation comes just as officials were thought to be nearing a deal. As recently as last week, there were high hopes for the two days of trade negotiations in Washington that began on Thursday.

While both countries have indicated a trade deal is still possible, questions have been raised about the timeline of and the ability to enforce an agreement.

"China can be made to fold, but it would require much more sustained action than the US has taken to now," said Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. "More likely, China does not fold and smaller-scale US action becomes permanent."

Trump on Monday also threatened to slap steep tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports, roughly $325 billion worth, a move that economists warn would have widespread effects on businesses and consumers.

"New tariffs on those goods that president has so far left untaxed will fall on American families, as these mostly hit textiles, apparel, shoes, home goods, etc.," said Mary Lovely, a trade scholar at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"Higher taxes on these goods are likely to be highly regressive, in that lower and middle class Americans spend a higher portion of their income on these Chinese imports than do higher income Americans," she continued.

SEE ALSO: China denies blowing up trade talks with the US hours before Trump's new tariffs drop

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Uber chose the worst possible week to have its IPO, and the bad timing will cost it billions (LYFT)

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 8:06pm

In the stock market, timing is everything. For Uber, it turns out, the timing of its initial public offering could have been a lot better.

The app-based taxi giant went public on Thursday, pricing its stock at $45 a share. The price was near the bottom of the $44 to $50 a share range it had planned for, giving the company a market value of about $75.5 billion.

That's nothing to sneeze at, of course. At that price, Uber is raising $8.6 billion in its IPO. And it means the 10-year-old company is entering the public markets with a value greater than that of automaker Ford, rental car company Avis and pay-TV giant Viacom combined. 

But the initial public valuation is clearly disappointing for the company and its early investors. The amount is well below the $100 billion or more valuation the company was reportedly shooting for as recently as last month. And it's only about two-thirds of the $120 billion number investment bankers were hyping last year.

Maybe Uber's stock will soar on Friday when it begins trading and everyday shareholders get a chance to buy a piece of the ride-hailing company. But that would only underscore how bad of a week it was to go public, since it caused Uber to misjudge market demand and forfeit billions of dollars if it had priced higher.

It's likely that a lot of different factors weighed down the price investors were willing to pay for Uber in the IPO. But many of them can likely be pinned on the IPO happening at the same time as a confluence of problematic events.

Uber didn't get a lift from Lyft

Chief among those is almost certainly the poor performance of the shares of Lyft since its own IPO in March. That's because Lyft's IPO — the first by a company that focuses primarily on the ride-hailing business — could be considered a dry run for Uber's.

In the US, Lyft is Uber's archrival. Although it's considerably smaller, it shares many similarities. Both are branching out from their taxi businesses into other areas, such as bike and scooter sharing services and self-driving vehicles. And while both have seen fast revenue growth, they've each failed thus far to generate cash from their operations.

Lyft's IPO initially seemed to go well, The company went public at $72 a share, at the top of its range. That gave it an initial valuation of $21 billion, which was nearly 40% higher than its last private valuation, just nine months earlier. Even better, its stock zoomed as high as $88.60 on their first day of trading.

Since then, though, Lyft's shares have done little but decline. They hit a new nadir on Wednesday of $52.78 a share and closed Thursday at $55.18, down 23% since the IPO. The company's market capitalization is now barely above the company's last private valuation.

Uber is facing mounting losses and disgruntled drivers

But other factors closer to home likely weighed on Uber's IPO. At the end of last month, the company updated its IPO documents to include its preliminary estimate of its first-quarter results. The report wasn't good.

Uber's revenue in the period grew by just 18% to 20%. That was below the 25% annual pace it grew in the fourth quarter last year. And less than half the 42% rate it grew for all of last year.

Worse, the company reported that its quarterly loss, which dipped in the fourth quarter to $865 million, ballooned to at least $1 billion in the first quarter.

Read this: Uber is telling the world it's just like Amazon: Here's why the similarities are only skin-deep

Added on top of that was Wednesday's strike by Uber and Lyft drivers. Although it likely had little impact on Uber's financials, the labor action highlighted the growing discontent among the people who deliver its core service and the pressure it's under to increase their pay.

But that's not all Uber is contending with. The stock market has plunged this week and many of the major indexes are now down over the last month. Concerns about the economic impact of the trade war with China amped back up this week after President Trump threatened to impose additional tariffs on Chinese made goods.

And investors are growing increasingly worried about market volatility. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX, spiked to near 20 this week. Numbers below 20 imply that investors expect relatively calm markets. IPO managers try to time them so they occur during such periods — and try to avoid them when implied volatility gets much higher than that.

Of course, many of these factors were outside of Uber's control. Despite them, it's still going to have a giant IPO.

But it could have been even bigger. Its timing likely cost Uber billions.

Got a tip about Uber or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Uber gave CEO Dara Khosrowshahi $45 million in total pay last year, but it paid its COO even more

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Why breaking up Facebook is actually a terrible idea (FB)

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 6:41pm

  • Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes said Facebook's power is so great across the tools billions of people use that it needs to be stopped.
  • And he's right.
  • But while his solution to break Facebook up into separately traded companies — Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp — is an emotionally satisfying thought, it is flawed.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes has made a compelling case about why Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are too powerful.

