I’m writing this note Sunday afternoon on a flight to San Francisco, where the Fortune Global Forum gets underway Monday. My hope is to be sleeping when this newsletter arrives in your inbox.
The Forum’s theme this year is Winning in the Disruptive Century. “Disruption” is an overused word in business these days – but overused for good reason. To reprise:
1) Change in business is happening faster than ever.
2) The change is more pervasive, reaching almost every corner of every company. The disruptive technologies – cloud + mobile computing; sensors + big data (the Internet of things); machine learning + artificial intelligence; advanced robotics + drones – are driving a new industrial revolution that is rewriting the rules of the 21st century corporation.
3) The rewards to winners are coming bigger and faster than ever before, while laggards are left fighting over meager remains. As a result, the lifespan of the average enterprise is shrinking.
That may not fit Clay Christensen’s classic definition of disruption, but no matter. Anyone trying to compete understands the dynamic. Disrupt, or be disrupted.
We are holding the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco this year to bring the world’s leading CEOs together with Silicon Valley’s leading innovators and explore the implications of these fast-moving trends. I’ll be interviewing Alphabet CEO Larry Page at the opening dinner tonight, and wrapping up with J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon on Wednesday. In between, we’ll be talking and brainstorming with the best gathering of business talent this side of Davos. (And enjoying ourselves as well. Tuesday night, we spread out to some of the city’s most beautiful private residences for dinner and more discussion.)
If you are attending, I look forward to seeing you there. If not, pay attention anyway. The future of business is coming fast.
More news below.
• Visa unveils $23.4 billion deal
The world’s largest payments network has agreed to buy Visa Europe – a deal that would unify the brand across the globe after eight years as separate companies. The deal, Bloomberg notes, ends years of speculation about if the companies would reunite after a split that occurred in 2007 ahead of the U.S. company’s initial public offering. Visa has had a perceived disadvantage to rival MasterCard, which owns its Europe business and thus relies less on the U.S. market for profits than Visa has in the past. Bloomberg
• A referendum on the tech industry
San Francisco residents are heading to the polls on Tuesday to vote on Election Day propositions that are seen as a referendum on the city’s huge technology industry, with seven propositions either directly or indirectly related to the sector and housing costs. With the city’s high housing costs, Airbnb in particular is targeted by a proposition that would restrict short-term rentals and would have neighbors reporting on each other for violations. New York Times (subscription required)
• Sprint layoffs could hit thousands
Sprint is aiming to slash fiscal 2016 expenses by as much as $2.5 billion through layoffs and other cost controls, though the company has declined to say how many employees will be laid off. Reuters notes that the estimated cost savings would be equivalent to about 10% of the company’s current annual operating costs. Reuters
• Shire to buy Dyax for $5.9 billion
Shire has agreed to buy Dyax to gain access to the smaller company’s late-stage experimental treatment for a severe breathing difficulty. The deal price represents a 35.5% premium to Dyax’s closing price on Friday. Interestingly, the acquisition comes as Shire has already been locked in a battle to buy Baxalta, a deal that Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov says his company still wants to do. “Even with this transaction, we will continue to have the financial firepower to pursue other value-added strategic acquisitions, including Baxalta,” he said. Reuters
• Chipotle linked to E. coli outbreak
Chipotle has reportedly been linked to an E. coli outbreak in Washington and Oregon, where the Mexican fast-casual chain moved quickly to close all of its restaurants in the area. The closures accounted for 43 locations out of the 1,700 restaurants nationwide. Health officials say they expect the number of sick customers to grow though no deaths have been reported. Fortune
Around the Water Cooler
• Walmart calls on Santa Claus
Each holiday season, department stores call on a squad of Santa Clauses to descend on the retailer’s stores and give shoppers another incentive to visit their locations to boost traffic during the busy holiday season. Walmart is now adding to the Christmas spirit by adding Santa Claus meet-and-greet shops to hundreds of the big-box retailer’s stores. The idea? Make the shopping experience more inviting as part of a broader strategy by Walmart to make stores look better and win back shoppers that have defected online or to other physical retailers. Fortune
• China rolls out passenger jet
China on Monday rolled off a twin-engine jet off the assembly line that shows off the nation’s first large passenger jet – which has been developed to rival Boeing and Airbus Group. But the airliner from China won’t be delivered to airlines for at least another three years, a delay in deliveries that were at first expected for 2016 but now won’t occur until 2018 at the earliest. The jet is expected to undergo ground and flight tests before it can obtain certification from China’s civil-aviation regulator. WSJ (subscription required)
• Almost all kids are using mobile gadgets
A study that will appear Monday in the journal Pediatrics has discovered that nearly 97% of parents said their children used mobile devices of some sort – and most were doing so before their first birthday. The findings could potentially challenge the prevailing thought that there is a “digital divide” between low-income and wealthier families. Instead, it seems that tech devices are reaching kids across all income brackets. Also notable: by the age of 4, three-fourths of kids owned their own mobile devices. USA Today
5 things to know this week
October jobs, Facebook’s earnings, and Turkey’s election — 5 things to know this week. Today’s story can be found here.