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International money transfers hit $613 billion this year — here's what young, tech savvy users value most about them

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 9:02pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

Remittances, or cross-border peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfers, hit a record high of $613 billion globally in 2017, following a two-year decline.  And the remittance industry will continue to grow, driven largely by digital services.

Several factors will fuel digital growth globally, such as increased smartphone penetration, greater demand for digital transactions, and an overall need for faster cross-border transfers. And with the shift to digital comes an audience of younger, digital-savvy customers using remittances — a segment that companies are looking to target.

As a result, the global remittance industry is becoming increasingly competitive for firms to navigate, with incumbents like Western Union and MoneyGram competing for the same pool of customers as digital upstarts like WorldRemit and Remitly. And in order to win, companies across the board will need to prioritize the four areas consumers value most in remittances: cost, convenience, speed, and safety.  

In The Digital Remittances Report, Business Insider Intelligence will identify what young, digitally savvy users value in remittances. We will also detail the concrete steps that legacy and digital providers can take to effectively capture this opportunity and monetize digital offerings — the primary growth driver — to emerge at or maintain their presence at the forefront of the space. 

The companies mentioned in the report are: MoneyGram, Remitly, Ria, Western Union, WorldRemit, TransferWise, and Xoom, among others.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The global remittance industry recovered from a two-year decline in 2017 to reach a record $613 billion in transfer volume. That growth will continue and will be fueled by digital remittances, which Business Insider Intelligence expects to grow at a 23% CAGR from $225 billion in 2018 to $387 billion in 2023.
  • There’s a new segment of customers that both legacy and digital firms are competing to grab share of. Young, digital-savvy consumers are the customer segment that all firms are vying to reach, which is creating a highly competitive dynamic. The needs of those consumers will precipitate transformational change in the industry.
  • We’ve identified several tangible steps firms can take to improve in four key areas — cost, convenience, speed, and security — to not only attract but also maintain this customer segment to align with their preferences and ultimately win in the space.

 In full, the report:

  • Outlines the global remittance landscape and sizes the opportunity that the industry presents. 
  • Identifies the new audience for remittances and future drivers of the remittance space going forward. 
  • Discusses four key areas that providers can focus on — cost, convenience, speed, and security — to improve offerings and ultimately capture that shifting audience. 
To get this report, subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 275 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

Or, purchase & download The Digital Remittances Report directly from our research store

SEE ALSO: These were the biggest developments in the global fintech ecosystem over the last 12 months

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Apple needs to get serious about video. Here are 3 Hollywood studios it could buy to boost its new streaming service. (AAPL)

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 8:58pm

  • Apple should be in the hunt for a video content company, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a new report.
  • The company's future growth is dependent on its services business, and a streaming video offering is expected and needed to drive that business, Ives said.
  • Ives think the company has several potential and notable targets.

Dan Ives thinks the time has come for Apple to open up its wallet and buy a piece of Hollywood.

Like others on Wall Street, Ives, an analyst who covers the iPhone maker for Wedbush, thinks the company's future is in its services business. A key component of that business going forward is likely to be the subscription streaming video offering it's widely expected to launch this year.

But even as Apple is spending more than $1 billion a year to develop new video content, it faces a big challenge going up against Netflix, not to mention the new and upcoming streaming services from Disney and the combined AT&T-Time Warner — it has little in the way of a library of movies and TV shows.

"Now is the time for Apple to rip off the band-aid and finally do significant content [mergers and acquisitions]," Ives said in a new research note. Should the company pass on the opportunity, he continued, "it will be a major strategic mistake ... that will haunt the company for years to come, [because] content [is] the rocket fuel in the services engine that is currently missing in the portfolio."

Read this: Investors focused on Apple's disappointing iPhone sales are missing the company's hidden goldmine

Making such an acquisition would represent a major shift for Apple. While the iPhone maker has purchased lots of smaller companies, it has traditionally eschewed big mergers. To date, the biggest acquisition deal Apple has ever completed was its $3 billion purchase of headphone maker Beats in 2014.

But with some $237 billion in cash and investments as of the end of September, Apple has plenty of money with which to go shopping. And now would be an ideal time, argued Ives. With AT&T having completed its merger with Time Warner last year and Disney expected to close its deal to acquire 21st Century Fox this spring, consolidation is about to become the name of the game in the content business, he said.

While Apple has been trying to build up its content library piece by piece, it risks being left far behind by rivals that are spending many times what it is each year and which already have significant holdings of movies and TV shows, Ives said.

"Apple significantly lacks the core content to get its loyal customer base to pay $10 per month," he said, adding that CEO Tim "Cook, Jony Ive (Chief Design Officer), Eddy Cue (head of Apple's content strategy), and others on the leadership/strategy team continue to drive in the right lane at 55 mph, while competitors from all areas of technology and media are passing the technology stalwart in the left lane driving 100 mph in their new content sports cars."

So where should Apple put its money? What content companies should it buy?

Here are the ones that Ives thinks could be prime targets for Apple:

SEE ALSO: Here's why Apple's China situation is at 'code red,' and why it needs to take dramatic action to plug up a key weakness in the business


An independent film distribution and production house, A24 has made a splash in recent years with several acclaimed films, including "Lady Bird" and Jonah Hill's "Mid90s."

The studio has more recently branched into television, distributing last year's "Pod Save America" TV special and the upcoming "At Home with Amy Sedaris."


A venerable player in the independent film market, Lionsgate hit it big in recent years with some popular franchise films, most notably "The Hunger Games" series. The company also owns the rights to the "Divergent" and "Twilight" series.

The company also has a significant television arm. Among its more notable productions are "Nashville" and Netflix hit "Orange is the New Black."

Sony Pictures

An Apple acquisition of Sony Pictures would be an interesting turn of events. The studio was formed in the late 1980s when that era's dominant electronics firm — Sony — decided it needed to get into the content business and purchased Columbia Pictures from Coca-Cola.

Purchasing Sony Pictures would be among the biggest moves Apple could feasibly make; Sony Pictures is considered to be one of the Big Six Hollywood studios. In addition to films such as the "Spider-Man" series, Sony Pictures has a major television arm, which has produced shows such as "Shark Tank" and "Masters of Sex."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A photographer captured shots of Americans eating dinner for 3 years, and the photos show how different family meal time looks in busy homes across the US

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 7:45pm

  • What family meal time looks like in each individual household can vary greatly.
  • It's something photographer Lois Bielefeld wanted to explore in her series "Weeknight Dinners."
  • She visited more than 80 households across the Midwest and the South to capture how, what, when, and where people spend dinnertime with their families.
  • Take a look at her series.

SEE ALSO: Stunning photos show how different young people's bedrooms look around the world

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Studies have repeatedly shown the benefits of having a set family meal time every day.

