35.26 0.00 (0.00%)
After hours: 4:43PM EST
|Bid||35.25 x 900|
|Ask||35.23 x 1000|
|Day's range||34.22 - 35.43|
|52-week range||30.12 - 40.99|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||1.00|
|PE ratio (TTM)||51.55|
|Earnings date||11 Feb 2020 - 17 Feb 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||38.71|
(Bloomberg) -- Before he became the director of one of the world’s most closely watched transportation companies, Steve Davis owned a bar. And not just any bar. Thomas Foolery was dubbed by the Washington City Paper “the wackiest bar in Washington.” It sold Ring Pops, kept a Bedazzler on the premises and gave 10% off to anyone who dressed up as Carlton from the TV show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.So it’s perhaps fitting that Davis is now the president of Boring Co., Elon Musk’s wackiest transportation startup. Boring Co., despite its audacious goal of remaking urban transit, also created a media sensation last year by selling flamethrowers and building an actual watchtower as part of an elaborate Monty Python joke.Now, Davis and Boring Co. have more serious plans. On Friday, he’ll be on site to mark the official start of tunnel-drilling underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s the first big test of whether the whimsical Boring Co. can actually complete a large-scale commercial undertaking.Boring Co.’s $48.7 million subterranean transit system in Las Vegas is its only major project so far, outside of a nearly mile-long test tunnel in Hawthorne, California. Pit construction and other preliminary work on the project began two months ago. If all goes according to plan, in January 2021, Las Vegas convention goers will be able to board Teslas running along a throughway buried underground, and be hurtled halfway along the sprawling complex in just 1 minute. So far, despite Boring Co.’s high profile, Davis has largely stayed out of the spotlight. Through a spokesman, he declined multiple interview requests for this article. But he’s a key force within the company. “He has the ability to inspire people,” said Mike Wongkaew, who was a Boring Co. engineer until late last year. “He also rolls up his sleeves and helps out.” Last year, as the company raced to finish its Hawthorne test tunnel, Wongkaew said Davis was among those helping carry supplies like plywood frames deep into the tunnel.Colleagues describe him as a sharp engineer who provides both broad leadership and tackles detailed engineering questions. “He’s a technical guy,” said Juan Reyes, former acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, now a partner at law firm Seyfarth Shaw. “They really count on him to resolve issues.”And at Boring Co. today, there is no shortage of issues. While the company has made progress in Las Vegas, two more of its major projects have been stymied. In Washington, a proposed link from the city to Baltimore is mired in regulatory review. And in Chicago, where former Mayor Rahm Emmanuel promised speedy action on a proposed downtown-to-O’Hare shuttle, the mayor’s unexpected retirement threw the plans into limbo. His successor, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, told the Chicago Sun Times in June that Musk’s promise to build the tunnel without city money was “a total fantasy” and that the project didn’t rise “to the top of our list” of priorities. Other critics have questioned both the safety of Boring Co. tunnels and the company’s lack of experience building large-scale infrastructure. But it’s a newcomer’s fresh thinking, the company contends, that’s allowed it to develop technology to construct tunnels faster and cheaper than the competition. Boring Co.’s champions believe that combination will make a new transportation future possible. Now, in Las Vegas, with two parallel 0.8-mile tunnels under the convention center, Davis is going to get the chance to prove it.Davis started working with Elon Musk in 2003 as one of the first hires at Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. With his twin master’s degrees in particle physics and aerospace engineering, Davis developed a reputation at SpaceX for relentlessness. “He’s been working 16 hours a day every day for years,” one SpaceX engineer told Bloomberg journalist Ashlee Vance in his book, Elon Musk. “He gets more done than 11 people working together.”He’s also performed feats of engineering. At one point, Musk assigned Davis the near-impossible task of making a part that cost $120,000 with a budget of $5,000. Davis toiled for months and eventually came up with a way to craft the part for $3,900, Vance writes. When Davis sent Musk a lengthy message with the good news, outlining the process and savings, Musk sent a one-word email back: “Ok.” Davis now jokes about the incident, but it reveals a hard-headedness from Musk, a famously tough boss, as well as Davis’s ability to handle it. Davis is one of Musk’s longer-serving executives.At SpaceX, Davis spent a few years working in different locations, including Omelek Island in the Marshall Islands, where the company once had launch facilities, as well as its Southern California headquarters. Then, a little over a decade ago, he moved to Washington to open the company’s D.C. office.There, missing the type of frozen yogurt he’d grown accustomed to in California, he decided to learn to make it himself via trial and error, according to an interview with a local radio station. As a side project, he opened