The company hasn't just been sloppy with its privacy practices, as Hughes wrote in a 6,000-word opinion piece in The New York Times, it's been deceitful, promising its users for years that it takes privacy seriously when behind the scenes it's done everything from tricking people into handing over their email-address books (and then storing them) to using a VPN app to track people, including teens (a VPN is supposed to protect a person from spying eyes).

Read more: The CEO of a $1.3 billion startup backed by Mary Meeker, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, apologizes after sexual harassment allegations emerge

Facebook's lax attitudes fueled the Cambridge Analytica scandal, allowed Russian agents to interfere in elections worldwide, allowed made-up stories to pose as news, enabled the proliferation of hate groups and live violent videos, and so on.

Although Zuckerberg is a nice guy by Hughes' account of him, and he was hauled before Congress to answer questions for hours, the blowback he's faced has been negligible. Revenues are soaring, and the number of people using the company's family of products — Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram — is growing. The stock, while not at its peak, is trading high, at nearly $190 a share.

Hughes said Facebook's power is so great across the tools billions of people use that it needs to be stopped.

And he's right.

But while his solution to break Facebook up into separately traded companies — Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp — is an emotionally satisfying thought (retribution!), it is flawed.

Breaking up Facebook would create three (or more) smaller public entities that would all feel pressured to grow. These "Baby Facebooks" would all be raised in the same growth-at-all-costs culture, but now they'd be acting on their own, without the unifying influence and objectives of a parent.

And, depending on how the breakup occurred, Zuckerberg could remain a large shareholder, and a powerhouse, behind all of them.

So instead of one Zuckerberg ruling over an empire increasingly coming under public scrutiny, the world would get three of them. And, as smaller entities without the same level of attention focused on a giant like Facebook, the practices of these Baby Facebooks might fall under the radar.

Problem solved? Not really.

Regulation is part of the solution, as long as there are criminal teeth to it. If a company's businesses can be seized and its executives thrown in jail, similar to insider-trading regulations, that might scare them. But civil regulations that slap financial penalties are much more of a yawn. Facebook is preparing to pay a whopping $5 billion to the Federal Trade Commission. But to a company worth half a trillion dollars, that's a slap on the wrist.

Don't dismiss technical solutions to this problem

The real solution might be, believe it or not, a technical one, and something one public company is already working on. Okta CEO Todd McKinnon is trying to create an industry standard for digital identities, one that puts each individual person in control of what digital information gets shared about themselves.

Instead of handing over your email address, phone number, names of the people in your photos to whatever website asks you, each of us would have a digital-identity wallet. We would be able to share and revoke our digital information as we see fit, as McKinnon sees it.

Okta makes its living offering a service that lets companies manage employee digital identities. Things like passwords and access rights.

So McKinnon isn't creating this as some kind of digital-identity product (although eventually he certainly will). He says he wants to create an industry standard, where lots of companies help create the tech and use the tech and multiple companies like Okta will sell versions of it.

His plan is to get his customers, big enterprise companies like JetBlue and Major League Baseball, to help him. They want to learn about their customers but don't want to be caught in a privacy scandal by gathering data that gets hacked and misused.

"I tell them that this backlash on tech is going to reflect on them," McKinnon told us. "I think vendors and tech companies need to do more. I think Silicon Valley is, as the epicenter of tech, it's a bit of a wake-up call for us. We've thought that tech was all good and we underestimated the risks of it."

But he announced his idea to create a "universal-identity" standard a year ago at his tech conference and told Business Insider that it's been slow going getting this off the ground so far.

So breaking up Facebook definitely feels good to think about. But unless consumers gain a means to have control over their data (and regulators create laws with teeth), instead of crushing a giant, we'd be cutting off one head and watching three grow back.

SEE ALSO: A Facebook cofounder says that Mark Zuckerberg's power is 'unprecedented and un-American' in scathing New York Times op-ed

Join the conversation about this story »

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Trump scored a trade-war win against China in March, based on his favorite report card

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 6:11pm

  • The gap between all American products shipped abroad and goods the US imported, known as the trade deficit, rose slightly in March.
  • The politically sensitive deficit with China decreased to a five-year low, however, as shipments picked up and imports slowed.
  • The results were released ahead of crucial trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing set to take place Thursday and Friday.
  • Visit Markets Insider's homepage for more stories.

The gap between all American products shipped abroad and goods the US imported, known as the trade deficit, rose slightly in March, while the deficit with China narrowed to its lowest level in five years.

The Commerce Department on Thursday said the goods and services trade deficit rose by $2.1 billion, or about 1.5%, to a seasonally adjusted $50 billion. The amount the US shipped abroad climbed by 1% to $212 billion, and imports grew 1.1% to $262 billion.

The politically sensitive deficit with China, however, decreased in March to its lowest point since 2014, falling 16.2% to $28.3 billion. The results were released ahead of crucial trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing set to take place Thursday and Friday.