Source: Journal of Adolescent Health

Research has shown that the benefits are especially pronounced in children.

Source: The Washington Post

Those who regularly eat a daily meal with their families often show higher achievement scores and are generally more physically fit.

Source: The Washington Post

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Volkswagen has a new Passat that's set to challenge the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 7:33pm

  • Volkswagen unveiled the all-new 2020 Passat sedan on Monday at the 2019 Detroit auto show.
  • The redesigned VW Passat will continue to compete in a shrinking, but highly competitive mid-size sedan market currently dominated by the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima.
  • It's powered by a mildly-updated version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine found in the current model. Horsepower remains at 174, but torque output from 184 pound-feet to 207 pound-feet. 
  • The 2020 Volkswagen Passat will arrive in US showrooms in the summer of 2019. Pricing information has not been released. 

Volkswagen unveiled the all-new 2020 Passat sedan on Monday at the 2019 Detroit auto show. It's the first major revamp of VW's mid-size sedan offering in the US since 2011. 

"Passat is the only midsize sedan to offer German driving dynamics at an affordable price and has long resonated with buyers for its combination of comfort, reliability and driving dynamics," Volkswagen North America CEO, Scott Keogh, said in a statement. "With this new model, we’ve stepped up the style factor and upgraded the technology to make it even more attractive. "

The redesigned Passat will continue to compete in a shrinking, but highly competitive mid-size sedan market currently dominated by the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima. 

Aesthetically, the Tennessee-built Passat draws heavily from the recently released 2019 Jetta compact sedan.

Read more: Infiniti just unveiled a striking electric SUV concept with Rolls-Royce-inspired coach doors and a marble interior trim.

Power for the Passat comes from a mildly-updated version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine found in the current model. Horsepower remains at 174, but a new torque converter and updated software boost torque output from 184 pound-feet to 207 pound-feet. 

The only transmission available will be a six-speed automatic sending power to the front wheels. 

The Passat will get an updated touchscreen running Volkswagen's stellar MIB II infotainment system. MIB II is equipped with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Integration. 

VW's mid-size sedan will also get a host of updated safety tech such as adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, lane keep assist, and park assist.

The 2020 Volkswagen Passat will arrive in US showrooms in the summer of 2019. Official pricing for the 2020 Passat has not been announced. However, the current 2019 model starts at $25,295.

SEE ALSO: The legendary Toyota Supra sports car has returned to America after a 20-year absence to take on Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes

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[Report] Future of Life Insurance Industry: Insurtech & Trends in 2018

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 7:08pm
  • Life insurance is fundamentally hard to sell; it’s morbid to think about, promises no immediate rewards, and often requires a lengthy paper application with minimal guidance.
  • Despite the popularity of personalized products in other areas of finance and fintech, life insurance largely remains unchanged.
  • A small, but growing pocket of insurtech startups are shaking up the status quo by finding ways to digitize life insurance and increase its appeal.

Life insurance is a fundamentally difficult product to sell; it requires people to think about their deaths without promising any immediate returns.

And, despite tech innovations and the development of personalized services in other areas of finance, life insurance remains largely unchanged.

Luckily, there is a small but growing pocket of insurtech startups looking to modernize it. These companies are finding ways to digitize life insurance to  appeal to consumers — and they’re giving incumbents the opportunity to revamp traditional offerings, either by partnering with them or using their technology.

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has forecasted the shifting landscape of life insurance in the The Future of Life Insurance report. Here are the key problems insurtechs are tackling:

  • Lack of education: Forty percent of US consumers told the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA) that they feel intimidated by the life insurance application process, often drastically overestimating its cost and facing uncertainty about how much or which type of coverage to buy.
  • Inconvenient application process: It can take weeks or months for coverage to take effect because of the sheer number of meetings and parties combing through paperwork in each round of the application process. The risk for the insurer often warrants reviews from the carrier, a team of underwriters, a broker, and even a medical examiner.
  • Low customer loyalty: Life insurance tends to be a “set it and forget it” type of purchase, with very few people revisiting it after buying. Insurers and consumers therefore have limited contact for most of the relationship — with the exception of an annual bill, of course.
  • Inefficient data management and processing: The aggregate data life insurers rely on is typically fed into algorithms that make broad assumptions about particular populations, and often incorporate outdated medical documentation — all of which can delay applications and result in unnecessary rejections.

Want to learn more?

The need for modernization in life insurance is clear: Overall sales are slowing and policy ownership is hitting record lows. And because it’s such a tightly-regulated space, innovation from incumbents has stagnated — but they’re not helpless. Consumer-focused and insurer-focused startups have emerged to offer new technologies and process improvements.

The Future of Life Insurance report from Business Insider Intelligence looks at the two main strategies life insurtechs are adopting to drive change in this market, for the benefit of both buyers and sellers. In full, the report discusses best practices incumbents and startups should adopt to steer clear of the risks attached to applying emerging technologies to such a tightly regulated product.

Insurtech startups will soon set new industry standards and consumer expectations around this complex product. That, in turn will serve as a catalyst for innovation among legacy players.

Companies included in this report: Ladder, Haven Life, Getsurance, Tomorrow, Fabric, Atidot, AllLife, Royal London, Polly,, Legal & General, Vitality, Discovery, John Hancock, Dai-ichi Life.

Get The Future of Life Insurance

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Here's why Apple's China situation is at 'code red,' and why it needs to take dramatic action to plug up a key weakness in the business (AAPL)

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 6:26pm

  • Apple needs to cut the price of its iPhone XR in China by as much as 20%, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a research note Monday.
  • The phone costs about $960 in the country, an example of Apple's "pricing hubris," he said.
  • The danger for the company is that iPhone customers there will buy cheaper phones from rivals instead of paying Apple's price, Ives said.
  • Apple needs to maintain its customer base to drive sales of its services, he said.

When it comes to China, Apple might be facing a "code red" situation and may need to respond to it equally dramatically with something it rarely does — cutting prices on recently launched products.

For Apple to successfully transform itself into a services company, as CEO Tim Cook has been talking about, it needs to maintain its base of customers, Dan Ives, an analyst who covers the company for Wedbush, said in a new research note. But it risks losing a significant chunk of its customer base in China because it priced its new iPhone XR too high, he said.

To right its ship, Apple is going to need to "significantly" cut the price of the XR in coming months — perhaps by as much as 20%, Ives said.

"Apple needs to make sure that over the next few quarters they do not lose any current iPhone customers, and thus speaks to the more significant price reductions on the way in China, in our opinion," Ives said. "This is a smart and necessary strategy."

Apple representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment about Ives' report.

Read more: Hey Tim Cook, there's a simple solution to your iPhone sales problem

Some thought the XR would be a big hit

Apple introduced the XR last fall as a lower-cost alternative to its flagship XS models. It has many of the same features, but it has a less costly screen and a lower price. While the XS models start at $1,000, the XR starts at $750. When it launched, some observers expected the XR to be a breakout hit.