his own yogurt store, Mr. Yogato, in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, three months before the first successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 1 vehicle in 2008. Mr. Yogato customers who answered trivia questions correctly got 10% off, as did anyone who could stump Davis on a Seinfeld question, according to the “Rules of Yogato” posted on the shop’s website. Those who came dressed as tennis star Bjorn Borg got 25% off.This burst of entrepreneurship unfolded as Davis, still at SpaceX, got to work on yet another degree: a Ph.D. program in economics at George Mason University, where he wrote his 2010 dissertation on U.S. currency debasement. In the preface he noted he one day hoped to open a restaurant called “Little Yohai,” perhaps finding inspiration in Morrie Robert Yohai, inventor of the Cheez Doodle.Instead, he settled for opening a bar, Thomas Foolery, which became one of the first restaurants in Washington to accept Bitcoin. The bar was stuffed with “gimmick upon gimmick,” wrote the Washington Post, including “angry hour” discounts for patrons who shouted their drink orders. It also served comfort food like grilled cheese sandwiches, cookies with ice cream and spiked versions of milkshakes. “Basically, it takes you back to being a kid, but with alcohol,” one reviewer wrote on Yelp.Today, Davis is no longer a restaurateur. Thomas Foolery closed in 2015, and he sold Mr. Yogato last year for $1, after holding a contest to select the new owner. Now, Davis seems to have found a creative outlet on a much larger scale.In 2016, Musk started Boring Co., which he tapped Davis to lead. Onstage at a presentation in Los Angeles last year, Musk and Davis joked about their plans for the company’s waste product of tunneling sludge. Davis deferred to Musk, laughing at his jokes without seeming obsequious, and a couple of times gently nudged him from one topic to the next. Their easy rapport may help explain Davis’s longer-than-usual tenure as a top Musk lieutenant. At the event, Musk said he was contemplating selling Boring Co. bricks made from dug-up dirt for life-size Lego kits, or perhaps using them to create an Egyptian-style monument. Davis responded by telling Musk the company would build him a pyramid. (So far Boring Co. has only built the Monty Python watchtower.) While the two men talked, between them, a snail crawled around in a pineapple-shaped terrarium, meant to symbolize the slow pace of competitors’ tunneling equipment.Some in the industry are not amused. In Las Vegas, the city’s own mayor, Carolyn Goodman, took a stand against the Boring Co. project there, citing the company’s track record of completing zero commercial projects so far. But this spring, Davis spoke at a Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority meeting about the company’s vision for the transit system. The group outvoted Goodman and approved the tunnels. Wooing skeptical public officials has become an integral part of Davis’s job, as he fights for the requisite approvals and contracts in places like Chicago and Baltimore. It’s a task he was familiar with from his time at SpaceX in Washington, negotiating with agencies like the Federal Aviation Association. “He was always trying to adjust things so the government would ultimately approve it,” said former railroad administrator Reyes, who got to know Davis through Boring Co.’s efforts to navigate the intricate federal review process required for the Washington-area tunnel. Yet in one way, Davis’s role as a government liaison is an odd fit. He has served as a member of the board of advisers of the Atlas Society, according to its website. The group is dedicated to exploring the philosophy of Ayn Rand, known for equating government bureaucrats with “looters and moochers.” According to one 2012 report on a lecture he gave at the Atlas Society, Davis can quote from Rand’s influential novel, Atlas Shrugged. He also appears in the background of a 2012 movie based on the book.Whatever his literary preferences, regulators will look more kindly on Boring Co. if Davis can pull off the Las Vegas project without a hitch. Plenty of other cities could use a low-cost transit option. And the Boring Co. is likely to bid on other projects as they come up around the country.One contender: San Jose, California, which has sent engineers to meet with the Boring Co. and earlier this year put out a request for information on two projects. One would connect Diridon Station downtown to the airport, and the other would run along the Stevens Creek corridor, a busy thoroughfare that connects downtown to Cupertino, about a dozen miles west. It was the Boring Co., said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, that inspired the city to believe it could attract relatively low-cost, high-tech proposals.If Boring Co. lives up to its promises in congested urban areas around the country, its technology could one day outdo the fervently held techie dream of building cars that fly, Davis has said. “Flying cars ... they don’t really exist,” he said during the Los Angeles presentation with Musk. “Tunnels do exist. And are very buildable.” To contact the author of this story: Sarah McBride in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Yelp (YELP) delivered earnings and revenue surprises of -26.32% and -0.03%, respectively, for the quarter ended September 2019. Do the numbers hold clues to what lies ahead for the stock?