President Donald Trump views the trade balance as a scorecard of sorts in his economic wars. The figure is driven by many factors, however, including foreign-exchange rates, the strength of an economy, and the amount a country borrows from abroad.

Exports to China totaled $10.5 billion in March, an increase of $1.4 billion, while the value of products the US imported from China fell by $0.5 billion, to $38.8 billion.

Civilian aircraft shipments, which led a jump in overall exports in January, fell by $0.7 billion. Economists think these shipments could fall further after Boeing suspended deliveries of its 737 Max aircraft in the wake of two deadly crashes.

American soybean exports continued to climb in March after falling sharply last year when China retaliated against the Trump administration with a 25% tariff on the legume. Soybean shipments to China increased $500 million.

Trade negotiations appear to be under pressure as Trump doubles down on vows to follow through with previously postponed escalations with China.

The Trump administration on Monday threatened to increase the tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, a punitive measure taken after the US accused China of reneging on commitments from a draft trade deal. Beijing was swift to announce it would retaliate against such measures.

SEE ALSO: China threatens to hit back at the US if Trump follows through with his plan to escalate the trade war

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A closely followed recession indicator just flashed red for the 2nd time this year

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 6:07pm

  • The yield curve on Thursday inverted for the second time this year as the 3-month yield climbed above the 10-year yield.
  • A yield-curve inversion has historically signaled a recession is coming in the medium-term.
  • Some economists, however, have argued this time may be different.
  • Visit Markets Insider's homepage for more stories.

A historical signal of a recession occurred Thursday, with the 3-month Treasury yield rising above the 10-year yield.

This market phenomenon is known as an inversion of the yield curve, and may have spooked markets which had already been under pressure following a breakdown in trade negotiations with China. The S&P 500 was down as much as 2% on Thursday before trimming its losses. 

The yield curve usually slopes upward, as longer-dated Treasurys typically have higher yields than shorter-term ones. A flat curve means all Treasurys have the same interest rate, while an inverted curve means its sloping downward at some points, with longer-dated yields below shorter-dated ones.

The yield curve's inversion has caused concern among market commentators that a recession is near. 

"Every U.S. recession in the past 60 years was preceded by a negative term spread, that is, an inverted yield curve," wrote Michael D. Bauer and Thomas M. Mertens in a March 2018 Federal Reserve research paper. The lead time has varied however, sometimes taking up to three years, with the stock market often logging double-digit returns before the recession begins.

The 3-month and 10-year curve last inverted in March, sparking fears of a recession and a sell-off in the stock market. Before that, the last time such an event happened was in 2007, just months ahead of the Great Recession.

Investors usually receive higher interest rates when they commit funds over longer time periods. When the opposite happens, as it does during a yield-curve inversion, many people take it as a warning signaling near-term unease.

In contrast to this interpretation, some economists believe this time is different. Tom Porcelli, RBC's chief US economist, argues the inversions of 2018 (The 2-year 5-year curve inverted in December) and 2019 do not follow the historical pattern in which domestic investors drive down long-term rates over fears of short-term economic turbulence. 

"The problem with the current inversion and the historical record is that the yield curve at present is not a referendum on the path of economic growth in the United States, but rather a function of goings on globally," he said.

"Yields have become more a function of global growth dynamics and indeed have become anchored to low/negative sovereign yields abroad."

Indeed, if this is the case, then a recession is not on the horizon as many others forecast. The robust US economy, which grew at 3.2% in the first quarter and has an unemployment at a 40-year low, will be further bolstered by low long-term rates.

"So, no, we are not on recession watch because of this dynamic — we are, more than any other point this cycle, on bubble watch," Porcelli concludes.

Still, in a recent blog post, Ray Dalio, co-founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund, predicted US long-term Treasury rates would fall close to zero as the economy weakens, making yield curve inversions more likely.

"It is inevitable that this shift will happen because it is inevitable that central bankers will want to ease when interest rates are pinned at 0% and when quantitative easing will be ineffective in achieving the goal," he wrote.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Facebook says breaking up a 'successful American company' isn't the right way to hold it accountable (FB)

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 5:54pm

  • After Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes called for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to relinquish his stranglehold on the industry and for the company to be broken up in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday, the tech giant has responded. 
  • "Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don't enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company," Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs and communication, said
  • Hughes is calling for a breakup of Facebook, which he said would involve spinning off its Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions and heavier government regulation around privacy controls. 
  • Facebook said its chief exec is already working with the government just fine: "Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for. Indeed, he is meeting government leaders this week to further that work."
  • Read the full Chris Hughes op-ed here
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes called for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to relinquish his stranglehold on the industry and for the company to be broken up, the tech giant has responded — and it doesn't agree. 

"Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don't enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company," Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs and communication, said in a statement first given to CNN. "Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for. Indeed, he is meeting government leaders this week to further that work."

In the 6,000-plus word New York Times op-ed, Hughes chronicled the rise of Facebook and how his college roommate Zuckerberg amassed too much power, in his view, along the way. 