Instead, many consumers appear to be rejecting the XR as too costly. Apple has reportedly cut back on production of the XR repeatedly since it launched. Earlier this month, the company warned that its holiday-quarter sales would fall short of its forecasts and blamed weak iPhone sales, particularly in China.

Ives pointed a finger at the XR for that shortfall. There the device has a base price of RMB 6,499, which is about $960.

"As we have discussed with investors, it has been Apple's pricing hubris on iPhone XR that was the major factor in the company's December earnings debacle," said Ives, who remains a bull on Apple's stock, with an "outperform" rating and a $200 price target.

Many analysts, including Ives, believe that the future for Apple is in selling services to owners of its devices. The company's services segment has been one of its fastest-growing businesses in recent years and such offerings as Apple Music, iCloud storage, and the money Google pays Apple to be the default search engine for the iPhone. For its services segment to continue to grow, Apple will need to at least maintain its user base, Ives said.

Apple needs to sell iPhones to drive demand for its services

That's a chronic challenge. Smartphone owners tend to replace their devices every two to three years, and some use it as an opportunity to switch the kind of device they own from an iPhone to an Android device, or vice versa. Apple's customers have tended to be very loyal, but its pricing mistake for the XR could test those ties, particularly in China, Ives said.

Some 350 million iPhones are due to be replaced within the next year to 18 months, he said. Of those, about 60 to 70 million are owned by Chinese consumers, he said. The danger for Apple is that those customers, because of its high prices, don't wait longer to buy their next device, but they buy a cheaper device from a competitor instead. That's why it's crucial for the company to cut its prices, he said.

"If the installed base declines in China, Apple will face an uphill battle in the region for years," Ives said.

He suggested that Apple could boost sales of the XR by cutting the price to about RMB 5,200, or about $768. Reports out of China in recent days indicate that some retailers are already slashing their prices on the XR and other iPhone models.

The price cuts could worry already nervous investors, Ives acknowledged. Some may fret that Apple will take a further revenue hit from such reductions or that it would lose its image as a luxury brand. But such considerations aren't as important as maintaining its user base, he said. 

Cutting prices "is a smart and necessary strategy for Apple as this is an installed base story going forward," he said. The growth of its services business, he added, "will be driven off that premise for the next decade, with China a key ingredient in Apple's future recipe for success."

SEE ALSO: Apple's iPhone revenue is set to fall this year for just the second time ever

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Some of the biggest names in the hedge-fund industry may have gotten whacked by betting on PG&E at exactly the wrong time (PCG)

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 5:03pm

  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company, California's biggest utility provider, has seen its value plunge by 80% after last November's deadly California wildfire. 
  • The utility on Monday said it intends to file bankruptcy petitions at the end of the month to reorganize under Chapter 11.
  • Eight hedge funds snapped up shares in the third quarter — before the wildfire broke out.
  • Including Monday's loss, those eight firms would have lost $1.8 billion over the past three months if they held on to their positions, according to Markets Insider's calculations.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), California's biggest utility provider, has seen its value plunge after last November's wildfire, the deadliest and most destructive in California history. And eight hedge funds, which loaded up on PG&E shares in the third quarter, could be have lost billions as a result. 

The past three months have been a tough time for PG&E:

With shares sliding 80% since November, PG&E has become a toxic investment for its shareholders. Markets Insider looked at the nine hedge funds with the largest holdings in the utility. Of those, only DE Shaw sold shares in the third quarter. The rest added to their holdings.  

By Markets Insider's calculation, if these eight firms held their entire positions through Monday, they could have lost $1.8 billion over the past three months. 

The firms could have sold their shares before the fire, or in the immediate aftermath, avoiding some of the decline. And they could have hedged their positions, offsetting any losses. 

Below are eight hedge funds that loaded up on PG&E at exactly the wrong time, in ascending order of their positions since their last disclosure.

Millennium Management

Position: 2,381,220 shares

Percent of PG&E outstanding: 0.46%

Position change in the third quarter: +1,494,725

Potential loss: $86.4 million

Millennium Management declined to comment on its investment in PG&E.


Source: Bloomberg

Citadel Advisors

Position: 2,864,617 shares (Hedge fund owns 1,943,982 shares; Market-making business owns 920,635 shares)

Percent of PG&E outstanding: 0.55% (Hedge fund owns 0.37%; Market-making business owns 0.18%)

Position change in the third quarter: +915,781 (Hedge fund: +806,121; Market-making business: +109,660) 

Potential loss: $104 million (Hedge fund: $70.6 million; Market-making business $33.4 million)

Source: Bloomberg, Citadel Advisors

Appaloosa Management

Position: 3,991,033 shares

Percent of PG&E outstanding: 0.77%

Position change in the third quarter: +2,197,066

Potential loss: $144.9 million

Appaloosa did not immediately respond to request for comment.


Source: Bloomberg

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Facebook investors got a 'wake-up call' last year, but one of Wall Street's biggest worries isn't a problem, analyst says (FB)

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 4:38pm

  • Facebook was under pressure in the second half of 2018, falling 34% from its record high set on July 25.
  • The social-media company was rocked by the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in March, and got hard hit after posting brutal earnings in July.
  • Public scrutiny over Facebook's data protection is unlikely to stall its long-term progress as users are still sticking to the community, according to Rob Sanderson, managing director at MKM Partners.
  • Sanderson added that US regulators won't be too harsh on Facebook for fear of hurting innovation. 
  • Watch Facebook trade live.

What Facebook experienced in the past year was just a "wake-up call," and the company's long-term fundamentals are still solid, an analyst says.

"Scrutiny over data protection is warranted, but unlikely to stall progress," Rob Sanderson, managing director at MKM Partners said in a note out on Monday.

2018 was a year to forget for Facebook investors. In March, Facebook was linked to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal surrounding the 2016 presidential election, causing it to shed $50 billion of market value in two days.

The stock recovered, but plunged more than 20% in response to Facebook announcing quarterly revenue that fell short of Wall Street estimates. Facebook warned investors its top-line growth rates would decline by "high single-digit" percentages in the coming quarter as it ramped up its self-declared war on safety and security. Shares are down 34% from their record high set on July 25.

The data scandal and brutal earnings prompted Wall Street to sound the alarm the stock. Facebook is "not as in control of its business as it needs to be," Brian Wieser, a long-time Facebook bear at Pivotal Research Group said in October.

But Sanderson said that Wall Street may have ignored one key fact — Facebook' users are still sticking to the platform.

"Users may be spending less time, but Facebook is still firmly entrenched as a daily habit," Sanderson said. "We expect the substantial majority (nearly all) users will opt-in to sharing of personal data, usage and other data in exchange for better services, so long as they are free of charge."

