FORTUNE 500 DAY
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Today, Fortune published its annual Fortune 500 list, which ranks America’s largest corporations by revenue. This year’s Fortune 500 marks the 64th running of the list. In total, Fortune 500 companies represent two-thirds of the U.S. GDP with $12.8 trillion in revenues, $1 trillion in profits, $21.6 trillion in market value, and employ 28.2 million people worldwide.
The top 5 include Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, and UnitedHealth Group.
Here are some takeaways from this year’s list:
• Walmart stays on top: For the sixth year in a row, Walmart maintains its spot at the top of the list and became the first company in history to generate $500 billion in annual sales.
• Amazon cracks the top 10 for the first time: Amazon, the most feared competitor on the list, cracked the top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 8. The giant continues its remarkable growth run: Sales have jumped some $70 billion in two years.
• Tesla makes big moves: Elon Musk’s electric-car company made the biggest leap on this year’s 500 — moving up 123 spots — thanks to booming sales of its Model S sedan and Model X SUV. But the costly, delayed rollout of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 caused its stock to drop 12% in the first four months of 2018.
• The four most valuable companies are tech firms: The four most valuable companies on the list are all in the tech sector — Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon.
• The number of female CEOs dropped by 25%: After reaching an all-time high of 32 in 2017, the number of female Fortune 500 chiefs has slid back down to 24. That’s a one-year decline of 25%. In the past year alone, more than a third of those women (12) have left their CEO jobs, including a few long-time veterans of the ranking.
TALK LIKE A HUMAN: Microsoft just bought Semantic Machines, an AI startup developing technology for voice-enabled agents that can speak like a person and understand what others tell it. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the startup had raised approximately $20 million in venture funding from investors including General Catalyst & Bain Capital Ventures.
Along with the acquisition, Microsoft plans to set up a conversational AI center of excellence in Berkeley to accelerate its efforts in language interfaces. The company comes with some well-known talents in the field, such as UC Berkeley professor Dan Klein and Stanford’s Percy Liang. Semantic Machines’ chief technology officer, Larry Gillick, is also notable for having been the chief speech scientist behind Apple’s Siri in 2013 and 2014.
The move could improve Microsoft’s Cortana assistant, as well as the “social chatbots” that it is deploying on social networks. As Term Sheet has noted before, 2018 is shaping up to be the “Year of Voice.” This is definitely a space to watch. Read more at Fortune.
ONE MUST-READ: My colleague Beth Kowitt goes deep inside Amazon’s plan to dominate the $800 billion U.S. grocery industry. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is turning it into an even scarier competitor.
From the story:
The very thing that makes grocery delivery hard—that food goes bad—is the reason it’s so desirable to a company like Amazon. Because cheese grows mold and meat goes rancid and milk sours, consumers can’t hoard it in their cupboards or refrigerators indefinitely as they might toilet paper or laundry detergent. As a result, the average family hits the supermarket at minimum once a week; there’s nothing else you purchase or consume so much or so often. For Amazon, getting in on that frequency is critical to further ingraining itself in our routines and behaviors.
“Food is the platform for selling you everything else,” says Walter Robb, the former co-CEO of Whole Foods. “It’s an everyday way into your life. There’s nothing else that happens quite that way.” Amazon’s quest is therefore about much more than just food.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…
• How Carl Icahn And a Billionaire Partner Blocked Xerox’s Merger with Fujifilm (by Shawn Tully)
• Why General Electric Is Spinning Off Its Transportation Business (by Hallie Detrick)
• Why Companies That Manage for The Long Term Perform Far Better. And Why Most Still Don’t (by Clifton Leaf)
• At Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes Didn’t Work Alone (by David Z. Morris)
• Cuebiq, a New York-based location intelligence and consumer insights company, raised $27 million in Series B funding. Investors include Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, Nasdaq Ventures, DRW Venture Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners, Tribeca Angels and TLcom Capital.
• OJO Labs, an Austin, Texas-based learning chatbot provider, raised $20.5 million in Series B funding. Investors include LiveOak Venture Partners, Silverton Partners, Realogy Holdings Corp., Royal Bank of Canada, Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures and ServiceMaster.
• REBBL, an Emeryville, Calif.-based producer of organic coconut-milk based super-herb drinks, raised $20 million in funding. CAVU Venture Partners led the round.
• Bestow Inc., a Dallas-based company insurance tech company, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Valar Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Core Innovation Capital, 8VC, and Morpheus Ventures.
• Nanit, a New York-based smart baby monitor that uses computer vision technology, raised $14 million in Series B funding. Jerusalem Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Upfront Ventures, RRE Ventures, Vulcan Capital and Vaal Investment Partners.
• Decent, a Sausalito, Calif.-based healthcare startup, has secured $8 million in funding. Decent’s investors included Foundation Capital, Menlo Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Lux Capital, Maverick Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, Meridian Street Capital, Healthy Ventures, ChinaRock Capital Management, Abstract Ventures, Precursor Ventures, Ride Ventures, Sequoia Capital Scouts, Fenwick & West and Sure Ventures.
• TuneGO, a Henderson, N.V.-based technology platform that connects artists with the music industry, raised more than $7.7 million in Series B funding. Falcon Capital led the round.
• Indee Labs, a Berkeley, Calif. and Sydney, Australia-based developer of hardware for gene delivery, raised $2.6 million in funding. Founders Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Main Sequence Ventures.
• Selected, a New York-based online platform that matches teachers with jobs, raised $1.2 million in seed funding. Propel Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Kapor Capital.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Accel-KKR acquired Sageworks, a Raleigh, N.C.-based provider of financial software and information products to American financial institutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Fireman Capital Partners acquired a majority interest in Bandon Holdings, an Anytime Fitness franchisee. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• General Electric Co will merge its transportation business that makes train engines with Wabtec Corp, a manufacturer of equipment for the rail industry, in a deal valued at about $11.1 billion. Read more.
• GS Acquisition Holdings, a New York-based blank check company backed by Goldman Sachs, filed for a $600 million IPO of 60 million units, priced at $10 apiece. Former Honeywell CEO David Cote is CEO of the firm. The firm plans to acquire a firm in the industrial sector Goldman is also underwriter in the deal. The firm plans to list on NYSE. Read more.
• LF Capital Acquisition, a New York-based blank check company, filed for a $155 million ipo of 15.5 million units priced at $10 apiece. The firm plans to acquire a firm in the commercial banking and financial tech industry. Level Field Management backs the firm. B. Riley FBR and Raymond James are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “LFACU.” Read More.
• Puxin Limited, a Beijing-based Chinese education firm, filed for an IPO of $300 million in ADSs. The firm posted revenue of $204.5 million in 2017. Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Haitong International, and CICC are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the NYSE as “NEW.” Read more.
• Charah Solutions, a Louisville-based coal and nuclear power generation maintenance firm, filed for a $100 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $338.9 million in 2017. BCP and CEP Holdings back the firm. Morgan Stanley, BofA, and Stifel are Joint book-running managers. The firm plans to list on the NYSE as “CHRA.” Read more.
• Dynagreen Environmental Protection Group, a Shenzhen-based firm, was approved for an IPO in Shanghai. Read more.
• Apax Partners agreed to sell its stake in GlobalLogic Inc, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of digital product engineering services, to Partners Group. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.