Yelp (YELP) doesn't possess the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.
CEO Pichai defends Google, French regulators get angry, the Looker acquisition falls under antitrust review, Google's search market share shrinks and Google products are refreshed in this iteration of the Google Roundup.
Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But along the way some stocks are going to...
Office space company WeWork, now known as We Co, continued to tread water as board members and officials from its largest investor, SoftBank Group (SFTBY), were seeking the resignation of company cofounder and CEO, Adam Neumann.
Investing.com – Yelp climbed on Thursday on a report that the online review site may be an acquisition target for daily deals company Groupon, according to The Wall Street Journal.
(Bloomberg) -- A nationwide group of states opened an investigation into whether Google’s advertising practices violate antitrust laws, targeting the heart of the search giant’s business.Attorneys general from 48 states, led by Ken Paxton of Texas, and from the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced the probe Monday on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, citing concerns that the company is raising costs for advertisers and questioning whether consumers are getting the best information from search results.“This is a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet and searching on the internet,” Paxton said.The investigation is the latest sign of the rapidly expanding antitrust investigations confronting Google along with other giant U.S. technology companies. Government officials have grown increasingly skeptical of the dominance of the industry’s biggest players and are taking preliminary steps to rein them in after a mostly hands-off approach.The sheer size of the investigating group, which includes every state except California and Alabama, poses a threat to Google. The states have a track record of taking on major companies such as cigarette makers and banks over harms to consumers and wresting fines that can amount to billions of dollars.“It’s amazing that they have 50 AGs that are part of the multi-state investigation,” said Charlotte Slaiman, a senior policy counsel for consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge. “That indicates a greater number of staff resources that can be brought to bear. Any investigation into the advertising practices of Google is going to take a lot of time.”Shares of Google parent Alphabet, fell as much as 1% following the announcement and closed down less than 1% at $1,205.27 in New York. The stock is trading about 7% below a record reached in late April. Google is based in Mountain View, California.“We are acting as one today in regards to launching what I know will be a fair and full investigation,” said District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine.California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office declined to comment on why it didn’t join the coalition of states. A spokeswoman for Alabama didn’t respond to a request for comment.The announcement by the states comes days after New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced she is leading a separate coalition of states in a wide-ranging investigation of Facebook Inc., which is based in Menlo Park, California. The other states probing Facebook are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee, plus the District of Columbia, according to James’s statement.The Google investigation focuses on digital advertising, the main way the search giant and parent Alphabet Inc. make money. The company reported $116.3 billion in ad revenue last year, which represented 85% of overall sales. Paxton said the group has issued a civil investigative demand to Google to gather information about the company’s advertising practices.Google critics cheered news of the investigation. Yelp Inc., which has long complained about the search company’s practices, said biased search results that steer users to Google’s own products harm consumers.“The time has come for the tech giants to be held accountable for violating our antitrust laws,” Public Citizen, a government-transparency group, said in a statement. “Google’s anticompetitive behavior is a serious problem for our economy and our democracy, and the state attorneys general clearly get that.”Attorneys general Monday said Google search results are skewed toward its own products and those of advertisers rather than the best information.“When my daughter is sick and I search online for advice or doctors, I want the best advice from the best doctors not the ones -- not the doctor and not the clinic -- who can spend the most on advertising,“ Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said.Google declined to comment beyond a Friday blog post by Google’s chief lawyer, Kent Walker, who said the company planned to work constructively with regulators.The Justice Department is also probing Google’s role in the online advertising market and its search operations, Bloomberg has reported, although it’s inquiry is separate from the state efforts. Google disclosed on Friday that the department had issued civil investigative demands, which are akin to subpoenas, for all documents in prior antitrust probes.Racine, the lone Democrat at the press conference, said the probe was off to a good start, though it’s too soon to say how long it might last. He noted the earliest inquiries go back to 2016 when he and Utah’s Sean Reyes called for the Federal Trade Commission to consider reopening its investigation into Google’s search practices.(Updates with California attorney general’s office declining to comment in ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Gerrit De Vynck, Andrew Harris, Naomi Nix and Kartikay Mehrotra.To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington at email@example.com;David McLaughlin in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Jillian Ward, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
"That little thing is broken, and it could really use some fixing, it is inevitably measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.”
