SoulCycle IPO, Ireland Legalizes Abortion: Broadsheet May 29
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Ireland prepares to lift a 35-year ban on abortion, Boston gets serious about closing the pay gap, and SoulCycle backpedals on its IPO plans. Have a productive Tuesday.
• SoulCycle backpedals. Remember back in 2015 when SoulCycle filed to raise $100 million in a public offering? Well, as you may have noticed, that IPO never quite came to pass. Now, the Melanie Whelan-led fitness studio has announced that it has officially canceled the long-delayed move, citing "market conditions."
But as Fortune's Verne Kopytoff notes, the broader market is actually showing a huge appetite for IPOs right now—"both by money losing companies and profitable ones." (Whelan tells CNNMoney that SoulCycle, which is majority-owned by Equinox, "continues to be profitable.")
So, what other factors may have played into the company's decision? Verne points out that SoulCycle's executive ranks have changed significantly in recent years, with co-founders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, who served as co-chief creative officers, leaving in 2016 to pursue “other projects." (Rice joined WeWork in 2017 as its chief brand officer.) A third co-founder, Ruth Zukerman, had left earlier to found rival Flywheel.
CNNMoney also cites the increasing competition in the fitness space—including from high-tech stationary bike maker Peloton, which is rumored to be targeting an IPO later this year.
Regardless, it's clear that Whelan is focused on continuing to innovate and grow. Under her watch, the company has expanded beyond spinning studios, creating a line of custom-designed fitness bikes and adding new classes that get users off the bike altogether.
Now that an IPO is off the table (at least for now), the question becomes: Will those efforts be enough to keep SoulCycle in the good graces of the notoriously trend-driven workout cognoscenti?
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Ireland's new era. In the wake of Friday's historic referendum overturning Ireland's 35-year ban on abortions, the country's health minister says he will begin the process of pushing forward with new laws today. The draft legislation will allow termination within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and up to 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.
• Bravo, Boston! What would happen if cities and states took it upon themselves to close the gender pay gap? Massachusetts—and especially Boston—are trying to answer that question. The city is partnering with more than 100 companies to train female workers in salary negotiation and find other ways to advance women. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, one of the toughest such laws in the country, goes into effect in July. New York Times
• Upheaval at USC. The president of the University of Southern California, C. L. Max Nikias, is stepping down in the wake of a scandal over a gynecologist accused of abusing students at the campus health center. (An internal investigation found that Dr. George Tyndall had conducted pelvic exams inappropriately and made sexually offensive remarks to patients, and that university officials chose to settle the matter quietly rather than report it to the state medical board.) His ouster comes after more than 500 people signed a letter to the school's board, saying that Nikias no longer had the “moral authority to lead,” having failed to protect students and staff from “repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct.” New York Times
• Fighting the good Battlefield fight. Creators of Battlefield 5 are standing up to a small group of fans who are calling the inclusion of female characters in the latest installment of the World War II-themed video game historically inaccurate. “First, let me be clear about one thing. Player choice and female playable characters are here to stay. We want Battlefield V to represent all those who were a part of the greatest drama in human history, and give players choice to choose and customize the characters they play with,” said Oskar Gabrielson, general manager at Battlefield developer EA DICE. Fortune
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Buoyed by Barbie. While Mattel has suffered sales declines every year since 2013, there is one bright spot in the company's portfolio: Barbie. Sales of the dolls were up 24% in the first quarter of 2018—a boost that some analysts are attributing to the company's new range of more diverse dolls. Fortune
• A bad taste. The NYT examines the fracturing of the culinary empire created by restaurateur Ken Friedman and chef April Bloomfield, a process that started when Friedman was accused of sexually harassing employees and retaliating against those who complained. (Numerous women have also alleged that Bloomfield was aware of his behavior.) The fate of several of their restaurants remains unclear, and many of the top chefs that ran them have departed in recent months. New York Times
• So much for the honeymoon. New Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms isn't exactly getting a chance to ease into her new job. Instead, she's dealing with various investigations related to her predecessor and coping with the fallout from a March ransomware attack that shut down most government operations for days. The timing couldn't be worse: Bottoms is in the midst of trying to convince Amazon that Atlanta is the perfect place for it to build its second headquarters—a feat that would bring more than 50,000 high-paying jobs to her city. WSJ
• Editor to investor. Alexia Bonatsos, former co-editor of TechCrunch, talks a bit about the first seven investments she's made through her new venture fund, Dream Machine. Tech Crunch
ON MY RADAR
Zephyr Teachout is running for NY attorney general while pregnant The Cut
Once a force on Wall Street, Zoe Cruz moves to the cryptocurrency world WSJ
Three married men on taking their wife's last name The Cut