Code/red: Hot Alibaba IPO Action and Spectrum Auction Slagging
// HAPPENING TODAY
- Twitter’s stock will continue to tank as some 470 million of its shares become eligible for sale on the open market.
- Groupon will post another sickening loss, but argue that it’s still a great turnaround story.
- DirecTV and Electronic Arts will report earnings.
Check Out the Line for the Grand Opening of Alibaba’s Treasure Cave
Alibaba is expected to file papers for its long-awaited initial public offering after market close today, seeking a raise of some $15 billion at a valuation as high as $150 billion. When it does, the Chinese e-commerce giant will be setting quite a few folks who aren’t named Jack Ma up for a big payday. First, there are the five banks leading the offering — Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase. Then, there are private equity investors like Silver Lake and DST Global. Finally, there’s a coterie of Silicon Valley elite represented by San Francisco-based money manager Iconiq Capital. As Kara Swisher noted earlier, Iconiq represents folks like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. But I’m told its client list of the already-very-wealthy also includes former Zynga and Facebook exec Owen Van Natta, as well as SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who are married.
Get a Load of Those Yahoo Calls
Bloomberg: “Calls giving owners the right to buy Yahoo’s shares are near the most expensive level ever relative to puts, according to data on six-month options compiled by Bloomberg. Among the eight contracts with the highest ownership, seven are calls.”
Point/Counterpoint: I Will Not Tolerate Your Mad Rants vs. Here Is Another One of My Mad Rants
PayPal President David Marcus: “Since his tasteless tweets first became public, Rocky has posted positive remarks about myself and other PayPal leaders. Thanks but no thanks, Rocky. When you attack and insult my team, you attack and insult me and the rest of PayPal. I think the world of the people you’ve insulted. They are some of the best people I’ve worked with in my career, and I will not tolerate your mad rants any longer.”
Former PayPal global strategist and Android experience tester Rocky Agrawal: “David every day you are a corporate stooge instead of an entrepreneur your cost to acquire my company goes up $10 million.”
The Catch Is She Has to Spend at Least Half in Apple Stores
Former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who officially joined Apple last week as its new senior VP of retail and online stores, was given a gargantuan signing bonus for relocating to Silicon Valley. An SEC filing made late Monday shows that Apple has granted Ahrendts 113,334 restricted stock units. They’ll vest over the next four years according to time spent at the company and share performance, but at Monday’s closing price of $600.96, they’re currently worth about $68 million.
Craig McClain, assistant director of science, The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center: “Of course the real problem of a 55,000 ton Godzilla is the urine production.”
Samsung Company Picnic to Feature Competitive Evidence Eating Contest
Kurt Eichenwald, Vanity Fair: “A year later, Korean newspapers reported that the government had fined Samsung for obstructing the investigation at the facility. At the time, a legal team representing Apple was in Seoul to take depositions in the Samsung case, and they read about the standoff. From what they heard, one of the Samsung employees there had even swallowed documents before the investigators were allowed in.” Yow. And you know those hundred-page patent applications can’t go down easy …
Apple Versus Samsung Round 3? No. God, Please No. Noooooo!
Samsung managed to whittle the $2.2 billion in damages Apple sought from it down to $120 million in the companies’ second U.S. trial, but evidently that’s not quite low enough. Samsung is proposing a new damages award: Nothing. “Of course we’re pleased that the jury awarded Apple six percent of what they were asking for,” Samsung attorney John Quinn said in a statement. “But even that can’t stand, because Apple kept out all the real world evidence and didn’t produce anything to substitute for it, so you have a verdict that’s unsupported by evidence — and that’s just one of its problems. … We can keep fighting, or Apple can decide to go back to competing with Samsung in the marketplace.” Asked to comment on its opponent’s latest legal plans, Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet reiterated the company’s earlier comment: “[The] ruling reinforces what courts around the world have already found: That Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products.”
Added Benefit: Can Now Recharge Phone by Plugging It Into Nose
Greg Miller, Wired: “It’s been nearly two years since Williams cobbled together his first device, and he has been electrifying his brain two to three times a week ever since. Often he does it for about 25 minutes in the evening while reading on the couch.”
Cellphone’s Dad Gives FCC the Talk: “Don’t Give It Away Too Cheaply”
Marty Cooper, widely regarded as the “father of the cellphone,” doesn’t have a particularly high opinion of the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming wireless spectrum auction. “I think auctions are terrible,” Cooper told attendees of the State of the Net conference on Monday. “Spectrum value is doubling every two and a half years. I think these auctions will give huge bargains to whoever is winning them.” Now, granted, we don’t yet know for certain who that will be, but here’s a safe guess: Big carriers with big cash reserves like Verizon and AT&T.
Darrell Issa: Speaking of Spectrum Auctions, How About That Mississippi River?
Looks like House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., isn’t too keen on the idea of a spectrum auction, either. “Public assets for the public good have never been before sold in the way that we deal with spectrum,” Issa said at WifiForward’s Unlicensed Spectrum Summit today. “Politicians get up every morning saying ‘Boy, I can fill a budget loophole or some pork project by selling more spectrum,’ until ultimately we have the equivalent of selling each and every mile of the Mississippi and then wondering why water is not necessarily the way people travel.”
One Bing to Bring Them All and in the Darkness Bind Them
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates might back CEO Satya Nadella in a theoretical spinning off of the company’s Xbox division, but there’s no way he’d support the divestiture of the company’s search engine, Bing. Why? It undergirds too many of Microsoft’s other businesses. “We’re thinking about: Are there pieces that are separable,” Gates told Fox News. “But our basic research, including the stuff that goes into Bing, I can’t see that making sense to break it off. Certainly the Bing technology has been the key to us learning how to do large-scale data centers. And Bing lets us see what’s going on on the Internet, so that as people are interested in various topics, we know what’s new, we know when they’re typing text what it might mean. So I see that as a pretty fundamental technology for the company — even for its Office business, which is a very, very core business.”