PayPal co-founder Max Levchin has said he tries stay away from politics, but the Ukranian-born serial entrepreneur does make at least one exception. He's not a fan of socialism.
(Bloomberg) -- Google’s YouTube agreed on Wednesday to pay a $170 million fine and limit ads on kids’ videos to settle claims that the company violated children’s privacy laws.The world’s largest video-sharing site agreed to pay the fine, which is a record for a children’s privacy case, of $136 million to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and $34 million New York State for failing to obtain parental consent in collecting data on kids under the age of 13, the FTC said.Starting in four months, Google also will limit data collection and turn off commenting on videos aimed at kids, YouTube announced at the same time, moves that will hamstring its ability to sell advertisements against a massive portion of its media library.The settlement under the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, represents the most significant U.S. enforcement action against a big technology company in at least five years over its practices involving minors. Washington is stepping up privacy and antitrust scrutiny of the big internet platforms that have largely operated with few regulatory constraints.“The $170 million total monetary judgment is almost 30 times higher than the largest civil penalty previously imposed under COPPA,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a joint statement with fellow Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson. “This significant judgment will get the attention of platforms, content providers, and the public.”The commission’s two Democrats broke from its three Republicans, however, saying the settlement did not go far enough to fix the problems. Consumer groups and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Wednesday slammed the fine as an insufficient deterrent, given the size of the company.“It’s extremely disappointing that the FTC isn’t requiring more substantive changes or doing more to hold Google accountable for harming children through years of illegal data collection,” said Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which helped lead the complaints that led to the settlement. In a statement, Golin did praise a likely decrease in targeted ads aimed at kids.Google’s shares rose 1.1% in New York.YouTube said it will rely on both machine learning and video creators themselves to identify what content is aimed at children. The algorithms will look at cues such as kids’ characters and toys, although the identification of youth content can be tricky. Content creators are being given four months to adjust before changes take effect, the company said.The company will also spend more to promote its kids app and establish a $100 million fund, disbursed over three years, “dedicated to the creation of thoughtful, original children’s content,” Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki wrote in a blog posting.“Today’s changes will allow us to better protect kids and families on YouTube,” Wojcicki wrote in the blog, which acknowledged the rising chances that children are watching the site alone. “In the coming months, we’ll share details on how we’re rethinking our overall approach to kids and families, including a dedicated kids experience on YouTube,” she said.YouTube has already begun plans to strip videos aimed at kids of “targeted” ads, which rely on information such as web-browsing cookies, Bloomberg has reported. The company violated COPPA with data collection to serve these ads, the FTC alleged. Some consumer advocates including Golin and the Center for Digital Democracy say the move away from targeted ads would do little to stop tracking of kids when they watch content aimed at general audiences, and that relying on video creators to make the changes could hurt compliance.Cracking Down“Google made billions off the backs of children, developing a host of intrusive and manipulative marketing practices that take advantage of their developmental vulnerabilities,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Washington-based non-profit Center for Digital Democracy. He added that the deal announced Wednesday “sends a signal that if you are a politically powerful corporation, you do not have to fear any serious financial consequences when you break the law.”The FTC has been cracking down on firms that violate COPPA. It fined the popular teen app now known as TikTok $5.7 million in February to resolve claims the video service failed to obtain parental consent before collecting names, email addresses and other information from children under 13. The agency is also planning to revamp its rules around children’s online privacy.Alphabet Inc.’s Google doesn’t break out sales for the video site, but the company has reported that YouTube is its second-largest source of revenue behind search advertising. Research firm Loup Ventures estimates that 5% of YouTube’s annual revenue, or roughly $750 million a year, comes from content aimed at children.YouTube had long maintained that children under 13 don’t use its site without parental supervision, as its terms of service stipulate, but according to the FTC, it touted young users in advertising materials. There’s ample evidence these young viewers flock to the site, and the consumer groups complained.