CEO Daily: Wednesday, February 10
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump trounced the opposition in New Hampshire. Trump won twice the votes of John Kasich, his nearest opponent; Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by more than 20 percentage points.
Here are six takeaways from the nation’s first primary:
Trump and Sanders are the front runners, and could well win their parties’ nominations. Trump just has to keep doing what he’s been doing; Sanders has to show he can win black votes. Expect him to spend a lot of time with black people in the coming days.
Rumors of Jeb Bush’s demise were premature. “Establishment” Republicans – Kasich + Bush + Rubio + Christie + Fiorina – won half the vote in New Hampshire. Kasich was the surprise leader of the group, but Bush has the resources to prevail, and by beating Rubio, he kept himself alive. Expect him to keep handing out toy tortoises.
A different Hillary will emerge from this primary race – one who is far less moderate and far more committed to economic and social justice than before. This is not just campaign posturing; elections have real consequences.
Michael Bloomberg is preparing his independent campaign. Big wins by Sanders and Trump were all the encouragement he needs. He may wait to see if South Carolina changes the race’s momentum, but he can’t/won’t wait long. The odds are still against an independent candidacy, but a Trump-Sanders race would create the best opportunity since Teddy Roosevelt.
The Pacific trade deal is in deep trouble. Opposing it is the one thing Trump and Sanders agree on, and neither party can be quick to reject that message. Even a post-election lame duck effort would risk inciting voters’ wrath.
Wall Street and Big Pharma are in trouble. The populist uprising won’t quickly subside. Hillary Clinton’s rousing concession speech showed they will be top targets.
If a Republican wins the White House, he should make Chris Christie attorney general. Christie’s takedown of Marco Rubio in Saturday’s debate, which destroyed the Rubio candidacy, was worthy of Perry Mason.
More news below.
• Investors wait for Yellen
European stocks rose on Wednesday, rallying after losses in Asia, as concerns about the health of banks that have hammered shares globally in recent days eased and oil prices recovered from Tuesday’s steep falls. Investors are looking ahead to Congressional testimony from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen for clues to the outlook for monetary policy, as sharp declines in global stocks and weak U.S. economic data have led markets to slash expectations for the pace and extent of Fed interest rate rises to follow December’s first hike in nearly a decade. Yellen’s testimony is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Reuters
• Google cars gets regulatory boost
U.S. vehicle safety regulators have said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered a driver under federal law. "We agree with Google its (self-driving car) will not have a ‘driver’ in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Google. That's a major step toward ultimately winning approval for autonomous vehicles on the roads. Fortune
• US Foods files for an IPO
US Foods filed for an initial public offering on Tuesday, with plans to raise $100 million in the offering though that figure will likely increase as the listing gets closer. The move comes after US Foods had agreed in 2013 to be acquired by peer Sysco for $8.2 billion, a deal that was terminated last year following U.S. regulatory objections. The foodservice giant makes more than $23 billion in annual revenue and was acquired by a pair of private equity firms in 2007 for $7.1 billion in cash, after previously being owned by Dutch retailer Royal Ahold. Fortune
• SABMiller may sell off two beer brands
Anheuser-Busch InBev has had to aggressively target divestitures for the company to win global approval for a planned $108 billion acquisition of SABMiller, which would combine the world's two largest brewers. The latest rumored deal is the sale of two European beer brands owned by SABMiller, with The Wall Street Journal reporting Asahi Group Holdings is nearing a deal for Dutch brand Grolsch and Italian brew Peroni. The deal, valued at potentially $3.5 billion, would be the largest in Japan's beverage and liquor industry since Suntory Holdings bought Beam Inc. for about $13.6 billion in 2014. Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
Around the Water Cooler
• Goldman CEO: Expect More IPOs
The market for initial public offerings has slowed drastically, though according to one notable banking voice, the market could rebound later this year. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said the firm expects more IPOs to occur, saying "You see a lot of pent-up IPO demand, especially as the private funding is drying up a bit." He also is bullish about consolidation, particularly in areas like industrials, mining, energy, food and media and telecom. Fortune
• Burberry sues J.C. Penney
The U.K. high end fashion brand has filed a lawsuit against J.C. Penney, accusing the department store of infringing on its signature "Burberry check" pattern. The suit included this notable diss: "Even though defendants' infringing products are of inferior quality, they appear superficially similar to genuine Burberry products." Burberry is alleging that Penney has been illegally selling "quilted jackets" with the pattern, as well as scarves with the pattern that were sold with matching coats. J.C. Penney has declined to comment on the litigation. Fortune
• Beyoncé gives Red Lobster a boost
Red Lobster Chief Executive Kim Lopdrup claimed sales jumped 33% on Sunday and were very strong on Monday, after pop star Beyoncé mentioned the seafood chain in her new song, "Formation." This isn't the first time a restaurant chain got big praise from a celebrity (comedian Tracy Morgan loves Benihana, former Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson was a big Olive Garden fan), but the nod from Beyoncé is likely one of the most high profile. “This has been a remarkable week -- we never expected to be such a hot topic of conversation,” Lopdrup said. “We were delighted to learn that Beyoncé and her fans loved Red Lobster so much.” Bloomberg
• $1 gas may be a reality
Gasoline prices may soon dip below $1 per gallon at some stations in the Midwest, wonderful news for consumers but problematic for the oil industry as it continues to struggle with too much production. While 99-cent gas would be isolated, according to observers, prices have tumbled to 12-year lows across several states including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. And while the nationwide average still stands at around $1.72 per gallon, it is down 45.5 cents from a year ago. USA Today