Judith McKenna Walmart, Weight Watchers, Bumble IPO: Broadsheet September 25

September 25, 2018, 12:13 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Weight Watchers drops the “weight,” Brett Kavanaugh’s second accuser has a big support system, and Judith McKenna of Walmart International is behind a blockbuster deal. Have a terrific Tuesday.


 Dealmaker. Walmart has long aspired to be the biggest company on Earth, in addition to being the world's largest retailer. For years, it had pursued that goal by obsessing over growing its top line. But earlier this year, it seemed to rethink that strategy, agreeing to merge its reasonably stable, profitable U.K. business Asda with J Sainsbury. (Walmart will hold 42% of the combined entity.) Then it spent $16 billion on a 77% stake in Flipkart, India’s money-losing online retail giant. The deal is the biggest in Walmart’s history and the largest ever in the pure e-commerce space.

One analyst called the moves "jaw dropping," and evidence of a willingness "to make these huge bets and to think about retail differently.”

They're also the handiwork of Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International and No. 14 on Fortune's new Most Powerful Women list. Fortune's Beth Kowitt has a new profile of McKenna that's out this morning.

Beth writes that Walmart's international arm has long been overlooked, despite having sales that eclipse those of JPMorgan Chase, Boeing, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. But with a series of flashy deals, McKenna's division is certainly worthy of attention.

McKenna, the former COO of Walmart U.S., admits she's still learning to get comfortable with risk. “I think that’s an important shift in us as a business—and for individuals like me,” she says. But, as Beth writes, that may be what it takes to "transform the retailer from an American company that happens to have an international business into a truly global enterprise."

You can read the full profile here.


What weight? Speaking of this year's Most Powerful Women, our favorite No. 51 Oprah Winfrey is exerting her influence on business even more. Weight Watchers, led by CEO Mindy Grossman, has changed its name to "WW"—dropping the word "weight" and continuing its pivot to health and lifestyle. Winfrey supported the move in a statement released alongside the announcement. Fortune's Phil Wahba has the details on what this means for the company. Fortune

 Up in arms. More than 600 Yale alumnae have so far signed a letter in support of Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while they were in college. The signees said they had a "shared experience" of the environment at Yale that influenced them and Kavanaugh—and his alleged behavior. Some professors at Yale Law canceled classes yesterday as students protested Kavanaugh's nomination. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh has said he will not withdraw from the confirmation process, despite the allegations from Ramirez and Christine Blasey Ford.  Vox

 Full steam ahead. Bumble is pressing forward with its $400 million lawsuit against Match and Tinder. The startup will not settle the case, first filed as a countersuit in response to Match's claims against Bumble, founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd says. The dating/networking/friend-finding app is nothing if not a multitasker: Bumble is also looking toward an IPO. Fortune


 May's say. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May gave a wide-ranging interview covering Brexit, the #MeToo movement and President Trump. Before the UN General Assembly convenes today, May said that she doesn't think women in government face a different standard than men except that "more attention is paid to our clothes than perhaps to the male leaders." Fortune

Fox's problem(s). According to CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, formerly of Fox News, sexual harassment at Fox was "the least of it." The "all-powerful man" who held the keys to women's future at the network and wielded power as a bully was the bigger problem, Camerota says. BuzzFeed News

 Not a game. The founder of Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy, has made a habit of harassing women sports journalists and basically directing Barstool's fans to join him. This story takes note of how extreme that targeted harassment has become and why Barstool has allowed it to continue. The Daily Beast

Flacks talk back. Deirdre Latour led communications at GE—and now she's bringing that expertise to a new podcast. Flack U! delves into reputation and communications, featuring communications experts from politics, the corporate world, and PR. Flack U!

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma HinchliffeShare it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


For the first time ever, a woman anchored the nightly news in Saudi Arabia  Washington Post

Pickup artists are still a thing. And they want you to know they've evolved  BuzzFeed News

The disturbing link between gold prices and the survival of girls in India  Quartz


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