By Sanderson's calculation, Facebook's daily US users equate to about one-ninth of the five largest US television networks. "Facebook is unique in its scale and reach, like television that continued to grow long past its peak in audience," he said, adding that Facebook's video-enriched Stories and Watch features have potential to reaccelerate engagement growth across the Facebook community.

Sanderson added that US regulators won't be too harsh on Facebook and other US tech companies for fear of hurting innovation.  "Global competitiveness will be a consideration for regulators and point to the pace of innovation on Chinese platforms that leverage troves of consumer data to create highly innovative and valuable services," he said.  Sanderson has a "buy" rating and $190 price target — 30% above where shares were trading Monday.

Facebook was down 18% in the past year.

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A top Silicon Valley VC firm avoided investing in prescription drugs for a decade. Here's why Andreessen Horowitz is changing its mind.

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 4:29pm

  • When Andreessen Horowitz was founded in 2009, the venture-capital firm didn't expect to invest in healthcare.
  • That changed in 2015 when the firm launched its $200 million bio fund, which focused on investing in software companies in healthcare.
  • The firm, which is now on its second bio fund, has historically avoided investing in therapeutics. That's beginning to change, general partner Jorge Conde told Business Insider.
  • Conde told Business Insider he's on the hunt for companies using technologies that are "new to the world" to make better bets on drug development.

Initially, the plan was to steer clear of healthcare.

Andreessen Horowitz, a top Silicon Valley venture-capital firm known for investing in tech startups like Facebook and Instagram, changed its tune in 2015. That year, it launched its first bio fund, focused on backing biotech-based software companies after dipping its toes into the area in 2014 with an investment in Omada Health.

The venture firm is famous for its slogan "software is eating the world," and it found that was increasingly the case in healthcare too. Still, Andreessen Horowitz planned to stick to investments in areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning and wasn't ready to jump into the world of developing new medical treatments, Andreessen Horowitz general partner Jorge Conde told Business Insider in an interview last week in San Francisco.

Now, as the firm invests $450 million in its second bio fund, Andreessen Horowitz is looking to make more investments in therapeutics, particularly ones that have "superpowers," Conde said. In all, about $650 million of Andreessen Horowitz's $7.1 billion is invested in the two bio funds.

Read more: 6 top VCs give their best 2019 predictions for healthcare, from a biotech correction to a 'shadow cash economy' stepping into the light

Why Andreessen Horowitz wants to invest in therapeutics

Conde pointed to two changes in the past few years that make therapeutics a more worthwhile investment area for the firm.

The first is the better understanding we have of biology. "We can make more sense out of biology now because we can do biology at a higher scale, a higher resolution and higher breadth than has been possible," Conde said.

The second is the changing way we think about what a drug is. At first, it was all about chemicals that could be used to manipulate the body to treat diseases. Then, a few decades ago, came protein-based drugs made of living cells.

Now, with cell- and gene-based treatments, that opens up the potential to be more iterative when it comes to developing new treatments. "You're not taking on single-pathway risk, single-target risk, or molecule risk," Conde said.

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The idea is to invest in broad new approaches to drug development that might have many uses over time. That way, if the first idea or trial doesn't pan out, there's still hope that another approach or use might work.

So far, Andreessen Horowitz has invested in companies including synthetic-biology company Asimov, but it's planning to do more on the therapeutics end. To date, it's kept its investments to healthcare companies including Omada Health, an online platform that helps people manage chronic conditions including Type 2 diabetes, and Devoted Health, a startup that wants to reinvent how we care for aging Americans.

'One gives you a superpower'

Conde sees some drugmakers as developing new therapeutics, while others are developing entirely new toolkits or platforms that allow for innovative new approaches to medical treatments.

"One gives you knowledge; one gives you a superpower," Conde said.

Conde is on the hunt for superpowers.

As an example, he pointed to CRISPR, the gene-editing technology that's enabled everything from gene-editing babies to designing experimental ways to treat rare eye conditions.

"In a world when you're increasingly able to program medicine, having these new-world capabilities can have an outsized impact," Conde said.

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Drug giant Pfizer isn't ready to abandon neuroscience — here's its ‘star cluster’ strategy for betting on promising brain drug startups

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 4:19pm

  • Last year, after several failures related to Alzheimer's disease drugs, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it was stepping away from neuroscience research and development.
  • The company isn't completely done with the field. It partnered with Bain Capital in October to launch neuroscience spinoff Cerevel Therapeutics.
  • Cerevel is part of a much larger strategy to maintain a presence in neuroscience, Pfizer Ventures executives explained in an interview with Business Insider during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Nearly a year after throwing in the towel on a suite of efforts to develop better treatments for brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, drug giant Pfizer appeared to make an about-face.

Together with investment firm Bain Capital, it created a new drug company called Cerevel Therapeutics in October to focus on Parkinson's, epilepsy, and other central nervous system disorders.

The Cerevel launch is just one piece of a larger strategy that Pfizer aims to use to keep its eye on neuroscience — if not from the front row, then at least from the sidelines. Although the pharmaceutical behemoth will no longer pursue neuroscience research and development efforts internally, it will fund startups doing everything from screening for better drug targets to running advanced clinical trials for superior drugs.

Those efforts will be directed by a newly-expanded initiative called Pfizer Ventures, which has up to $150 million to invest in nascent neuroscience companies. The venture arm manages a total of more than $1 billion, and also makes investments in medical treatments for other conditions.

"We did not feel that [neuroscience] was an area we wanted to totally walk away from," Barbara Dalton, the vice president of Pfizer's worldwide business development team and a senior managing partner of Pfizer Ventures, told Business Insider during a meeting on January 9 on the periphery of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Read more of Business Insider's coverage from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference here

Dalton and Denis Patrick, who leads Pfizer's innovative medicines initiative and is also a managing partner of Pfizer Ventures, outlined a broad strategy for maintaining an arms-length approach to neuroscience that will include the Cerevel spinoff as well as funds for neuroscience startups.

In November, Pfizer Ventures contributed to a $25 million funding round for System1, an early-stage startup based in Silicon Valley that’s growing 'mini brains' to screen for new drug targets for schizophrenia and autism.

Read more: A Silicon Valley startup is growing 'mini brains' to create new drugs for schizophrenia and autism — and big pharma is investing millions

Dalton said that while the Pfizer Ventures team considers System1 to fall on the early end of the drug development continuum, they aim to invest in a range of companies from mid-to-late-stage.

"We'll go across the spectrum, from much earlier to much later too," Dalton said.

From in-house R&D to seeding ‘star clusters’

Up until last year, Pfizer had been heavily invested in research on the brain. Its primary focus areas were Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, two diseases characterized by the progressive degeneration or death of the brain's nerve cells. In 2012, Pfizer and research partner Johnson & Johnson called off work on a highly anticipated Alzheimer’s drug called bapineuzumab when it failed to help patients in a trial.