"He's human," Hughes wrote of Zuckerberg. "But it's his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic."

Read more: A Facebook cofounder has written a blistering New York Times op-ed arguing that Mark Zuckerberg's social network should be torn apart

The early cofounder is calling for a breakup of Facebook, which he said would involve spinning off its Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions. Hughes also wants more government regulation to make Facebook more accountable to Americans, specifically regarding its privacy controls and handling of user data. 

The social-media giant is already facing up to a $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission for its mishandling of user data, but some have called the penalty a mere slap on the wrist for a company worth more than half a trillion dollars. 

Facebook's fast response on Thursday put to rest any ideas that it would consider easily letting go of its hugely valuable Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions. 

Others aren't buying the company's argument that just because it's successful, it shouldn't be broken up. 

I’m not an advocate for breaking up Facebook. But “we’re successful” isn’t a compelling argument against doing it. Standard Oil and AT&T were successful!

— Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken) May 9, 2019


SEE ALSO: Peter Thiel bought Mark Zuckerberg a car before he got rich, and it's where the CEO had an epiphany that changed Facebook forever

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Preferred vs Reserve: How the Chase Sapphire credit cards stack up

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 5:51pm

Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network if you apply for a credit card, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has been one of the most popular credit cards among rewards experts and travelers alike for years, and it's easy to see why. On top of the 2x points earned on all dining and travel purchases, the card also comes with class-leading benefits, including primary collision damage waiver/theft insurance for rental cars, trip delay and baggage delay coverage, robust purchase protections, and fantastic customer service. 

On top of all that, Chase offers Sapphire Preferred cardholders great options for redeeming points; you can exchange them for cash back at one cent per point, or you can use them to purchase travel thorough Chase's booking portal with a 25% bonus. Best of all, you can can transfer points to Chase's frequent flyer partners (click here to read about why that's potentially the most lucrative way to use your points).

For a while, holding the Sapphire Preferred was a no-brainer.

Then, in 2016, Chase launched a souped-up version of the card: the Chase Sapphire Reserve. In addition to offering the same benefits as its predecessor, the Sapphire Reserve packs on a few extra features for serious travelers. It earns 3x points on travel and dining instead of 2x, and comes with a $300 annual travel credit, access to select airport lounges through the Priority Pass network, a trip delay insurance policy that takes effect after shorter delays, and elite benefits with a few car rental agencies.

With the Sapphire Reserve, you can also redeem points the same way as with the Preferred — with one difference. When using them to purchase travel through Chase, you'll get a 50% bonus, instead of just 25%.

Along with the added perks, though, the beefier card comes with a higher annual fee. While the Sapphire Preferred only costs $95 per year, the Sapphire Reserve has an un-waived annual fee of $450. When you subtract the $300 travel credit, which is essentially applied to the first $300 of travel-category spending each cardmember year, the effective fee is only $150 per year, a $55 increase over the Preferred.

So what makes the Sapphire Reserve worth the higher annual fee? Which one is right for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding between the two cards.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy.

How much do I spend on travel and dining?

To start, let's keep it simple and focus solely on the points earning.

Without considering any other perks or benefits, the deciding factor between the two cards should be whether you spend enough on dining and travel that earning an extra point per dollar is worth the Sapphire Reserve's higher annual fee.

The Sapphire Preferred's fee is $95, while the Sapphire Reserve's fee is $450. However, if you factor in the $300 travel credit that the Sapphire Reserve includes each year — which is good on everything from taxis, parking, tolls, and subway fares to flights, cruises, and hotels — the card's fee is effectively only $150. The difference between the Preferred's fee ($95) and the Reserve's (effectively $150) is $55.

For argument's sake, let's assume you value your points at 1.5 cent each (that's the value of points used to purchase travel through Chase, with the 50% bonus if you hold the Sapphire Reserve). That means you would need to earn 3,660 points each year to make up the $55 annual fee difference between the two cards. 

So if you spend at least $3,660 on dining and travel each year, the extra point earned per dollar will add up to the difference in fees and make it worth getting the Sapphire Reserve card. That's without factoring in the other benefits of the card.

Of course, this will still require you to pay the $450 annual fee every 12 months. Even though you'll get the travel credit applied to the first $300 of relevant spending each cardmember year, that can be a lot of money to pay up front. Whether you want to front $450 is entirely a personal decision, make sure you weigh the cash outlay (and the fact that the fee isn't waived the first year) against the higher earning potential. Moving on from points earning.

How do I value the higher sign-up bonus?

The 10,000 extra points you'd get from the Sapphire Preferred's sign-up bonus is worth at least $100 as cash back, $125 as travel through Chase, or more transferred to airline partners.

Put another way, you'd have to spend an extra $3,333 on the Sapphire Reserve to earn 10,000 points. It could be worth earning the higher bonus with the Sapphire Preferred, then converting it to the Reserve after your first year.

How much do I value the trip delay insurance?

