In this year of unicorn IPOs, we wouldn’t normally take note of a mere $750 million acquisition. But ed-tech company 2U’s deal this week to acquire Trilogy Education Services deserves some attention, mostly for what it says about the future of education.
For its first decade of existence, 2U has had a mission of providing online degree programs in partnership with some of the world’s top universities—Harvard, Georgetown, and my own alma mater, UNC. But the Trilogy acquisition takes it in a new direction. Trilogy offers skills training—mostly in tech—designed to “prepare adult learners for careers in the digital economy.” And Trilogy partners directly with big companies like Salesforce and GE to help train employees. In short, it’s about life-long learning.
I talked yesterday with Chip Paucek, co-founder and CEO of 2U, who emphasized the imperative to not only “future proof the college degree” but also “future proof the person.” “The average millennial will have 14 jobs,” he says. To survive, that person needs not just a degree, but continuing access to training in new skills. “Where I’d like it to go over time is to have one price for everything.” A Netflix for learning—“to support someone through life.”
For those who don’t want to reskill, of course, there’s always gambling. Fortune’s Rey Mashayekhi has a fascinating story out this morning about the explosion in sports betting that’s coming in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision last May. The big four professional sports leagues—NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL—are looking to bring in an additional $4.2 billion a year, and boost fan viewership and engagement in the process.
You can read Rey’s story here. More news below.
Boeing took zero 737 orders last month—the first time this has happened in nearly seven years. Deliveries also fell, though that’s because Boeing suspended them after the Ethiopian Airlines crash. The manufacturer recently said it was cutting 737 production to 42 a month, from 52 previously. The question now is whether these troubles are temporary. Wall Street Journal
Uber’s IPO roadshow is about to commence, and Bloomberg reports the ride-hailing firm is looking to raise around $10 billion. That would make it this year’s biggest IPO in the U.S., and one of the largest in history. Uber’s IPO filing will give prospective investors their first good look at the company’s numbers and operations, and they will be able to compare details with those in rival Lyft’s recent filing. Bloomberg
The IMF’s new chief economist, Gita Gopinath, does not foresee a global recession, but she does warn of “many downside risks.” The fund reckons global growth will be 3.3% this year—a 0.2 percentage point downgrade from earlier forecasts—and 3.6% next year. Particular weaknesses are seen in the U.K., Germany, Italy, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa. BBC
Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has pretty much tied with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party in the Israeli elections, which means Netanyahu is all but certain to stay prime minister—Israel has a coalition system and Netanyahu should easily be able to strike a deal with other religious-rightist parties. That means he will become Israel’s longest-serving PM in July, unless he gets hit by corruption charges that force his removal. Reuters
Around the Water Cooler
Today’s the special summit of the Council of the EU, where leaders of the bloc’s other 27 countries will decide what to tell U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May about her request for another short Brexit extension. The most likely outcome is that she can take or leave a long extension of a year or so. If she takes it, her Conservative Party will descend into outright civil war. If she leaves it, that probably means a no-deal Brexit on Friday—unless the U.K. suddenly cancels Brexit altogether. CNBC
EU and China
The EU and China produced a joint statement at the end of their trade summit yesterday, in which they talked about strengthening cooperation and committing “to build their economic relationship on openness, non-discrimination, and fair competition, ensuring a level playing field, transparency, and based on mutual benefits.” Also, “substantially improved market access” and no more forced technology transfers for EU investors in China. Sounds a lot like what the U.S. has been after—and the fact that the U.S. has been making an enemy of both the EU and China probably helped draw them closer together. Politico
Microsoft and China
Microsoft has been conducting A.I. research in conjunction with a university run by the Chinese military, and critics say the work is being used to build surveillance systems and repress people in the western Xinjiang region. Financial Times
Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges has complained about the amount his company has had to bid for a 5G license in Germany. The amount of total bids in the German 5G spectrum auction is now over $5 billion, and Höttges pointed out that such cash could be used to build tens of thousands of mobile sites. Reuters