Excessive IPO Verbiage: CEO Daily

August 29, 2019, 9:57 AM UTC

Good morning.

Apologies for being a day late here, but I can’t help touting my colleague Polina Marinova’s discovery in yesterday’s Term Sheet newsletter. She identified one of the hidden bubbles caused by a decade of expansion and hyper-low Interest rates: excessive IPO verbiage.

I’ve already written about the wild WeWork IPO language. WeWork is an office real estate company, but called itself “a community company committed to maximum global impact.” The word “community” appears in the filing 150 times.

Then there is Peloton, which sells stationary bicycles, but proclaimed in its filing: “We sell happiness.” Zoom, a video conferencing company, must compete with Peloton, because it also claims to “sell happiness.” And it “fundamentally changes how people interact.” Then there is Pinterest, which “is where more than 250 million people around the world go to get inspiration for their lives.”

Surely the end is near. Certainly the bond market thinks so.

By the way, it has been two years since Polina took over writing Term Sheet, Fortune’s window on the private equity world. Since then, she has instilled it with her own unique form of happiness, and substantially expanded its readership. You can subscribe here.

Other news below.

Alan Murray


U.K. Turmoil

The U.K.'s hard-Brexiteer prime minister, Boris Johnson, has triggered a constitutional crisis by deciding to suspend Parliament for around a month from mid-September. Suspensions are common before a government lays out a new legislative agenda—an overdue event at this point, thanks to Brexit sucking up all the oxygen in Westminster—but they are very rarely this long, and it seems clear that Johnson wants to hamper lawmakers' efforts to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31. Parliamentarians now have little time available to stop him, so expect fireworks next week. Fortune

Italian Resolution

Meanwhile, Italy's latest bout of turmoil is over for now, after the populist 5Star Movement and center-left Democratic Party agreed to form a coalition goverment. The 5Stars' erstwhile coalition partner, the far-right League, recently pulled the plug on that arrangement in the hope of triggering a fresh election and taking over entirely. But the new coalition means no election is needed, and Matteo Salvini's League will have to grumble from the opposition benches. Guardian

Cable Fears

A largely completed, Google- and Facebook-backed undersea cable between L.A. and Hong Kong is reportedly under threat from U.S. officials, who want to block the venture on national security grounds. Officials are apparently suspicious of the Chinese partner that's involved in the Pacific Light project, Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group Co., which they suspect has ties to the Chinese government. Wall Street Journal

Indian Apple

Thanks to a relaxation of local sourcing and commerce rules, Apple will be able to start selling its products directly to consumers in India, and it will be able to do so online before setting up a physical store. So iPhones will become available in the country from Apple's website in the next few months—a Mumbai store will likely follow sometime late next year. Economic Times


Union Probe

The home of United Auto Workers chief Gary Jones was raided by FBI and IRS agents yesterday, in an expansion of a federal probe into corruption. Former UAW president Dennis Williams was also subject to a raid, as was a Missouri office of the union. Five UAW-affiliated people and three Fiat Chrysler executives have already been convicted in the multiyear investigation. CNBC

Amazon Ring

Amazon's Ring smart-doorbell subsidiary has now partnered with over 400 police forces in the U.S. to allow cops to ask owners for footage from the devices. Privacy advocates are heavily against the program, as the doorbell-cameras capture images of many people who are innocent of crimes. Fortune

UBS Hire

Iqbal Khan, who last month lost out a Credit Suisse power struggle, has been hired by rival UBS to head up its global wealth management division. Khan had reportedly also been in talks with wealth manager Julius Baer. Financial Times

South Korean Trial

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong faces a bribery retrial over horses the electronics giant gave to the daughter of a friend of former President Park Geun-hye. Lee had already been jailed for five years in 2017, but the next year his sentence was halved and suspended, resulting in his early release. The South Korean supreme court now says that was a bad decision. Park, who was convicted of bribery and abuse of power in 2018, could now face an even longer sentence than the 25 years she was given. BBC

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.

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