A lot of discussion around the Sapphire Reserve focuses on the points and more obvious perks, like lounge access, but personally, I think the trip delay insurance is one of the most valuable features. I live in New York, where delays are fairly frequent, whether because of mechanical issues, intense weather, or other problems. 

That's why I like the extra layer of security added by the Sapphire Reserve. The card's trip delay coverage becomes effective after just six hours, or if you end up stuck overnight. The Sapphire Preferred's coverage is also activated when there's an overnight delay; if the delay is entirely during the day, the coverage takes effect after 12 hours.

If the trip delay insurance activating sooner is worth the higher annual fee, then you should consider the Sapphire Reserve. After a seven-hour delay this summer, I was able to submit a claim for a number of expenses including lunch, a phone backup battery, and even a pair of headphones I needed. However, any stay that incurs major expenses, like a hotel room and a change of clothes, would probably involve an overnight stay and therefore be covered by the Sapphire Preferred's insurance.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy.

Will I use the lounge access?

Airport lounges are the best. Even when they're relatively lively (read: crowded), it's much better than the main terminal and gate areas. I love having a place to sit down, relax, charge my phone, and have a few drinks or a snack while I wait for my flight; or, other times, to hunker down with my laptop and take advantage of the lounge wi-fi to do some work. Sometimes, airport lounges can be downright luxurious and include amenities like complimentary spa treatments.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve includes a free Priority Pass Select membership for as long as you have the card. Priority Pass is a network of more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world. A Select membership grants access to member lounges for you and any travel companions. While amenities vary by lounge, most of them tend to offer private wi-fi, free hard and soft drinks, snacks, and comfortable seating. Some lounges also feature heartier food options, sometimes included or sometimes for an additional charge.

You can take a look at Priority Pass's full network of lounges by clicking "Find a Lounge" on the upper-left corner of this page to gauge whether the membership will be useful for you. The network is more robust abroad; the amount of US locations is relatively limited, and they tend to be found in international terminals, so you may not always be able to access lounges before domestic trips. 

Several airports also have restaurants which are part of the Priority Pass network. At these restaurants — including the Grain Store at London's Gatwick airport — you'll get a certain amount credited on the bill for you and each guest. At the Grain Store, each guest is entitled to a £15 credit.

If your home airport has a Priority Pass lounge in a terminal you can generally access, or you travel internationally even once or twice a year, then the Priority Pass membership can be great to have, especially if you ever find yourself bored and waiting out a delay. If you don't think you'll have much use for the Priority Pass membership, you might prefer the Sapphire Preferred and its lower annual fee.

Do I already have Global Entry/TSA PreCheck?

First thing's first; if you don't have Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, you should really get it. With PreCheck, you can use special security lines at most US airports. In those lanes, you can keep your shoes, belt, and light jackets on, leave your laptop in your bag, and only go through a metal detector instead of a full body scanner. The process is much quicker than regular security, and it's much less uncomfortable.

With Global Entry, you can skip the immigration line when returning from the US and scan your passport at an unmanned kiosk instead. It prints a receipt which you bring to the customs stop after baggage claim, and just like that: you're good to go. Immigration at a busy terminal can take hours; with Global Entry, I've gotten through at JFK in four minutes.

You can apply to either program, but Global Entry usually includes TSA PreCheck and the $100 application fee is only a bit more than the $85 you'd pay to just apply for PreCheck. Plus, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a credit for either program. If you aren't enrolled in one of these programs yet, you may want to consider the Reserve. Otherwise, the Sapphire Preferred might be your best bet, unless you're due to renew your membership soon.

Will I add any authorized users to my account?

If you're looking to add authorized users, like a spouse or child, keep in mind that the Sapphire Reserve charges an annual fee of $75 to add anyone to your account, Each authorized user gets their own Priority Pass Select membership, at least. There's no fee to add an authorized user to your Sapphire Preferred account.

The bottom line

Ultimately, the two biggest things to consider when deciding between the cards is whether or not you're willing to pay the higher annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve, and whether you spend enough on dining and travel to make it worth that higher fee. Beyond that, take a look at the difference in perks and see which is best for you.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy. Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: This is one of the most recommended rewards credit cards — here's why

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Uber has officially priced its IPO at $45 per share (UBER)

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 5:15pm

  • Uber priced its IPO at $45 per share, the company announced on Thursday.
  • This gives Uber an initial market cap of $75.5 billion, far below the $120 billion banks reportedly sought for Uber at the start of the IPO process.
  • The company is expected to raise $8.1 billion in the IPO, plus $500 million in a private placement from PayPal.
  • Uber is expected to start trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "UBER." 

Uber priced its initial public offering at $45 per share, the company announced Thursday evening.

This price is at the low point of the $44 to $50 range previously set by the company in earlier financial documents.

The price would give Uber an initial market cap of $75.5 billion, significantly below the $120 billion price valuation that some of the company's bankers reportedly sought at the beginning of the IPO process.

Overall, Uber will raise $8.1 billion, plus $500 million in a private placement from PayPal.

Uber is expected to start trading on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "UBER." 

The IPO was led by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs along with 27 other banks.