Dozens of other Alzheimer's drugs failed around the same time, leading many large pharmaceutical companies to step away from neuroscience entirely. Pfizer announced in early 2018 that it was pulling back from brain research and eliminating several hundred jobs.

"The trends have largely been disappointments," Patrick said.

Read more: What we saw at JPMorgan's big healthcare investor conference

Those failures taught Pfizer some valuable lessons, Patrick and Dalton said. So instead of abandoning the field completely, they're turning to startups to carry the neuroscience torch — with those lessons in mind.

The first lesson, Dalton said, is that researchers can no longer rely on animal models to study how drugs might work in the human brain.

Second, besides neurodegeneration, the company wants to be more open to investigating two additional research areas in neuroscience: neuroinflammation, where parts of the brain swell in response to infection or something else, and neurometabolism, where the brain's energy-generating areas stop functioning properly.

While neuroinflammation may play a role in everything from Alzheimer's to psychosis, neurometabolism is a central feature of conditions like epilepsy.

To lead those efforts, Pfizer Ventures created a scientific advisory board specific to neuroscience, Dalton said.

The board will keep an eye out for what Dalton calls "star clusters" — where a successful hypothesis about how a drug might work leads one company to a win, and several other companies build their ideas on the same hypothesis. 

"That's when you want to kind of keep your ear to the ground," she said.

"If you put too many blinders on, you’ll maybe miss the next big thing," said Dalton.

Keep up with all the most important healthcare news. Subscribe to Dispensed, our weekly newsletter on pharma, biotech, and healthcare.

SEE ALSO: A Silicon Valley startup is growing 'mini brains' to create new drugs for schizophrenia and autism — and big pharma is investing millions

DON'T MISS: We talked to the top scientist at Alphabet's life-sciences company about the common thread uniting all its seemingly random health projects — and how she plans to spend $1 billion

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Aurora Cannabis is gearing up to break into the $1.6 billion CBD industry in the US

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 4:08pm

  • Aurora Cannabis will unveil a plan to produce hemp-derived CBD for the US market in the next few months, Cam Battley, Aurora's Chief Corporate Officer, told Business Insider in a Monday interview.
  • Following the passage of the Farm Bill, which legalized hemp — and therefore hemp-derived CBD — in the US, Canadian marijuana companies have been angling for a way to enter the US.
  • The CBD opportunity is set to be enormous, according to Wall Street analysts and industry research groups, to the tune of $22 billion by 2022. 
  • Canopy Growth, one of Aurora's competitors, announced a plan to produce hemp in New York state on Monday.

Aurora Cannabis, one of the world's largest publicly traded marijuana cultivators, is set to enter the US market in the next few months. 

"We'll be unveiling our hemp-derived CBD strategy to enter the US market over the next few months," said Cam Battley, Aurora's Chief Corporate Officer, in a Monday interview with Business Insider. 

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant that's become a trendy ingredient in food and beverages in jurisdictions where the substance is legal.

The opportunity could be enormous. CBD could become a $1.6 billion industry in the US alone over the next year, according to Vivien Azer, a cannabis analyst at the investment bank Cowen. 

Read more: We talked to a top executive at Aurora Cannabis about why it's buying an organic-medical-marijuana company in the latest pot M&A tie-up

And according to a report from the Brightfield Group, a cannabis industry intelligence firm, CBD could become a $22 billion market by 2022. 

Battley declined to discuss specifics about the plan. Aurora is set to announce its second quarter earnings for the 2019 fiscal year on February 11, so we'll perhaps have more visibility into the plan then. 

"We've long envisioned the future and the enormous value of the US market," Battley told Business Insider in December of last year, following the passage of the Farm Bill. 

Signed into law by President Donald Trump last year, the Farm Bill legalized hemp nationwide. Hemp is a source of CBD, and it's seen as a way for Canadian marijuana producers to enter the US market while staying onside federal and stock exchange regulations.

While CBD has been linked to a range of health benefits, the science is shaky. According to users, however, it does provide a "chill" or relaxed feeling and can help athletes with recovery after a tough workout. The compound can be infused in everything from beverages, to energy bars, to syrup — which has put many large consumer companies on notice. 

Read more: Marijuana could be the biggest growth opportunity for struggling beverage-makers as millennials ditch beer for pot

It's also not yet clear how the Food and Drug Administration will regulate CBD products, with the FDA asserting last year that it will crack down on CBD-containing products that purport to have untested therapeutic benefits

Canopy Growth, a publicly traded Canadian marijuana cultivator and one of Aurora's competitors, on Monday unveiled a plan to produce hemp in New York state.

Hemp is closely related to marijuana, though the two are not synonymous: Hemp is an agricultural product that by definition contains less than 0.3% THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component responsible for the "high" associated with marijuana. 

Marijuana is considered an illegal, Schedule I substance by the US federal government, though it is legal for adult use in 10 states and for medical use in 33.

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These are the top 15 US banks ranked by the mobile banking features consumers value most

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 4:02pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. This report is exclusively available to enterprise subscribers. To learn more about getting access to this report, email Senior Account Executive Chris Roth at, or check to see if your company already has access

New data shows that mobile features have become a key factor that customers weigh when choosing a bank. 

In Business Insider Intelligence's second annual Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study, 64% of mobile banking users said that they would research a bank's mobile banking capabilities before opening an account with them. And 61% said that they would switch banks if their bank offered a poor mobile banking experience.

For channel strategists, the challenge in attracting mobile-minded customers is knowing when to bet budgets and political capital on developing emerging features. It's complicated by most flashy features — such as voice assistants, smartwatch banking, and bank-offered mobile wallets — being deemed a "must" by analysts, media, and rival banking executives. 

The Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Report uses data to inform channel investment decisions by highlighting which mobile banking features are most valuable to customers. Our study has data on consumer demand for 33 in-demand mobile capabilities across six key categories. 

Using that consumer data, the study benchmarks the largest 20 banks and credit unions in the US by whether they offer the cutting-edge mobile features that customers say they care about most. What sets our benchmark apart is that it weights every feature according to customer demand data — not subjective analyst opinion.  

Channel strategists within financial institutions use our report to see which innovative features they should prioritize in development pipelines and to find out how they compare with rival banks and credit unions in offering those features.

Business Insider Intelligence fielded the Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Study to members of its proprietary panel in August 2018, reaching over 1,200 US consumers — primarily handpicked digital professionals and early-adopters, making our sample a sensitive indicator of emerging features. 

