Sandberg and Soros, Boeing Safety, Lynch Charge: CEO Daily for November 30, 2018
This morning, on the stage at the Fortune Global Tech Forum in Guangzhou, Breyer went a step further. “Ten years from now, A.I.-enabled companies will be far more valuable than the current FAANG and BAT stocks,” he said. “By more than 2X…Many will be trillion dollar companies.”
Moreover, he added that “of the top 20 companies, 18 will be based in the U.S. and China.” Asked by my colleague Adam Lashinsky how many would be in each country, he replied: “10 in the U.S., 8 in China.” (His Chinese investing partner Hugo Shong of IDG Capital took a different tack: “10 in China, 8 in U.S.”)
Breyer said what will distinguish those companies will be a cross-disciplinary approach—getting, for instance, chemists, biologists and machine learning experts to collaborate on health care problems. “The difficulty of working across barriers is not to be underestimated,” he said.
CEO Daily promises to check back with Breyer in 2028 to see if his prediction holds.
And a clarification from yesterday: the folks at Sequoia China say that when Neil Shen said: “In 13 years, I haven’t sold a single share,” he was referring only to Sequoia’s investment in Meituan-Dianping, not the whole China portfolio.
More from the conference here. News below.
Sandberg and Soros
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg emailed her staff to check if George Soros was shorting the company's stock, after he laid into Facebook's monopolistic tendencies earlier this year. The revelation will bring more scrutiny into Sandberg's role regarding Facebook's hiring of a conservative opposition research outfit that ended up researching Soros—outgoing policy chief Elliot Schrage took the fall for that, but it Sandberg has admitted seeing some of the resulting research. Financial Times
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has been trying to reassure staff, pilots and customers in the wake of the Lion Air crash that involved one of the company's new 737 Max aircraft. It's still not clear to what degree an update to the plane's automated safety system—apparently not communicated to pilots—contributed to the disaster. Muilenburg: "Regardless of the outcome, we’re going to learn from this accident and continue to improve our safety record." Washington Post
Mike Lynch, the former CEO of business software outfit Autonomy, has been charged with fraud by U.S. authorities over the sale of his company to Hewlett-Packard. The sale's aftermath is by now legendary: HP accused Autonomy of inflating its revenues to get a better sale price, and it ended up taking an $8.8 billion writedown on the purchase. Lynch denies the fraud charge. Former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain has already been convicted of fraud over the fiasco. BBC
Huawei will hit $100 billion in revenues for 2018, rotating chairman—the post, not the man—Eric Xu told CNBC. Xu didn't say what was driving the growth (2017 revenues totaled $92.5 billion) but Huawei's ascent to the second spot in global smartphone shipments, ahead of Apple, surely can't hurt. CNBC
Around the Water Cooler
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has admitted lying to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees when he said the Trump Organization had ended its plans to build a Moscow tower at the start of 2016. In fact, he said, the plans were only scrapped in mid-2016, not long before the Republican convention. The president says Cohen's lying. Meanwhile, Buzzfeed reports that the Trump Organization was planning to gift the tower's penthouse to President Putin. Buzzfeed
Trump and Putin
President Trump has cancelled a G20 Summit meeting with President Putin, he says, because Russia is still holding Ukrainian ships and sailors. Russia claims the Ukrainians illegally entered Russian waters in the Sea of Azov, a body of water to the east of the Crimean Peninsula. The incident has severely increased tensions between the two countries. Just an hour before canceling the meeting, Trump said it was a "very good time" to have it. Wall Street Journal
Trump and Xi
Trump will however have dinner at the Buenos Aires summit with China's President Xi. This is the one the markets are watching nervously—will the trade war now ratchet up or peter out? From Bloomberg's Saleha Mohsin and Peter Martin: "Chinese officials consider a grand bargain unlikely. Instead, China wants the meeting to serve as a signal that cooperation is still possible between the two powers and establish a foundation for future discussions, according to one official." Bloomberg
The EU's member states (other than Italy) have agreed to let the European Commission move towards disciplinary action against Italy, for its rule-breaking planned deficit for 2019. That makes today unlikely to be a particularly happy one on the European markets, where people are jittery about the prospect of a showdown between the Eurozone's third-biggest economy and everyone else. Politico