The ride-hailing company, set to have the largest IPO of 2019, tempered back its price expectations as its smaller competitor Lyft struggled to maintain its own standing in the public markets. Lyft went public at the end of March with a $21 billion valuation, and it has since sunk to a market cap of about $15 billion.

Read more: A Nasdaq executive says companies are rushing to get their IPOs out before Trump goes up for re-election

Like Lyft, Uber faces substantial quarterly losses, even 10 years into doing business. Uber reported $11.27 billion in revenue in calendar year 2018 and lost $3 billion on operations during that same period.

The Wedbush analyst Dan Ives applauded the pricing strategy in a note on Thursday.

"We view Uber's conservative pricing as a smart and prudent strategy coming out of the box as it clearly learned from its 'little brother' Lyft, and the experience it has gone through over the past month," Ives wrote.

The ride-hailing sector's pricing struggles come amid widespread success from the other tech IPOs that have hit the public markets in the first half of the year.

PagerDuty went public in mid-April with a $1.79 billion valuation and has since shot up above $3 billion in value.

Pinterest and Zoom, which went public one week later, have also seen widespread support from investors. Pinterest went public with a $10 billion valuation, and it's since shot up to about $16 billion. Meanwhile, the video-conferencing platform Zoom went public with a $9.2 billion valuation and is now valued at about $20 billion.

SEE ALSO: Investing in Uber? Here's why one tech banker says not to hold your breath for big returns

Join the conversation about this story »

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This is the very last chance to earn 100,000 bonus Marriott points by opening a new credit card

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 4:11pm

Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network if you apply for a credit card, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • The 100,000 point sign-up bonus on Marriott's mainstream credit card, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, ends on May 16 (you have to spend $5,000 in the first three months to get the bonus).
  • It was originally supposed to end on May 2, but Marriott and Chase — which issues the card — extended the deadline by two weeks.
  • Read on for more details about this last-chance offer.

Marriott's newest mainstream rewards credit card — the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless — has been offering a limited-time sign-up bonus of 100,000 points when you spend $5,000 in your first three months.

Originally, this increased bonus was slated to end May 2. However, Marriott and Chase — which issues the card — decided to extend it for two weeks. After May 16th, though, it's gone, maybe for good. There's no official word on what the new bonus will be, but we'd speculate it will be 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in three months — just like the premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

Even though it has a lower annual fee than the Brilliant card which is firmly in the "premium" market at $450 per year, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card — which has a $95 annual fee — offers similarly valuable perks.

Here are some of the card's benefits.

The Bonvoy Boundless earns 6x points per dollar at Marriott hotels

The Bonvoy Boundless earns 6x points per dollar spent at participating Marriott hotels, and 2x points per dollar spent on everything else. That's the same as the premium Bonvoy Brilliant card, although that one also earns 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airline.

Every year, card members get a free anniversary night

The card also offers a free-night award each year on the card-member anniversary. That award can be used at any Marriott property that would normally cost up to 35,000 points per night.

While that award price cap rules out some top properties, there are still plenty of places where that award night can be used. The premium Bonvoy Brilliant card's anniversary night can be applied to hotels that cost up to 50,000 points per night.

Just opening a Boundless Card gets automatic elite status

Just by having an open Boundless Card, you'll automatically get Silver elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

Silver doesn't get you much, but it's still something — you'll get a 10% bonus on points earned, priority for late checkout, access to a dedicated customer service line, free Wi-Fi, and more. While it's not a published benefit, you may also be given preferential rooms.

If you spend $35,000 on the card in a given year, you'll earn Gold status instead. That gets you a 25% bonus on points earned, complimentary internet during stays, room upgrades based on availability, and a small gift of bonus points at check-in. You'll also automatically get 15 nights' worth of elite-qualifying credit each year, so you'll have an easier time achieving Gold status— or higher — with your normal stays. The Brilliant Card from AmEx comes with Gold status by default.

Bottom line: It's a good time to open a Marriott card

No matter which card is better for you — the mainstream Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase, or the premium Bonvoy Brilliant card from AmEx — now is a great time for Marriott loyalists to open a new card.

But remember: These 100,000-point offers are only available for a limited time, so make sure to get them before they're gone!

Click here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Business Insider's partner, The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: 7 of the best credit card offers this May — including hotel and airline bonuses ending soon

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Women spend 7 more years working than men and get no money or credit for it

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 3:57pm

  • Women spend seven more years on average performing household work than men, according to philanthropist Melinda Gates. While caregiving can be meaningful, male economists have overlooked unpaid household labor when measuring productive work.
  • Melinda Gates recently sat down with Business Insider US Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell to discuss the barriers to gender equality. Spending so much time caring for the home keeps women from furthering their education and income.
  • A key to solving gender inequality is dividing up unpaid labor equally among men and women, Gates said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Melinda Gates has devoted much of her life's work to understanding the barriers to gender equality.

As head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates brings education, family planning services and vaccines to the world's poorest women. She frequently speaks on how best to empower women and achieve gender equality, and she earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her efforts.

