How MoviePass burned through millions, JPMorgan's power players, and Instagram's privacy practices
In a break from the usual format, I wanted to highlight a selection of our best reporting from across the newsroom, rather than focus on a specific theme. The range and depth of our reporting this week showcases what we're working to deliver for you, our BI Prime members. This recap should take not much more than four minutes to read.First off, Jason Guerrasio on our media desk had the definitive account of how a controversial Florida businessman blew up MoviePass and burned hundreds of millions. For those of you who haven't heard of MoviePass, it sought to shake up the tired movie-theater business by starting a subscription service.
Enter Florida businessman Ted Farnsworth, who injected much-needed cash into the company and introduced the risky idea of lowering the monthly subscription price to an impossibly low $9.95 a month. The price change helped MoviePass become a sensation, but it also led to the ousting of cofounder Stacy Spikes - and the use of questionable tactics to keep the company afloat. You can also listen to the story here.
On our finance desk, Dakin Campbell worked with Shayanne Gal from our graphics team to create an interactive org chart featurng the 70 most influential people at JPMorgan. We're planning to create more of these org charts, and I'd love to hear from you on which companies you're most interested in.
Also in finance, Casey Sullivan, Callum Burroughs, and Dakin spoke to seven insiders on the $27 billion Refinitiv-LSE deal to find out how one of the biggest data deals of the year came together.
According to one person who was there, there was an unusual guest at the law firm offices where the final negotiations took place. On at least two separate nights, a mouse was seen scampering across the floor of the Freshfields office, located just a few blocks from the River Thames, the person said.
"We wondered whether this was a new M&A tactic to get us to not read the documents so closely," the person joked.From our tech team, Rob Price revealed that Instagram's lax privacy practices let a trusted partner track millions of users' physical locations, secretly save their stories, and flout its rules. The situation highlights how Facebook is still struggling to protect users' data and oversee developers accessing its platform, more than a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed important privacy lapses. You can also listen to Rob's story right here.
And Ben Pimentel profiled 12 of the most important executives leading Oracle's big push to take on Amazon, Microsoft, and Google in the cloud. Oracle is a top vendor in cloud software, but in the broader cloud market it has struggled. The push to gain share is so critical that many of the executives on Ben's list report to founder Larry Ellison.
Lastly, Lydia Ramsey, Emma Court, and Erin Brodwin on our healthcare team profiled 30 young leaders who are transforming the future of healthcare and disrupting a $3.5 trillion industry in the process. Among those included: a physicist tackling cancer, a lawyer who guides startups, and a pharmacist changing how patients are cared for.
As always, I'd love to hear from you. What would you like to see more of? Get in touch.
Quote of the week
While some may see this as risky, I think quite the opposite. By being candid with investors from the outset we have been able to find the right strategic investment." - Mike Massaro, CEO of Boston-based payments company Flywire, explains why he has a slide in the pitch deck he shows to potential investors with the title "Why you shouldn't invest in us."
Finance and Investing
Earlier this summer, a trader in Bank of America's fixed income, currencies, and commodities division got a mammoth request from a client: They needed to execute a bespoke $1.5 billion bond trade - a combination of buying and selling hundreds of securities across sectors. Price and efficiency, as always, were paramount.
By any measure, the growth in coworking is staggering. WeWork, the nine-year-old company known for providing tech-enabled, millennial-friendly office spaces, has ballooned to 500 locations and is reportedly planning an initial public offering as soon as September.
The US's relationship with China isn't exactly all rainbows and sunshine right now. In fact, it's the opposite.
Tech, Media, Telecoms
Last week, Microsoft announced a change that essentially raises prices on its customers when they use Microsoft software on competitors' clouds. Now those competitors are fighting back.
Fertility is booming, and investors aren't leaving any man behind.
Disney, the proud new owner of the TV networks FX and National Geographic, is on the road unifying its ad sales operations and inventory across all of its TV networks and digital platforms, including ABC, Freeform, and ESPN, which used to be sold to advertisers separately.
Healthcare, Retail, Transportation
When Luke Anderson and Jake Bullock were trying to raise money for their THC-infused beverage startup, Cann, they found it easy to land meetings with top VCs but hard to get checks signed.