Here are a few key takeaways from the report:

  • Citi snagged first overall. The bank led the account access section, tied for first in account management, and ranked highly in all the other categories of the study. Wells Fargo took second place, leading in security and control and transfers. USAA came in third, NFCU was fourth, and Bank of America rounded out the top five.
  • Demand for security features is sizzling. Following a year of huge breaches being announced at companies like Facebook and Google, consumers' security concerns jumped to become the most important category. The category included the No. 1 feature overall: the ability to turn a payment card on or off. 
  • Digital money management features are also highly demanded. Chase and Wells Fargo may be onto something with their millennial-focused banking apps, Finn and Greenhouse, as the generation had sky-high demand for the six features in the category. The most popular feature in the category was the ability to separate recurring payments, such as Netflix and gym memberships.

 In full, the report:

  • Shows how 33 mobile features stack up according to how valuable customers say they are.
  • Ranks the top 20 US banks and credit unions on whether they offer each of those features.
  • Analyzes how demographics effect demand for different mobile features.
  • Provides strategies for banks to best attract and retain customers with mobile features.
  • Contains 63 pages and 30 figures.

The full report is available to Business Insider Intelligence enterprise clients. To learn more about this report, email Senior Account Executive Chris Roth (  

Business Insider Intelligence's Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study includes: Ally, Bank of America, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BMO Harris, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Fifth Third, HSBC, KeyBank, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions, SunTrust, TD, Union Bank, US Bank, USAA, and Wells Fargo.

SEE ALSO: These are the trends creating new winners and losers in the card-processing ecosystem

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Stocks slump as more bad data out of China adds to global growth concerns

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 4:01pm

Wall Street ended lower Monday as dismal economic data out in Beijing raised concerns that China's economy could slow more than previously thought, adding to risk-off sentiment amid a global trade war and Washington's longest government shutdown on record.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down about 90 points, or 0.38%. The S&P 500 shed 0.54%, and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.94% lower.

The Chinese government said early Monday that China's exports fell by the most in two years in December, shedding 4.4% from a year earlier, while imports fell 7.6% in their largest drop since 2016.

With a slew of companies around the world recently warning of weakening Chinese demand, the figures underscored expectations for tariffs to add to a policy-engineered slowdown in the second-largest economy.

China's trade surplus with the US widened to a record high in 2018, according to Monday's General Administration of Customs data, a development that could complicate trade negotiations as the two countries race to reach a deal before a March 1 deadline.

Shares of Apple, which recently warned that a slowing Chinese economy would hurt its sales, dropped 1.5% early Monday. Chipmakers, whose sales are highly exposed to China, were also lower.

Citigroup posted earnings that fell short of analyst expectations, reporting a surprise drop in revenue in the fourth quarter. Other major banks will help kick off earnings season this week, with analysts expecting an increased focus on results.

"With earnings season kicking off its bound to get interesting—Good earnings could be just what the doctor ordered to let it power through," said Chris Larkin, senior vice president at E-trade. "On the flip side, bad earnings would do the opposite, and signs aren’t exactly encouraging given the revised guidance we’ve seen lately."

Concerns about a slowdown are also increasing in the US as a partial shutdown of the federal government continues into its fourth week, officially the longest on record. It is expected to start to chip away at the largest economy, with economists dimming their outlooks for figures like monthly employment and quarterly gross domestic product.

"Even a one-month shutdown would seriously hit growth, to say nothing of the misery caused," said Ian Sheperdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

On the commodities front, worries about weakening global demand dragged oil further into a bear market early Monday. Prices shed more than 2%, with West Texas Intermediate trading around $50.68 per barrel and Brent just above $59.

Treasury yields pared losses, and the dollar was mostly flat against a basket of peers. 

Now Read:

The market is flashing a scary new parallel to the financial crisis that should have everyone worried

SoftBank spent $900 million in investment banking fees in 2018. The only entity it lagged — the People's Republic of China.


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NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape

Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 3:57pm

  • The federal government is in the record-shattering 24th day of a partial government shutdown.
  • Social Security and disability checks will still go out for the duration of the shutdown.
  • In contrast to previous shutdowns, no Social Security Administration employees will be placed on furlough and all services will remain open.

The federal government is now in the 24th day of a partial federal shutdown, as President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have still not been able to come to a deal to reopen the government.

While parts of the government are still funded, nine of the 15 federal agencies are affected by the shutdown and problems are beginning to pile up. Roughly 800,000 federal employees are also going without pay during the shutdown.

But while the problems caused by the shutdown are significant, essential services, such as public safety operations and Medicare payments  have continued. 

Additionally, the shutdown should have little effect on Social Security checks. According to the Social Security Administration's shutdown contingency plan, most core programs and benefits would continue in the event of a shutdown.

"Funding for the programs under Titles II, XVI, and XVIII of the Social Security Act will continue, even in the event of a lapse in appropriations," the plan says.

A shutdown only affects funds annually appropriated by Congress, not funding that is sustained long-term. The Social Security trust fund is paid for through a combination of taxes and long-term investments.

Other core functions like disability claims or appeals over benefits would continue to function.

Read more: The effects of the shutdown are only going to get exponentially worse as the fight drags on»

For the military and veterans, VA disability payments, Survivor Benefits Plan payments, and retiree payments would all be made because those funds also come from non-annual appropriations. Additionally, the VA was included in the departments that were funded in September, so no services offered by the agency are affected.

While previous shutdowns have led to the furlough of Social Security employees and some services, a full-year funding agreement for the Social Security Administration was reached in September so the agency is not affected this time around.

Congressional leaders are scheduled to meet with Trump on Wednesday to try and hash out a deal to end the shutdown, but so far there is little progress towards a deal to reopen the government. The shutdown is now the second-longest in the modern budgeting era.

SEE ALSO: From airport lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans

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NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

Here's what you missed this weekend: The US government shutdown became the longest on record and the president tweeted his fury at being called a Russian agent

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 10:14pm

  • The biggest news this weekend was about the now record-breaking partial government shutdown and its expanding fallout.
  • President Donald Trump was particularly active on Twitter over the weekend after learning the FBI had investigated him as a possible Russian agent.
  • The president also reportedly hid records of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin from his own administration.
  • Investigators say the man suspected of kidnapping Jayme Closs killed her parents so he could get to her.
  • The oceans are heating up 40% faster than scientists realized — which means we should prepare for more disastrous flooding and storms.
  • Huawei says it fired an executive charged with espionage in Poland for bringing the company accused of global espionage and fraud into disrepute.

The second weekend of 2019 was a record breaker for a government in shutdown and the increasingly far-reaching consequences as it pushes past 23 days.

President Donald Trump had more to contend with though, as more reports emerged of possibly damaging ties to Russia.

Here are the news stories you may have missed this weekend, January 12-13.

SEE ALSO: Trump ties undocumented immigrants to sex crimes against children, but he's not telling the full story

The partial government shutdown became the longest in US history and it is starting to bite.