‘Sends a Signal’The site has already made tweaks as it tries to create a safer destination for children. In recent months, it changed its algorithm to promote what it called “quality” kids’ videos, a shift that alarmed many of its video creators. Wojcicki said the newest transitions “won’t be easy for some creators” and the company would work with them and provide resources to navigate the changes.“This decree will slash the advertising revenue that supports video creators producing high-quality child-friendly content,” said Steve DelBianco, president and chief executive officer of NetChoice, a tech lobbying group that counts Google as a member. “This means far fewer ad dollars to support videos that my teenager watches to learn about nutrition, sports instruction, and science projects.”The company also introduced more parental controls for YouTube Kids, the app it launched in 2015 to offer a smaller selection of YouTube’s massive library, and created a web version of the app. The service is far smaller than YouTube’s primary audience of more than two billion monthly visitors, and data show the main site is used by more children than the kids app.Read more: YouTube Is Considering Changes to Kids Content After CriticismDemocratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who was a key force behind the passage of COPPA, said in a statement that the settlement “let Google off the hook with a drop-in-the-bucket fine and a set of new requirements that fall well short of what is needed to turn YouTube into a safe and healthy place for kids.”Markey said the deal should have required that Google delete all kids’ data and prohibited the company from launching new kids’ services without the approval of independent experts. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who has proposed a COPPA update with Markey, tweeted that the fine is “paltry.” Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who is leading a House committee antitrust probe of the technology industry, called it the “friends and family treatment” and said “the seriousness of this misconduct cries out for a serious penalty” such as punishment aimed at specific executives.The Justice Department, which typically reviews cases involving civil penalties, didn’t act on it and returned it to the FTC to file, according to Andrew Smith, head of the commission’s consumer protection bureau, who declined to say why. A Justice Department official who requested anonymity to discuss internal matters confirmed that the agency declined to pursue it without elaborating. The Justice Department is scrutinizing Google’s digital advertising and search operations, Bloomberg has reported.Google isn’t the only big internet platform facing pressure for its practices with minors. Children’s advocacy organizations have filed complaints with the FTC accusing Facebook Inc. of tricking children into making purchases while playing games on the social network. The company recently disclosed it has discussed its children’s chat app with the FTC, although it’s not clear whether there was a formal probe. Kids advocates have also alleged that Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo kids smart speaker violates privacy law.Other tech giants and Google have faced fines over their practices involving children before. In 2014, Google agreed to refund at least $19 million to settle with the FTC for failing to get parental consent for charges racked up by children playing games on mobile devices. Apple Inc. also agreed in 2014 to refund at least $32.5 million and change its billing practices after similar complaints. Yelp Inc. previously said it paid $450,000 for allegations it failed to test the age-registration feature on its applications and collecting names and email addresses from children as young as 9 years old without the consent of their parents.Google could also still face additional legal exposure from other states, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, one of the Democratic FTC commissioners, suggested in her dissent to Wednesday’s settlement.“More action is needed, and I hope that our partners in state attorneys’ general offices can finish the job,” she wrote.(Updates with reaction from sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Chris Strohm, David McLaughlin and Gerrit De Vynck.To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mark Bergen in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Yelp announced this morning that it will start allowing users to tailor their search results and homepage based on their personal preferences. Instead, you can enter it once and Yelp will prioritize those results moving forward. "In the history of Yelp, this is the first time two people searching for the same thing from the same context are going to see different, personalized results," said head of Consumer Product, Akhil Ramesh.