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  • Jamie Adams

Is Google Taking On The Apple Watch?

We hope you enjoyed a spooky Halloween, investors! Fitbit has been bought out by Google, AT&T throws down the gauntlet in the streaming wars, antitrust regulators set their sites on Apple, and earnings season continues...

The Five On Friday is our weekly newsletter covering the investing world's top stories. If you want to subscribe for more great content, simply sign up here!


#Acquisitions

There are two high profile acquisition stories bouncing around this week, with Alphabet acquiring Fitbit on Friday, and a $14.5 billion offer for Tiffany & Co. 


What does this mean?

There was a collective sigh of relief around MyWallSt HQ when the news broke that one of our favorite stocks, Fitbit, had been bought by Google parent company Alphabet. Google purchased the beleaguered fitness-watch maker for $2.1 billion on Friday afternoon. In a blog post announcing the news, Google SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh said that the Fitbit purchase is “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.” The purchase gives the company another asset in its war with Apple, with Fitbit joining Google itself. Google has spent years trying (and often failing) to break into the wearables market, and now it will have a strong foundation to do so. It’s certainly welcoming news for Fitbit fans who have witnessed the stock plummet about 90% in recent years, as it now looks to not only have a lifeline but a damn strong one at that.


Bet you didn’t know

Google paid only $1.65 billion for YouTube back in 2006, now estimated at almost $200 billion.

#StreamingWars

November will be a defining month for the streaming industry as Apple launches its original content service, while HBO Max gets a price and Netflix gets a boost.


What does this mean?

Starting simple: Apple TV+ is live today, with the iPhone-maker looking to beef up its growing services roster. Elsewhere, AT&T announced a May launch date and $14.99 price tag for its HBO Max streaming service, which will have content from both HBO and Warner Bros., and includes the soon to be ex-most-streamed Netflix show, ‘Friends’. Lastly, Netflix received a boost to its future plans as HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss pulled out of a three-movie deal with Lucasfilm and Disney so they could focus on their nine-figure deal with Netflix. It seems butchering the ending of a much-beloved franchise doesn’t stop the money coming in.


Bet you didn’t know

The original ‘Game of Thrones’ pilot almost led HBO to scrap the entire series altogether, but calmer heads prevailed and it was re-shot. And the rest, as they say, is history.

#BigTech

It wouldn’t be an antitrust news story without some news on Facebook, which was joined this week by Apple, Google, and Twitter in regulators’ crosshairs. 


What does this mean?

Facebook, Google, and Twitter were like naughty children being scolded by their teacher when EU officials said on Tuesday that all 3 tech giants were leaving much to be desired in terms of combating ‘fake news’ on their sites. A year on from these companies signing the EU’s “code of practice on disinformation,” the world’s largest trading bloc believes large-scale automated propaganda and misinformation still persist. Elsewhere, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed he would ban all political ads on the site, a move in stark contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks before Congress last week that Facebook would not ban politicians spreading misleading ads. Big Tech’s European woes didn’t end there, as EU antitrust regulators began a probe into potential anti-competition practices with Apple Pay. The accusation comes as a result of a European Commission questionnaire sent in August to determine if Apple may have restricted online payments for the purchase of goods and services made via merchant apps or websites, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Maybe someone in Silicon Valley should start sending the EU flowers at this point, they could use some goodwill. 


Bet you didn’t know

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims his site removes 50 million hours per day of viral video watching to support well-being.

#Earnings

It was a big week for earnings here at MyWallSt, with plenty of companies on our market-beating shortlist reporting on their last quarter. So, to save you some time, here’s ‘The Good, The (Not-So) Bad, and The Ugly’: The Good


Apple - Apple’s paid service users could soon reach half a billion, with both that and wearables up in its latest quarterly report as the company continues to move towards a more subscriptions based business model.


Boston Beer – The popular beer maker posted revenues of almost $380 billion, beating analyst estimates, which saw its stock price remain relatively stable during an uncertain time in the alcohol industry.


IMAX - The giant-screen exhibitor reported higher than expected Q3 earnings, up 5% on revenue year-on-year thanks largely to strong Hollywood and local-language film slate.


Mastercard – Another great quarter for the international payments provider, beating on both top and bottom line expectations and reporting a gross dollar volume of $1.65 trillion.


Texas Roadhouse – The Western-themed restaurant chain beat expectations for both earnings and revenue in the last quarter while posting comparable sales of 4.4% — sending shares up more than 10% on Monday.


Zendesk – The software provider experienced a tiny dip in its stock price despite topping Q3 earnings and revenue estimates, as it posted revenue of over $210 million.


The (Not-So) Bad


AlphabetGoogle’s parent company posted a surprise miss on earnings that caused stock to sink as much as 4% on Monday, posting revenue of over $40 billion.


Shopify – Shares in the e-commerce company fell some 5% on Tuesday after reporting a surprise loss on earnings, driven by higher spending in the quarter as the company expands its fulfilment centers.


The Ugly


CognexShares in the machine vision system manufacturer fell on Tuesday after management said that "persistent global economic uncertainty and trade conflicts" had a negative effect on results.

Twilio Inc - The SaaS firm's shares plunged more than 10% on Wednesday after the company released its fourth-quarter guidance that was below consensus estimates.

#AndFinally

Silicon Valley retailers ran out of black turtlenecks during the week because people were going as Elizabeth Holmes for Halloween.


What does this mean?

Silicon Valley residents are not dressing as The Joker, Iron Man, or Elsa. No, this year, the craze is dressing as infamous co-founder and CEO of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes. Some of you may remember the Silicon Valley-based blood-testing startup that was once valued at $9 billion before shutting down amid accusations of fraud. Holmes had a very specific look when she was in the spotlight: a signature black turtleneck sweater. Several Bay Area retail chains in the area ran low on, or even sold out of the staple top for the fall season. Many fancy-dressers have posted their outfits on Instagram, often accompanying the black sweater with a vial of red liquid, supposedly representing the blood samples Holmes’ company was known for. Probably one of the stranger stories from Halloween this year, but I think Holmes herself has had a more frightening experience facing federal courts on charges of fraud.


Bet you didn’t know

Elizabeth Holmes has admitted to having an obsession with late Apple founder Steve Jobs, which shows, as she dresses just like him.

MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently hold long positions in companies mentioned above. Read our full disclosure policy here.