Activist investor William Ackman has set his eyes on a new target: Allergan.
Ackman has joined forces with Valeant Pharmaceuticals to purchase the Botox-maker for an undisclosed amount -- $50 billion is one educated guess. Ackman along with other so-called corporate raiders Carl Icahn and Nelson Peltz, have become famous, and sometimes infamous, for shaking up the companies they invest in.
Do they do more harm than good?
Bloomberg News reporter Tara Lachapelle joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss the track record of activist investors, noting that more often than not, these in-it-to-win-it investors are actually a shareholder's friend.
Click on the audio player above to hear more.
We’re taking Marketplace on the road this week, heading to Washington, DC for a live show on Thursday night. The title of the show is “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Numbers". Which can be quite difficult, sometimes, as numbers can lead you seriously astray.
For example, I’m looking forward to tech earnings this week, and specifically to results released by Apple (Wednesday) and Microsoft (Thursday). Lately a lot of people have been debating whether Apple is a “value” stock, or a “growth” stock. Growth stocks are usually the shares of young companies, and investors buy them in the hope that they grow very quickly and the investor can make pots of money by selling into the stratospheric gains. Value stocks, on the other hand, tend to be associated with more mature companies. These shares grow slowly but steadily and often pay dividends: they are a long term play, while growth stocks are often a short term buy.
So which is Apple? Well, it’s a bit confusing, really. You see, from 30 thousand feet, Apple looks a lot like a value stock. It was started 38 years ago, and it went public in 1980, eight years before Microsoft. It’s huge: at $453 billion, it’s the biggest tech company in the US. It generates more revenue than any other US tech company. And it’s been paying dividends to shareholders since 1988. Big, mature, dividend-paying and safe, it looks like the epitome of a value play.
But that’s at 30,000 feet. Get a little closer to Apple, and a different picture emerges. Yes, it’s still the biggest and most profitable tech company in the US, but you could argue that Apple really only became Apple as we know it today in 1997, when Steve Jobs rejoined the firm.
Let’s call it Apple 2.0.
And Apple 2.0 looks a lot more like a growth stock. For one thing, it’s just 17 years old. As for those dividends, well, Apple 2.0 does pay dividends, but it only started paying them in 2012 (Apple 1.0 stopped paying them in 1995).
Apple 2.0’s stock trajectory makes it look like a growth company, too. Most companies go through a growth spurt, during which their stock price surges – this is what attracts investors wanted to make a little fast money, of course –after which companies often settle into a nice steady pace of slower growth. In other words, they transition from growth to value. But it’s hard to know whether Apple has done that. Microsoft’s growth spurt peaked in 2000, a full fourteen years ago, and people still argue about whether it’s a value stock or a growth play. Apple’s growth spurt peaked in 2012, just two years ago.
It goes to show that often it’s not the numbers that tell the story: it’s the numbers within the numbers. And that’s something we’ll be talking about a lot on Thursday night. Hope to see you there.
Many educators tout the benefits of preschool, but there's no clear standard for what qualifies as a quality program. Researchers say that when it comes to pre-K, Tulsa, Okla., gets it right.
Many states are planning to expand early childhood education programs, but what constitutes a high-quality pre-K program? Researchers say the city of Tulsa, Okla., has come up with a winning formula.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday testing whether states can make it a crime to lie about candidates during an election campaign.
Researchers at the University of Colorado have used a Humor Algorithm (HA) to determine the funniest city in America. Among other things, factors like the number of comedy clubs and how many famous comedians were born in each city were taken into account.
And the funniest city? Chicago. It makes sense when you consider the improv scene in the area. The iO and The Second City are two of the most notable training grounds for fledgling comedians and improvisers.
Among the long list of notable Second City alumni are Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert:
Speaking of Second City, two of their regular comedians (Alan Linic and Claire Meyer) are in a relationship in which they regularly tweet what they fought about that day. That helped Chicago in the algorithm because the number of humorous tweeters in each city also factored into the rankings:
How did the rest of the country fare? Boston came in second and Atlanta third. You can check out the rest of the rankings, and the full report here.