  • A partial shutdown of the federal government entered its fourth week Saturday, making it the longest on record. From jobs to food stamps, an impasse over border security has put large swaths of the economy in jeopardy.
  • Republican lawmakers are adamant that the president is not going to weaken or crack when it comes to backing down on the longest shutdown in US history.
  • Most Americans are pointing the finger at the president for the government shutdown. According to weekend polls, they say it's all about a border "crisis" that they don't see.
  • The shutdown could have widespread consequences for the US economy — for example, employment could fall for the first time since 2010.
  • But that's not as ugly as it gets — the government reportedly accidentally paid a bunch of federal employees and then told them not to touch the money.
  • And as the sticking point of a border wall grinds the gears of government to a halt, it's the right time to take a journey along the entire 1,933-mile US-Mexico border and get a better grasp of what a monumental job it is to secure it, with or without a barrier.  


The New York Times reported that the FBI had investigated Trump as a possible Russian agent.

  • President Donald Trump was particularly active on Twitter over the weekend after learning FBI investigated him as a possible Russian agent.
  • The New York Times reported Saturday that the FBI was looking into the possibility he was a Russian agent right after the president fired former FBI Director James Comey.
  • In a tweetstorm later, the president called Comey a "Crooked Cop" and attacked special counsel Robert Mueller, along with his former opponent Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump then added that he has been tougher on Russia than maybe any president, saying that it would be good if Russia and the US had better relations.
  • And then he called Comey a "total sleaze."

The Washington Post reported that the president hid records of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin from his own administration.

  • The president also reportedly hid records of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin from his own administration.
  • Trump went to some pains to hide the details of his chats with Putin — even going so far as to yank the notes from his interpreter and order the linguist to stay silent. 
  • When asked on Saturday whether he is working for Russia or has worked for Russia, Trump did not directly answer, and called the question his most insulting ever.
  • The president has previously repeatedly denied colluding with the Russians.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

THE DATA BREACHES REPORT: The strategies companies are using to protect their customers, and themselves, in the age of massive breaches

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 10:06pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Over the past five years, the world has seen a seemingly unending series of high-profile data breaches, defined as incidents in which unauthorized parties access and retrieve sensitive, secure, or private data.

Major incidents, like the 2013 Yahoo breach, which impacted all 3 million of the tech giant’s customers, and the more recent Equifax breach, which exposed the information of at least 143 million US adults, has kept this risk, and these threats, at the forefront for both businesses and consumers. And businesses have good reason to be concerned — of organizations breached, 22% lost customers, 29% lost revenue, and 23% lost business opportunities.

This threat isn’t going anywhere. Each of the past five years has seen, on average, 1,704 security incidents, impacting nearly 2 billion records. And hackers could be getting more efficient, using new technological tools to extract more data in fewer breach attempts. That’s making the security threat an industry-agnostic for any business holding sensitive data — at this point, virtually all companies — and therefore a necessity for firms to address proactively and prepare to react to.

The majority of breaches come from the outside, when a malicious actor is usually seeking access to records for financial gain, and tend to leverage malware or other software and hardware-related tools to access records. But they can come internally, as well as from accidents perpetrated by employees, like lost or stolen records or devices.

That means that firms need to have a broad-ranging plan in place, focusing on preventing breaches, detecting them quickly, and resolving and responding to them in the best possible way. That involves understanding protectable assets, ensuring compliance, and training employees, but also protecting data, investing in software to understand what normal and abnormal performance looks like, training employees, and building a response plan to mitigate as much damage as possible when the inevitable does occur.

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on the data breach threat, who and what companies need to protect themselves from, and how they can most effectively do so from a technological and organizational perspective.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The breach threat isn’t going anywhere. The number of overall breaches isn’t consistent — it soared from 2013 to 2016, but ticked down slightly last year — but hackers might be becoming better at obtaining more records with less work, which magnifies risk.
  • The majority of breaches come from the outside, and leverage software and hardware attacks, like malware, web app attacks, point-of-service (POS) intrusion, and card skimmers.
  • Firms need to build a strong front door to prevent as many breaches as possible, but they also need to develop institutional knowledge to detect a breach quickly, and plan for how to resolve and respond to it in order to limit damage — both financial and subjective — as effectively as possible.

In full, the report:

  • Explains the scope of the breach threat, by industry and year, and identifies the top attacks.
  • Identifies leading perpetrators and causes of breaches.
  • Addresses strategies to cope with the threat in three key areas: prevention, detection, and resolution and response.
  • Issues recommendations from both a technological and organizational perspective in each of these categories so that companies can avoid the fallout that a data breach can bring.
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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Digital First Media is reportedly planning to make an offer to buy USA Today publisher Gannett

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 9:49pm

  • Media News Group Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media, is reportedly planning to make an offer to buy USA Today publisher Gannett Co. at $12 per share.
  • The offer would represent a 23% premium over Gannett's Friday closing share price of $9.75.
  • The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said MNG Enterprises Inc. has already accumulated a 7.5% position in Gannett’s stock.
  • MNG and its hedge fund backer Alden have acquired a reputation for slashing costs at its media investments leaning on a strategy of layoffs.

A hedge-fund-backed media group with a reputation for swooping in on vulnerable local papers and cleaning out their newsrooms is planning to make an offer to buy USA Today publisher Gannett Co. at $12 a share.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said MNG Enterprises Inc., better known as Digital First Media, has already accumulated a 7.5% position in Gannett’s stock, and the offer would represent a 23% premium over Friday's closing share price of $9.75.

MNG and its hedge fund backer and largest shareholder Alden Global Capital LLC have a reputation for slashing costs at its media investments leaning on a strategy of layoffs and zero-based budgeting, demanding that operators justify their annual expenses.

Shares in Gannett, a McLean, Virginia-based publisher, have been inching their way back after falling heavily over 2018, shedding about 15% in the past 12 months.

The stock price, like many other traditional media, have been on a downward slide for a few years now, leaving the company with a market value of about $1.1 billion. During the first nine months of 2018, revenue from its advertising dropped 7% year-on-year to $1.23 billion. Fourth quarter reporting due on February 14 will be critical for Gannett and its trajectory.

MNG, meanwhile, will publicly urge the publisher to put itself on the market, bring in some bankers to facilitate a sale, enter into talks with Digital First about a deal and how best to review its strategy before hiring a new CEO and put a cork in acquiring any new assets, The Journal was told.

It's not the first time MNG has made a play for Gannett, according to The Journal. People close to MNG said that possibly more than one approach has been made just in the last month or so.

The play comes as Gannett faces a leadership vacuum, with its CEO Robert Dickey due to vacate in May.

It isn't clear whether Gannett will more seriously consider this latest offer, the Journal added.