Read more: Something interesting happened when Bill Gates started driving his daughter to school

In her work, Gates noticed "unpaid labor" — or cooking, cleaning, childcare, and other household tasks — holds women back the most from achieving their dreams. On average, the time women spend performing unpaid labor amounts to seven more years than men. That's the time it takes to complete a bachelor's and master's degree.

While caregiving can be meaningful, Gates told Business Insider US Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell that male economists have overlooked unpaid household labor when accounting for productive work.

When female economist Marilyn Waring studied unpaid work in the 1980s, she found that it would be the biggest sector of the global economy — if only it counted.

Unpaid work would be the biggest sector of the global economy — if only it counted.

"Men won't easily give up a system in which half the world's population works for next to nothing, precisely because that half works for so little, it may have no energy left to fight for anything else," Waring wrote.

Paid work is what gives women greater independence, Gates notes in her book, "Moment of Lift." The time women spend tending to the home  holds them back from getting an education, earning income, becoming politically active, and socializing with others.

"I think it's far time we changed that and have the real conversation about this 90 minutes extra of work that women do at home in the United States [each week]," Gates told Business Insider.

Gates and her husband, Bill, have addressed unpaid labor in their own home.

The two agreed to divide up household chores, like washing the dishes, evenly among the family. Melinda noticed she spent 15 extra minutes clearing the table after dinner by herself. One day, hands on her hips, she told her family, "Nobody leaves the kitchen until I leave the kitchen!"

With the help of five people instead of one, the 15 minutes of cleaning Gates spent by herself turned into 5 minutes. 

"I think we just have to sometimes name these extra invisible things that people don't even see that we do as women," Gates told Business Insider

Read Melinda Gates' full interview with Business Insider, or watch below »


SEE ALSO: How to solve a problem with no apparent solution, according to top problem solver Melinda Gates

Join the conversation about this story »

The top 15 cities with the most billionaires, ranked

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 3:24pm

Billionaires are increasingly becoming concentrated in a cluster of cities, according to Wealth-X's 2019 Billionaire Census report. The report analyzed data from Wealth-X's global database of more than one million records of the world's richest people. 

According to its findings, nearly 30% of the world's billionaire population as of 2018 is concentrated in the 15 cities outlined below. The report also looked at how these billionaire populations grew or shrank compared to the previous year. Both country and city dynamics influenced wealth accumulation, according to the report.

Strong tech sectors are responsible for wealth accumulation in several cities, from San Francisco to Hangzhou and Shenzhen in China. A large share of the world's billionaire population reside in eastern Asia — six Eastern Asian cities made the list. However, billionaires in many of those cities were impacted by negative stock market movements, according to the report. 

Note that the number of billionaires gained or lost marks the increase or decrease in each city's billionaire population from 2017 to 2018.

SEE ALSO: These are the 15 hottest destinations billionaires are traveling to in 2019

DON'T MISS: Forget the Upper East Side — Manhattan's richest neighborhood is all about subtle wealth, and it shows a major evolution in how the elite are living

15. Tokyo has the largest share of its country's billionaire population out of all the leading cities.

Country: Japan

Number of billionaires: 29

Number of billionaires gained or lost: -1

In Japan, 81% of the country's billionaires — four out of five — live in Tokyo.

14. Hangzhou was impacted by negative stock market movements.

Country: China

Number of billionaires: 31

Number of billionaires gained or lost: -1

Growth in the innovation and technology industry has increased Hangzhou's high-net-worth population by 25% in the past five years, according to Knight Frank's "Wealth Report." There are now 26 unicorns — tech companies valued at $1 billion or more — in the city.

13. Istanbul saw a decrease in billionaires because of currency depreciation against the US dollar and negative equity prices.

Country: Turkey

Number of billionaires: 32

Number of billionaires gained or lost: -4

Istanbul's most expensive districts are Besiktas and Sariyer. The luxury lifestyle in the city involves going out and attending after parties in hotel penthouses, reported Jonathan Gorvett of The New York Times.

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I drove a $48,000 Blazer to see if Chevy's revival of the classic SUV lives up to its reputation — here's the verdict (GM)

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 3:17pm

  • The 2019 Chevy Blazer is the latest version of an SUV that's been around since the late 1960s.
  • The new Chevy Blazer is a stylish crossover that might confuse some fans of the nameplate's rugged lineage.
  • I thought my test vehicle was good, if a bit overpriced, and I loved the V6 engine.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Chevy Blazer, like the Ford Bronco, is one of the original SUVs. The Blazer started life as little more than a pickup truck with a shell over its bed and some seats added.

By the time Chevy most recently retired the nameplate in 2005, the crude original had morphed into a modern SUV.

The revived Blazer bears little resemblance to its ancestors. The styling is downright flashy, and plenty of reviewers have noted similarities to the Chevy Camaro muscle car. Honestly, my first reaction to the $48,075 Blazer from the 2019 model year that Chevy let me borrow for a few days was, "Hmmm ... not sure I like all that exterior jazz. Isn't a Blazer supposed to get dirty and haul around a couple of dogs?"

If you read on, you'll find out what changed my tune.

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So here it is, the 2019 Chevy Blazer, with a "Red Hot" exterior, coming in at just over $48,000.

When I first saw the new Blazer in photos, I thought it looked kind of ... un-Blazer-ish.

That's because when I think Blazer, I think of the earlier versions (the last time a Blazer was sold in the US was 2005). This 1979 Blazer is effectively a 4x4 pickup truck with a topper and some seats.

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China denies blowing up trade talks with the US hours before Trump's new tariffs drop

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 3:15pm

  • The US is set to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods at midnight.
  • The Trump administration has said that the increase is because China reneged on previously agreed upon elements of a still unfinished trade deal between the two countries.
  • Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is in Washington, DC, for negotiations.
  • In China, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce denied that the country had backtracked on any agreements.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Just hours before President Donald Trump's deadline for raising tariffs on the country's goods, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce denied the US claims that negotiators from Beijing reneged on previously made agreements during trade talks.

"The U.S. side has given many labels recently, 'backtracking', 'betraying' etc...China sets great store on trustworthiness and keeps its promises, and this has never changed," Gao Feng, a Commerce Ministry spokesperson, said at a press conference on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Trump, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin all said that the Chinese had walked back some key promises during the latest round of negotiations. The two sides are seeking a deal to end a yearlong trade war and lower tariffs on roughly $360 billion worth of goods flowing between the US and China.

The text deleted from the agreement draft dealt with intellectual-property theft, trade secrets, forced technology transfers, competition policy, access to financial services, and currency manipulation, Reuters reported.

Read more: Trump's top trade negotiator confirms the China tariffs will increase on Friday, accuses Beijing of walking back on trade deal

Feng told reporters that the Chinese officials in Washington, led by Vice Premier Liu He, are still seeking to strike a deal before the US is set to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods at midnight.

"We hope the US can meet China halfway, take care of each others' concerns, and resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultations," Feng said.

At 12:01 a.m. ET, the US will increase the 10% tariff rate on the $200 billion tranche of goods to 25%, a drastic escalation of the trade war. China has already promised to respond with measures of their own.

During a press conference at the White House on Thursday, Trump was uncertain about whether the world's two largest economies would be able to strike a deal before the deadline.

"I have no idea what's going to happen," the president said.

Here's a timeline of the US-China trade war so far:
  • March 1, 2018: Trump announces tariffs on all imports of steel and aluminum, including metals from China.
  • March 22, 2018: Trump announces plans to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. China announces tariffs in retaliation to the steel and aluminum duties and promises a response to the latest US announcement.
  • April 3, 2018: The US trade representative announces a list of Chinese goods subject to the tariffs. There is a mandatory 60-day comment period for industries to ask for exemptions from the tariffs.
  • April 4, 2018: China rolls out a list of more than 100 US goods worth roughly $50 billion that are subject to retaliatory tariffs.
  • May 21, 2018: After a meeting, the two countries announce the outline of a trade deal to avoid the tariffs.
  • May 29, 2018: The White House announces that the tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods will move forward, with the final list of goods released June 15. The move appears to wreck the nascent trade deal.
  • June 15, 2018: Trump rolls out the final list of goods subject to new tariffs. Chinese imports worth $34 billion would be subject to the new 25% tariff rate as of July 6, with another $16 billion worth of imports subject to the tariff at a later date. China retaliates with an equivalent set of tariffs.
  • June 18, 2018: Trump threatens 10% tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
  • July 6, 2018: The first tranche of tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods takes effect; China responds in kind.
  • July 10, 2018: The US releases an initial list of an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could be subject to 10% tariffs.
  • August 1, 2018: Washington more than doubles the value of its tariff threats against Beijing, announcing plans to increase the size of proposed duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.
  • August 3, 2018: China says it will impose tariffs of various rates on another $60 billion worth of US goods if Trump moves forward with his latest threat.
  • August 7, 2018: The US announces that the second tranche of tariffs, which would hit $16 billion worth of Chinese goods, will take effect August 23.
  • August 23, 2018: The US imposes tariffs on another $16 billion worth of Chinese goods, and Beijing responds with tariffs on $16 billion worth of US goods.
  • September 7, 2018: Trump says the tranche of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods is coming "soon" and threatens to impose tariffs on another $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.
  • September 17, 2018: The US imposes tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and the tariff rate is scheduled to increase to 25% from 10% on January 1.
  • December 1, 2018: Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sit down at the G20 summit in Argentina, where the two leaders hash out a trade truce, delaying the escalation of US tariffs until March 1.
  • December 4, 2018: Despite the truce, Trump tweets that he is still a "Tariff Man" and says a deal will get done only if it is in the best interest of the US.
  • February 24: After a series of negotiations, Trump announces that US tariffs will not increase on March 1. He delays the increase indefinitely.
  • May 5: After apparent progress in talks, Trump suddenly threatens to raise tariffs to 25% within the week and threatens new tariffs on another $325 billion of Chinese goods.

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