In addition to publishing USA Today, Gannett owns and operates many other well-known newspapers from the Arizona Republic  and the Naples Daily News in Florida.

MNG is one of the largest newspaper chains in the country and has a "contentious history" with the newspaper industry after buying local papers and then heavily cutting costs, The Journal noted.

Digital First Media now carries about 200 newspapers and titles — most recently the Denver Post and the Boston Herald.

Digital First Media cut staff at the Denver Post and infuriated unions, but streamlined operations to turn sluggish performers into profitable newspaper operators.

The Denver dispute was among the more high-profile stand-offs pitting a newsroom against its owners.

Print media has been getting hammered in a digital age. Advertising and sales revenue are down, kick-starting a rush of takeovers as owners seek to achieve economies of scale — often through layoffs.

SEE ALSO: Denver Post editorial page editor resigns amid staff cuts

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NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape

This is how insurance is changing for gig workers and freelancers

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 9:03pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

The gig economy is becoming a core element of the labor market, pushed to the fore by platforms like Uber and Airbnb. Gig economy workers are freelancers, such as journalists who don’t work for one publication directly, freelance developers, drivers on platforms like Uber and Grab, and consumers who rent out their apartments via Airbnb or other home-sharing sites.

Gig economy workers are not employed by these platforms, and therefore typically don't receive conventional employee perks, such as insurance or retirement options. This has created a lucrative opportunity to provide tailored insurance policies for the gig economy. 

A number of insurtech startups — including UK-based Dinghy, which focuses on liability insurance, and US-based Slice, which provides on-demand insurance for a range of areas — have moved to capitalize on this new segment of the labor market. These companies have been busy finding new ways to personalize insurance products by incorporating emerging technologies, including AI and chatbots, to target the gig economy.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines how insurtechs have begun addressing the gig economy, the kinds of policies they are offering, and how incumbents can tap the market themselves. We have opted to focus on three areas of insurance particularly relevant to the gig economy: vehicle insurance, home insurance, and equipment and liability insurance.

While every consumer needs health insurance, there are already a number of insurtechs and incumbent insurers that offer policies for individuals. However, when it comes to insuring work equipment or other utilities for freelancers, it's much more difficult to find suitable coverage. As such, this is the gap in the market where we see the most opportunity to deploy new products.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Airbnb, Deliveroo, Dinghy, Grab, Progressive, Slice, Uber, Urban Jungle, and Zego.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • By 2027, the majority of the US workforce will work as freelancers, per Upwork and Freelancer Union, though not all of these workers will take part in the gig economy full time.
  • By personalizing policies for gig economy workers, insurtechs have been able to tap this opportunity early. 
  • A number of other insurtechs, including Slice and UK-based Zego, offer temporary vehicle insurance, which users can switch on and off, depending on when they are working.
  • Slice has also developed a new insurance model that combines traditional home insurance with business coverage for temporary use.
  • Other freelancers like photojournalists need insurance for their camera, for example, a coverage area that Dinghy has tackled.
  • Incumbent insurers have a huge opportunity to leverage their reach and well-known brands to pull in the gig economy and secure a share of this growing segment — and partnering with startups might be the best approach.

 In full, the report:

  • Details what the gig economy landscape looks like in different markets.
  • Explains how different insurtechs are tackling the gig economy with new personalized policies.
  • Highlights possible pain points for incumbents when trying to enter this market.
  • Discusses how incumbents can get a piece of the pie by partnering with startups.
Get the insurtech and the gig economy


SEE ALSO: These were the biggest developments in the global fintech ecosystem over the last 12 months

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A look at the global fintech landscape and how countries are embracing digital disruption in financial services

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 6:36pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

Fintech hubs — cities where startups, talent, and funding congregate — are proliferating globally in tandem with ongoing disruption in financial services. 

These hubs are all vying to become established fintech centers in their own right, and want to contribute to the broader financial services ecosystem of the future. Their success depends on a variety of factors, including access to funding and talent, as well as the approach of relevant regulators.

This report compiles various fintech snapshots, which together highlight the global spread of fintech, and show where governments and regulatory bodies are shaping the development of national fintech industries. Each provides an overview of the fintech industry in a particular country or state in Asia or Europe, and details what is contributing to, or hindering its further development. We also include notable fintechs in each geography, and discuss what the opportunities or challenges are for that particular domestic industry.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Most countries in Europe have made some formal attempt to foster the development of domestic fintech industries, with Germany and Ireland seeing the best results so far. France, meanwhile, got off to a slow start, but that's starting to change. 
  • The Asian fintech scene took off later than in the US or Europe, but it's seen rapid growth lately, particularly in India, China, and Singapore.
  • The increasing importance of technology-enabled products and services within the financial services ecosystem means the global fintech industry isn't going anywhere. 
  • Fintech hubs will continue to proliferate, with leaders emerging in each region.
  • The future fintech landscape will be molded by regulatory bodies — national and international — as they seek to mitigate the risks, and leverage the opportunities, presented by fintech. 

 In full, the report:

  • Explores the fintech industry in six countries or states, and identifies individual fintech hubs.
  • Highlights successful fintechs in each region.
  • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each country or state faces. 
  • Gives insight into the future of the global fintech industry. 
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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THE DIGITAL EVOLUTION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT: How emerging technologies can improve the user experience, while cutting costs and boosting revenue

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 6:07pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

An increasing number of wealth managers are using new technologies to make their operations more efficient and to increase customer satisfaction.

The technologies they are implementing include robotic process automation (RPA), chatbots, machine learning, application programming interfaces (APIs), and explainable AI.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence analyzes how emerging technologies like RPA and AI are transforming the wealth management industry, on both the front and back end, by increasing efficiency and opening up the space to new demographics. We explain how both incumbents and startups are applying these technologies to different business areas, and how successful they've been at implementation. Additionally, we take a look at the challenges wealth managers are facing as they look to revamp their businesses for the digital age.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Startup wealth managers and digitally savvy technology suppliers are bringing emerging technologies to the fore to make wealth management more time- and cost-efficient. These include RPA, machine learning, and AI. Big players in the space are also beginning to wake up to those opportunities.
  • The technologies can improve consumer-facing elements of wealth management, like onboarding and customer service, to increase customer satisfaction.
  • Machine learning and APIs can help wealth managers improve functions like portfolio management and compliance, and help them better stay on top of regulations, and increase customer satisfaction by offering improved and additional services.
  • However, there are some challenges wealth managers are facing when implementing these tools, ranging from a lack of customer trust in emerging technologies to difficulty finding appropriate talent.

 In full, the report:

  • Outlines how the wealth management industry is implementing emerging technologies.
  • Details which technologies they are using, and what their specific benefits are. 
  • Discusses the potential challenges wealth managers are facing when implementing new technologies.
  • Highlights what wealth managers need to do to stay relevant in the field.
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